Monday, September 05, 2005

Finding Tyler

I fell in love with a tall, dark, obese and adorable creature in the summer of 2000. The year i got married. No, am not referring to B. But Tyler, in fact. He weighs 775 pounds. Has bright beady eyes and cute little flapping ears. And by the time I spent 15 minutes with him - my heart was falling off my sleeve.

I spent the rest of the summer pleading with B to imitate Tyler's opinion of litterbugs. On rare days B obliged, only to curry favour. Or spaghetti flavours as the case may be.

More about Tyler: He lived at the New England Aquarium in Boston. He is a sea lion. When i 1st met him he was 6 years old. He was incredibly smart, good looking and odd! He stuck his tongue out at strangers he didn't like. Kissed little girls and didn't make them cry. Sigh. And for the rest of my life, whenever i hear "ymca" - am tempted to dance to his tune, like the summer of 2000.

The love affair continued. Every visitor i had in Boston must see the aquarium. How else was i to explain this odd fascination? When my parents visited, my mother had already been referring to me as Tyler in deference to my obsession. When we went to watch him, unfortunately Zuma was on show that day. Did i use the adjective unfortunate? Not very accurate, but Tyler he was not. Probably more agile, but not quite as obese.

Time sped by. In the rush of all things modern, and coping with the chaos that is Delhi, and the workplace that resembled an eddy, Tyler was relegated to the back burners of my memory. Other than an occasional sad glimpse into the life of a seal on Discovery, such as Gomez who was sent back to sea after living with a family for a year.

Till one winter morning in Delhi i woke up, switched on the telly, and there it was again. Ok, so not Tyler, But Andre. A film based on a true story, starring one of Tyler's cousins possibly, named Tory. As i became increasingly absorbed in the film, DG (the Rosario in my life) suddenly brought me photo albums with pictures of Tyler and Zuma, and thought they resembled "Handy" in the film. Handy = Her version of "Andre".

A bit of a sad commentary on my life, and the sea lions I had almost forgotten. A few months followed, as did my move to the Netherlands. On vacation in Norway, the much hyped Bergen aquarium didn't yield too many of Tyler's cousins, unless you count the baby seals. They incidentally get clubbed to death often - by fisherman who consider them greedy. The next time you attack that slab of pink salmon, look over your shoulder!

A couple of weeks ago, one Sunday, B decided it was time to find my sea lions again. It was a cold summer's day at the Dolfinarium in Harderwijk. The weather was disappointing but the day was not. There were walruses. (No carpenters, before you ask me, like my mother). And Seals, called Zee Honds (dogs of the sea, just like dachshunds). Dolphins, lots of them.
And Tyler's Dutch cousins, the Sea Lions. Fairly fit and lean. Sort of like the Dutch girls in contrast to their American counterparts. Perhaps, Dutch sea lions can cycle!

But still no Tyler. A recent visit to the New England aquarium site informed me that Tyler & Zuma are currently in the Chicago aquarium, till their new home in Boston gets fixed. Looks as though my pending visit to Boston will be short one trip to the aquarium.

Well as the song goes, Sweet dreams are made of this,Who am I to disagree? Travel the world and the seven seas, Everybody's looking for something. Tyler perhaps?

PS - if you were always curious about differences between Sealions & Seals - and were too lazy to look it up, here's the url for a brief list of differences!