We’ve been to Bandipur and Kabini so many times in search of a tiger. Every time we would return with a bit of disappointment of not being able to see a tiger in its natural setting.
The closest we could achieve was when we spotted tiger paws on a wet land deep inside Bandipur forest. In two of our other trips we spotted leopards. Those were some consolations (in addition to spotting various other animals) to keep looking for tigers.
But, the goal of seeing a tiger happened during a totally unexpected time when we were on a road trip with friends.
We went on a guided forest trek in Masinagudi. We spotted few jumbos (elephants) when they were breaking tree trunks. On the next day, we were on our way back to Bangalore in our car.
When we were driving on Bandipur road, we spotted some birds and tried to identify their species. We were also discussing about our forest trek in Masinagudi. While we were busy talking among ourselves, we drove past something that looked like a tiger statue. Since we were driving on Bandipur road we presumed that the forest officials have kept statues of animals to visually bring out the fact that it’s a forest land.
We drove past the tiger statue that was on to our right. Something didn’t seemed right, so we looked back again – only to realise that it wasn’t a tiger statue and it was actually a tiger standing still.
It took us a second to realise this fact, because the tiger was not even moving a millimetre.
For about 15 seconds, there were nobody on the entire stretch except our car and the standstill-tiger.
The tiger moved it’s tail and broke from its game of deceiving people to think that it’s a statue. It started moving, it took its time to cross the road and went inside the forest.
We were still in shock and couldn’t believe what just happened. It looked like the tiger came out of hiding and it was waiting for us to arrive, show itself only to us for 15 seconds and go inside to hide.
We waited for some more time thinking the tiger will come back to road. But, the tiger proved that it’s a tiger.
We resumed our trip back to Bangalore. We informed in the next check-post officials about spotting a tiger on road. They made few phone calls to people, briefed them about the tiger location and made an entry in their register.
For the remaining distance of 200 Kms to Bangalore, we were only discussing about the unexpected visual feast we enjoyed.
When you want something, the whole universe conspires to make it happen –