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 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?…

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!…

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…

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…