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Showing posts from July, 2012

For the Eye of the Tiger

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The Hon'ble Supreme Court of India recently banned all forms of tourism activities in the core areas of all tiger reserves. Though the ban is temporary, and the final decision will be taken on August 22, tour operators specialising in wildlife tourism have opposed the ban vehemently. Understandably so, commercial stakes are quite high. The novelty value of the Tiger has been appreciating over the years. Tiger tourism, with the support from various Wildlife Departments of  states, has created a niche for itself. There are over 27 tiger reserves in the country. These reserves, which are protected areas under various laws, play a monumental role in not only tiger conservation but also in protecting the ecology surrounding the tiger. Together with the tourists, the states and the tour operators have been raking in handsome revenues year on year. However, now with the ban in place, things are not looking up. Especially because, the core areas is supposed to be where the big cats are; …

The Day Our City Sank

I was in the tenth standard, as we call it here, obviously we didn't have the grading system then. It was my SSC year, the year one had to learn the entire textbook and not just the half part as we did until ninth standard. With facial hair and pimples and all that was happening, life wasn't so bad after all. A textbook and just one exam was manageable. And that day it started to rain just as I got out of the school gate. Walking in the rain has always been my favorite thing to do, especially when I know there isn't going to be an AC room waiting for me at the end of the walk. So I walked, holding my waterproof backpack to the rain, challenging the droplets to seep in. And within a few minutes I was home, the rain had not abated.

One never paid much attention to the rain, especially not during the month of July, things were quite different 7 years ago. Within 2 hours, by about 3'o clock, a small puddle of water started to form in a corner of our living room. It was gr…

Glimpse

Travelling is all about stories. Stories that you hear and stories that you share. One doesn't need to go on long haul trips to experience them. A day trek is fine, as I found out on Breakfree's trek to Sagargad. The gentleman who rents his bus to us sends his son as a 'cleaner' along with the driver on every trip. Now, people familiar with truck driving jargon will know that the job of a cleaner involves a lot of menial work. But this chap, lets call him, S, does that and a lot of other dirty work without any hesitation. He only mingles with me and never talks to the guests.

Yesterday, as we passed Shahbaaz, on the Alibaug-Bombay route, he started telling me about the woman he is in love with. Incidentally, she belongs to the region that we were currently passing through. He even pointed out to the lane that leads to her village. She works at a rich family's house in Bombay, close to where he lives. She calls him from their landline phone when she doesn't see…