Mongoose View

July 21, 2012  •  1 Comment

For some time now  I have been fascinated by the thought of what my life would have been if I were a mongoose in the wild, being well aware of the risks it would pose apart from the concern for one’s personal safety. At the same time I am committed not to break the law of the jungle !

I decided to experiment during my trip to the Serengeti  in July 2012 and play the role of mongoose. It all started with watching one of my favourites, the zebra. They are constantly  on high alert and  ever  wary of the slightest  movement or  sound.  I tried in vain not to let them sense my presence – eventually they did;  but not before I had used the thick, tall grass as the foreground and the mountain as the background to capture the noble stature of the zebra with my lens.  

 



Next was the turn of a herd of buffaloes. I was fraught with anxiety when I saw the belligerent look on their faces. However I decided to venture into the open,  crawled forward a few yards to take up the right spot in full view of the herd which did not seem exactly delighted.  I did manage to take a few images and slowly retreated to my vehicle.
 



Then came the unexpected bonus – the magical moment that life occasionally bestows on us and which may be defined as  serendipity.

I observed a huge herd of elephants of all sizes some distance away. With young ones in the herd, I know only too well that elephants can be most dangerous; and one as foolhardy and yet as daring as I am, would need to approach them at one’s own peril.
 



Influenced by "Mad" Mike and Mark  (especially Mike), I was strategising my thoughts of playing the role of the lilliputian and minuscule mongoose  against the mighty African elephants.

Asking my guide to “watch my back", I ventured into the wild.  With adrenaline pumping and after checking the wind direction (to ensure that my scent was not carried to the tusker), I took my  hiding place behind the tall grass and simultaneously realized  I was  directly on the battleground.   My training and well honed survival instincts gained during my days at the National Cadet Core  as well as  the rifle range came in handy now.  Armed with my Nikon D3S (200 - 400 lens) and a bean bag, I began shooting the tusker which was  a good distance of over 200 meters away with the hope (and confidence) that he would be my poster boy!   Images can't express with accuracy and clarity  the view I enjoyed from the box office in the open air theatre  !!!

 



I had a strange sensation that he was now aware of my presence. He did walk in my direction.
 










Then it dawned on me that the wind direction had changed and he knew without a doubt that I was lurking close at hand. 

I was excited about taking this image. This is a full frame image at 200 mm!
 





 

A second later I saw a blurred image in my viewfinder and knew all too well  (having  just then  recalled another  brush with a jackal in Bharatpur) that  it was time to pull back.  I was flabbergasted to realize that we were far too close for comfort  (less than 15 feet away from each other).  My hair rose up and this  “mongoose” slowly but surely  backed away  and climbed into the jeep. My pachyderm-friend  came close to the jeep, gave me one look as if to say  I’d  had a lucky escape this time – but just this time -  and walked away.

I still relive those moments when I’m caught unawares by reminiscences flashing past in my mind’s eye.  I promise I will be careful  in the future !!!

Cheers till the next note.




 

Comments

1.K. Rajiv(non-registered)
Srini, Too much! Please write a will and let me the beneficiary of all your camera equipment
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