Before I continue with the second part of the story of our honeymoon adventure, I would like to thank all my readers for your overwhelming response to this travel story. Every mail that you sent me, every comment on my Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter and Google Plus are precious to me. Those who have not read the first part of the story, can read it here. Even today, the thought of those moments when we met the big cat, in Avalanche forest, makes chills run up and down my spine. So get yourself a cup of hot coffee, snuggle inside that soft blanket and read on.
Conversation with the forest guard
While walking inside the forest for some time I asked our forest guard,”How deep in the forest are we?” Our forest guard replied “It is pretty deep. I followed the shortcut to enter here quickly”. And then what he said, I was not prepared for that. He told that the forest has nearly 35 cheetahs and some 15 tigers and the number of leopards is unknown to him. He was explaining the differences between a cheetah, a leopard and a jaguar. Then he kept saying about other animals, but honestly, his words didn’t enter my ears anymore. I was scared. I looked at the tree branch once more which the forest officer gave us for our safety. I looked up to Siddhartha with an eerie silence. He smiled and said “Think about tomorrow’s headline in the newspapers. A newly married couple is resting inside a tiger’s tummy“. We also took a photograph with that tree branch once again, thinking it might be our last photograph, albeit I was not at all in a mood to joke.
A surprising noise
As we moved forward, we suddenly stood still by some noise behind. We stopped for a while and turned back to see, from where did the sound come? I was a bundle of nerves then.
Before I could say a word, we saw a group of wild bison. I felt they all are coming towards us, but in reality they were going to the nearby lake.
Lake inside the forest
Soon we too found the lake and were spellbound by nature’s extravagance. Refreshing greens and fresh air made me forget about the cheetah and tiger for a few minutes. Both of us were feeling mother nature together. I even closed my eyes for a few minutes and heard various sounds in the woods; the sound of rustling leaves; the sound of splashing water by the bison in the lake, the buzzing bees and the chirping of crickets.
And then suddenly I could not hear any sounds of the lake. I opened my eyes and found out all the bison had gone. Soon I was wondering that if any of the tigers feel thirsty and choose to come to the lake, what would happen? You can see an anxious me by the lake in the picture below.
It was a strange situation. A newly married couple in the lap of mother nature, wanting to be in each others arms and yet an anxious feeling remained inside. But, when you are young, it is hard for fear to win. Instead, dream wins. We too didn’t let our anxious mind win. We were seeing beauty all around us; wide open spaces and land with no trails, no signs, no maps, no rescues, and no mobile tower. Wasn’t it a liberating feeling? We enjoyed our moments in that pristine land. We were experiencing life in a mysterious, innate harmony.
Here you can see a short video of those moments.
We found a stream flowing gently
We walked a little further and found out a stream flowing gently. We started walking along it. We were hearing the babbling brook; rustling water, the pitter patter of leaves and the splashing of water on pebbles and in between. It was hypnotic.
Encounter with the tiger in Avalanche Forest
All on a sudden, Siddhartha stopped me. He clasped my hand and showed me a scene, which I will never ever forget. A quiet fell on me with the abruptness of a tsunami. I saw, just on the opposite side of the stream, a big tiger was sitting. I didn’t have the strength to move anymore. He could reach us in just a couple of leaps.
Our guard told us calmly in a low voice, “look there is a deer in front of him. He already killed the deer. Now he is resting”. When I saw him the next time, I saw both. This time he started feasting on the deer. Still, I could not move an inch. I was terrified.
We didn’t dare to take the tiger’s photograph as the place where he was sitting was dark. We had to use flash to capture the scene. Siddhartha told me, we must leave the place soon. I was all cold. I followed him blindly. My mind was not working. And after an hour long walk, we finally reached our car. I felt as if I reached our home.
One never reaches home, but wherever friendly paths intersect the whole world looks like home for a time.