“Go away ! I don’t want to wake up ! Oh let me sleep a while longer” I mumble, as they come knocking at the door — a wakeup call for the morning Safari at Kaziranga. Damn ! I cannot miss this for anything in the world and I finally made it here. What all can be achieved for the love of wildlife — I am a person who will usually wake up past 10 AM.
I am now in the jeep in the forest. The memory between my waking and reaching here has been a blur, but so is my vision. I am quite mistaken; That’s the thick mist and the sun has not risen yet. I cannot see beyond our jeep. Slowly the sky turns orange from blue and I can see a lot of elephants. But they are not wild. The tourists are enjoying the elephant safaris.
I am fully awake and yet I feel like I am in a dream state. The mist reflecting the orange hues of the sky, the elephants with the tourists on their backs against the backdrop of the hint of the rising sun from behind the deep, deep forest. Mind you, I can only see above the belly of the tall gentle beasts. I want to capture this sight but for now I will have to be satisfied with doing it in my mind as the forgetful me has forgotten my camera and my phone ! What a miss!
The day gets brighter and I find myself at the bank of one of the swamp pools created by the floods. I am immediately disappointed to see that the pool is surrounded by tall elephant grass, almost double my height (5ft, I am tiny that way). I ask the guide — “Dada, Isme kaise kuch dikhega? (How will I see anything in this thicket?). With a very heavy Assamese accent he says, “Idhar aisa hi hai (This is how the forst is)”.
While he explained the terrain to me, I felt the jungle go still. Something was happening… And then I spotted it. A fully grown male tiger, walked out of the tall grass to the pool for a drink of water ! My guide now looks at me and says, “Aise dikhega, aap bahut lucky ho, Madam. Yahan Tiger sighting rare hai ghaans hi wajah se. Bas aapke bolne ki beri thi ! (And this is how the sighting happens, you are very lucky, Madam. Tiger sighting here is rare because of the tall grass. And you only had to ask !)”.