After the Nav-tapa (Nine hottest days of summer)… with temperatures soaring as high as 47 degrees Celsius, everyone of us were looking forward for some respite. And monsoon didn’t disappoint this time. It’s raining and it has converted that dry hot whether into cool winds breezing, temperature drop and a tolerable climate.
A few years back, when our bunch of wild-life enthusiasts were striving hard to conserve tigers of Tadoba, an idea of artificial water hole creation for animals was proposed. Some highly motivated forest officers and staff saw through it and made it happen. Earlier water tanker used to fill the waterholes especially for summers. Most of the inhabitants soon got acclimatized with these facilities. Soon, replenishing the waterholes became a logistical nightmare. And solar tube wells were introduced to automatically fill the water holes. This idea was very well received. Animals.. Happy. Forest Officers who did this job, Happy. Naturalists, NGOs who donated these solar tube wells, Happy as well!
So, on this particular solar tube well, which is installed in the area where Queen Maya and her cubs roam around, I was waiting for Maya. And as usual, she didn’t disappoint me. Her cubs were much more active that day. They were living each and every moment of their childhood with innocence. And their proud mother was gladly looking at them at times, while she sat away. I had plans to stay put for entire safari time there itself… One of the cubs, who is rather more active, got hold of wire of solar tube well and started playing with it. A guest sitting in a jeep beside our vehicle commented how solar tube well is a bad idea and how there is “apathy” towards real conservation efforts of Tigers, without offering any concrete solution! Yes, yes, the cuss words did strike me and I actually resisted uttering them for good…! Somehow, we have forgotten to thank people, forest department staff, for whatever efforts they take proactively to safeguard forests we have here now. We just take them for granted. And that did disturb me.
While I was gathering myself up from these negative thoughts, I noticed that one of the cubs has some problem while walking. By that time, Maya had already decided to move in hurry and in next 5 seconds she walked past us. The cubs, as usual, were at quite a distance from their mother and walking. Well!! Well!! What is this Maya…. My face had disappointment written all over immediately!
Out of 2 cubs the one with injury was walking slow… In wild animals, mothers follow a simple rule of survival of fittest. They give basic protection to the cubs. And this protection provided by tigresses is so fierce that even male tigers don’t extend their confrontation with momma tigresses. But, if the cub remains weak or gets injured due to external reasons, mother tigress’ don’t think twice before abandoning that cub. Scary!! But that’s the rule of nature. Though in current situation, it was a minor injury and the very next day, this champ was 100% fit. Well, but to compare that with humans… If any of our kids is not well, our whole attention is towards their comfort and recovery. We don’t get a sound sleep till the kid is doing well in recovery. Though we may be compelled to do our professional work, but what goes on in our minds is very easy to guess. What force drives us? Especially, to ALL Mothers?
Lot of questions remained unanswered in that Tadoba Trip… I remember the looks exchanged by Maya with me that day. It was confusing me for sure. May be she was advising me to hold on with my thoughts. Leaving those thoughts there, I rushed back to Nagpur to pack up for SPITI valley, Himalayas!
Due to Storm in the upper reaches of Himalayas and percolating it down under, we had to restrict our visit to few spots around Spiti. Another set of disappointment. What’s going on boss… nothing seem to go right this time.
Frustrated me, reached Delhi where I had nothing much to do. This big city, more than 150 lakh people living in their own world and me was having very few contacts there in. Scrolled my contact book and thought of calling one of my close friends (he too was in delhi then) who didn’t disappoint me. Later in the day, we met at South Delhi joint for Nostalgic discussion over tea. He could sense my disappointment immediately. To make my mood right, we started discussing about his Laddakh tours at regular intervals and his experiences from Himalayas especially Laddakh sector… & Boy, he was in real flow of thoughts. As a regular Laddakhite he never mentioned beauty of nature, his experiences, his connect with nature there, in last so many years we know each other. And today, he was altogether different. Talking about nature, compassion, gratitude and all…
I was further clean bowled by him when he said this to me: I don’t know why you are disturbed and I won’t ask you either… But be it known that Our lives are so distinct yet so much connected with one person/ idea which takes us far in our life. A kinda Pole Star, or rather a Moon. Up there, always… but not visible every time you look up.…. Like the moon which causes high tide on the sea shores….this person/ idea too influence you/ guide you to what you are and what you become. A deep Ocean, keeping all secrets within, too faces that gravitational pull of Moon….. & we all are an Ocean in our own-self, Full of life…. Full of expectations… Full of accomplishments… Full of hits and Full of misses…. Full of so many secrets, perhaps we too forgot some of them. And everyone has that ONE Moon which knows it all and it defines a lot of unexplained things in our life. We draw strength from that Moon but it is also the weakest link in our life!!
This moon can be anything…. a person, a place, a musical track….. You don’t have to meet your moon daily. You don’t have to ‘maintain’ relations with your moon… it comes naturally. You don’t have to furnish explanations to your Moon… it understands. If your moon is a musical track, and you listen after long time, it will immediately take you to the best times you spent with someone… best of the memories re-lived. It will roll over the strength you need to go further in your life. You really don’t need Alexa or Siri who will do it for you…Albert Einstein had once said, I like to think that the moon is there even if I am not looking at it. Now am beginning to understand what he said in his times had such deep meaning… !! So trust your moon Himanshu, it will revert back to you sooner or later & you will get your mojo back!!
By the time we ended our conversation, we were half past midnight already…
Next Morning, with this treasure, I came back to Nagpur and headed straight to Tadoba this time without any expectations. Sagar was right, My Moon did revert back to me. I met Maya and cubs for almost an hour. No disturbance at all. When Maya exchanged her majestic looks with me, she was trying to convey… Don’t spoil your day with negative thoughts, but take the time to think. Discover your real reason for being and then have the courage to act on it.
I recollected my entire conversation the earlier day. I could sense that all Mother’s are also driven by their MOON, ie their kids well being which makes them so fiercely protective and demanding. Their first priority would always be kids, and which is correct any day!!
& Let me confess here that Sagar was the same “busy” friend of mine I took to Tadoba for whom it was some forest and some tiger. About whom, I had written in my earlier blog (14th April 2018) as well. Now his vision was very clear… how, what, when he wants to do for nature. Without any further doubt, I knew it… ye Maya ki hi Maya thi…..
My Safari time was about to end when it all started to gather black clouds all over Tadoba skies. By the time I had signed off from Core area and was in Buffer zone… it was already raining heavily in Tadoba… With the happiest memories of forest, maya and cubs I was on my way back to home… & yes, this time… my mind was singing beautiful song sung by Atif Aslam….

चेहरे में तेरे खुद को मैं ढूँढू …. आँखों के दरमियाँ तू अब है इस तरह…… ख़्वाबों को भी जगह… ना मिले….
ये मौसम की बारिश… ये बारिश का पानी …. ये पानी की बूँदें तुझे ही तो ढूँढें
ये मिलने की ख्वाहिश ये ख्वाहिश पुरानी …. हो पूरी तुझी से मेरी ये कहानी …. !!!