It was pitch dark outside. I fumbled for my phone to switch off the alarm. My heart was heady with excitement at the day that lay ahead of me.
I was at Ranthambore National Park, and had an early morning game drive to catch in an hour. Shucks. There went my heart, dancing all over the place again.
Seeing wildlife is a hit-and-miss affair, I rationalised to my heart. There were no guarantees. I should know, having spent a large chunk of my life in Botswana and South Africa where visits to game parks were a quintessential part of one’s existence. But not in India. I had made a long drive from Jhalawar last night, just for this.
Whenever I enter game parks, it always strikes me that these lands are both, ruled and belong, to the animal kingdom. We, humans, are the outsiders here. It is their laws that govern its inhabitants. It is another world and we have no place in it.
I felt exactly the same way as we crossed the gates of Zone 2 into a world of dense forests and hiding eyes. There was silence everywhere except for the occasional shriek of a chital or monkey. A warning that the Kings of this Kingdom, the Royal Bengal Tigers, were out in search of prey.
Deep in the Park’s depths an hour later, we were straining for a sound, any sound, that would give a hint on the exact whereabouts of its grandest residents. Scouring the earth for some lead. Waiting patiently, with bated breath, our eyes darting in all directions. Continue reading