Global Game Industry News Blog

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I Take Many Pictures of Animals...

I take a lot of pictures of animals it seems. I'm not sure precisely why I do this. I think in part because it has something to do with it being more socially acceptable, or personally acceptable for me to whip out my camera and take a photo of a random puppy, dog, frog, cat, cow, or other animal than to pull out the camera and start taking photos of people. Somehow one seems miraculously less awkward than the other.

I'm also happy to make the assertion that these animals are simply indexes of what I see a lot of here. However, for the most part I feel less like a creepy tourist or random sweaty white guy taking photos of these animals than if I were to take photos of other things. Some random academic part of me also believes that Donna Haraway needs to come here and check out these companion species for a bit. For those of you that haven't read any of her recent work on dogs and companion species, that wont make a lot sense, and that is alright. Just think of dogs and other animals as offering a kind of special insight into both the canine and human conditions.

So, this little pup was hanging out at the Fireflies secular ashram where FoU (Friends of Udhay) was held this year. He and his buddy were pretty freaked out by anyone they didn't recognize. Then I callously went and snapped his photo. Dogs have been particularly interesting for me here. Mostly because when I first arrived in Bangalore I saw a lot of them. I see quite a few of them, but as I've written about before, the ecology of cows and dogs was particularly interesting there. I've referred to them fondly as "road dogs" because you'll often see them walking along with people along the side of the road, or fast asleep almost in the road. Which brings me to my next two photos.

This guy has wisely chosen a non-road spot, though his compatriot cares significantly less about the logic of this idea.

Most of these dogs are stray it seems, though I don't think that means that they don't have friends or relationships with humans. Most of them have bumps, scrapes, missing chunks, gimps, post-litter tits, and numerous other aspects that make it clear that this is how things go. While on a trek across town last night I saw a puppy blindly crossing the street, if he made it safely, he's lucky. I'm sure you learn pretty quickly if you're not doing things the right way, the primary question is if you'll live to learn from the experience. I didn't look back to see if he made it. It was rush hour, and I was too scared that I already knew the answer to the question.

It can get really warm (especially in Chennai) during the day. I can't decide what keeps these dogs sunning themselves rather than opting for the shade. I suppose that's what the sweaty American dogs would be doing. They're surely used to the weather. They're also used to the spicy food too. I noticed a dog getting a munch of some leftovers, and I couldn't help but laugh thinking that surely I would be sweating, and an American dog would be rubbing its face in the dirt trying to figure out what the heck was going on with the inside of it's face.

While in Bangalore you could hear the dogs at night. One person even talked about how since the city pretty much shuts down at 11:30PM, the dogs own the city after that point. All restaurants and stores are closed, and for the most part the auto-rickshaws stop running. I suspect that the buses continue to run for those people working late at the call centers, but by and large things are very quiet once 11:30PM rolls around. It's at this point that the dogs come out to play, presumably expending all of that stored up photo-electric energy gathered during the day. Whether they're doing battle with the cars out late, or arguing with one another, they are much more vocal than during the day.

This little guy wandered into the parking lot of RedOctane the other morning. He was just so cute and tiny that I couldn't not take a photo of him. He walked into the courtyard looking like he'd thought he had found what he was looking for, but alas, I was not that. He then turned around and walked back through the grates of the gate.

The guard found it interesting that I'd take the time to whip out my trusty cell phone camera to take a shot of this little guy, but I guess it's just a habit of mine.

One of the workers at RedOctane was saying that recently they've begun a neutering program in this state, and perhaps it is country wide of neutering the male dogs. Veterinary volunteers go around giving the boy dogs a little snip-snip here and there. My first thought was that it must suck being a female dog in heat in a city of boys with no balls. This new policy apparently replaces a previous one where rounded up and disposed of.

And now for my recent favorite. When I was out wandering, I found this "road cow" hanging out with the bicycles and motorcycles. Apparently she had an itch which she couldn't quite reach, and was using this motorcycles handlebars to reach the spot. I stood and watched for a couple of minutes while she scratched and scratched.

The juxtaposition of all of these animals (I saw a chicken the other day, but did not have a camera, it was quite sad) with the rest of society is interesting. It has just prompted me to think about certain things, and I couldn't bring myself to not post these photos, even though I feel a bit silly in retrospect seeing just how many animal shots I have taken while being here.

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