Cat Chronicle

It was a recent trip to Bandhavgarh National Park. After the morning safari, we decided to scan the fields around our hotel instead of just lazing around, the only agenda to click some munias, bee-eaters, etc. Sitting on a tiny cement bridge over a stream we were lucky enough to have sighted quite a number of species of birds. I decided to take a walk around the fields while 2 of my friends stayed back at the bridge. It was harvest season. I stood on a mud bund to take a look around and saw some chaos in a field near by. Thinking it might be a snake they encountered, i rushed to the place. On reaching the site I saw, people gathered having no clue how to react to the situation. They said- 'Saab!!! kuch janvar ghus gaya hai ghaas me'. It took some convincing before they allowed me to inspect the area. Now the question was-' what do I do???". I used my tripod to move the grass only to see 2 burrows there. And there i saw something move into the burrow. So fast was the movement, all i could see was some brownish grey thing move. I surely did not want to take a peek in the burrow. The last thing I wanted to happen id Russell's Viper and bite me or an angry fox rushing out of it an taking a nip of my nose. Couldn't leave the site as the farmers would have burnt the grass or hurt the animal. I finally decided to do something I wouldn't suggest anyone- take a look into the burrow with the animal is it to make it worse, i knew there was some animal in it but no clue what animal was it. And then the most unexpected thing happened. There in the burrow was this fur-ball staring at me. The first glance of it I had no clue what it was. Well informed otherwise, these are the times when you don't know what to do. My mind started guessing- jungle cat/ rusty spotted cat or a domestic cat for all i knew. I quickly clicked a few photos to id later on. My friends rushed to this place and helped me convince the farmers not to disturb the kitten. We were there for as much time as we could but then there was our gypsy driver waiting for the afternoon safari. We made sure a hotel staff was deployed at the site to ensure nothing is done to the kitten. And there we were sitting through a safari not discussing what sightings could happen, but run through our photos and field guides to id the cat. Suddenly we yelled- 'Milgaya' and our gypsy stopped and our driver scream't- 'Kaha hai Tiger?' and I said- 'Tiger nahi Jungle Cat ka buccha mil gaya', here we were the empty stomach, but fulfilled hearts about this unforgettable encounter.
When the gypsy stopped back at the hotel, we who otherwise walk to our rooms were running towards the field where the kitten was spotted. There stood our hotel guy smiling, 'Saab uski Maa usko legayi!!!' and what better ending could we expect???
The farmers didn't kill the cat, the kitten wasn't abandoned, the cat family reunited....

Small: A4: 11.69 X 8.27 inches
Medium: A3: 16.53 X 11.69 inches
Large: 2 X 3 feet : 24 X 36 inches