Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Travel and Living-Chapter 1- Ranthambore

The very idea of visiting Ranthambore in 2009 made butterflies fly inside my stomach. The National Park stretches to a total area of 392 sq km and is home to a decent number of tigers, birds, crocodiles, samber deers, spotted deers, chitals, neel gais etc etc etc. Am sure one can find a whole list of them in google. But am not here to discuss what all animals are found in Ranthambore. As you see the topic of my article is up, close and dangerous. What can be more dangerous than a hungry tiger hunting for its prey and walking just 20 metres away from us!!
We were tired, exhausted, hungry and dissapointed since even though we had spent a good 7-8 hrs in the jungle we hadnt got a glimpse of the majestic animal as yet and to add to our woes the driver of our gypsy told us that it has been 2 weeks since the animal was last seen. We felt like throttling the homo sapien until he says 'I die'.
The cameras and handycams also called it quits after we loaded it with photos and videos of irrelevant stuffs like birds, crocs, sambers, langurs...With a heavy heart we also thought we should call the day and return to our hotel. Just then Sudeep, my hubby, said in a not so hushed up tone, "Bhai Bhai Tiger!!" With the magestic creature just 20 metres or less away from us got all nine of us, including the driver, get so excited that the mere distance hardly posed a hurdle in the admiration. It just took us a couple of minutes to realise that we were in a open gypsy with no protection, a hungry tiger in search for its prey, walking beside us. But before the realisation could turn into a panic, the tiger, unbothered by our presense started walking towards the flowing river. We could see the purpose for the unbotheration; across the river was a herd of deers grazing unaware of the tiger's movement towards them. The majestic animal walking in its majestic glory made us awestruck. We stopped talking to each other and just kept looking..looking and just looking....We were about to witness a tiger catch its prey for real!!!
The deers oblivious to the presense of the tiger blissfully grazed on the green shimmering grass. The tiger sat in the camouflage of the surrounding trees and plants waiting patiently for the right moment and we sat patiently for the catch to happen. It could take hours for the wait to actually turn into a catch. But like the deers we were oblivious to the time. We were just too excited to witness a historic moment in our lives.
As often heard from animal lovers, monkeys and deers make good partners. Both helping each other in order to make their stay in the forest safe. It was this monkey troop which saw the approaching tiger waiting patiently but wakeful and alert eyeing the deers. Within minutes we could see the deers running frantically towards the opposite direction in a desperate measure to save their lives. The tiger started running after them but alas it was too late and little could be done then. Not every wait results in a run and not every run results in a catch. Very true for both the tiger and us....