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…

The Search

  When the beads of her thirst turn into pearls of percipience, and she befriends the unknown; When the morn dawns early and she ventures forth bravely through the cold and the dark with nothing more than trust in her path, and no more the false hope of sweet fruit;When the stubborn fog of her…

Watcher on the Wall

  Between the banks of night and day, she stands gazing at the undual, still in the flow. Seasons come and phases lapse, but her vigil flies aloft. It reaches beyond man, beast and plant, and touches the source of all.But she’s not a hoarder of beliefs, collector of memories or weaver of dreams. She’s…

The Prima Donna

Thus stood the prima donna, enlightening the soul. I had heard a lot about her from Old Hag. But it was the instant the prima donna broke into reality from the dreamworld of the thicket with quicksilver dazzle, like an exquisite flower had dropped from a mystical tree, that I fell in love with her….

The Heart’s Eye

Two gleaming gems. Like polished marbles from the Welkin’s riverbeds. By day they hide, at noon they rest, and by night they glow in the lonesome bight. Yet, by morning they’re gone, set with the moon, down horizons unknown. Sparks from tinder, brilliant but short, fanned by the wind. How bright they glow! How bright!…

Bandhavgarh in 60 Seconds

After a 17-month gestation period, I have finally managed to edit the footage I shot in Bandhavgarh in May 2013 entirely with a GoPro Hero 3 into a minute-long montage (many thanks to my good friend Phillip Ross for lending me the wonderful camera.) I present you ‘Bandhavgarh in 60 Seconds’: Watch in full HD…

Rajbehra Reminiscence

I’m just back from Bandhavgarh without a single photographable tiger encounter at Rajbehra, my favourite meadow in Bandhavgarh along with Chakradhara. In fact this entire summer, I know of only four times the Rajbehra Female (Dhiti) or one of her highly photogenic cubs have put in an appearance there during our work hours. This is…

From History to Eternity

I sometimes wonder if history can repeat itself. But I realise it doesn’t have to, when it lingers forever. 19 May was the fourth death anniversary of the Jhurjhura tigress (left) I fondly called ‘Auntie’. She wasn’t the prettiest tigress I’ve known; that is clearly a position concretely held by her smashing sister, the Chorbehra…

A Feeling Called Tiger

I’ve felt it far more often than I’ve seen it. In the rustle of the leaves it’s resident, and the thunder over the distant hills brings its euphony. The inchoate buds issue its fragrance, and the sway of the windswept grass talks of its silent jaunt. The frenetic calls of alarm evoke its presence, and…

The Death Walk

He was so big that he had his own gravitational field. And the moment when he pressed purposefully forward with a quarry in his sights and the smell of a kill doing the death dance in his nostrils was a rear-loosening one. There are times when tigers look cuddly. This is the majority of times….

Kinarwah Chronicles

In the pursuit of wildlife, fantasy is a constant companion.  With ambition as its close ally, the mind goes about weaving dreams at every corner, and causes the heart to wistfully sigh when they don’t come true.   One such long-nursed dream was to see a tiger at Kinarwah, the manmade waterhole at the fringe…

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…