” Happiness is not a state to arrive at, its a manner of travelling”
Not really a wildlife image, but a peek into an India I wouldn’t often experience otherwise. Encounters like this, while waiting for a leopard to emerge from a cave in Bera, Rajasthan, I found myself challenging some set notions of contentment and happiness that many of us associate with urbanized modern living and expensive formal education. Something thats sets us up to acquire and appreciate the finer things in life. But does it? Does having very little automatically mean poverty and wretchedness? The question hangs.
Reminds me of a story about the queen of Tonga, a humungous lady with a beatific smile, when asked what she did, answered, “ I just be. ”
You could be 10 feet from a leopard and never see it! Its the ultimate in big cat camouflage. There is something about the rosettes, the tone, the color, hue, shape and movement of this cat that makes it practically invisible if it chooses not to be seen.
This is probably why it manages to exist in very close proximity to man without him ever sensing its presence. Many communities, even in urban areas in India would be shocked to discover that these cats live, eat, breed under their very noses, because they manage to do so very secretively.
The exploding human population is changing this dynamic very rapidly. Instances of conflict in outer Mumbai, Uttarakhand and many other places suggest the proximity has gotten way too close for comfort.
With our diminishing forest cover, these cats have no place to go. They need a new trick. Quick.