I like animals, not small ones like cats and dogs, certainly not mice which give me the creeps, but the big ones like tigers and lions with their sleekness and great strength.
So there I was at the Victoria Gardens that day a few years ago. I was just 12, still schooling, and with me were some fifteen other Girl Guides.
Me, a Girl Guide, the “serious” Nanda of today’s films? But I was one. I was a real tomboy.
Anyway, two or three of the girls and I walked up to the cage of the Big Cats. (The other girls possibly were feeding crumbs to the birds and jotting it down in their Guide diaries as their good deed for the day).
A tiger got up from a corner of the cage, came near where I stood. Did he roar? No. Did he yawn? No. But the look he gave me? It was melting. And it was for me. I made sure of it by walking across to the other side of the cage and back. Mr. Tiger was very much after me.
The girls with me had moved away, but they came back to tease. ‘We’ve been watching,” they grinned. “We know of boys following girls. But a TIGER, Nanda!!!”
I beat it fast from near that cage.
I have never gone back to the zoo, and I’ve never forgotten the episode of the “wolf” in tiger’s clothing—my most embarrassing moment.