Addwaita passed away on Friday. He succumbed to liver failure. And that ofcourse made headlines and that is how I learnt about it. And why should that be?
Well to begin with, Addwaita was 255 years old. At firt, it sounds incredible, even awe inspiring to note that when he was born, Mozart, Beethoven, Napoleon weren't born, America was not "Independent", England had not yet become the mighty empire it subsequently became. He lived through numerous wars including the American, French and Indian struggle for independence, world wars, voyage to the moon, and when he died, voyager had aready set upon it's 10 year voyage to Pluto.
Consider that all the while that history was being shaped, changed, he was oblivious to it all, far away from his kith and kin, living his lonely existence so far, far away, in Calcutta.
He was a giant tortoise brought by some brits from the Seychelles and presented to Robert Clive. He was not the only one. It is on record that there were three of them. Two of them died much before and so it was Addwaita who whiled his time away, alone, a prisoner at first in Clive's home in Bengal and then for the last 130 years of his life at the kolkata zoo.
The incredible awe that I felt for his longevity, very soon, gave way to a sense of overwhelming sadness.
What a terrible curse then, this tremdendous exile.
Atlast Adwaita is free...and i sincerely hope reunited with his (hopefully equally long-living kins) in tortoise heaven.