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…

Ruler amongst Ruins

Of what fabric it is sewn, we know not; from what mettle it is cast, we are unaware, that it stands so dignifiedly amidst carnage and glitters like a diamond on a dung mound, that even in the wake of a blustering wind it burns bright with all its might.

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. 

Soul of a Cat

Jujju Junior is not just a tiger cub. She is the kitten that resides in every cat, the youth, energy and the spirit of inquest that remains active in every feline soul. Mediocrity is not a standard that satisfies her, and knowledge incompletely gained is to her a totally unacceptable compromise. It is her life’s…

Eyes of Innocence

Past the rocks that flank the road Dawn by dawn I pass her abode Whose visage adorns the tendrils and leaves Through them her form beams and sieves. In the eyes that glitter There is an eloquence atwitter – Unspoken but unrepressed, It presses on me the trying test. And I on my part, with…

A Friend Called Banno

She sits on a rock gazing into the hollow, and in her eyes flashes the story of not one but two lives. A true survivor herself, she hails from a place where her sisters’ voices once resounded in the marshy meadows, but in the now quiet grasses she remains restfully as of the type whom the…

Sangfroid

On the bridge at the stream at Siddhbaba, Vikas halted our hauler, guided by the belief that Chorbehra Female slept in the damp, cool marsh of the meadow. The sambar, who seem to love standing in the cool current here and chomp their way through the succulent botanical victuals, were scarce in attendance. Only the…

Idol Worship

In all my limited wisdom, I claim to be secular, and that is not by the connotation that we Indians have conjured for our political furtherance, but in the actual unalloyed lexical sense as known in the Occident. I concede that, during embattled times, as the unveiling day of the frighteningly ugly exam results drew…

Trick Boxing

In contrast to the glamorous sports of the human world, which erect stardom, fuel passions and ignite effigies, break backs with frayed tempers, weld relationships and engender scandals, halt countries and drive lucre under cobwebbed wooden tables, there is in this much pecuniary labyrinth yet a sport that is untouched by the wand of fame…