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Twenty years of living in Chennai, I have never seen a dolphin in the sea…..

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Basumitra Basu: Chennai,28th. March 2020. Unless you have been to a totally uninhabited place, it’s difficult to imagine how the world would be without the influence of modern civilisation. Every other species, had had to vacate their natural space, obviously to their detriment, just so that we humans can thrive. Out of my window, sea was bright blue this morning with a clear sky.

There was no phat-phat noise from the fishing boats and even the boisterous boys frolicking in the water were conspicuous by their absence. Fishermen were not huddling mid-morning under the makeshift canopy on the beach and odd couples were not romancing sitting near where waves crash.

This was an unusually quiet morning at the beach and the sea. Suddenly, I noticed a black body, then another, going down in the water and coming back up briefly.

But, it was taking too long to surface! Just then I realised these were dolphins, about 6-7 of them, reclaiming their home, swimming northwards just 20 m away from the coast. In my 20 years of living in Chennai, I have never seen a dolphin in the sea. Through this Covid-19 epidemic, which evidently is not very fatal and which humans will eventually overcome, is nature trying to send us a message to behave?

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