It was now time to go for a safari in the Dhikala zone. Our vehicle cruised slowly out of the campus and took a left turn between the tall grassland. The driver braked as we saw a few Chital (spotted deer) on the track in front of us. Oblivious to us standing few meters behind they continued walking slowly in front of us. At a close distance on one of the twigs, I saw a Long-Tailed Shrike gently surveying the area.
On another twig, close by was a Pied Bush Chat. All this at eye level. For a photographer, there is no better angle to get bokeh shots. It was a matter of minutes that I realized that my two rolls will be consumed in one safari itself. Therefore, I decided to be wise, click less and register more in my brain. Jim Corbett is indeed a photographer’s paradise.
After a brief while, the deer allowed us to go ahead, and a mesmerizing vista unfolded in front of my eyes. We were on a high bank. On my left was the Ramganga River flowing from east to the west. Few spotted deer were considering crossing the river but making sure that no predator awaited their arrival in the tall grass on the other side. With tail up, they were trying to get a whiff of the tiger in the air. Their ears seemed focussed towards the other side of the river in anticipation of any sound from the area or any unusual movement in the grass.
I asked the driver to switch off the engine, as I just wanted to absorb the serenity of the place. A lesser fishing eagle was calling nonstop for a mate. At a great distance, I could see some dust in the air. A herd of wild elephants was approaching the river. A gentle wind was caressing my face, and all city stress started to leave me. I felt light and refreshed. Suddenly one of the deer wanting to cross the river gave a warning call, and the entire herd flew in the opposite direction. They obviously had a signal of a predator in the grass, which seemed oblivious to us.
As Jim Corbett said, “curiosity is after all not a human monopoly, and many a life is cut short by indulging in it”. The deer slightly curious but did not want to push their luck against a supreme predator who is as destructive in water as on land. What would have transpired in the mind of the supposed predator in the grass is something we do not know. However, he is an apex predator, as he never gives up after the failed chances, for if he does, he will have to give up on his life.
It is here I realized the number of species existing in the forest. They are present in great numbers and are interrelated for survival in many ways. How impossible it is for each to survive without the other. We moved on without seeing the tiger but satisfied that most likely he had seen us.
Every track in Jim Corbett National Park is uniquely beautiful. To describe it in one article will be doing injustice to the place. The Kamarpatta road, Chuapani area, Ram Singh Road, Champion Road, Gadiyaro, Bridge to Paar, Thandi Sadak, Sambar Road, Paar, Kanda Road, Dhikala Chaur, Mota Saal, and likewise many other alluring hotspots of Corbett deserve hours of experience and pages of description.
The silence, serenity, solitude, and stillness of Corbett is distinctive, and it is appreciated by a similar soul, for Corbett is a soulful forest.
Born and brought up in New Delhi, it was Sharad’s childhood passion to play cricket for India. While on a holiday in 1990, he saw his first tiger. Little did he know that this one sighting would immerse him into a realm where forests and tigers were all that mattered.
Sharad’s experiences as a wildlife photographer have inspired him to observe the tiger’s behavior for over 30 years and motivated him on his own journey as an entrepreneur. He started Nature Safari India Pvt Ltd, with a focus on “Conservation through Tourism.” to align himself to the mission of saving the regal species and repopulating them in India’s forests. In 2006, he set up one of India’s premier jungle lodges in Kanha National Park.
Sharad believes that there are many lessons to be learned from a tiger that can be applied successfully to leadership—both in business and in life. Here’s a new book by Sharad Vats on management and leadership skills to learn from a Tiger.