Meeting Maya Memsaab and Family -Tadoba 3
Tiger Trails and Tall Tales – Episode Three
Post a sumptuous lunch and a good afternoon siesta, we proceed to the Moharli Gate. Our second ride is in the core forest zone. Manish is there to guide us and he uses all his knowledge of the territory. We peek into every known tiger spot around. The jeep suddenly halts at a point. The driver and the forest guide have received some information about a tiger and tigress being spotted close by. We are close to Maya’s lair. There is a sudden change of course and we head in a different direction at breakneck speed. The four wheeler bumps and jumps through the trails, bordered by thick bamboo curtains, the dark woodlands and tall grass. You hang on for dear life keeping your head and face safe from the overhanging branches and protruding thorny bushes. The very thought of encountering a tiger or two sends your adrenalin racing through every pore. The driver maneuvers the vehicle skillfully placing it in a vantage position, to enable you get the best view. The long wait begins.
Word has spread that Maya is in hiding with her cubs, biding time to come out. More jeeps join. Each one jostles the other to give their patrons the best view. Things settle down eventually. The game of patience is on. The seconds turn to minutes, no stirring of any kind. There is a deafening silence. Then you hear a single bark of the sambar. Every rustle, every sound gets a reaction. The guide points at the bushes in front of you. The heart skips a beat. Then you see the semblance of a tail and a yellowish orange blur in the bushes. Heads turn around; the cameras are on the ready and focused, with fingers on the trigger. You are in for a triple treat. One cub pokes its head and ventures out. It is followed by its sibling. Both move towards the water body nearby to quench their thirst.
While you are busy enjoying the scene and madly clicking, a big apparition moves out of bushes into the thick grass. Moving at a languid pace she emerges, standing long and tall, her fur shining in the splendid evening light. Now she is out in the open and this is no “maya” or illusion. It is Maya herself in flesh and blood. She is amazingly beautiful and casts a spell on the gathering.
For a few seconds there is no activity in the jeeps, as everyone watches spell bound. Then you hear the cameras going click, click. You are brought back to reality. Moving lazily yet gracefully she follows her tots towards the water. Emerging from the opposite end, she moves more briskly and disappears into the bushes.
We have split the mystical, magical memories of tiger trails and tall tales into a series of blog posts. You can click on these links to read – Tadoba – Tiger Trails and Tall Tales series .