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Friday, December 26, 2014

The Sambar is calling!

As a family, we have had a jinx which was turning out to be a hard one to break – the jinx of no holidays. In the last 1.5 years, we planned, paid and cancelled five holidays. Five! It was getting to us, to the extent that we wanted to go on a holiday just to get it over with. 

After a lot of planning and replanning, the Tadoba safari finally happened. It was a gamble to go at this time, but happy that it paid off. 

Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve is one of the oldest tiger reserves in Maharashtra, and it is to the State Government’s credit that they have stood by their animals. There are no stalls, and no noises within the reserve, except for the ones made by the inhabitants. Though the spotting of a tiger ensures that about 50 odd cameras start clicking simultaneously, trapping every moment, it is all done in a silence so complete, it feel therapeutic. 

So, to add on to the latest of fads of e-lists, here are top 5 reasons why one should go to a tiger-reserve:

  1. Get electronics-detox: I left the mobile at home, and surprisingly, didn’t miss it for 36 hours. Of course, there was anyway no signal for a phone call, leave alone a 3G.
  2. Re-introduce yourselves to silence: I don’t know when we last encountered silence, and were at peace with it. There is so much to hear in silence – one’s thoughts for starters. My son, who would be hard-pressed to be calm at any given point of time, just sat down next to the lake and stayed still. 
  3.  Be the visitors, for a change: Animals have the right of the way in a jungle. We wouldn’t know that in a zoo, or in a national park. In a safari, however, there is no human to nudge the animals towards the viewers. We have to be lucky, not entitled to view them. Once, a set of 4 wild dogs sat down in the middle of the road, and all the jeeps stopped. They waited patiently for the dogs to get up and go back into the wilderness. There was no honking, no talking and certainly no stone throwing – just a patient waiting. 
  4.  Understand how fascinating a jungle truly is: Since there is no human forcing the animals on to the road, it’s up to the guide to track the animals – and they track it in the most interesting way possible – through the Sambar calls. Sambars are supposed to be dead accurate in pointing out where the tiger is. Her single sweet call resonates through the jungle, warning everyone (even the monkeys climbed up on trees when they hear it). Our guide stood on the jeep, head cocked, tracing the Sambar call, and giving us an update on how she is moving. We thought he is joking, when he pointed a finger at where she might come, and there she was. 
  5. Acclimatize yourselves to the real king/queens of the jungle: A 200 kg tiger is an awesome sight. I don’t think anyone who has seen her/him can ever get used to the sheer size and power of the beautiful beast. Sinewy limbs and curves define her, and you‘ve got to admire the beauty that is capable of killing you, should the opportunity ever arise. She knows that, and the power of that knowledge sets her free in the reserve. It’s a different ball park in a zoo of course.
Waiting for our next safari already!!

PS: The photos are sourced from Google Image search and are not taken by me. :)


antbrain said...

Amen! All elements around the tiger conspire together, give signals and warn each other in bold capitals. And yet, the tiger finds and hunts down its prey! Just that thought of having such an instinct for survival was the biggest take away for me.

Kunal Chandra said...

What a way to end the year! Fantastic. Yes you make me long for such a trip myself. Mobile detox will be very welcome.