You know when you are in the right place at the right time, and all your juices are flowing, you are in your bliss and you cannot miss? And you know when you are in the wrong place, wrong time, there is a serious disturbance in the force, and the world is crashing round you? Below is my tale of two energies. Settle in, and prepare to be amazed.

So the first of these is that perfect moment pregnant with delight. The time when you just know something wonderful is going to happen. All you have to do is sit there with a big silly smile on your face and let it flow. Such a time was my first great tiger sighting of  my 2016 trip to Bandhavgarh. Seeing tigers in the wild is not a dial up for a takeaway curry experience. You not only don’t know when it’s going to arrive, you don’t even know if it will (actually, sometimes that is also the experience with a takeaway curry, but you get my meaning). We had had a couple of really distant sightings. Like this one, a long way away and in a dark tunnel of bamboo. There was a tantalising view of a few stripes and a bit of whisker, and a frankly gruesome view of a rather flattened deer nose (you can just about make it out on the right, if you really want to…).

tiger and prey distant
small tiger and prey
Tiger imprint

I even got excited about seeing the imprint in the sand road where a tiger had spent the night (paws, head, tail, everything, like the ghost of the tiger was taunting me…). But this was not ‘the tiger shot’ I had come for. And this went on for days. Sometimes that’s just how it is – these are wild animals (and I am so grateful for it), and they don’t have to rock up for your viewing delectation. Unless you are a VIP, when an elephant may take you to peak viewing experience. Some of our lows revolved sitting around looking at elephants with ‘VIPs’ on them, as a proxy for looking at actual tigers. But I am not bitter. Let’s move on with the story.

Now Jagat, the naturalist we would not ever be without, and have trusted for many years, well he is our tiger guru. He knows stuff. He knows an awful lot of stuff, actually, down to the name of the last small brown bird. And he knows how to find a tiger. Sometimes that’s because of what he knows. There was that amazing time one Christmas morning when he left all the other jeeps (a brave thing to do, because jeeps, like sheep, flock together, in a huddle of urgent anticipation). So all the other guides think the tiger is coming out somewhere else, your naturalist takes you off in the opposite direction. You try not to panic. He listens to the alarm calls, and says with great authority that the mother and three cubs are just crossing the river. You believe him, after all, he’s been right before. Then he parks up (we are still alone) and tells me the tigers are coming. I say, where might they come out. He says, there, right there, by that tree, they will come out there. I think, yeh right, you can be that precise, really? But I point my camera there anyway, sometimes you just have to trust. This is the photograph I took as the tiger (Dotty) emerged from the jungle, right by that tree. Of course.

Tiger Tree

She was, as promised, followed by three cubs, tummies all damp – yep, from where they crossed the river. We watched one run across, followed by this handsome pair, as cool as you like. They observed her closely as she scent marked a tree, then they were gone.

Tigers cubs wet

This painting is of those two cubs – as they walked side by side – out by THAT tree.


Anyway, back to the story. So I was getting a bit anxious. Not like a lot of people who go there, if they don’t see a tiger all is lost. Their jeeps race around in a funk. We saw people being driven around just looking at their phones, because for them no tiger to see meant nothing to see. Now I am always happy to see all the other amazing wildlife whether it be a jungle cat blinking at you through the long golden grass, or sambar deer mating in a lake, or the mongoose or the jackal that crosses your path. But nonetheless, you do eventually want to see a tiger up close and personal. You really do. So we moseyed around a bit, then suddenly it happened. The shift. The crackle. The energy moving. It was coming off Tiger Guruji in waves, I knew at that moment we were about to see a tiger. Off we went, all on our own (again). We stopped, we waited, and She came. Her name is Kajari (named for her Kohl/mascara like markings). She is the daughter of Spotty (she is one of the cubs that came out with Spotty by that tree the Christmas before).

Mascara walking

And she broke the spell (the dry tiger spell). Her sighting was followed by other fabulous sightings.

Dotty in field

So that’s what happens when the spirit is with you. Thank you Tiger Guruji. Always.

But what about when you stand at the crossroads and the energy vortex is swirling and sucking and unstable? I can tell you.

I was standing at the crossroads. Trying to buy elephant earrings, could not decide between this pair or that pair. Sleepy little town, nothing much happening. Then a herd of buffalo gets spooked, who knows by what, and come careening round the corner. So one might think that might result in a few people scattering and a bit of buffalo pat to be avoided later. But it just so happened that at that very moment, a temple elephant was being led down the road on a fundraising trip. A very rare occurrence, apparently. The elephant was massively startled by the herd running amok towards it. It backed up, and trumpeted with big panicked hoots. It was calmed by the ministration of its human friends, and the balm of several bananas. The elephant passes on, with a donation from me for ‘good luck’. I decide not to touch him, tempted as I am by the offer, because of his somewhat discombobulated state (though intensely beautiful, he was also very big, and had not in the recent past been having a great day, being touched by a stranger might have been the last straw, I feared. When something is that big, however gentle, it pays to be respectful).

elephant crossroads

I go back to trying to buy the elephant earrings (there are few coincidences in life…). Not to be. By now the crossroads had somehow become a little damp, it may have been buffalo wee, maybe elephant wee, I really could not say, my attention really had been entirely engaged with looking at the elephant. Anyway, a motorcyclist comes round the corner, maybe a little fast, hits the damp patch and comes off rather dramatically. People standing around rush to help. The chap gets back on, pride hurting more at that point than his leg probably will later, and off he goes. By now people are looking at each other and smiling, heads shaking, what on earth is going on here? But no, there is more. The bus comes along. Indian buses are groaning with passengers, and often a bit the worse for wear. This one ground to a halt, and no more would it move. Completely blocking the crossroads. The usual men (and in this case also a cow) standing about staring occurred for a little while, then something you would not see in the UK, a crowd pushing the bus to jump start it. Which worked.


The bus slowly made its blue smoky throaty roar way off, Everyone by now is shaking their heads and laughing with bemusement, I mean really, what next? One gentleman looked at us, smiling, and said ‘Benny Hill, Benny Hill’. Indeed. Though on this occasion without the unnecessarily scantily clad ladies. At this point, hanging around at the crossroads that day seemed an unnecessary risk, I quickly bought the earrings and left while my elephant given luck held.

So what is the moral of these stories? Maybe when you are in the moment, you are being given a great gift, so enjoy it for what it’s worth, and if you are standing at a crossroads, don’t hang around too long in indecision. Or perhaps it is always anticipate elephant wee when riding your motorcycle.