Some journeys are a bucket of life lessons and they transform you beyond your wildest imagination—this was true for me figuratively, and literally. What began as run-of-the-mill holiday travelling, turned into me discovering my great passion for wildlife safaris and tiger tracking. I can truthfully say, it changed me as a person, it gave me a new lease on life and perhaps ushered me into a journey of self-discovery spiritually too. A real benchmark and milestone moment, if there ever was one!
I have always believed that nature teaches us about life and its ways. But I never got a chance to connect with nature spiritually, nor did I know of any way to do so.
What began as run-of-the-mill holiday travelling, turned into me discovering my great passion for wildlife safaris and tiger tracking.
My first exclusive tour turned out to be such a life-altering experience. I had travelled all across India as a tourist but this was my first trip as a ‘traveller’ in some meta sense. I did not know what to expect from this trip and only went ahead with the aim of finding some peace, trying to distance myself from the gruelling battle and beating my mental health had taken at the time. This trip to Ranthambore was a little more unusual than my previous trips to Rajasthan. The symbiotic relationship of wildlife and nature set against the mesmerising backdrop of the most scenic locales—the kind you see in postcards, or perhaps, on National Geographic, humbled me and calmed my racing mind.
The air was filled with the scent of minty grass and damp earth—that familiar geeli mitti smell.
As soon as we reached Ranthambore, we stashed our bags in the resort and left for our first safari. When we passed through Singh Dwar, I inherently felt it in my bones—my reason for coming here. It was the very deep breath I took that circulated in my lungs and went straight to my soul. First time in a long time, breathing deeply felt easy, effortless. A calm washed over me.
I felt a tender kinship to the tall gentle giants and the water and the sun. I gazed up at the canopy intertwined with vines. I saw a deep blue Paradise Flycatcher with its orange tail fluttering in the air. For the next three days, life hummed a sweet symphony on the dirt paths of Ranthambore, many speckled with big overgrown roots, wildflowers and dry leaves that crunched under the wheels of our Jeep. The air was filled with the scent of minty grass and damp earth—that familiar geeli mitti smell.
On the first day, I saw the two intimidating bluish-grey eyes I came for, the orange-gold around the big cat’s black velvet artistic stripes, coming out of the tall grass… my words can’t create a picture that does justice to how majestic this animal was.
That very moment I felt her gaze on me. I don’t know if the tiger felt my agony but those eyes conveyed everything I needed to learn and what even fifty sessions of therapy couldn’t teach me.
Her eyes were telling me it is okay to fight, it is okay to be vulnerable, it is okay to be wild around the tamed. I felt my survival instinct soar to match the magnanimity and confidence of the beast.
The ability to feel, to respond, to defend the things you hold dear, the courage to fight back. To still remain standing after falling seven times means you got up and got yourself together eight times. You are a survivor worthy of all the respect and honour.
I felt my survival instinct soar to match the magnanimity and confidence of
It was all in a matter of a few minutes. Maybe the tigress had come to teach me what I needed to learn at that moment in my life. She gave me everything I needed. A purpose. A purpose to go back and start all over again.
One look into the eyes of the mighty tigress changed my outlook towards life and with that, I started Junglebuff, my very own wildlife safari excursion platform. I hope that I can help others experience the experience that changed me. And also, make my contribution to wildlife conservation and create awareness about these beautiful creatures.