Updated: Mar 29
I just wish the world was twice as big and half of it was still unexplored. David Attenborough
On March 27th, 2018……..With the retreat of monsoon, the singularly flooded lands of the great Kaziranga National Park (KNP) were again noticeable. Monsoon is the time when almost all the land animals’ distribution pattern becomes erratic, and once plentiful of the water has receded, the park is again hailed open to the tourists, after all, KNP plays a major part in the financial backing of Assam. Moreover, tourists don’t really like the concept of closing the park to visitors during monsoon. After all, who doesn’t want to take a taste the rich biodiversity of Kaziranga?
Although the park was officially open to visitors, most of the ranges were still under water. The Safari tracks were still not commutable. The only range that was accessible was the Kohora Range. So, after grabbing only two loaves of bread and a cup of refreshing Assam tea, whose leaves were recently picked, I headed for the range. The old open Landrover was still functional and gave proficient competition to the modern day safaris found in the National Parks. Its four-wheel drive and the tremendous horsepower made it extremely versatile for contrasting terrains.
After a fifteen minute drive, I reached the checkpoint where we had to buy passes to enter the park. But when I reached, the ball game was awful. It turns out that since all the ranges were closed, preponderance tourists decided to visit this central range. It was not a surprise that most of them were first-timers and had no knowledge about field ethics that one should keep in mind when in the forest. As a result, the situation was turmoil. An instance for that would be- After about twenty minutes after entering the forest, I finally spotted an Indian Roller with its dazzling blue plumage, elegantly perched on one of the tree branches with the sun rays perfectly aligned towards its face. While I was setting up my frame through the viewfinder, another safari party came and stopped behind me. Curious about what I was shooting, even those people started to peak and focused on the tree. The thing about bird watching is that, if you’re not consistent with it, it becomes extremely difficult to spot birds. That’s the exact thing that happened to the members of that family, and when one spots it, this happens –
Child- *Shouting* “O Ma! Hei neela soraitu sa o”—-[ Mother! Look at that blue Bird! ]
Mother- *In an over-stressed upper Assam accent* ” Heitu soraik neelokontho buli koi “——[ That bird is called ‘Neelkantha’ ( Blue-Necked) ]
As a result of this overly exaggerated gusto, the bird was long gone, and I lost the opportunity to capture it. Nevertheless, after going about a mile into the park, I managed to capture this terrific scenes when the Great One-Horned decided to cross the track totally oblivious of the fact that a jeep was heading towards it. The best part of it was, it was the same family due to which I couldn’t capture the Indian Roller. Also thanks to them, they added to the frame a story and meaning which is very tough to deduce through photography.
P.S.- It was awfully understood that these people were never before inside a forest, as we can guess it from the colour of their clothes. http://resources.infolinks.com/js/infolinks_main.js