Eight safaris with the same guide ensured that we became friends of sorts, and once he realised that three people out of five in the jeep understood Marathi, he opened up fifteen long years of experience to us. One fascinating safari was devoted to attacks by different animals, and how to save yourself.
“If a tiger is nearby,” Vishwas told us, “just be calm. If he doesn’t feel threatened, he won’t attack you.”
For me, this translates as, “If a tiger decides to attack you, you have no hope. Your best bet is that it won’t attack.”
“If a bear attacks you,” Vishwas said, “climb the bamboo. Bears are great climbers, so climbing any ordinary tree won’t help; you must climb bamboo. They can’t follow you.”
For most city-people, this translates as, “If a bear decides to attack you, you have no hope. There’s no way you can climb a bamboo, even if you are adept enough to climb a tree.”
“If a wild boar attacks, what should you do?” Vishwas asked, teasing us.
Pray that Asterix or Obelix is around?
Maybe not. It would not work too well, perhaps.
Vishwas chuckled at our ignorance. “If a wild boar is charging at you, step aside.”
Vishwas nodded appreciatively. “A wild boar can’t change direction halfway through. If you step aside, it just runs straight on, past you!”
That sounds like something out of a cartoon, but I learned something. The next time I’m in the jungle, choosing which animal I’d like to attack me, I’ll choose the wild boar. At least I’d have some hope.