Animals and Their Relationship with Humans*
Andaleeb Wajid7
A TIGRESS CALLED MACHHLI AND OTHER TRUE ANIMAL STORIES FROM INDIA by Supriya Sehgal. Illustrations by Jit Chowdhury; 7*Reprinted from TBR, Volume XLIII Number 11 November 2019 Hachette Publishers, 2019, 161 pp., 299.00
October 2020, volume 44, No 10

As someone who has never been drawn to reading non-fiction personally, I think the idea of a collection of true stories about Indian animals is still something that is intriguing enough to make me want to pick up the book. Supriya Sehgal doesn’t disappoint.

An easy to understand style, an almost conversational banter between the author and the reader, draws you in to the many different fascinating stories that populate this book. Animals and their relationship with humans forms the fulcrum of almost every story and it is heartening to read about everyday people who care for animals, who go out of their way to help animals in distress, who try to make the lives of our furred and four-legged fellow creatures easier. These stories are inspiring and never enter the didactic category even when the author is warning us of some wrong practices that are harmful for animals.

There are numerous heart-warming stories here and it is hard to choose a favourite. All of them have an extra element, something that makes you go back to the story and wonder why it made you smile. Whether it was the story about Dr. Mathur who makes prosthetics for animals, or the myths surrounding the chill-inducing monitor lizard, or Gowri Shankar’s efforts to make snakes less feared, each of these have something special about them.

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