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…

The Ultimate Cat: A Reprise

When the golden rays shied from the dark alleys, the breeze ceased and the air stood still not to carry his scent, when his brethren remained mute and wouldn’t tell of the fire moving through the forest, my Ultimate Cat sang a silent reprise, and the dawn broke into raptures. Kanha Tiger Reserve, November 2013…

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…

Not A ‘Dry’ Morning

Optimism hadn’t paid often. And I say if optimism doesn’t pay, try persistence. If persistence doesn’t pay, try change. And if change doesn’t work, just listen to your heart, which you should have done in the first place! So we listened to our hearts and with a sense of guarded enthusiasm, boarded the safari vehicle…

The Ultimate Cat

  ‘Ultimate’ is a word not to be trifled with. It signifies utmost supremacy, implies lack of parallel and denotes proximity to perfection.  But so does he. He is the jungle’s first citizen. As an incarnation of majesty, embodiment of grace and manifestation of fantasy, he stands atop the food chain with the authority of…

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…

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…