The jeep moved through the NandanKanan National forest area and the guide was loquacious about the animals,I was never interested in the wild life.But he spoke of them as though he had tamed them all and knew them personally , he passed several gates of wild birds , peacocks and knew them by names. He sort of understood me and it was unnerving,he knew animals,I wondered which animal would he think of me as? He was a conservative man with extraordinary common sense and instinct , not a man with whom I could ever engage in personal talk. He brought us to an empty cage amidst tall pine trees and deodar trees , their barks were used by painters. I was puzzled by the empty cage , he looked at me directly was he imitating Dev Anand ? An old time famous hero of a movie called “Guide”?
“I brought you here to show the cage of a romantic white tiger. If you must know these beasts are selective in their mating habits,just because he is a male they won’t mate. They have to like each other. Other wise they stay for years with out mating or hating. In this cage lived a male white tiger,he was born and grew up in our national park. A tigress from the surrounding forest fell in love with him and came to the cage on her own and stayed with him. But those who are used to wilderness usually want their home, she became home sick and left the cage. The male waited for her for few years , finally he stopped eating and committed suicide.
A love story of the tame and the wild, always a disaster” ….He was moved to tears. I recalled seeing a foreigner girl in a hat next to him in a photo in his wallet.
He looked up at me like a lost wild animal who could sense the loneliness of a fierce animal. He did not know fear , he knew loneliness.


  1. touching story – how his life mirrors that of the tiger. like the double entendre of the penultimate sentence, and the answer the last sentence (seems to) provide. brilliant piece.


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