If someone needs an out of the world experience, Jim Corbett is the best place. It is so serene and the lush green view soothes the eyes and pacifies the heart. A person can forget all his worries. But why am I saying that ? I don’t know what a worry feels like. I have royal blood in my veins and being audacious is my treasure. But even with all this courage and will , I am never able to see the Jim Corbett roads. I am the only child of my parents and they pamper me so much. Like every parent these days , they are over protective about me. When I revolt , they say that the whole world wants to protect me. My homeland is created just for my protection. I cannot take their words till I see the world myself. Tomorrow is my birthday and I have decided that I will go out of the core jungle and finally have a look at my dream destination – the roads where big metallic vehicles swiftly move around. And best of all , they are stuffed with humans. From my childhood , I have heard stories of humans – good stories , bad stories, scary stories. The crux of all these stories is that I cannot understand what humans are and so once in a lifetime I want to meet them.
Today was the day I will never forget in my life. As planned, I left my cave early morning. Our community has prohibited every one of us to go out of a demarcated boundary because they fear humans. They say that national park is for our protection which was created by good humans but few bad humans misuse it and sell our bodies for pieces of paper. But I am a brave tiger and a tiger cannot succeed till he takes some risk. So after the midnight birthday celebration with a deer cake , I was expecting some more surprises for the day. But I gave that all up for my expedition and left a tidy note on the cave wall for my fellow tigers.
I started running and after a while, I reached the boundary – the line that will carve my destiny. I crossed the boundary with happiness as after that I had no fear of being spotted by other tigers who would drag me home and ruin my plan.
With a sigh of relief , I eased by pace and began exploring my surroundings. They were the same – the same kind of trees , grass , shrubs etc. I walked and walked but the same terrain was visible. It was midday and I was tired of walking. There was no sign of any human. I met a few other animals in the way but they were ignorant of the danger standing in front of them. Some stared me badly and some even gave me a surprised look. They had never seen a tiger because from many years our community had stopped going out of the boundary. And the boundary was really really far from where I stood. I wanted to eat a deer but that could slow down my ability to run. I had to take something light and the best option was white fluffy rabbits. After that short lunch, I continued walking but my efforts were meeting a dead end. There was no road to be seen and I started losing hope. I had given up my birthday celebrations for this adventure and it turned out to be a flop show. I tried hard to push all negative thoughts away , and with great enthusiasm, I continued my journey. I came to the edge of a cliff , beyond that the forest was less dense and seemed like a barren land. The green of the jungle turned a little yellow. The leaves had turned brown because of the scorching heat. I could spot a few water streams from that height but I was not sure whether there was any water in them. While cursing the view and the harsh terrain , my eyes suddenly met something green amidst the dust. This green square was moving on a dusty path. My heart began to race and I knew what it was. I had finally discovered the road and the metallic vehicle. My mind was resisting my next step forward, due to the harsh terrain and the dangers, but my heart knew the intensity of its thirst. The road was too far but I was sure of finding a way. I began running but after a while, the situation became tough. The trees were not having any shade and the sun rays penetrated my skin. I felt the scorching needles prickling my skin. I felt thirsty and tried searching for water. There were a few lanes with huge white rocks and white sand. Such lanes are created when the water dries up from a stream. The heat had sucked water from those streams and the idea of remaining thirsty had sucked hope from my heart. I could not turn back now, so I kept walking and walking. There were patches of green shrubs about 5 to 6 feet high and entering such patches was a relief from the yellow devil in the sky. In these green oasis , i met some animals – rabbits, deer, pigs , wild boars. I fed on a delicious deer and rested for a while. My legs had refused to move further and being a good master , I had to obey them and decided to take some rest.
I heard a weird thunder and suddenly woke up. I had slept while resting and was dreaming about my crush but suddenly that noise shook me up. I got up and tried to explore the surrounding when I heard a human voice. I became cautious and moved very gently. I peeped through a set of leaves and the view in front of me was amazing. There was a huge metallic vehicle with four black circles supporting it. It was an adorable creature. Humans were standing on it wearing colorful clothes. A lady was wearing bright red attire and tiger skin pattern scarf. The man on the front seat was in some uniform and was giving instructions to them and the driver was adjusting the vehicle back and forth. I tried to listen carefully. One of my uncles was raised by humans and was a trained tiger. He had worked in many human movies.One day, the king of humans ,whom they call the president, had ordered all tigers to stay in this jungle. So his destiny brought him to this jungle. He carried great knowledge with him and taught us human language too.
I concentrated on the view in front of me and understood that this road was meant for these vehicles and humans take a ride to see tigers. But why is the vehicle open from top?? Are the humans foolish? Any animal can jump in and hunt them. Maybe God forgot to give them brains. I opened my ears wide to listen , the uniform guy was telling the others
“Tiger will come here in a while if we wait, but we will have to move because of time shortage. See the tiger footprints below . In the morning, 5 tigers were seen on this road and yesterday 2 cubs were seen with their mother. If you would have stayed in the government cottage, you could be lucky enough to be face to face with a tiger. Sadly, we have to move now” and the vehicle left with a roar.
I was amazed that 5 tigers lived there and I quickly started searching them. I went on and on in those shrubs , tried to look for footprints but there was no clue. There was no sign of any other tiger. I sat down and rested when I heard another set of voices. ” See there is a yellow animal under that tree ” My blood froze and I was sure humans were pointing at me and they will come down and chase me. but when nothing happened, I peeped out of the shrub again. They were pointing to a tree a few feet away from me. The driver was confident that he had seen a tiger there just now. But I was sitting at the same position from the last half hour and I had not seen any tiger or even a deer in that spot. How could the driver be so sure? Then a thought struck my mind , may be whatever they say is all a lie. I had not seen any tiger except me in this entire area even after searching. Humans too are good in cooking up stories. And if I consider logic, how would a tiger survive in this barren land with scorching heat and no amenities like shade and water. Even food is at scarcity. The possibility of humans finding a real tiger was low. The goal of these stories must be to fool other humans and charge them a hefty fee for the ride.
I peeped out again and saw a family on the vehicle with a small cute child. They were drinking water from a transparent vessel. The sight of water reminded me that I was thirsty too. The child spoke ” What if the tiger comes and eats me” The driver replied, “Tigers never harm humans, that is why there are open jeeps , there is no risk and sometimes tigers come and sit in between the road blocking the path. We just wait for them to move out of the way, no one is harmed by them” The child smiled and his mother gave him water to drink. I felt tempted by the water vessel. I was sure that the driver had never seen any tiger, leave alone the idea of the tiger blocking the road and they waiting fearlessly in an open jeep. This was a time to put their authenticity on a test. I decided to go out and block the road. I gauged the direction in which the vehicle will move and finding my way through the shrubs, stepped out on the road in front of the vehicle. I swiftly moved out on road and calmly sat blocking the passage and gave a smile. The human faces in front of me froze. The driver and the uniform guy started screaming and ran in the opposite direction as if someone was after their life. The humans at the back seat were so scared that they were unable to move. The small child was happy and was shouting ” tiger is here …come tiger” and I was smiling calmly. That child had such an innocent look in his eyes and was showing so much love for me as if I was the most beautiful creature on earth. I felt flattered and moved near the jeep. I had no intention of harming anyone, I just wanted some wanted. I moved near the jeep, took the water vessel in my jaws , and went back to the shrubs. I looked back for a moment. The couple was now holding their child firmly in their hands. The child was happily waving out his hand at me. I wanted to wave back at the child but I could not do that with my paws. I just smiled , drank water from that vessel and went back to my home. I was excited to tell this story to my friends – My rendezvous with humans !