From the time I was about seven, I wanted a mystery to solve every vacation. It was not fair that only Enid Blyton people (for me, they were people, not characters) got to solve such convenient mysteries, with the additional advantage of barely getting older each time around.
When our guide Vishwas started telling us how much goes into being a guide, I wondered whether he had similar unfulfilled childhood wishes.
Every time we sighted any animal, the pride in his voice was heart-warming. He pointed out to us that a single alarm call (that we, the tourists, had ignored) had led us to our wonderful tiger-sighting.
He commented with pride on the fact that all the jeeps ahead of us had ignored the sound, but his constant attention had given us a beautiful sighting of the changeable hawk eagle that had just made its kill.
He exulted in the fact that his forethought in having led us through the Tadoba gate first gave us the best sight of the sloth bear.
As we peered into the forest for signs of pangolins and tigers, he said, ominously, “Suspicion hangs everywhere!”
And finally, when we had had more sightings than our hearts dreamed of, he said, with joy that I can still feel and hear, “Being a guide requires as much talent as people need in all that CID and all. No?”
With all our hearts, we agreed. We even told him that being a guide requires more talent than CID, but I think he thought we were just flattering him.