Monday, May 22, 2006

Bannerghatta National Park Vs Bannerghatta Road

I recently visited Bannerghatta National Park and went for a safari ride in an enclosed van. Everything was perfect, it was sunny, the animals were visible and we could take a few good pictures of the animals. Towards the end of the safari, the van splutted and stopped. The driver's attempts to restart the engine caused the van to shake but not start. We were in the middle of some 6-7 grown up tigers. One of them was white. The tourists began giving advices - that reminded me that everyone is getting used to the Windows way of life. Restart.

After sometime, the driver picked up some courage, stopped one of the vans that passed by and jumped into it. His task was to arrange for alternate transport for the stranded tourists.

Slowly the folks in the van began losing patience. The tigers got a bit curious and came close the van. All of a sudden the sunny weather felt very sultry. Kids started crying; mothers and grandmothers began panicking. Other vans passing by, had tourists who were more keen on taking pictures of the tigers than offering any help. Finally the driver brought a more spacious van with forest office folks in it.

The resuce van was parked closed to ours and tourists started jumping into it through the driver's seat of the stranded van. Couple of tigers started coming closer and wanted to take part in some action. Operation transfer was stopped and the rescue van was started to chase away the tigers. Still a few tourists were there in the stranded van. By this time, the weather got cooler and it seemed it would start raining soon.

The forest office guys jumped off the van, picked up some stones and threw at the tigers. The tigers scampered like stray dogs and the transfer operation resumed. As the last tourist boarded the rescue van, it started raining.

It was about one hour of thrill. We returned to Bangalore that evening.

The next day, I was at Bannerghatta Road - the long one that connects Bangalore with the National Park. I had to cross the road to pick up some gifts for my relatives. As I was half-way through, a moped came from nowhere and almost knocked me down. The tigers we saw the earlier day seem far too tame as compared to the rider of the moped.

Bannerghatta road is more thrilling than the national park.

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