Coming upon a leopard in the first rays of a winter sun is like discovering a fresh cannoli sitting next to your steaming Double Espresso. What a combo! Especially in the hills of Pali where the lunar landscape of granite and the sparse vegetation create an amazingly unique ambience, not replicated anywhere else in India or the world.
Looking forward to heading out there again early next year amongst these unusual leopards.
A leopard in Bera
In the pursuit of higher GDP, let us not forget the Fine Arts. Symmetry, design, perspective- all of it embodied in a living breathing creature whom we have less & less time & space for.
Specially in an ancient country like India, that is desperately trying to pull itself out of wretched poverty and catch up quickly with the developed word, our wild and pristine natural world is always trade-able for a dam or a bridge or a highway.
India has just released a leopard census yesterday, which claims about 14,000 leopards in the country. Fortunately, this one time I think the numbers are underestimated. This animal, given half a chance can survive even in the most populated of places, sometimes without been seen for years.
But that’s the key phrase. Half a chance.
A jawai leopard looking for warmth in the first rays of the sun
The stage is pitch black. The audience holds its breath. A solitary spotlight fades on. Boom- out of nowhere, there’s a glittering & bejeweled Michael Jackson in all his glory. You could feel his presence on your skin.
My first sighting of this juvenile leopard, as he emerges from the dark depths of the granite kopjes of the Pali hills of Rajasthan to warm himself in the first rays of the sun. Very reminiscent of my first sighting of MJ, many years ago.
As dramatic. As unforgettable.