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A dawn in Kanha


Nature Safari India

No matter how dark the night, somehow the sun rises once again, and shadows are chased away.


Today was an unusual morning. It was 1st January 2010. I entered the Mukki gate. Few moments inside the park, and my mind had a bizarre reflection. We celebrate New Year, make new resolutions to improve ourselves, I wondered, don't these inhabitants of the forest do the same, that too, daily?


Every sunup in Kanha, a deer awakens knowing it has to outrun the fastest predator, or be hunted to death. Also, at every crack of dawn in Kanha, when the sun rises, a predator awakens knowing it has to outrun the slowest prey, or be starved to death. Daily goals, daily performance, leading to perfection. Aren't these 4 legged souls more disciplined and superior than Humans? Isn't every morning a New Year morning for these denizens (as I dislike to dub them as animals) of the jungle. This contemplation made me believe more in my work of being a wonderer in these forests.


Few dozen tourists had entered the park, some enduring the chilly weather, some thinking if they were possibly better in their beds, some craving for a hot cuppa, but none of them devoid of enthusiasm to a degree that almost 80% of them hoped to be the first tourist to see the Tiger in first 100 metres of the drive, and another 10% in 200metres. I guess only 10% would have the patience and enthusiasm to last the whole safari, and only 5% perhaps who would come out of the park not being disappointed if they did not sight one.


Some 4 kms of a lovely wooded drive, we arrived at a Suar-kachhar lake, a herd of hard ground Barasinghas were on breakfast. We stopped; I let the whole lot of Jeeps pass. Some asked if we were seeing the Tiger, on hearing a denial, they just could not fathom that we can halt for anything else as well. I wondered when we will embark on discovering splendor in every speck and atom in nature, which is scattered all around us.


My mind, my lens, my attention, turned back to the grazing Barasinghas. I knew that the show was about to begin any moment. And, then commenced, what I had come today in the park for, a mesmerizing sun rise. The thrill of being in the Jungle at sunrise cannot be expressed in words. The tall grass (sacrum spontaneum, also known as wild sugarcane), was rising from the earth, as if to offer the few dew drops, atop it, to the Sun. And then the color of the dew drops changed to light orange, and it seemed they were also smiling and welcoming the Sun.


I dropped my camera in the Jeep, and wanted to capture the whole frame for eternity in my mind. After all, few things cannot be captured by a camera. The camera has only one sense of sight, while we have 5 to experience. A beautiful sequence followed, two male stags of Bara singhas locked horns to appease a female. The lesser one had to go, and then the dominating male, walked towards the female, and both of them went into the sunrise, as if two lovers walking arm in arm, they disappeared in the tall grass.


Sharad Vats



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