24
Jul
16

Living with the Tiger

When I am dead, my dearest,

Sing no sad songs for me;

Plant thou no roses at my head,

Nor shady cypress tree:

Be the green grass above me

With showers and dewdrops wet;

And if thou wilt, remember,

And if thou wilt, forget.

I shall not see the shadows,

I shall not feel the rain;

I shall not hear the nightingale

Sing on, as if in pain:

And dreaming through the twilight

That doth not rise nor set,

Haply I may remember,

And haply may forget.

– Christina Rossetti

Sixteen years ago, deep within the forests of Binsar, on a bitterly cold night, I had finally finished making notes in my diary and was ready to call it a day.

Slide1

The other members of the team were already asleep. I got-up and quietly went around the old dak bungalow checking doors and windows.

Slide2

Came back and stoked the fire. Seeking warmth from the crackling fireplace and snuggled inside the sleeping bag, a face with large eyes peeped out at me.

Continue reading ‘Living with the Tiger’

19
Jun
16

Those were the days! 2

1

Continue reading ‘Those were the days! 2’

15
May
16

Those were the days! 1

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”– John Muir

Once asked, as to when I embarked on my ‘wildlife journey’ – I was unable to answer because as-far-as I can remember, my earliest memories are predominantly about forests, travelling with my father and/or uncle (my mother’s elder brother), reading or just sitting – looking at nothing and everything and at the same time not missing anything.

My entire demeanour goes through a change from inside and being in a forest makes me cry – absolute and sheer joy – with tears that only I can see and feel. Something happens!

Most people (at least in India), when asked about their interest in wildlife, talk about being influenced by the writings of Jim Corbett. It cannot be denied that I too have thoroughly enjoyed reading Corbett and others but I grew up reading books written by my maternal grandfather.

Slide1

Continue reading ‘Those were the days! 1’

18
Apr
16

एक हक़ीकत यह भी!

“मैं हँसी के जाम में, ज़िंदगी का ज़हर पीता हूँ,
फेंक कर पतवार को हाथों से नाव खेता हूँ.”
“मैं क्या हूँ? कहाँ का हूँ? कैसे बताऊँ?
मैं – एक वह हूँ, जो मैं समझता हूँ मैं हूँ
एक वह हूँ, जो दूसरे समझते हैं मैं हूँ
असली मैं, इन दोनो बीच कुछ हूँ.”
– कुछ पंक्तियाँ कविता संग्रह ‘क्षण घूँघरू’ से (लेखक: स्वर्गिय प्रोफेसर रमेश कुमार शर्मा)

जिंदगी की ‘जेब में
इक छेद क्या हुआ,
सिक्कों से ज़्यादा
रिश्ते सरक गये.’

Continue reading ‘एक हक़ीकत यह भी!’

26
Mar
16

What am I?

“There is a face behind this mask, but it isn’t me. I’m no more that face than I am the muscles beneath it, or the bones beneath that.” – Steve Moore, V for Vendetta

It has been an odd mixture of experiences these past few months….but then, what is new about it?

Something was whispered, nay pointed out. An epiphany!

And, I have no idea what I am writing?

*

I was asked as to how many ‘hits/views’ I get on my posts. My answer was, “Fifteenish.”

“Every day?” came the query.

“No,” said I, “Per week and all could be flukes.”

“Dude!” (I loathe this term), sniggered the individual, “You are not a blogger!”

True.

So, what am I?

*

Continue reading ‘What am I?’

27
Feb
16

Tendua, Baghera, Guldār aur Dipdo!

‘…the real facts are that the leopard is a very important unit in the general scheme of animal life in India…. May the day be far distant – as it undoubtedly will be – when the name of the leopard will have to be added to the long list of wild animals that have been exterminated by the hand of man.’– The Jungle in Sunlight and Shadow (1934) by F. W. Champion

Contrary to what people presuppose, I reflect about leopards, what with F. W. Champion’s words ringing true. In the vein of other wild species this creature too is now being hounded out of its haven.  I haven’t been fortunate enough to sight many. Tigers, yes…………a fair number – with my best being 5 within a span of four hours. A tigress with 3 grown cubs and later (different location within CTR), a solitary adult male.

Leopards? I have heard their rasping cough; noticed their pug-marks but seen only 2 in the wild. It is not that there aren’t any leopards in CTR and surrounding environs. I know reliable people, like my trackers, who have seen them on tree tops. I have heard them in the North Zone area of CTR and photographed their kills in Rathuadhab. Again evidence of their presence in Binsar – courtesy kills and warning coughs. I may even erroneously convince myself that I fleetingly saw one in Pithoragarh.

*

Continue reading ‘Tendua, Baghera, Guldār aur Dipdo!’

22
Jan
16

Quandary

“They say that there are moments that open up your life like a walnut cracked, that change your point of view so that you never look at things the same way again.” – Jodi Picoult

It has been a tough couple of months with alienated alliances manifesting and skeletons tumbling out of various proverbial cupboards! Or is it that I chose not to acknowledge these alliances and not open these cubbyholes?

“…..truth will out!” as Launcelot Gobbo said. But the truth was always known to me (was it?), so why the anguish? Is it because nobody else seems to be bothered about it?

There is a wonderful anonymous quote, “Sometimes it’s not the people who change; it’s the mask that falls off.” When this happens, does one look at the mask or the face that has been exposed? What do you do with the fallen mask? What do you do with the exposed face? Is it really an exposed face or simply another mask? Do you wait for the mask to be picked-up? Do you want the mask to be picked-up? By whom? Should the face be covered again? Whose?

Is it your mask and face? Or mine!

Continue reading ‘Quandary’




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