Coexistence is hard—as the new docuseries The Beatles: Get Back that we have reviewed shows—but not impossible, as our cover story points out. The writer, who moved from Mumbai to Kodaikanal a few years ago and noticed the increasing movement of elephants in her backyard, set out with one question: Is it possible to live alongside elephants? In her moving and beautifully written piece, she explains why there isn’t a single, simple answer to this question of how humans and animals can coexist.
At some level, it’s our relationship with animals, and our desire to imbue them with human characteristics, that helps us make sense of the world—writers from the anonymous storytellers of the Jataka tales to John Berger (Why Look At Animals?) to George Orwell (Animal Farm) to naturalists such as Jane Goodall and Charles Darwin have shown us this. They may live in cities and rarely see fantastical beasts, but the books children read are rife with animal characters who teach, preach, befriend and entertain. Researchers have pointed out that our obsession with animal Reels on Instagram is really about the implicit anthropomorphism—we are fascinated by how human-like we think they can be despite being so different from us, and somewhere they help in our understanding of the human experience. Or, they just make us laugh. Either way, a world without animals would be a very bleak one, and like all relationships, it’s one we need to work on.
Pulling together to get through a crisis is something the food and beverage industry has become familiar with in the past 20 months, and one of our stories traces the boom in small food businesses and how technology has empowered them. It’s not just about Swiggy and Zomato; many smaller, new platforms that customise to the needs of micro food entrepreneurs and fastidious customers have come up during the pandemic. It’s a tale of coexistence and survival, too.
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