Friday, July 23, 2010

And I missed it

Sunderbans-serenity defined
Around May this year, ‘we’ (parents, sister and me) experienced the serenity of a place called Sunderbans. It’s a Delta on River Ganga and is shared by West Bengal and Bangladesh. A combination of water and mangroves: nature at one of its bests. A trip I thoroughly enjoyed for two reasons- the green-blue water and trees and the one memory which was formed.

The chief attraction of the trip was “spotting the Tiger” It became a kind of a game. Since all travelling was done on the launch we came on and the hours spent on the oversized boat were many; most of that time was spent in craning our necks in trying to get glimpses of tigers roaming around in the jungle surrounding us. We also sang Hindi movie songs which we felt appropriate to lure the tigers. Songs like “Jhalak dikhlaja...ek bar aaja aaja….” And “aaja aaja, mein hoon pyar tera…”
 Our constant companion in all the travelling we did

The time we spent off the launch, on the tiger reserves were spent similarly; albeit less noisily. The rest of the time was spent in the guest house, discussing the reserves where we were most likely to come face to face with the favourite feline of the moment.

On the third and last day of the trip, everyone got up early in the morning with new hopes. We all went to a reserve, the name of which I typically didn’t notice. The oh-so- enthusiastic aunties of the group lead the uncles and me to the watch tower. And before anyone could attempt to climb up the stairs, it happened. That, was the moment of triumph. Everyone saw it. It was majestic for sure. I cannot describe its beauty because I missed it. By the time I reached the spot; trailing behind lazily; the tiger was gone. A chance to view on of the 1411 tigers left in India. And I missed it.

The sky on our way back
The whole disappointment of missing the tiger lasted for about 10 minutes. But the unintentional “sprinkling of salt on my wound” done by the ladies of the group lasted for the rest of the trip. This made me wonder. Was seeing a tiger that great a deal? Would it enhance my experience of life? Yes, it would have made a great travel story and a great memory. But missing the whole event has also made a great travel story and a great memory. I will certainly not forget not seeing a tiger on my first trip to Sunderbans.

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