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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Oh! When I Saw Her..!

Visit to Pench Forest - Part 3

A very simple question but give an honest answer – close your eyes, think and tell me, when was the last time you looked at moon?

Sounds silly? Well, this was the question one of my friends asked me when I went to USA in 2008. I was zapped. I thought for a while and I realized I didn’t even know when I looked at the moon last time! Damn! It’s right above my head, every single night shining in fully glory and I just fail to notice! This is again exactly the same thought I had when during night safari, our jeep stopped on a narrow road at midnight right under the dark sky.

Night safari started almost at midnight (shut up...isn’t that the reason why it’s called a night safari!) and we had only half of our gang loaded in two jeeps along with Dr. Ghosh and his gang. Rest of our gang was already flirting with fairies in their dreams :-) Though I am not sure if fairies were enjoying it :D... Alright! From ferries in dreams, lets come back to walking beasts! Night safari cannot happen in core forest area for very obvious reasons (use your brain and still if you can’t make out, ask me these obvious reasons. After such a statement, I am sure nobody is going to ask me.. LOL). During night safari, jeep moves slowly on narrow roads in reserve forest leading to highway. There is ABSOLUTE DARKNESS all around you except torchlight in Dr. Ghosh’s experience hands. This excited bunch of newbies were curious to spot animals at night and Dr. Ghosh was helping us with all his knowledge. Aha! A fox! Where where where? Phew… By the time you turn your head and spot a fox in torchlight, there are all chances that Mr. Skylark fox would have vanished in the dark! It was a pure game of hide and seek! LOL… while we were enjoying this game, all sudden jeeps stopped. Not sure if it was preplanned but the moment jeep stopped, even headlights and torchlights were switched off. While we were wondering what’s happening, all sudden someone from Dr. Ghosh’s team asked us to look up... we just followed the instruction and looked up…


I just do not have words to describe what I saw and felt when I looked up!!! Imagine this – an absolutely dark night, a narrow road surrounded by trees on either sides, pin drop silence, you look up into the sky and you witness an unbelievable view of thousands of stars sparking like diamonds! Oh My! In fact it was looking like a beautiful diamond studded sari drapped in the most glorious way! As if god is at his creative best! As if he wants you to realize how much he has given to us which we fail to notice every single day! It was just IMPOSSIBLE to take our eyes off or stop looking at the sky! We just don’t know how much time we spent just like that, silent and speechless! And before we moved, I took a promise from Dr. Ghosh that on the way back to resort, we will stop once again to witness this marvel :-)

There are moments which are impossible to capture through words. Either you need to be present at that moment or you need to be Shakespeare to describe it in words! Though I am not Shakespeare (and even my name says so – after all, there is a lot in a name!), I was fortunate to be present at that particular moment, to witness a marvel which I will cherish and treasure for the rest of my life!

Jungle safari ended after three hours which included driving on narrow roads, spotting sporadic wildlife, having tea and lemon juice at a roadside hotel on a highway and taking some creative photos using slow shutter speed. Wonder how creativity starts flowing at 2am! :-)


Now either you want to scream or even better, you don’t even want to respond to someone when he is trying to wake you up at 4.30am! What makes it even worse? You just slept at 3am! But not today :-) I took few moments to gather my senses (what else do you expect after a hectic day and one and half hours of sleep?), looked around and jumped out of my bed to get ready. After all, we were going for early morning safari, which was the best chance to spot the king of the jungle! BANG BANG! Who wants to miss that!

By 6am, we were outside the main gate of the core jungle waiting for our turn to enter inside. By 6.15am, we were inside the jungle. We drove a bit further and found bunch of jeeps were stopped on the road and folks inside these jeeps were standing and looking at somewhere far in the jungle. WOOOO HOOO!! Adrenalin started pumping because someone from the other jeep whispered – “TIGER”! Oh My My!! Hey Mr. driver, take our jeeps little backward to avoid those trees, let us pull out our camera, wide open our eyes and.. ah..we couldn’t spot the tiger :-( LOL.. Never mind.. It’s just that our eyes are not so used to spotting wildlife.. It took few more seconds and then… and then… and then… OH YEAH BABY! We spotted THE KING!! Oh wait, not a king but a QUEEN with two little prince / princess :-)!! Oh! I saw her! The famous Tigress of Pench along with her two cubs!!

