"Nothing exists for itself alone, but only in relation to other forms of life" ~ Charles Darwin



Deep Banerji returns for a vacation at 'home' in Kolkata after several years in the US, and waits for the heat to subside to go to the Sundarbans..

tiger It is ridiculously hot! It has been 8 days of 100 degree plus heat with 100% humidity. Dubai was insanely hot and Calcutta has been unbearable. But the trees, the people, the vibrant life on the street is stunning and beautiful.

I hope to get to the Sundarbans soon - to the mangrove tidal-forests, the last reserves of the Royal Bengal Tiger, surrounded by crocodiles and sharks - as soon as this heat subsides. The last time I was there we tracked a Tiger for two days, followed its prints in mud through the Reserve which consists of 10,000 islands in the Gangetic estuary zone, lost in surging waters and torrential downpours. Through small rivulets, the boat barely fit through almost touching the banks on both sides, to great expanses of water where giant crocodiles dipped below the murky water as they sensed the vibration of our tiny outboard motor.

About West Bengal

Wildlife Travelogues
Corbett Park

More on Wildlife
Sanctuaries & Parks

Poachers' Paradise
Cruelty to Animals

tiger Sajankhali is a village of no more than maybe 50. The day before I got to this last tiny village before the great expanse of water rose and fell, a villager had been killed by a tiger. Just that morning a Croc had taken a dog from the banks. That night, drinking my usual nightcap of whiskey and a "cigarette", I sat in the watchtower with the crew from National Geographic (India). There was a certain sense of excitement and anticipation. A tiger roared in the distance. We sat up late into the night but we never saw the nocturnal 'King of the Jungle'. We set off early the next morning.

There, where the river meets the sea, an immense vulnerability surfaces in the psyche, a certain helplessness and the eventual submission to a fate and nature much greater than one's own, that strange surreal twist of fate that reorients the mind from that of the predator to that of the prey.

Over and out from the edge of the Rain-Forest, till we meet again...

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Editor: Romola Butalia       (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.