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Wednesday, 27 June 2007

TEENS COLUMN - A Corbettian Encounter

By Eesha Kunduri

It was around seven on a pleasant Sunday morning, the sky was bright and clear, and the sun sparkled through the woods of the Jim Corbett National Park, an ideal setting for a jeep safari through the wild.

As we got into the jeep, everyone said this was going to be an exciting experience, more so if we happen to sight a tiger.

Someone said, “Tiger? Forget it. We stand absolutely no chance.” “Maybe the person is right”, I told myself for tiger sightings had certainly become rare these days.

We drove through the woodlands, spotting a herd of deer’s graze close by, and a beautiful partridge flap its wings and take to the air. Everything seemed just so admirable and mesmerizing.

The multifarious trees, with their vibrant shades of green and brown completely enchanted me. I suddenly felt so close to nature.

We stopped near a place from where our tour guide felt we could possibly sight the unsightable - the tiger.

We waited for nearly half an hour or so, reminding ourselves time and again that patience is a virtue which has its own reward.

And indeed, sweet were the fruits of patience, for there it was in front of our eyes- reddish brown and ochre, with striations of black - the hitherto invisible, the Panthera tigris.

As I adjusted the lens and position of my camera, the charismatic tiger seemed to tell me, “Look, even your camera cannot do it. Catch me if you can.” I shot the tiger with my hands trembling out of awe and excitement. I then realized what a challenging job wildlife photography is.

We all stood in silence, beholding the unmistakable beauty, grace and majesty of the tiger, in its territory, its own natural habitat. Simply an out of the world experience - mere words can’t describe it!

We were lucky to have sighted one of the most evocative species on earth, in the wild. And this surely added that extra something to a trip. To feel closer to the bounty of nature surrounding us, we went for a walk along the Kosi river, which was a little away from our resort.

As the warm sunshine gilded the watercourse, the latter seemed to “make the netted sunbeam dance, against its sandy shallows” (excerpt from “the Brook” by Alfred Lord Tennyson).

The flowing river seemed to recite aloud,

“I chatter over stony ways,

In little sharps and trebles,

I bubble into eddying bays,

I babble on the pebbles.”

After our brief tryst with the Kosi, we were back again to our resort, the sublime ambiance of which completely enamored our senses.

Located in the Kumeria Reserve Forest, the Corbett Quality Inn Resort had cottages made of wood panel and stones, nestled in a mango orchard. The cottages looked out to a picturesque view of the Kosi River, the orchards and the lush green grass.

The interiors were splendid with fireplaces, wooden ceilings, stone facade, and lightwood furniture. Everything was just so befitting into this ‘conservationists’ heritage’, and ‘bird watchers’ paradise’.

(The writer is a class XII student of Ryan International School, Trans Yamuna)

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