You need not visit Buckingham palace or go to Mysore palace to feel what is royalty. All you need to do is just spot a tiger in full glory in wilds! Nothing defines royalty, pride and confidence better than a ROYAL TIGER! What a royal walk! She moved with such elegance and pride with who-cares-for-your-presense attitude written all over her! She started walking in the wild from the right hand side of our jeep, crossed the road right in front of us and slowly vanished in the wild on left hand side of our jeep. We traced her with our eyes till the farthest possible distance and then just couldn’t control our joy! BINGO! Our trip was OVER! After all, that’s all we wanted to see! WOO HOO!

It took some time to sink in this wonderful sight as there was pin drop silence inside the jeep for quite a while :-). However, the god of the jungle (and I don’t know who he is) was very happy and kind on that day as he gave us chance to see some amazing sights like – an eagle sitting on a branch holding his prize possession of a snake that he had just killed! Followed by a very rare sight of a peck of wild dogs! Oh I didn’t even bother counting umpteen deer, monkeys, colorful birds, insects, rabbits and god knows what else! But I must remember this dancing peacock :-) Though not sure if he was successful in attracting a female (oh please let me know Mr. peacock.. I need some lessons from you if you had succeeded.. or else, we are in the same boat!), I am sure he provided an amazing view which we clicked in our camera and captured in our mind though human viewfinder.

Some of my friends in other jeep were even luckier as they got a chance to witness a tiger couple playing watersports in a pond! Though they had to sit in scorching heat for an hour waiting for his royal highness and her queen to arrive, it was worth every single moment of wait.

Evening safari was another attempt at spotting a tiger but I guess we all were content by that time. Nah, we didn’t have enough of the jungle – it’s just that we had satisfied our biggest wish of spotting the BIG CAT!

It was 6pm and time for us to leave Pench to get back to Nagpur to board a bus to Hyderabad. Though the Volvo bus had a speaker right about my seat with loudest possible volume, I was dead tired to even bother about it. I rested in peace till someone woke me up at the border of Hyderabad.

That ended a wonderful, memorable trip to relatively unknown area of “Incredible !ndia”. We are bestowed with such beautiful landscapes and god’s wonders that even a lifetime won’t be enough to cover it. However, I will – as much as I can!

Wanna join :-)?

Disclaimer : The subject line of this post has no relation with any human walking on this earth. I am pretty sure you must have realized that by now :). Also you must have realized why I asked Mr. Dancing Peacock for his help :-)

Note : I visited Pench along with 20 other fellows through a trip organized by Great Hyderabad Adventure Club. If you are interested in such trips, you can join @ http://meetup.ghac.in/

©All rights reserved with Mihir Rawal. To re-print or re-use, prior permission is required from the author.


Anonymous said...

Lolz..what a title..for a few seconds I was glad that u finally found someone :-) anyways good posting...3-4 days back i was thinking that u have stopped writing blogs...but u r back with 3 postings in a row :-) thanks for such a wonderful description...loved each bit of ur writing and m all inspired for a jungle trip to see HER now :-)

Mihir said...

Thanks! Glad that you missed my post and now liked this one :-) Your name will surely help unless you are Osama Bin Laden :D

Anonymous said...

OMG u got it :-) i m Osama Bin Laden....see even i read ur blog :)

Mihir said...

LOL... even Bin Laden started hiding identity under a burqa!

Anonymous said...

karna padta hai dost is zalim dunia se bachane ke liye sab karna padta hai :-)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Biraj said...

This post is the most descriptive among the 3 ..
...talk abt gradual progression! :D

U were lucky to experience the Night Safari. I was so looking fwd to it... It is now closed down as some ediots got a Tiger killed in a vehicle accident! :(

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