A plant called Paris

  Way back in April 2004, on a walk to Motijheel and Gibbons’ Land in Namdapha, we came across a beautiful plant. It was a herb and had two tiers of leaves in whorls and the flowers seemed to have spidery tendrils. Quite a beauty and unusual. Photo: Saravana Kumar Sara, the ace photographer with an eye…

Crouching chowkidar, leaping tiger

November 2012 It started calling from around 2:30 pm. And kept on at regular intervals every 15-20 minutes or so. Imam and I had tea on the veranda of the rest house. We figured the tiger was maybe around 500 m away. Then we decided to go for a walk on the track through the…

Journeys in Arunachal

Travelling in north-east India can be an amusing, exhilarating experience or nerve-wracking and frustrating depending on your frame of mind and your stars. Murphy’s law applies – so just bear in mind that if anything can go wrong it will, but then again it may not. As a wildlife biologist who has spent many years…

It never rains in Spiti

3rd – 10th September 1995 The bus was hurtling its way down the rain and hail-washed mud road near the Kunzam pass when I realized that it was actually snowing lightly. Sitting cosily ensconced in the relative comfort of the Himachal State Transport Roadways bus, I felt a great thrill watching the lightly falling snow…

The Hunter

November 1995: It was only my third day in Pakke Tiger Reserve – then known as Pakhui Wildlife Sanctuary, – and I was excited by the newness and wonder of everything around. And of being in Arunachal for the first time. The previous day, we had walked 13 km to reach the Khari camp as…

The curious case of the worm

Is it a blind snake, a weird earthworm or just a long thick piece of hair that somehow wriggled and moved?   Umesh was almost convinced it was some kind of a snake. I was not so sure. I had never seen anything like it before. It was very long, almost a metre, thin, dark,…

Seasons in the sun: remembering the forest

The colors and smells of the forest don’t stay with you when you leave. Yet when you return, it’s like meeting an old friend. Vaguely familiar, yet forgotten. You need to reconnect again. How you remember a forest also depends on the season in which you saw it. And much of what you know depends…