I had always wanted to keep turtles as pets and never succeeded in doing so at my own home because my parents would go crazy about keeping a fish let alone an amphibian. So, when I suggested khelu about it, he gave it a thumbs up and we got ourselves two turtles from a shop at katra.
In the rickshaw, two of us filled with joy with our pets and their little glassy home, we thought about names for our latest roomies. I was still obsessed with Adam sandler’s pet in “50 first dates”; Chyapo, so i put the name of my (the one which was bigger) turtle Chaypo. Khelu thought he would call it just turtle but in manipuri (his mother tongue), which was Thingu.
It was cool to hang around with our new roomies. They were slow and whenever they got pissed, they would hide inside their shells and then slowly came out of it without too much fuss at all. We played. The racing was the most fun part. Chyapo wouldnt move at all. Small thingu would be really energetic once out of his glass. But Chyapo would be cautious.
We became famous. We were now being known as the “Turtle Dudes”. We were so inspired by our new roomies that we started a radio over the LAN and called it Turtle Radio. We named our fictious tech firm, Turtle Inc. And i started calling myself Turtle. My brother started calling himself Turtle’s bro.
But then, one sad day, chyapo bade us farewell. We were upset. But we did know the end was near because he was on an infinite hunger strike protesting god knows what. He chose the Gandhian style of revolution, but never understood that in today’s world nobody gives a shit about peaceful course of action. You need to make sound and wreck some havoc to get heard loud and clear.
Thingu, inspired by his fellow comrade, followed the same course of action and soon followed suit. We were so engulfed by our name and fame that these little guys had given us, we forgot to take care of them. We forgot that we were famous because of these little creatures. And people adored us for learning to live with species of diferent kinds not because our pets were different.
In a symbiotic environment, it is essential that the interests of both the parties be taken care of by each other. We failed to take care of our roomies interests and their pains. We turned a blind eye in their search for something that we didn’t bother to find out because they would just not speak up.
This is a tribute to all Chyapos and Thingus that have been promised a better future but have been denied just because they are too miniscule a thing for anyone really listen to. Every one has a voice and if they are not attended by a suitable response, no society will be in a total symbiosis, which is the intial idea anyway.