on the wallowing…

Hippopotamus in Zambezi River, Livingstone, Zambia

A man looking at a hippopotamus may sometimes be tempted to regard a hippopotamus as an enormous mistake; but he is also bound to confess that a fortunate inferiority prevents him personally from making such mistakes.

-Gilbert K. Chesterton

That what we term beauty is a high relative concept, and even the most unwieldy nuances of creation — static of dynamic — have a purpose, these are more or less the first couple of pieces of thought that strike one as the blobbing mass of hippopotami trigger ripples on the river’s surface, roving the snout about more irate then inquisitive, the callous jet stream of the boat a cumber to the natural chorus of capillary waves

Hippopotamus in Zambezi River, Livingstone, Zambia

’Tis a creature tough to relate to for the seeming lack of contrast — both literally and figuratively —  the groggy demeanour on terra firma is not complemented by dexterity in water but rather mirrored so, the sluggishness is accentuated by the slimy hide, and the facial expression echoes a lilting disdain with the universal nature of things — it is a huge land mass, the African continent… the bastion of the Old World… and there are antiques aplenty…

But then there are those gaping hundred and eighty degree jaws, and an attitude that most predators prefer not to mess with… the big boys are forever grumpy and unpredictable… one could try to guess a reason for this permanent chagrin… maybe this descendant of the whale feels he’s not been dealt a fair hand in the game of evolution…

Hippopotamus in Zambezi River, Livingstone, Zambia

We didn’t see the hippos camping on the shore in hoards but had to be content with their crests and troughs, bouncing up the river surface — specific gravity they say — to let out a snort or two at the onlookers before disappearing again… if one had to compare it in terms of manner it’d be a bear — large, chubby and moody… in a canvas where amphibians are anyway a minority, an amphibian of gargantuan proportions becomes even more marginalised… but then, they don’t pull legs or demean one another in the animal kingdom…

Hippopotamus in Zambezi River, Livingstone, Zambia

Musings on Hippopotamus (Cape Hippopotamus, H. a. capensis), Zambezi River, Zambia… 

Author: Parth Joshi

Allured by the outdoors, the author is made up in parts of that quintessential lost soul wreathing under the pangs of biophilia in a desk job, a wannabe elegist mostly ending up in dungeons of poetasters and an optimist waiting for the senility of the modern world to fade away while sampling shoots and leaves. In saner times, he has a keen interest in areas pertaining to tourism, history, agriculture and climate change, especially with respect to historical interpretations, emerging technologies and future livelihoods. An avid trekker, runner, cyclist, birder and photographer, he is more often than not found gloating over anything hinterland, on foot or over computer monitors, and fantasizing solutions that can foster inclusive growth and sustainable livelihoods for communities at the grassroots.

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