Meeting Tiger in the Wild

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat.
What dread hand? & what dread feet? (From Tiger by Willian Blake)

January 1, 2016: Tiger is an animal that co-holds the titles of both – the beauty and the beast. Meeting a tiger in its wilderness is a treat – not only for the eyes but for your heart too as someone termed the experience as equivalent ‘achieving orgasm during first sex by a lady’ – a possibility but a rarity.

We were 13 on the jeep, including its driver, a guide and a minor, and there was another jeep with 12 people in the wilderness of the forest of the Chitwan National Park in Nepal when we experienced the rare opportunity. After almost four hours of ‘dry driving’ when we saw nothing except a few spotted deers and monkeys, the drivers were brave enough to take us to the path that difficult to drive thus rarely used by jeep safaris.

And, there we saw a tiger cross the path in a distance. As the tiger had crossed the path, the driver took us nearer the place and when it raised it beautiful head out of a small bush, we were very close – around 15 feet.

It continued staring at us for almost 5 minutes, with its head visible, and making small hiss sounds when it showed us its anger.

I took a few pictures and had my camera fixed at it hoping that when it would move, I would see be able to grab a shot with more than its head. It looked towards inner forest a couple of times and I felt like it’s moving it. But it didn’t move.

Then all of the sudden, it walked out of the bush a few steps – three to four steps towards us before entering the inner forest. I clicked a few shots (blaming myself for not putting camera on continuous shot mode) and watching its graceful walk from zoomed lens.

When it walked, it created a terror within the people of the jeep. Someone in our jeep docked down, and on other jeep two long lathis came up.

Thinking the tiger gone, the jeep moved forward and stopped as we started talking about it. The tiger was still staring at us from within the thick bush when we moved away. It was a splendid feeling and experience.

I could just say: Wow!

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