Wise as a Tiger

My eleventh visit to Bandhavgarh began on an ominous note.   At the tail end of the first safari, we arrived at Gopalpur Meadow to find an extremely genial English gentleman, whom I was to later identify as John Aitchison, a wildlife cameraman who’d won an Emmy for my then favourite documentary, Frozen Planet.  He…

Late-Morning Action

My friends have a most profound distaste for the road that runs precipitously down from Vulture Nest to Ghodademon Junction. I’ve always loved it for the sense of adventure and anticipation it evokes but my friends find it too bumpy for their hips, so they’d rather spare themselves the teeth-clattering ride for all the obscure…

The Bold New Face of Banbehi

  It was late in the morning. The sun, having long since gained a firm foothold in the sky, climbed to dizzying heights. The ground, warmed by his telling ascent, baked the living hopes of the visitors into thin air, leaving only the most tenacious ones behind, who, including us, patiently pursued a change of…

The Golden Lining

The Golden Lining The head hangs down, shoulders droop. The tail’s closer to the thighs than to the grass flowers that sway in the changed wind. It once carried your fragrance afar but now brings to you the reek of peril. You’re on the back foot staring at doom through a pall of gloom. The…

Fundraiser – Prints for Sale

Anybody for a symbiotic relationship?It’s that time when my pockets are over-mined and the feasibility of my engaging in the continued pursuit of my art this month seriously undermined.Therefore in an effort to raise funds for an upcoming project, I am offering two of my most cherished pictures for sale, in the form of large-format…

Eye of a Storm

  On the first death anniversary of B2, the greatest cat I’ve known…   The storm brewing in the sky halted its charge midway. It retreated abruptly, with respect writ large on its face, seemingsffvdly to give way to its more subtle and potent counterpart on the earth, which the inchoate sapling to the grandest…

Crucified for No Crime?

Let a hundred guilty go scot-free, but not one innocent should be punished” says the Law. Unfortunately tigers don’t seem to be eligible for such penal largesse as they continue to pay the ultimate price for human avarice and callousness. Cornered, squeezed out of their decimated homes and slaughtered for their beauty, they find scarce…

Tiger Wars: A New Hope

On the occasion of tiger reserves being reopened to tourism after a three-month ban… The Banbehi female cub in hot pursuit of her brother at Sita Mandap, May 2012 I can smell the wet earth and lap up the dew again. I can breathe the whispering wind and watch a virginal dawn crack again. I…

Cry Baby

On 24 April 2011, evidence was presented that the only thing big about an adolescent male tiger is his body. Deep inside, he’s still a toddler, really. A little after half past five, M2, another handsome product of the Mirchahni School of Superstardom, crossed over to the grassland from the woods of Andhiyari. We thought…

Portfolio of a Princess

A Green-Carpet Welcome: When all hope was lost and chances seemed thinner than a shoestring, against all odds emerged from the woods this precocious girl of incredible audacity, crossed between a crowd of vehicles and walked out into the open where an exalted crowd of stunned onlookers gave her a rapturous green-carpet welcome on the…

Venus and Adonis

Even as Bamera was showing himself off as pictured and depicted in the previous post we realised that Kankati too was nearby. Shortly, prompted by a sun who was increasingly asserting himself, Bamera moved to sit down in a shaded area and thinking this to be a spot conducive to romance, Kankati moved in before him,…

Finding Adonis

In the dead of the night great orange visions formed in the mind that I couldn’t but shrug off. A big handsome bloke filled the scene and stole the show. He had stocky arms, a trunk-like neck and a great mane for his kind. Withal, he seemed to have invoked the pause button, for this…

In the Good Books

This picture is featured as a full-page spread in Valmik Thapar‘s latest book, “The Tiger – Soul of India,”published by Oxford University Press. I thank my naturalist Mukesh Burman and my driver Vikas for making the image possible. 

Singing Her Own Requiem

“Cometh the hour, cometh the friend” should be revised the saying. The grounds for such a demand arise from the timely receipt of benevolence from Harshad Barve when we were driving from the Jhurjhura dam to Rajbehra on the fateful afternoon of 15 May. Having checked the Jhurjhura dam and found it to be free…