Sea, Sand, Flippers

An Indian Humpback Dolphin, Sousa plumbea , off the coastal waters, overlooked by Konkan hills. For the first time in my explorations I find myself wanting to express this feeling, for I am as much in awe as in search of words. I have always maintained that mountains moved me. Sahyadrica’s tagline was ‘belonging to the mountains’ – the name itself means ‘of the northern Western Ghats.’ That has changed over the years, of course, but even as I wrote about the coastal region where land and sea meet, even as the sea inspired me, even as the coast offered me a diversity of experiences in various shapes and forms of marine organisms and coastal communities, it is mountains that captured my wonder and awe whenever I stood at the foot of one before climbing to the very top. It may be because the coast doesn’t challenge me the way a mountain does, or so I thought. That is a thin line I walk, for even if I am comfortable on a boat in the high sea, I am not underwater, which is why what remains

To Show A Tiger

A tigress looking at a bird taking off in a meadow of Kanha. After months of musing over whether a writing break at the onset of winter was affordable, I went for it and in the process extended the writing break by writing about it. In my defence, there is a very good reason to do so, for after nearly a decade of planning and rescheduling and budgeting, my family visited Kanha Tiger Reserve with me, giving shape to this piece about showing a tiger in the global age of wildlife tourism of India. The leisure that wildlife tourism – particularly tiger tourism – in India affords is a subject that I take no comfort in discussing. On the one hand, it offers an opportunity for citizens to cherish nature in isolation and on the other hand, it is a high-cost venture that is not afforded to every citizen. It’s the reason for the success of species-centric exclusionist-model of conservation and at the same time it is the reason for further alienating a large mass of people from benefitting from

Barefoot Notes: Beeing in the Shivalik

A view of the outer Himalaya - the Shivalik, upwards from the city of Ramnagar in Nainital. As fate would have it, I would wound around the same road across groves of jamun in the marshes and stands of sal in the lower hills, by the same shop I fondly remember meeting a lovely she-dog with light-brown eyes who immediately liked me in return, and up the mountain roads like I did seven years ago, mesmerised by the endlessness of the forests of the Himalayan foothills, across wide riverbanks of the Kosi – the same river that many have, in another age, journeyed afoot, from the trading Shauka families covering many miles across the Transhimalaya to the terai plains, to Harrer and Aufschnaiter, two mountaineers who escaped from the Dehradun Internment Camp when the World War II started, following the Kosi at first, all the way to Lhasa. It was sheer coincidence that I read Harrer’s account Seven Years in Tibet as I crossed Kosi every day. I was in the Shivalik Range of the North-western O