The Last Lesson

To visit Ranthambhore National Park is always a pleasure because to see a Tiger in the wilderness is a thrilling experience no matter how many times you see it.

At the end of November we were in Ranthambhore again, and we had the luck to be witness to an amazing lesson in Tiger lifestyle, given by the Tigress T-19 (Brat) to her two big boys, Akash & Suraj. (We know Yusuf doesn’t like these names but at the moment these are their unofficial names).

It was early in the morning when we met Brat walking on the road, she was in front of our car in the perfect morning light.

Brat in the beautiful early morning light.
Brat in the beautiful early morning light.

She wasn’t just walking. She made her way down a small road in the heart of the National Park, like a legendary Hollywood actress who still turns every head. However, on this day she didn’t come for a catwalk.

She was coming to give her two big boys maybe their last lesson before they have to leave their mother and find their own territories. The time of tenderness was over.

Brat strode forward, she took several strides towards us until she picked up on an interesting noise – her two sons near the lake. After listening for a while she continued on her way and disappeared into the golden grass for several minutes.

Brat strides towards us. Nothing can be as captivating as a tiger walking towards you.
Brat strides towards us. Nothing can be as captivating as a tiger walking towards you.

We decided to look for the two big boys. We headed in the direction of where the sound was coming from and we found them near the lake. It was awesome to see them sitting together, in their idyllic world. They were not interesting in leaving their favourite playing spot…

And they really did not know their mother was coming to drum them out of paradise so they still had enough time to play together in the water and have fun.

The two cubs playing in the water
The two cubs playing in the water
The two boys splash around in the water as they play fight.
The two boys splash around in the water as they play fight.
Real life can wait, there was no reason to leave this paradise!
Real life can wait, there was no reason to leave this paradise!

We couldn’t see the meeting between Brat and her sons very well because they were too far away from the road, deep inside the forest.

We saw, in the forest, only shadows of the Tigers, and a short fight between Brat and one of her sons, we didn’t know which one. The powerful roar of a Tiger is incredible, because you have the impression that you can feel the pressure of the roar, the atmospheric pressure against your ribcage.

Brat gave her sons the most difficult lesson, one of separation. Almost as though she said, “you have to go, find your own way and leave the territory where you were born.” We don’t know if Akash and Suraj understood this lesson. The future will show what happened, but it looks like Brat will stay in her old territory and be the new ‘Lady of the Lakes’ while her sons forge their own path.

It was an unforgettable experience that will stay with us forever.

William Wordsworth called such moments, “Spots of Time”, experiences so powerful that they continue to resonate with new meanings after years.

Brat in the stunning golden light.
Brat in the stunning golden light.

Brat, unaffected by all of these thoughts was going her way, ignoring us as if we don’t exist in her world, but she, and all the other Tigers in Ranthambhore have a large presence in ours.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/fzCXXg2ao7M[/youtube]

So, we will come back as soon as possible and stay again at the wonderful Sher Bagh, to visit the Tiger High Society. Again and again and again…

Written, Filmed and Photographed by Guenther Kieberger

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