Those poor creatures

Those poor creatures

I had sincerely thought I had erased the memories of those torturous days. It had receded to my subconscious, buried never to resurrect again. But how wrong I was. The past does come to haunt you in unseemly ways and the way it comes unstuck leaves you dazed. But this particular experience of mine really takes the cake.

These thoughts flashed in my mind, when I saw the screaming headlined anchor story in a newspaper, “UGC says no to dissection of animals in labs; zoology teachers miffed.” I could not agree with the University Grants Commission, the apex body for higher education in the country more.

I thought at last these mandarins in the power centre had woken up to reality to bury the nightmare I had experienced all these years. It was in 1974-75 when I was doing my BSc in Mysore Sharada Vilas College. One of my optional subjects was zoology and being final year students we were all forced into doing dissection.

Knowing that it played a big part in passing the exams, I did try to take the practical classes seriously.

As the attender in the lab came and placed all those cockroaches and frogs on the dissection table, my heart would skip a beat. I was no animal brigade man at any point in my life. Still to see the poor creatures, which God had made them all, being tortured was something I could never come to terms with. As a result, I turned out to be the worst dissector in the class. Every time one of those creatures was put on the table, I would start using the scalpels, scissors, forceps on them and to my horror discover that they still had some life and were literally being butchered by me. In not a single dissection class could I get anything right. But many others were happily coming out with beautiful dissections. This went on for almost the whole year. As I somehow had to pass the practical exam to get my degree, I decided to join practical tuitions in a college. There the results were no better.

To cut a long story short, when the time for the practical exam came, I was in a state of depression. On the day of the practicals when my classmate and I reached the examination hall, the invigilator looked sternly at us. Only then did we realise that we were ten minutes late entering the hall.

I was asked to dissect the fifth cranial nerve of frog and remove the brain of shark. I started my dissection thinking that it would end in disaster. But to my surprise, shock and joy, I had neatly carved out the brain of shark and split open the cranial nerve of frog. Somehow I passed out in flying colours in the practicals which helped me get a degree.

Now, that the UGC has decided to ban the dissections, my heart goes out to all the animals and I say a big no to all the zoology lecturers.