Ranthambore National Park.
Visiting a wild sanctuary, reporting time 7 am, is not my style. I’m happy with my regular bar, 7 pm, happy hours, wild animals you find there too. But I had bought myself a new camera and I owed a service to my friends on social sites.
We stood there quietly as instructed by the local guide. I was a bit irked with a mild hangover and the “No Smoking in the Park” sign but I was amazed at a rare sight of over a hundred people in solemn silence. We looked good.
Just then our guide whispered “Tiger Tiger”
“WHERE…WHERE” our bewildered eyes, scanning the park from right to left and back.
“WHERE WHERE” We bellowed in unison again.
“Shhhhhhhhhhh” He yelled “THERE”
We turned to our angry guide. His eyes wide. brows raised, his one hand stiffly pointing in a direction. We nodded just like in kindergarten class and traced the invisible line of his pointing finger.
There, We noticed black stripes advancing from behind the deep bushes. My camera ready for action, my hung-over head froze in splits on a dull summer morning.
Guide rectified “That’s a tigress”
Thank you. Who really had the balls to find that out?
She kept coming closer, walking towards us but not once she cared to look, acknowledge presence of over a hundred people gaping at her.
My one eye pressed shut and the other one glued to the viewfinder, my camera on sports mode, I could hear a million clicks triggered in random. So was I.
She stopped. I guess we were in middle of her way.
“Get going” She snapped at my camera, looking away
“Get going you miserable fool” she twitched
“I’m your fan, Ms.Jolie. I came all the way here to admire your magnanimity. Take pictures of my up close and personal encounter with you”
She snorted as she changed her path but I was determined to convince her of my sincerity.
“I am poet, a photographer, aspiring artist”
She looked away “Everyday a bunch of jerks like you land up here, from far and beyond. Go on, take pictures, transfer them to your laptops and upload. That’s all you guys are here for.”
She was gone, out of our sight and ones with camera got busy checking on playback. You never know. Life is a bitch.
I got home to my laptop, viewed her on screen, just like you right now. Earlier through my viewfinder, then on playback but not with my naked eyes.