My trip to Corbett National park was the first of its kind. It was beautiful, serene, calm and vibrant. The tough terrain, skyrocketing trees, dense foliage and an unsuspecting tranquility cast a spell on us the moment we entered. What moved me were the strong bonds which were visible, the harmony in the chaos and the intense solitude amidst the chirping birds and animal calls.
After the trip everything seems a little faded, less real, and too exacting. Living, is easy, life is easy, we have extrapolated our needs into desires, our wants into greed, our emotions into emoticons, when all we need to do is live. The bountiful nature has provided us with everything we need, man has created all that is excess.
Coming back to civilisation, where the honking and hoarding, scheming and screaming, faking and faltering is a norm, is tough. It seems like I was in another world, a place though treacherous, is safe, everyone behaves as they are supposed to, emotions are simpler, life is simpler. We are insane to have left our forests in search for life, and what life is that?
I have recounted my experiences in a slightly unconventional manner. They were my musings post the trip.
|Pug print over the tire tracks. The hunt is on!|
Its been a good morning, I’ve had my kill and the cub is sleeping blissfully. I’m lazing around, its going to be a hot day so I push the little one to have his fill of water before those rumbling and roaring creatures come. Its an everyday occurrence, they come twice a day, fleets of it roaming around our home, black heads bobbing, looking here and there. Sometimes its too noisy, we prefer to walk deep within the jungle to avoid the intrusion. The silent ones are fine, I generally prey long before day-break so their nosies don't really bother me, but some of them are really annoying, chattering and shouting. The smells coming off them are always different and lingering but at times too strong and it takes few hours before the smells are masked by the jungle again.
They come twice a day, I haven't seen them prey, so they aren’t a threat to us, yet. If they were dangerous I would've attacked them long ago. Just for kicks, I sometimes show myself, specially to the chattery ones, it shuts them up real nice. I prance about, showing off, not bothering to look at them, just gauging their reactions. They become real quite, I can smell the fear, but I let it be and walk off into the depths of foliage. They retreat in hushed voices, as if scared of something. Sometimes, I stalk them. Its really fun. I walk in the thick shrubbery right beside them or walk over their zig-zag tracks minutes before they pass by the same spot again. The creature keeps coming over and over again at the same spot, specially if they find my tracks. I lurk around, playing with them, a good pass-time. After a few hours they give up and I seldom see the same black, bobbing heads again.
|Retreating at the intrusion|
We graze together, early in the morning because the grass is fresh and the air is cold. The striped one also hunts at this time and we are always at the tip of our hooves, ready to dash at the faintest of noise. The little one, Sonny, needs constant looking over, he is too trusting, too naive and tends to dash off behind squirrels and the likes running into danger. He also is very trusting of the creatures that come twice a day, pointing and chattering at us. We tend to keep off their tracks but Sonny has no qualms whatsoever and exposes us too. I always make sure he walks between the two of us. Never far, always in sight. He being bulkier and having tough antlers takes up the front and I make sure Sonny is moving along, not getting diverted and distracted by red berries and baby squirrels.
We were chomping on the leaves of sweet Maple tree when I feel a low rumble of the creature beside us, I dash inside the bushes, pushing Sonny in. He stands gazing at them, threatening them off with his antlers. The creature doesn't do much, just flashes some silver and black metal at us or waves his paw at us. I nudge him to come back inside. We don’t bother with them but still like to stay safe. At times we graze quietly, very close to their tracks and the creature rumbles away not making us out as our spotted coats camouflage us well. Our family of three is joined by another family of four, they have a new born with them, three generations gazing beside each other. At times we need to cross their track to go to the other side of the forest as we feel the presence of the striped one. Our dusky brothers bark and caution us of the looming danger and those are the moments we don't pay heed to the rumbling creature and leap on the track to the other side, to safety. The creatures leave after sometime and our little ones play unbounded yet we stay vigilant making sure our family survives.
|All shades of green rolled in one!|
She’s so pretty, and I feel like I'm not doing enough to impress her. She's beautiful and has the perfect red eyes. Her small feathers are breathtaking and they glint when the sunlight falls on her. They match the red around her eyes, blazing red, heralding love and danger. She sits all prim and proper, not even glancing my way, and I can't help but gaze at her. I want to do something grand, a gesture which makes her realise how much she means to me. But want can I, a mere peacock do? And she, she's the gorgeous peahen of the forest. I can’t even fly high with my bulky feathers weighing me down. They drag behind me when I walk, becoming dusty and brown. They are not bright red like her’s are, but are blue and green, I blend in the thicket, no matter how much I preen and she stands out brilliantly. Oh, and here she is looking at me, what do I do, what do I do..? I will do best with that I have, here, I unfurl my feathers for her to see, I dance back and forth, fanning out my feathers in all their glory, and twirling for her. In the middle of my performance, the rumbling creature comes and it takes me few seconds to collect my hefty plumage, meanwhile my beloved has dashed in the safety of the bushes. Damn this creature, interrupting my crucial performance, I wait for it to pass away, waddling in the bushes nearby.
When the creature goes, I come out again, picking up from where I left off. If she loves me for who I am, we can live together at my favourite haunt. I dance with zeal, shaking the tuft of feathers behind, I move my crest slowly, pirouetting on the forest floor, to win the love of my fair hen. The blue and green of my plumage catches the sunlight, shimmering as the rays filter through, I glance at her and she seems mesmerised and I dance with renewed fervour in the elation of her love. Some say that I am prettier than she is, but I know that I need her more than she needs me, I won’t get a peahen like her, yet she might get several peacocks like me, we are always feverish for a partner and she is mine, I think of another peacock dancing for her and that drives me to dazzle her and I end with a flourish bowing down in front of her. She looks me in the eye and I know that she is mine.