Our guide at Tadoba said, “All these people who come from big cities – Pune, Mumbai and all – they take photos of anything!”
He laughed incredulously at me when I was awestruck by a hare bounding into the jungle, chased by a wild dog. “Khargosh?” he laughed. “Hehe…” But truly, for this urban creature, it was fabulous to watch that hare leap away!
Our guide saw chital (spotted deer) so often that he counted how many in a herd while we lost our hearts to those eyes.
Our guide told us, “People come from all these cities – Pune, Mumbai and all – and all they want to see is tiger, tiger, tiger. I tell them to go to the zoo.”
Yet, the tiger was breathtaking. People who take photos of tigers have to be accustomed to seeing tigers. Otherwise, it’s impossible to remember that such a thing as a camera exists when the tiger is looking at you. I thought I was very smart and set my video camera to record even before the tiger appeared. When the royal beast made its appearance, I was so mesmerized that I forgot the camera was in my hand. My video is of leaves and sky, and looks as if I was on a pogo-stick.
We saw wild boar scuttling away like cartoon characters.
We saw crocodiles mating – even our experienced guide was fascinated by that one. This was only the second time in fifteen years as guide that he’s watched that.
Even if we had seen no animals, the experience would have been outstanding. Silvery cobwebs gleamed in the sunlight. All our eyes rose to a leaf, suspended in mid-air, caught by an invisible thread. Red dust covered leaves everywhere. Gnarled trees stood like guardians beside yellow meadows. Trees wound themselves around each other in impossible ways.
City-people that we are, we were stunned by everything, rendered speechless by every bit of wild beauty.