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12 September 2014

Entangled Lives - #CelebrateBlogging


Team Potliwale Baba

Chapter – EL – 2

Read the previous part of the story here

Beads of sweat trickled down her neck as she swatted another mosquito on her hand. She had been waiting for him since the last 3 days, but she hadn’t caught a sight of him. She had got a tip by a friend who in turn had received the news from a localite about finding footprints. “Uff, these local people! Always in a hurry,” she thought. Although she had covered her dusky body with a mosquito repellant cream and had food to last her two more days, she had begun losing hope of seeing him ever again. She had last seen him in flesh when she was just a giggly, jumpy, and a bubbly 10 year old, at which time she was with her grandfather. “Patience favors the brave,” he often said, “and patience is what you will need if you have to see him” he continued.
The season had been just right for the sighting. It had stopped raining just a few weeks back, and there was abundance of water and greenery all around her. With the help of some local boys, she had built a machan, a good height from the ground hidden away from the view. However, she could still look out. The boys left ever since, and she was sitting here alone reminiscing about the way life has moved over in the past few months.
Taking another bite from the cold roti that was left with her, she couldn’t help but feel seething hatred inside for her boss, her boyfriend, and everyone in general. “Jerks!” she muttered, “they underestimate the wrath of Jennifer, Jennifer Joseph.” She lost her job after she refused the advances that her boss had made towards her, and soon her parasitic boyfriend left her alone as well. She still had plans on how to survive. She had an iron grit and was determined to make a cut in the world of photography, now that she was out of the corporate world.
She checked her camera and lenses. All in order. Her mind drifted back to her childhood, “Grandpa, how long does it take to see him? How does he look like in real?” she quipped for the nth time. “Have patience, darling. When you look at him, you may not have the heart to take your eyes off him. The offering that we have kept is just to appease him.”
She did exactly the same thing. When she arrived at the Godhkhali, she picked up a goat and packed it off into the rear of the pickup truck that she had hired. She then contacted her local contact and he brought her in here, to Sunderbans. She had herself seen the pug marks. Going by the marks, the tiger should have been around 4 years old and definitely in the heats given this season, it should be coming around. She immediately set a camp there and tied the goat to the tree.
Tonight, the goat appeared restless. It kept bleating incessantly. She knew what it meant. He was around. However, it was not until late in the morning that she heard him. His throaty growl affirmed her that she had been right about him. She straightened herself and picked up her camera making it ready for action. She liked tigers so much since the first time she had seen one. She liked them so much that she had inked her right hand with a tiger tattoo. It always reminded her to be patient and strong.
Leaves rustled somewhere. The goat was now silent, in terror. It knew that its end was near. In just a few minutes, it would all be over, the goat, the photography session, and the tiger’s walk in the jungle. She looked around with her binoculars. He was hiding exactly on the opposite side of her. He may have come from the other side of the swamp. No wonder, she did not hear him earlier. It was one of the most beautiful creations on the earth. Bright yellow with jet black stripes. William Blake’s poem just struck her then,
“Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?
And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!
When the stars threw down their spears
And water'd heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Tyger Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?”
How very true had he been! She focused her camera on the Tiger. She briefly felt his eyes stopping on her just as she stopped on his. Beautiful brown eyes. And then, came the roar, and the smell of blood flooded her nose.

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