Don’t be an Ass!!
I have often been told, in connection with many things,”Don’t be an Ass”. I have shared the same compliment with my boys and colleagues and friends as well. But after, a recent encounter with the Indian Wild Ass in the Little Rann of Kutch(LRK), I realized that it is well nigh impossible to be an Ass and I have decided that I am going to use the expression only when I want to genuinely compliment someone. Hence forth, it is going to be ,” Wow, you are like an Ass” or “ This is terrific. Only an Ass can do this!”
The Indian Wild Ass is colloquially called the Khur. The Wild Indian Ass is almost exclusively confined to the LRK and a some pockets of the Greater Rann of Kutch. While there are large number of asses of different shape , size, color and nationality(many on two feet!), the Wild Indian Ass are numbered at just about over four thousand!
They are an extremely hardy lot and survive the tremendous variations in temperature in the LRK. They are capable of achieving running speeds of 70-80 kilometers per hour. They feed on the dry grassy vegetation in the LRK, called the Murad- the grass is rich in moisture content and can survive the desert conditions of the LRK. They usually live in large family herds but the Male Stallions are a bit of Lone rangers and live solitarily or in small groups of one or two.
The Indian Wild Ass cuts an impressive figure in the vast arid stretches of the LRK. They are usually brownish or sandy in color and have a distinctive stripe running down its back and when they gallop across the Kutch raising plumes of dust in its wake; you are transported to childhood memories of Zane Grey and JT Edson and the Wild West!!
This is a salute to the magnificent Indian Wild Ass ; small in numbers but big in heart and impressive in its dogged determination to survive the unfriendly conditions in the LRK. The next time on, I am not going to tell my boys “Don’t be an Ass. It will have to be,” Try and become an Ass!!”