When a man wants to murder a tiger he calls it sport, when tiger wants to murder him he calls it ferocity…George Bernard Shaw
Never before has nature been so equitably cherished and despised. As I was contemplating these words, the robust Ambassador car was negotiating cool breeze and mild drizzle in thirty miles per hour, chase for a Fiat car. It’s another endangered specimen, in the forest of accelerated breed of new-fangled designed car surging into Indian market.
Nature has always been a source of wonder and woe, prospect and peril, delight and danger. Nature continues to quench our physiological and poignant thirsts, but we also continue to trample them underfoot.
Located 107 km from Jaipur, India at Alwar, Sariska Reserve nestles in a picturesque valley of the Aravalli hills, covering 498 sq. km. Nature has been governing space for civilization. But the intriguing question…is the process being reversed, civilization governing the space for nature.
If so, it’s scripting a perilous proposition, from whom are we protecting nature…is it mankind?
Isn’t that paradoxically unkind of mankind?
There’s that rub. But in that rub lies the future. More and more people live on the blurry boundary-line between “nature” and “civilization”. As human populations continue to grow and invade nature, new versions of this conflict shall play out around the globe. The wild animals of Sariska Tiger Reserve show us how it can be managed. More important, the tiger of Sariska show us why it matters.
Our culture unlike foreign currencies is not convertible. Culture, is our second nature. It provides us with a habitat of our own making within the larger context of first nature and its primary manifestations: bounded parks and unbounded forests. Through culture we are continuously creating, and recreating a secondary nature of artificially designed or more or less strongly modified ecosystems.
I hadn’t had the chance to explore the nature’s opulence at Sariska. Twenty five years has passed by. I knew I was opaque to this opulence. I was increasingly getting animated. The moment had arrived… The driver was prompt in revealing his hidden role…I was lucky. He had mastered the dual role, physically navigating the car (as driver) and mentally navigating the passenger (as guide). I was excited.
The hotel did derive its name from the hills. Hotel Aravalli was situated in the basement of the Aravalli Hills in Alwar. Breathtaking were the peaks, stretching eternally around the sleepy little town.
Life is so much like nature. It offers surprises. But, that is part of keeping things alive. The balancing act… If there were no pains, what good would be the gains? If there were no darkness, what good would be the sunshine? Life comes full circle. Lingering thoughts of life I walked into the balcony of Aravalli hotel, I could see, the people leisurely stretching their body, and enjoying the sporadic unruffled breeze, piercing the lush green lawn in the façade of their houses.
The children on the rooftop unfurling their thoughts in the clear sky… Myriad colours of kites dot the firmament. The ecstasy of freedom, and flying high was pertinently evident in the visages of the vibrant young generation. So was my freedom from the daily grind to explore the nature’s bounty at the bounded Sariska Tiger Reserve.
Life is guided by reasons, and at times by mere emotion. Like life, nature feels elastic in the morning (childhood), overexcited by daytime (adolescent), rigid by evening (middle age) and frustrated by night (old age).
Both life and nature fights its ups and downs, tides and ebbs, low and high spirits.
Life of nature looks intriguing if observed from different angles and diverse frames; familiar yet mysterious, gorgeous yet shabby, pure yet impure…“Nature and Life” are not mutually exclusive, so are “Sariska and Tiger”.