It was a warm afternoon earlier today; we started off a little early in a mission to meet His Majesty - the new Prince of Kanha meadow. The last time when we saw him two days ago, he was in a rather relaxed mood. He was handsome and strong; his elegance was strikingly graceful. Those grey eyes had so much of promise - he was the new ruler of the meadow.
Starting early paid off today. We could spot him for the second time in this trip. Our uncalled-for entry to his vicinity wasn't taken in the right spirit. Perhaps we were a little too close for his comfort. He was cooling himself off; our presence made him get up. In fact we didn't realise that we had come that close to him. We noticed him only when he got up. A cold stare was in store for us; for a few moments I forgot I have a camera with me - such was the impact when I had an eye contact with him. Two days ago he was close to us, too - but he was in his own world, marking territory and showing his elegance. But today his eyes had some restlessness. Our guide's experience told us that he was hungry today.
Off he went, slowly moving towards the meadow. Somehow I felt really bad for disturbing him. We followed his royal walk from behind. He wasn't going to come off the track soon. Those few seconds seemed to be an eternal journey - following His Highness.
My guide sensed that I wasn't really amused.
"We didn't force him to go. He is hungry and has to get his prey" - he tried to console - "rather than following him from behind, let us go past him and have a head on view of this walk - that would really be interesting".
I wasn't thinking on the same lines and I wasn't ready to cause another annoyance. I decided against the suggestion. And now when I think about my decision, I feel happy that I didn't disturb him again!
After deciding to stay behind His Highness, gradually I started feeling better and considered the eye contact to be the proudest moment. But I didn't know he had some other plans for me. Within few moments, he changed his course and came out of the track. The guide didn't waste the golden opportunity - he quickly got us onto speed. Within next few seconds, after we had reached a fair distance in front, His Majesty decided to come back on the track!! Bingo!!
The utterly magical moments soon followed. I had my long telephoto lens mounted - I reached him through the view finder. Truly mesmerizing was his body language. His steely eyes had a strong determination. Never in my life was I so engrossed that those few moments felt like few hours. He was coming towards us - never had his eyes off from me until I realised I can see only his face. Deadly close he came, never looked impecunious for a single moment.
I realised it’s time for us to retreat - so did our guide. His Highness continued on his royal walk past us, disappeared in to the woods few moments later, leaving us with memories that have sat permanently in the front row of my memory lane.