Morning Blessing

The bounty of some days makes up for the drought of others, and on this day, another page of the Kinarwah chronicles was to be turned over for our reading pleasure. Just as we saw the Banbehi female off on the Banbehi Nallah Road, Vikas turned back to drive to Mirchani and then complete our…

Survivors at Sunrise

It was the last safari of the trip, an intentionally truncated affair, since we had a date to keep with an annoyingly punctual flight at the end of an 11-hour drive. 25 safaris, including 19 from the previous trip, had passed that year without a glimpse of Kankati’s cubs.  Back in May, the first-time mother…

Mirth

My perch in the tree-house creaked. I sat heavily on my feeble rump, feeling in every breath the pangs of a bereaved man. “Old Hag knows the cause of your melancholy,” said Old Hag, who, turning around I noticed, was seated legs folded, roughly two feet off the floor in thin ether. “But let me…

A ‘Boaring’ Digression

One late morning at Sukha Talab, the Pateeha female, having watered herself and her two girls, had risen to a stately squat, ready for departure, when one of the cubs’ attention was diverted by a sound. On the firm conviction that it behoved him to investigate, the cub walked away from the water and positioned…

A Tiger’s Way

The wheels rolled into Rajbehra one searing afternoon, and we learned that one of the Jhurjhura cubs had taken throne on a rocky outcrop behind the dam. As I sat in brief contemplation, the following advisement from an eminent photographer cracked the silence at its seams: “Kaunsa lens hai tere paas, bhai? 300 hai, na?…

Portrait of a Lass

A rejuvenating shower reduced the summer blaze to a simmer. When the sky had run dry of cold tears, a freshness had flowered. A grey francolin, drinking its nectar, stood on a log calling oft, as though, through a broadcast of the pleasant status quo, inviting all parties concerned to partake of the toast. A…

10 Years of Tigging

This day in 2006 I was on my way back from my maiden trip to central India. A few days before, with a bunch of friends and an eyeful of dreams inspired by documentaries, I had stepped into Kanha Tiger Reserve, and got my first tiger photograph. It was a collared tigress resting in the…

A Tale of Two Stars

It was late afternoon when Star assumed a seat by the lakeside, and despite the fire in the sky, it seemed to get brighter by his presence, and the howling dry wind, just a little warmer. The day was longer because of his lingering, yet time verily shorter. Light had slowed to the speed of…

The Black Star

In a wilderness in northwestern India, much closer than the sun, lives a star. He was born nine years ago not from a supernova, but his parents’ ‘Jeans instability’. Every morning he rises – to the occasion. And every evening he sets – the stage on fire. In between, he births new stars. Without dying….

Lines on Water

There was a veneer of grass on the forest canvas, and it was ruffled now by the hot wind, as though tousled by a dragon’s breath. The earth heaved as the sun drank from the lake, like a giant sucking honeydew off a dying man’s plate. A mirage had centre stage. I sat watching the…