My Travel Diaries - Pench National Park


I had never been to Nagpur before, so when Divya asked (read demanded) us to come visit the Orange city of India over the period of Diwali holidays, I was the first one to accept (read succumb). Now obviously, there wasn’t much in Nagpur to attract. There were some strings attached of course! First, we all love to travel and have at least been to each other’s hometowns: Rahul’s Calicut, Noelle’s Margao, Reshu’s Kharagpur, Mine and Rupsa’s Kolkata; and the only place left on our list was that of Divya’s.


Secondly this was, predictably, the last major trip that we made together, before leaving the university. Thus big words like ‘sentiment’ was cited quite frequently. The emotions attached to this clause, could perpetually be read between the lines throughout the grandly scripted trip to the Orange city.

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We celebrated Divya’s birthday on 10th midnight. We stayed up till late, more because we were watching Gregory Peck’s vintage classic GUNS OF NAVARONE on the home theatre system. And Divya’s dad being from the IAF, loves watching war movies and to talk about battles, military strategy, missions, drills and his personal experiences. He, himself being a great story-teller, kept it funny and us, engrossed. And at midnight, we all gathered to wish her and unravel the gift. Oh, the last part totally needs another paragraph.

We had ordered online, collector’s edition of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series of novels. It was ordered from Flipkart and was supposed to be received as a gift package with a card inside. What actually happened was this. The gift had arrived 3 days before the birthday. They had called up Divya 4 days ago and asked for a confirmation about one such gift pack that her friends are sending her. This is how, they successfully had torpedoed 86.75% of our joy in seeing her surprised and obviously pleased face, even before all of it surfaced. So she herself brought our gift on the table and cut it open. The content was yet unknown to her and so, we got the final satisfaction of seeing her overjoyed.

Anyway, the next day we went to the Pench Tiger Reserve, some 70-80 kilometers away from the city of Nagpur. Since Pench was closed temporarily till 2:30, we roamed about the nearer places like Ramtek and had an amazing picnic lunch at a parking space, beside the highway, between two cars and a massive tree for shade. We were told by everyone that nothing is usually seen in Pench, while the officials maintained that there were 13 tigers and about a dozen more leopards in there, so we might just get lucky! We’ve never been that lucky anyways.

But then this was the forest. Rudyard Kipling had used this particular forest as the original setting of his Jungle Book!

We saw plentiful  hordes of the spotted deer Chital and the big yet elusive deer Sambar, and a variety of monkeys Macaque and Langur. Also, we caught a few playful wild dogs Dhole (which in Bengali, quite hilariously, is known as Ram-kukur!) and some peacocks here, there and again. Even though we had our own car - a Chevy, we had a forest-guard with us. His explanations and the sudden moments of thrilling anticipation following a sound we heard outside the vehicle close-by, were reeking of experience. I also managed to spot a few animals myself (like the backside of a departing antelope, Nilgai) and the success rate of the entire experience, tended upwards.

The final icing on the cake, however, were two.

One, to put it short and to-the-point, we saw a tiger. The sun had set and night-time was swiftly taking over as the beast came to drink water on a stream, just beyond which, were our mortal selves guarded by the metal-fiber body of the Chevy. Now I know how much Rajeev would like to have said ‘Mujhe jungli billiyan bahut pasand hai..’ like the don that SRK was, but it’s a scary prospect to attract a wild cat in its home ground.

The second layer of icing was even better than a tiger! We passed through a region in the forest known as the Bamboo cathedral. It was basically a bamboo forest. Now add to it, a group of grazing deer, their fawns, green grass in contrast with white towering bamboos, a doomed craziness arising of insect-cries and bird-calls and a Conan Doyle mist. Oh and also, a thrilling anticipation of catching a glimpse of one particular tiger that has recently marked the bamboo forest as its backyard territory. The 3 minute ride through it was like passing the make-belief forests of Narnia in winter!

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And that was just the first 3 days. The rest went in watching movies, shopping, eating exotic food both in and out of the house, some prospective financial & life-planning gyan from uncle, the Linda Goodman-related late-night discussions (read commotions), a table-tennis game at midnight and Diwali.

I shopped for my mum. She demanded five sarees and aired an absolute disregard for how packed my luggage already was. We watched and loved ‘Skyfall’ while I was the only one left exasperated after watching ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ in the movie hall. We bought a reasonable amount of crackers as I managed to morally outbid Rajeev on his demand of 100 noise-making bombs, with my modest demand of 50, and perhaps some non-sonic ones along with it.

The whole trip was way more than what we expected, as our semester-end exams are approaching. And having fun with absolutely no preparation for the exam seems rightfully sinful! So, I guess I'll have to sleep less, eat more, chug in more caffeine and study my arse off now.. No blogging for a couple of days, hopefully! I'm posting some photos from this trip, below.

These grasses, beside the water body, attract the wild cats frequently

a Chital or Spotted deer, near our car

Just before Sunset, Pench National Park

A photographer is born, Divya!

Myself and a little-too-jubilant Rajeev

Controversial shot of a tiger (we claim its a leopard!)

An elusive Sambar deer


Lending a helping hand to Rupsa, for the Diwali decorations

3 comments:

  1. Yes, this one is great. You seem to return to your original writing skills. It is plain flow of appropriate words in a rythm depicting your clear mind. Good. Keep going.
    - Baba

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  2. that is called the proper way of celebrating Diwali!
    Lovely clicks... Pench is also in my wishlist :-)

    Regards,
    Anunoy Samanta
    -------------------------------
    http://just4suzan.blogspot.com

    http://imakemytrip.blogspot.com

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