Despite this being my third trip to Bandhavgarh and having spent nearly 30 rides, I was yet to see B2, whose glimpse I had craved for, for the best part of a two years even before I began visiting Bandhavgarh.
My disappointment was not slight when even this trip seemed to be not destined to produce his sighting. Locals said that B2 had been away from his home for more than 10 days, so it was time for him to be back, but where was he? Would this turn out to be yet another trip that would be remembered for the continuance of the B2 jinx?
On the penultimate day of the sojourn, word came about that B2 had returned to his favourite haunt, the beautiful meadows of Chakradhara, and was being shown by elephant-back. Without much ado we reached the place all the way from Andhiyari Jhiriya, where we were waiting for the Mirchani cubs to make an appearance.
As we approached, we found him lying in a pit exactly his size, which he had perhaps over time ingeniously conjured to rest in, but he looked very weak, with his stomach appearing to have been sucked out of its contents. He couldn’t have eaten for days.
A short while later, he woke up, and what a sight that was! Those resplendent orange eyes aglow in the morning light, his tan skin vibrating to the energy from within, the stripes serving as an articulate decoration to a visage of sensational perfection, with panache, chutzpah and dignity punctuating the look of terrifying pulchritude.
We noticed the wounds inflicted by Bokha in his fight with him the previous night, and found them to be nominal at best. Those who saw Bokha say that he appeared to be much worse for the skirmish, oozing blood from many a place and suffering a slight limp.
Right then I knew was looking at a legend whose persona to his admirer seemed the very epitome of stateliness and composure, and to his unfortunate rivals, that of undying power and impregnable strength. Even at twice Bokha’s age, B2 refuses to be bullied, and stands tall and mighty as the veteran warrior.