Pramodh my co brother a senior airlines executive is a born wildlife enthusiast ,he was responsible for our holiday in the core forest bungalow in Kerala last two years ,
Pramodh spent much of his free time deep inside core forests to fulfill his passion either in or out of the country .
He knew many forest officers and could converse with them or forest guards or tribal s with the camaraderie that comes out of inside knowledge
Many are the dawns and dusk pramodh had waited without a whisper for that elusive tiger or the rogue elephant that surprised.
Many are the nights he spent in the glow of a forest bonfire to beat the chill
So going to a forest with him was a learning
He would go into esctacies on the wetness of a dung or the soft prints on the mud
To him these told tales
To me they told none
he could manage elephants or tigers but found difficult to manage the frightened doctor co brother that is me !
Every turn the car made in the foggy narrow road i would jolt him with an alarm as i kept seeing fresh dung and springing leopards so much so my family named me Dr Tragedy ( Durandham in malayalam )
I was the butt of joke for the family for i was eternally putting off suggestions to drive deeper to spot the wild
As it is we are seeing wild things everywhere in this world so why go in search of them was my concept !
The siruvani ranges had narrow leaf strewn roads with thick canopy of trees covering them like an umbrella
The roads were slightly dark even in the daytime
Most of time there was a light patter of rains
In any emergency reversing the car would be a real feat in the narrow road as one could plunge into ravines or into the forest .
To me every leaf had eyes peering into us waiting to finish us off .
Every turn i awaited for surprises
I could see huge rocks as black elephants waiting with a grimace
To me every tree hid lurking cheetahs waiting to spring on us
Every vine hanging was a poisonous snake waiting to strangle us or give a lethal bite
Every shuffle on the deep undergrowth was a treacherous lizard
Every puddle we heard from the flowing stream was a leathery crocodile
So with an alarmist like me around pramodh had his hands full
But once he did listen to me and for good
We were on to a very narrow stretch
I clutched at him as we were told not to talk
The car was moving slowly he stopped it
I action ed to listen and the eight pair of ears in the car did that with our ears cocked
There was a soft rustle from behind the bushes
We could barely make out any form but could feel presence of something .
Pramodh quietly reversed the car with a great calmness while an anxious me sat with a thudding chest
Any animal nearby could hear my palpitations
We turned fully and sped off
Later we heard from the forest walker the lone rogue elephant was seen just where we had gone
For once my fears were justified
I needed no dung but lurking fear to warn me
We had a good laugh back in the cottage as we relaxed over a mojhito
Me and pramodh .