We are fast moving towards an era when we look to admire tigers in faroff forests, enjoy the antics of monkeys in zoos and fish in glass bowls. Janaki Lenin, in her collection of essays in the book My Husband & Other Animals, tells us to move beyond. She embraces the creepycrawlies that make their home in her kitchen. She resigns herself to the inconveniences of frogs in the toilet tank and snakes coiled in her shoes, and views their presence instead for the excitement they provide in her day-to-day life.
Incongruous as it seems in the midst of newspaper reports of monkey menace and snake scares, what Janaki Lenin brings to our notice is not just a tolerance for a shared life with insects, toads and the like; it is a celebration of shared space. And by virtue of this celebration, My Husband and Other Animals, seems to be exactly what the doctor ordered in today’s context.