The Unadorned

My literary blog to keep track of my creative mood swings with poems n short stories, book reviews n humorous prose, travelogues n photography, reflections n translations, both in English n Hindi.

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I'm a peace-loving married Indian male on the right side of '50 with college-going children, and presently employed under government. Educationally I've a master's degree in History, and another in Computer Application. Besides, I've a post graduate diploma in Management. My published works are:- (1)"In Harness", ISBN 81-8157-183-5, a poetry collections and (2) "The Remix of Orchid", ISBN 978-81-7525-729-0, a short story collections with a foreword by Mr. Ruskin Bond, (3) "Virasat", ISBN 978-81-7525-982-9, again a short story collection but in Hindi, (4) "Ek Saal Baad," ISBN 978-81-906496-8-1, my second Story Collection in Hindi.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Tiger and the Truth

Tiger n the Truth
We're All Friends Here
Last Monday happened to be a day of jungle bliss for us. Even before the day dawned we were ready to head for Ranthambore in an open jeep. The morning breeze was one of chill, the expectation was high that a tiger would come our way, and not for nothing we were all bathed and dressed to meet the king: the jungle king.
One minute Please, Let Me Scratch
The forest has been divided into zones and our zone of traversal was zone four. Four: did it mean anything in terms of greater or lesser chance of meeting the big cat? Any numerologist among us? And ‘no’ came the reply. I wondered what could be the reason behind such division. However I did not ask the guide to explain but had an answer ready in my mind. It could be to increase the chance of spotting a tiger, or to avoid crowding the forest by the tourists and their jeeps, or it could be to optimize the earning.
Mr. Owl: Can U Spot Him?
Ranthambore is a deciduous forest. Its vegetation is different from what we see in the rainforests of south India, Odisha, the North East. And at this part of the year when the trees had shed their leaves, the forest gave a very civilized look. So it had enough rooms for the movement of animals and ensured the visibility. We strained our eyes to look at the furthest we could to spot the animals and birds. As for me, I was reminded of the charming narratives of Jim Corbett in his book “Jungle Lores” as our jeep revved on. The guide explained that there are no elephants in Ranthambore who could have destroyed the vegetation. Oh, that explained why the tiger had chosen to rule so civilized a forest.
We're a Peaceful Family, Right?
To start with we were shown the pug marks of a tiger; it seemed the wild king had prowled around the previous night. But then it was no indication that we were going to meet the animal soon. Sighting tiger has to be taken as a matter of chance. Otherwise, the king would not allow an audience to us merely because we were coming with proper dress and after a morning shower. We should better concentrate on observing those that came our way—all those from non-tiger species. There were a lot of peacocks preening themselves and there were deer, wild boars and a woodpecker scrambling around for their breakfast of choice. A couple of crocodiles slowly came out of the lake to have their sun bath and stray nilgais were found grazing in a mood of blithe unconcern. And of course there were plenty of monkeys playfully gamboling near us with their longish tails genially outlining their path of pleasure in the air.
To Begin a Day
The most memorable sight was the one that was connected with our interaction with treepies, the playful bird of the forest. They were coming and sitting on the jeep at close proximity. They were not mindful of the fact that humans could bring them harm. Even when the guide whistled one of them came and sat on his palm. I had, never in my life, seen such a level of rapport between a shy bird and a human. Not only that the treepies were displaying their best of friendliness by such gesture; they were conscious of the fact that we were in need of consolation after missing our chance to spot a tiger. And they gave their best of twitters, melodious with joyous outpourings.
The Pugmark
It was time we returned. I for myself was ready with an explanation why I had no luck with sighting the animal. It occurred to me that I had earlier seen one such tiger crossing my road…and had shared that in my blog. [here] It was the sight of a lifetime. Any more than that would have been bonus. Then I would have deprived somebody of his chance of sighting the animal, once in a lifetime!
For an Early Morning Swim
I asked the driver of the jeep if he had sighted the wild king recently and exhorted him to tell the truth. At the end of visit I thought I should go back with something truthful. Despite the excusable tendency in the jungle-lovers to tell a white lie about their birds and beast, the fellow obliged me with a sheepish smile and a reply, ‘To tell you the truth, sir, I had no luck in last six months.’
Our Guest 4m Siberia
The driver could not ignore the urge in me to know the jungle truth. He was not only a well-behaved fellow but had the guts to tell the truth…just for a change! Yes, it was a tiger truth. Good for all of us: it was a good day to begin with.
A. N. Nanda

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