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Friday, December 17, 2010

Wild Life Week

Once upon a time, no its not that long, I was a boy of 15 years and studying in the 9th standard in my small town. Wild life week was at the doorstep. The Forest Department was organising many competitions for the school children. Essay writing, Poetry, Painting as also Photography. Every thing centred around wild life. Since I had my box camera, I thought of getting into the competitions. The problem, however, was where to get the wild animals. Then I remembered that there were some deers (antelopes) kept in a small enclosure within the local Palace compound. I went there with my box camera, only to be disappointed, as there was a tall wire mesh around the enclosure which prevented a clear view. Nevertheless I took some snaps but it was disgusting.

Two days later some one informed me that the tribals have caught a leopard and the same has been presented to the Maharaja and it is kept in a cage inside the palace. Once again I was on my way to the Palace. Immediately when we enter the main gate, to the left there is the famous Danteshwari temple. By its side there is one more enclosure with a gate. It leads to the living quarters of the staff and the garage where the limousines of the prince were kept. There it was, the leopard in a cage. A young tribal was also stationed nearby as its care taker. It was not  fully grown, rather it was a cub. Again the problem was how to get a clear photograph. The iron bars in the cage were creating problem. I was not all alone. A friend of mine was also accompanying me. He looked around and found that to the left there was a compound wall with a small grilled entrance. Corn was grown inside and it almost looked like jungle. We thought if we could make the care taker bring out the leopard cub (which was chained) and take  to the corn field, we may have a nice capture. I offered 2 Annas (1/8th of a Rupee) to the young tribal and sought his cooperation. With the money in his palm, he relented. He took out the cub from the cage and brought it inside the compound where corn was growing. With the chain in his hands, I was doubtful if I could get a photograph which could seem natural. I requested him to leave the chain but then he was not prepared. Alternatively I asked him to sit there with the chain touching the ground. He did that and I took two or three snaps. Two of them were out of focus but fortunately one snap came out reasonably well. This paved the way for my entry into the competitions. There was a little  bit of disappointment, when I was awarded a third prize in the district level. Obviously the judges were looking at the picture quality and they had no inklings of the efforts put in. The prize consisted of a bundle of publications of the Forest Department.

Here is one more snap for which a flash bulb was used. For each flash a new bulb was required to be used which was a little prohibitive, cost-wise. The animal captured here, though belongs to the same family, but man has domesticated them.


  1. .

    " The versatile blogger "

    Congrats !


  2. That leopard is no cub! You really risked a maul! Interesting read. The cat's pic was funny.

  3. Thanks P.N. Subramanian,
    There is always some rare and interesting information in your posts !!

  4. It is always thrilling reading your experience in your tribal home town. I was grown up hearing and reading stories of Bastar tribal community and their way of life.

    Look forward to more such stories on their life style, food, etc.


  5. so very interesting...you are a good story teller, i especially like the way you start the story :)

  6. wonderful! how interesting... and kudos for the efforts as well as the results!

  7. Hi P.N.! The picture is excellent! Third place gets a medal, but it's not what you deserved... Anyhow, you got the books!!
    Great effort and interesting story...
    Have a great week!

  8. Hello PNS,

    These are really good photos and they are lovely.It is all the more precious since it was taken decades back and you could preserve them for so long.

    I am amazed at the trouble you have taken and expense you have incurred to take the photo of the leopard in chains and make it appear natural.It doesn't matter that you got the third place at the district level which is a creditable achievement for you to be proud of.

    I must admit that you are a fantastic photographer even at that young age with great techniques and plans to get an excellent photo although the camera was outmoded by present day standards.

    I enjoyed reading this post which throws some light into your young age.Anna may not be of any value today but I remember my father buying me a chicken biriyani for just six annas in those days.

    Best wishes,

  9. It is for the first time I'm here. Your post reminded me of an essay 'Hunting Big Game with Camera'.

    Your style of narration & diction have a good impact on me.

  10. .

    Subramanian ji,

    Comment box is not active on your Hindi blog . Kindly check it out.


  11. It is so nice to read article dished out from oldtimes. Goes to show how you have retained your passion all these years. Keep it up and a happy xmas and a happy new year to you

  12. Hi P.N.! Have a Happy and Successful New Year!! Wish you all the best!!
    Horus and Sobek wait for you at Kom Ombo. Enjoy!

  13. नववर्ष की ढेरों हार्दिक शुभभावनाएँ.

  14. Nice post

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