As we drove towards the zoo this morning, I asked my daughter if she was excited to go to the Chiryaghar. She laughed and said: “But mama, we are not going to the bird house!”. No wonder bilingualism is amazing! Even a four-year-old can catch the irony of literal translations.
I love Zoo trips. The excitement on the faces of the children as they watch the animals up close, being in an amazing learning environment and the general smug feeling of I’m-such-an-awesome-mom-bringing-my-children-to-the-zoo. That is before the heat gets the better of everyone, the children loose any and all interest in the animals, insist on going down the slide for the millionth time and refuse to listen to any tone of your voice except the shrillest.
You begin to wonder why you made all this effort and could have just taken them to the nearest neighborhood park and saved yourself the money and sanity. But when you get home you meet your next door neighbor as you pile the children out of the car. She is in a different season of her life and the children are long grown and moved away. She tells you that the days when zoo trips are magical don’t last long. That children, as they grow slightly older find the zoo boring and mom isn’t the “best mom in the world” for taking them there.
As we look back to our childhood we don’t remember the heat, the sweat or the tantrums (our own by the way). We do remember the excitement, the adventures and the food! My grandfather took us to the Lahore Zoo when I was seven and I still remember the epic Gol Gappas we had that day. As the years went by, this Lahore Zoo trip just became bigger and larger in my mind. I think by now legend has it that we ate the entire stand of Gol Gappas between the five of us.
After settling down the children, I realized we had a pretty epic day ourselves. My friend brought some Behari Kabab and Tikkas for lunch. I had taken along some left over Parathas from breakfast. Anyone slightly aware of south-asian food knows that this is a killer combination. Like. The. Best. Ever. Before we got into a food-induced coma from our lunch, we had a lovely walk around the zoo in the amazing sunny weather as the children laughed and played. Magical indeed.
We like to sing songs for any and most occasions and this one seemed appropriate for our drive back:
“Kis ne banaya machli ko,
Machli ko, Machli ko,
Khuda ne banaya machli ko, banaya machli ko,
Kis ne banaya titli ko,
Titli ko, Titli ko,
Khuda ne banaya titli ko, banaya titli ko,
Kis ne banaya hum sab ko,
Hum sab ko, hum sab ko,
Khuda ne banaya hum sab ko, banaya hum sab ko”
Machli is fish in urdu and Titli is butterfly. You can basically extend this song for all zoo animals. I learnt this song at my school.
I will try and add a voice clip so you can catch the tune also.