REMEMBERING QUEEN

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Hav­ing sev­eral close en­coun­ters some­where deep in my heart I knew that this could prob­a­bly be Machhli’s last sea­son… De­spite know­ing that age is fast catch­ing up with Machhli and she may cross the river any now and then… I never wanted to ac­cept that it is time for her to go…

As came the day which I never wanted

to wit­ness… 18th Au­gust 2016, the day Queen left for happy hunt­ing grounds… An era has come to an end… She has said good­bye to the world, to her mil­lions of fans around the globe… and with heavy heart the world has bid adieu to the queen… Sadly, there will be no more sight­ings of Machhli.

We had booked al­liance de fran­caise on 12th au­gust it was hardly be­lieved that the premier to the film which was to be sawn on 21st of au­gust for the long­est liv­ing tiger­ess in the wild was need hur­ried edit­ing, with the film would have run as orig­i­nal.

Memories en­tan­gle me as I sit and rewind my memories, the first that flashes on my mind is of her as a very small cub in the car­ing and gen­tle jaws of her mother… and then of 2002, when I sighted her with three of her cubs on a golden sil­hou­ette near the Ra­jbagh lake of the park… The mem­ory I cher­ish the most…

With Machhli since she was a cub, till my last meet­ing a few month’s ago gave me pre­mo­ni­tion this be­ing the last meet­ing.

Machhli has a beau­ti­ful fish shaped mark on left side of her face and that is how she got the name. Her con­tri­bu­tion to Ran­tham­bore is un­de­ni­able. Machhli has given eleven cubs to the re­serve for­est in the four times she has de­liv­ered. In a coun­try, where tiger con­ser­va­tion­ists seem to be slowly los­ing the bat­tle against fall­ing numbers, her con­tri­bu­tion to the ris­ing pop­u­la­tion of tigers in the re­serve only adds to the le­gend of Machhli.

No other tiger in re­cent mem­ory has cap­tured as much pub­lic at­ten­tion as Machhli. Some­time back, Me­dia was sud­denly awash with sto­ries of Machhli strut­ting out of a ho­tel room in Sawai Mad­hopur, the prop­erty lo­cated at a stone’s throw away from her for­mer ter­ri­tory. Per­haps she had gone in to see how hu­mans live.

I have been ob­serv­ing her quite closely from the time when she was a cub of few days; the sheer plea­sure this mag­nif­i­cent

My last en­counter with Machhli

Pic Credit: HEM­RAJ MEENA

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