Thursday, September 4, 2008
Life Of a Legend
Two years ago, today, ie, 4th of September, an innocent stingray used its barb in supposed self-defense and was responsible for giving a huge jolt to the world of animal conservation. It killed beloved crocodile hunter, Steve Irwin.
Some people hated him, most of the people loved him. But no one can deny the fact that once anyone saw him in action as ' the crocodile hunter', they could not remain wholly indifferent to him. Frankly how can that be possible? How can anyone ignore that innocence and complete honesty oozing out of his personality? One look at his eyes and you are toast. Eyes wink, eyes allure, eyes twinkle, eyes glitter, but very rarely do eyes beam. Steve's eyes beamed. When you look into his eyes, you get this feeling that he is saying " Come here. You are welcome to my world. It is such a beautiful place. crickey! Become a part of it and experience it for yourself". ( Oh well i guess there was way too much corn in it but thats how it is. Talking about Steve aayerwin makes me that way:P)
As if he wasnt enough we have an equally enthusiastic soulmate of his who in his own words used to get scared to tears for him but never once did she ask him to stop what he was doing. And then theres Bindi who is an animal nut like him and ickle Bob. What a kick-ass family!
So what makes him different from other animal conservationalists? Why not Jeff Corwin ( thought I daresay he's very popular too ). I guess if anyone asks me why I love\worship him so much, I wont't be able to answer it properly if at all ( that'd be a first one won't it? me not answering back?), but I'll wonder about it for days and nights and come up with the same answer I have right now : I don't know. But it goes deep like you know love for one's country. There's no particular reason as such. Animal magnetism counts?:P Steve didn't need to make an effort to show his passion for conservation. Others ( forgive me if you are offended) seem to try to show enthusiasm about it. ( a la david blaine and chris angel. Angel seems more on the defensive side although he may be a better magician). He lived his life full throttle, taking unthinkable risks to save animals, in spite of knowing, deep down, that one day his luck could run out. This sort of unconditional devotion to his beliefs is very appealing too, no? Besides I haven't encountered many men who could compare a woman to an orangutan and actually get away with it by making the woman ( Kathy Buchanan in this case) feel complimented. He was as enthusiastic about his family as his work. How many people can claim that they are their child's hero? His ebullient antics, broad australian accent, and knack of making you feel as if you are the only one he is talking to and what you think or do matters to him made him a household name across the world.
He had his share of controversies too. Dangling Bob-too-near-the croc incident. People said he was idiotically fearless. Now thats not really fair. :-| He always said that being brought up in the zoo with his conservationalist parents, what seemd bizarre and dangerous to others like dodging a four metre croc, tossing beer snakes, rescuing baby bats, was just a walk in the park for him. He was born and raised with wild animals so these 'antics' were completely natural to him. Modern day Mowgli I say. Though here is something which shows he was a mortal just like us: he lived in constant fear of fast cars after losing his mom to a car crash!
5th September,2006. I was having my morning cup of coffee and browsing through papers as usual and thinking about Teachers' Day. Mumbai Mirror, Page 29, left side, bottom of the page were the lines " Eccentric conservationalist : Steve 'crocodile hunter' Irwin dies in a freak accident with a stingray." Shit. I kept on staring at that headline for an eternity it seemed, without really processing it. After that i don't really remember what happened. I guess I was numb. Mainly because Steve was one of those vital creatures of whom when they do die, we say it seems impossible that they can be dead. Isn't it amazing what one barb can do? I can't even imagine what his family must have gone through at that time. One day, he is all hale and hearty and merry as usual. Next day, he is gone, never to return. One small consolation is that he always said, he wanted to die doing what he loved the most. If he'd have had the chance to say something, I guess he would have said " crocs rule and crickey it wasn't the stingray's fault. it was me who was invading its privacy"
People tell me , move on he's gone. get over it. Why should I? if moving on means not thinking of him when I see a snake or a particularly amazing stunt by a bird, I don't want to forget him. I don't swim around with crocs like he did, but thanks to him, I do love all animals now. I'm not even disgusted by insects. That's his legacy. That's how Steve lives on.
Beloved,eccentric,charming,generous,passionate,gorgeous,innocent,lovable, gentleman of the wild. A wildlife warrior. That's Steve for you. Love you Steve.
( Note : I meant to post this yesterday but the draft wasn't complete yet and I didn't want to spoil it by haste, so posting it today. Btw Happy Teachers' Day to all:P )