Friday, 7 June 2013

Of Cats And Flies - 2

Note: This post is the second part of the full article. You can read the first part here.

Day 2 -

The cook woke me up at half past 6, and I took a quick bath in the river.
He then treated me to a breakfast of omelets and green tea.

I asked him how I could reach the stretch of the river that was visible from the watchtower, and headed off in that direction.
While walking along this stretch, I found a nice open place, put down my bag, and started roaming around taking pictures.
This next picture was especially interesting:
You see, this region is pretty rich in iron, and used to be mined for iron-ore until recently, before being marked as a natural reserve.
What can be seen in the picture above is essentially a thin layer of iron deposit on water reflecting some clouds as they pass overhead.

And while I was taking this very picture, I heard (or thought I heard) a muffled growl.
It had come from across the river, from within thick foliage.

I didn't know how to react.
I just stood there, stupefied, looking in the general direction the noise had come from, wondering if i had really heard it.

But then there it was again - loud and distinct this time.
I was sure it was a leopard!

Within seconds, I had stuffed my camera into my pocket, had my rucksack strapped to my back, and was walking at a steady pace towards the camp, looking back every few steps. Hoping for just a brief, distant glimpse...

I reached the kitchen (still twitching), and saw the cook talking to 2 gentlemen who had just arrived.
I went up to them, and said - "There's a leopard nearby."
Proved to be an effective icebreaker.

I told them what I'd heard, and this time, the 4 of us went together as a team. We went back to the same place, and waited for about 5 minutes. Without luck.

The cook had a theory that he told us about - the leopard had probably hunted one of the deer that had been roaming around the camp last night, and was eating it by the river.
If what he says is true, the beast had probably been warning me to back off.

Nothing else of much interest happened that day, apart from this little snake that I found out in the open:
Also, did I mention I saw a King Cobra? Couldn't take a picture because it was too dark.

Anyways, I left at around 1 pm this day, and that too in a very bollywood style.

I had been waiting for the bus by the highway, in the middle of nowhere. As soon as I saw a bus coming, I started jumping and signalling.
The bus started slowing down.
I ran back and picked up my bag.
The bus started moving.
I ran towards it, threw my bag on board, and climbed up after it.

I then spent 2 blissful hours eating fresh guavas, looking at the scenic meadows around me, and listening to some kickass music.

PS: A senior, Pranshu Sharma, went to Kudremukh the next day, and saw a leopard. With cubs. What if the leopard I'd went too close to had cubs with it? I wish I had gathered enough courage and stuck around a bit longer. No worries, though - the trip was insane.

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