So you love travel and enjoy taking wildlife safari holidays and you have being doing so for quite a while now. You have travelled far and wide and seen the big game but you are not satisfied (who is ever satisfied of seeing the Tiger in the wild) so you keep looking for excuses and opportunities to head to the peace of the wild again and again. But now you are a senior wild-lifer and it is time you started acting one. This is a list of things to do while others are gushing with Ohhs and Ahhs !!!
Here is how to wild life like a boss!
1) Probably the 1st thing you will see when you hit any National Park in India is a herd of beautiful spotted deer. You might see them outside the park area itself and often close to human habitation. They are lovely and most people will pull out their cameras here and start clicking. Stay calm, look at the deer and say in a soft sonorous voice “Cheetal”. Someone will think you said “Cheetah”, they will instantly turn and look at you, that is your cue to say “Axis axis”, then the person looking at you with the slack jaw will say “Huh” … so you say “Axis deer” that’s the correct binomial nomenclature for Cheetal or what some people call Spotted deer.
By now slack jaw has flipped out and you have been established as the wildlife boss.
This format can be followed in many situations, people see any deer with large antlers and say “Barashinga” or people see “Gaur” and say “Indian Bison”, these are the spots in jump in and take charge, be the wildlife boss.
Here is a picture of a real Barashinga aka swamp deer.
And these are Gaur (Bos Gaurus); try not to call them Bison.
2) Ok by now you all are in the core area of the park, be alert, don’t chat and faf around (this is very important). The next thing that is going to happen (99% of the time) is that the diver and the guide are going to stop the Jeep and peer down at the road. Cue for Tiger pug marks. Some frantic finger pointing will ensue, be calm, take a long look at the pug marks, then say “hmmm Male hai” then look into the distance and say “Road hi road chala hai”.
At this point the other guest in the jeep will be thunder struck by your powers, revel in the moment. The driver and guide will of course be looking sheepish and rolling their eyes. Ignore them or wink wink/nudge nudge them.
Now say “Chalo, aas pass hi hoga” like a boss.
3) Now the game is afoot. The chase is on, the forest is alive with hope and titillation, could there be a big cat around the next bend? Suddenly the guide asks the driver to STOP! The jeep stops, the guide has his head cocked in a manner that suggests “I am listening”. Then he says “alarm call!” – Whoa !!!! This is all good and it ends in a sighting of the big cat that’s great and you should enjoy the moment but if no sighting emerges then it is your role to be the boss. The guide and driver are under pressure, you should now observe a nearby tree that is in flower and covered with butterflies, moths, bees and other minor insects. Use the binoculars you have carried (because that’s what wildlife bosses do) and say “WOW! that’s awesome, guys look there are a bunch of Hummingbird Hawk Moth humming around that tree”
This will break the pressure on the driver/guide and they will forgive and forget the early goof up with the “Male” pug mark and establish you firmly as the wildlife boss.
4) Now the rest of the safari can take place in an amicable manner. Allow the other inmates to talk and tell about their own experiences. It is very important to praise them, say “Wow! I have never been there” and “Wow! I have never seen that” often. Listen to the guide’s funny stories about other guests; laugh out loud when the driver tells his favourite story about the Punjabi family from Bhatinda. All good. Enjoy the park and occasionally point up in the sky and say “B.O.P”, when everybody looks up and their collective jaws drop once again at your total boss-hood, say “bird of prey” slightly sheepishly.
Who knows, you might get lucky and see a Eurasian Hobby on your safari that day. Now that’s the kind of cool luck a boss deserves.
5) Now you are headed back the lodge and any wildlife boss know that that’s the MOST important part of being a boss. You simply can’t be a wildlife boss staying at any old place. The choice of wildlife lodge is in fact what makes you a boss in the first place. A boss needs the correct mix of the lean and the luxury. The beer has to be chilled to the right temperature. The food has consistently marvellous. The welcome towel at the lodge gate when you arrive or return from safari has to be a minor miracle. The snack basket for the break during safari has to be overwhelming. The lodge grounds have to be teeming with the possibilities of snakes and bird life. The swimming pool needs to be just perfect. The view needs to be alluring; the resident naturalists need to be knowledgeable and enthusiastic.
Only a clear combination of all these elements to allow a wildlife lover to experience nature like a boss, thank you Pugdundee Safaris for making me feel like a boss.
I’ll be back.