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. 

The Last Hurrah

The afternoon of 14 May 2010 remains one of the red-letter days in my diaries, not only because of the utterly spellbinding time we had with Auntie and her cubs, but also because we were beneficiaries of one of the greatest humanitarian acts that must ever have taken place in a tiger forest. We were…

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…