A postscript for Nain about tigers.

Dear Nain,

Do you remember that survival guide I wrote for you, to be followed post-college, should you ever be unlucky enough to have me disappear from your life?

I haven't yet, disappeared, that is, and it seems even more unlikely now that I'm back in Delhi, but life is unpredictable, and I want you to be prepared.

This, Nain, is a guide on how to survive tigers.

I have been working on a book about tigers and I know everything there is to know - everything there is to know - about this magnificent predator. If you happen to make a trip to Corbett or Ranthambore or even to the zoo, or if you are on the street and a tiger suddenly bounds up to you, its eyes glowing fiercely (although tiger-eyes only glow in the dark, did you know that?) then this will come in handy. You better show this to Mikhail, in case he is with you at Corbett, or Ranthambore, or the zoo, or on the road when you are accosted by a ferocious tiger, because I sense that the survival instincts in that one are not very strong. He has "Eat Me, Tiger" written all over him.

But first, some fun facts about tigers! What a treat! Here is a random sampling:

1) Male tigers can move their penises backwards. I would post a photograph here, but I'm at work, and my boss caught me watching a music video yesterday, where a bunch of Asian women were leaping around with their breasts merrily jiggling (I did not know Breasts were going to be involved) so I'm not going to risk googling tiger penises. I believe many cats can do this (lions for instance), but I'm not talking about lions, I'm talking about tigers. Anyway the reason they do this is not to have kinky sex, but to mark their territory by spraying urine everywhere.

2) Tigers are largely solitary creatures, but they keep track of the stuff that's happening in their world through a variety of ways. One is through their sense of smell; the other is by communicating by infrasound. Infrasound is like this sound we cannot hear because we are inferior creatures, but basically it is a sort of sound that moves great distances, even passing straight through mountains.

Imagine that.

So you have one tiger, on one side of a mountain, and another, on the other side, and the first tiger is like, Hey man, and the message goes through the mountain to reach the other tiger, who will probably just put his tail down and slink off, instead of replying.

3) Tigers can survive in temperatures that range from -55 C to 50 C because their fur has the ability to trap air, keeping their body warmth at a steady 37 C. I thought this point would interest you because it beats thermal underpants, no?

4) The binomial nomenclature (scientific-fancy-name) of the tiger is the Panthera tigris. Panthera is the name given to the world's big cats: the lion, the leopard, the jaguar, and of course, the tiger. They are classified together, not because they have tails, or because they murder deer, but because they have a special roaring ability that no other animal has (though drunken men in sports bars have been known to try and attempt it). This roaring is made possible by thickened vocal folds right below the vocal cords. Its species name is tigris which is classical Greek for 'arrow'; the straight and swift river Tigris also gets its name from here.

5) The tiger's earliest ancestors were called miacids. They looked like this:

Isn't evolution absolutely marvellous? 

6) The reason that white tigers are relatively rare in the wild is because they have trouble camouflaging themselves, so deer and antelope usually manage spotting them, and have time to run away, so these tigers usually croak before they manage to have babies to pass their white-tiger genes onto.

Okay, I have loads more fun facts, but I'll stop at six. If you want to know more about the majestic tiger, I am willing to reveal everything I know in exchange for chilled beer. Keep that in mind.

Now this is what you have to do in order to survive an encounter with a ferocious tiger.

A few preventive measures, first.

1) Do not go near baby tigers because tiger mothers are worse than Indian mothers and will destroy you. They communicate with their babies through sound and smell, so don't kid yourself that Mama Tiger's stepped out for a stroll, and won't see you.

2) If you see two tigers Doing It, hide, because when tigers Do It, the male tiger is full of hormones and likes to show his woman how manly he is by going around slaughtering things.

3) You could climb a tree if you have time. Tigers can climb trees, but the claws of their paws are positioned in such a way that they can only climb down a tree by going head-first, or leaping off. They're also quite heavy. So they don't really enjoy climbing trees. But then again, they can leap like 20 feet into the air, and from what I know of you, you aren't really an expert tree climber so...

This is, honestly, your best chance of survival:

Stand your ground and stare into its eyes. Do not run, do not weep, do not wail, do not go down on your knees and beg the tiger to spare your life, do not attempt to pet it either.

Just stare at it, and your stare should say, yeah-motherfucker-you-think-you-can-kill-me? I-may-be-a-puny-human-bitch-and-I-can't-run-too-fast-because-I-smoke-cigarettes-and-stuff-but-my-kind-invented-the-internet. 

Tigers are not used to living creatures standing and staring at them, they are used to everyone and everything running away from them, screaming and squealing, so the tiger will be discomfited. When tigers are discomfited, they sulk. The tiger will be too busy sulking to kill you and you will be safe.

Go, Nain.

Oh, here is a picture of a tiger for reference. If you see one of these anywhere, and there are no iron bars or walls-and-moats separating you from it, follow the above instructions. You're very welcome, by the way.


Xcess said...

this was pretty hilarious. i feel like a tiger expert too XD

Anonymous said...

There once was a young lady from Liger,
Who smiled as she rode on a tiger. They returned from the ride,
With the lady inside and the smile on the face of the tiger!

Anonymous said...

so I got stoned, we both know I dont really do that so imagine my condition.
I found your blog and started to read. The last two posts have been hilarious.
I woke ro up.
he snarled.
Im still laughing.
so like, thank you. Best 20 minutes ever.

Fuck. I dont think I can prove im not a robot. I cant see those damn letters.

Anonymous said...

Mmm... but what about Tiggers?