Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Wild Diary ... (Part-II)

                                                           Memories of the Wild    
        I still remember almost vividly the scene when I saw my first tiger in wild. This was good 15 years ago. The place was the reputed Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh. I still remember the thrill of sighting a tiger sitting on the back of the elephant. The 'king of Indian jungles' was relaxing in a nullah (small creek) in the afternoon, beating the summer heat and I'll surely fall short of words to describe the scene. I can just say that it was an out-of-the-world feeling, one which never escapes from the back of your mind.

        At the time when night safari's were still allowed (or could be done through some setting with the ranger, we(5 families) were frequent visitors to nearby jungles. Our favorite being pench in madhya pradesh. We stayed at 'bison huts' resort, the awesomest jungle hangout. Those who have visited the place will agree that It's till their favorite wildlife lodge till date. It's beauty was its closeness to the nature, the living huts being just 15 feet away from the wildness which is encompassed by pench and where it was occasional to spot a family of bisons(Indian Gaur) grazing while you were having dinner out in the courtyard. It was simply awesome!!
        We all liked to hear bedtime stories from our elders when we were kids. Girls like the fairytale types and boys loved the superhero ones, but I always loved jungle tales. It had become a habit or you may say an obsession for that matter to listen to jungle stories from the elders in the family. Many a times, I used to plead my cousin sisters to tell me their tiger stories which were very stupid ones. The ones in which a tiger arrives from nowhere!! I still believe them. Nights went sleepless for me when I didn't hear at least one such story.

        One of the most memorable tiger sightings happened in the year 2005 when I visited Nagzira Wildlife Sanctury, Bhandara, just under 150 Kms from Nagpur. For those who have never ever visited Nagzira, it is one of my favorite forest reserve owing to the fact that it is less popular among the tourists, less commercialized and has variety of flora and fauna. The major attraction at Nazira is the old rest house, in the heart of the jungle(which has no supply of electricity) and the lake surrounding it. Returning to my story, we were seven people including my mom-dad, sister, cousin, and my dad's friend. It was a very eventful safari. We started early in the morning from Nagpur and as expected, our's was the only vehicle which entered the jungle. An early morning drizzle had made the weather just about perfect for a safari, the only con being the slippery forest path.

        The sightings started from the beautiful Spotted deer and the Sambar deer which are found plenty in the jungles of central India. Birds were frequent and their calls were music to the ear. All this mixed with the sweet smell of flowers and the wet mud due to the recent rains. As we were proceeding towards the forest rest house, we spotted a huge male Bison who darted and crossed the road abruptly. My uncle, who was on the wheels was transfixed at the action and lost control of the car. All this action came to a standstill only after the car had crashed the roadside safety railing, thereby, considerably damaging the car, which now refused to move from its place.
       The poor safari guide was the biggest victim of the accident who, now had just gone blank! We all got down from the vehicle and took note of the damage. It was the car's front bumper(made out of solid steel) which was totally bent down and was touching the front tyre. Moving the vehicle was dangerous as it could have easily resulted in a burst tyre, the thought of which itself was fearing enough that we didn't dare to try it. So now we were inside the jungle with a possibility that a tiger could be lurking around and no one there to help. At last, it was decided that my dad and the guide would walk through the jungle to reach the forest rest house(later we measured the distance to be approximately around 3.5Kms) with only a pen-knife with them to get some help.

       The wait was long and unnerving. The rescue party came only after an hour or so with the required tools for fixing the car's issues. It was now need-of-the-hour to reach the forest rest house so that everybody could freshen-up a bit, little did we know that the accident was just gods way to fix our meeting with the king! We started back to leave the jungle. As we reached the spot where the accident took place, we stopped and analized again, what had went wrong. That was the moment when the guide, with excitement in his voice screamed- Sahab, Sher  (Sir, Tiger), pointing in the direction where he had sighted the beast. We all saw him, undisputedly, the most beautiful creation of mother nature, the Royal Bengal Tiger. He came near our car and gave out a half-hearted low growl, and all the open windows were hurriedly closed, funniest moment of all.
       After giving our eyes the feast for the day for about 5 minutes, the tiger, who was a full grown male, went inside the dense bamboo woods and instantly camouflaged in the jungle. Happy smiles were exchanged inside the car and debate over who saw it first started instantly. It was great feeling. The only thing which we were perplexed with was that how could this be just a coincidence that our car met with an accident, by virtue of which we lost around an hour and a half of safari and furthermore, sighting a tiger on the same spot where we had met with the accident. It stil remains a mystery for me. HAIL MOTHER NATURE.

      This event at Nagzira is all over my mind and I still find answers to it. My respect for the nature has increased infinitely after this incident. It is the sole reason why I felt to share with you. Anyone who has been in similar situations may please leave a comment below or just mail me at nachiket_moharir2000@yahoo.com or n.nachiketblue@gmail.com. Thanks for reading and hope you liked it. I will be back again to tell you another of my stories. Goodbye!     

Photo Credit: "Sambar Fawn", Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, Chandrapur Maharashtra, 
                      March 2009. Clicked by me.

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