We had gone to the Kaziranga forest reserve a week too early.
The elephant safaris inside the reserve begin only on November 1st. We had to make do with a jeep safari which allows for only a cosmetic feel of the forest because the motorable roads are few and largely on the periphery. Kaziranga has swampy lands.Only elephants can negotiate that terrain. And the swamps are flooded for many months, by November the waters have mostly receeded .
A jeep safari meant that we drive through for an hour and get a sense of the breathtaking landscape, not go up close to the animals.
A bunch of jeeps are let in together. That is annoying because then you cannot linger and you are forced to have conversations that you are not equipped to deal with.
To us,"Hi there, did you spot anything?"
"Umm, we were a few meteres behind you. But no, nothing yet, just some exquisite birds..."
To the driver/guide "Why havent we seen any animal as yet? Have you brought us through the correct route?"
To us, " These fellows have not brought us through the correct route, we have seen nothing. "
To the driver/guide : "You better make us spot something. We have come all this way...."
Dear annoying, noisy man in the other jeep,
Yes, you have bought your tickets but the national anthem is not going to start anytime soon followed by the censor certificate followed by three hours of popcorn munching and chewing cud.
Yes, you have bought your ticket but there are no queues to the ride determined to make you defy gravity and scream like goats gone mad.
Yes, you have spent your money but there will be no bargain hunting of that designer shoe to make you trot on shiny floors.
This ticket does not guarantee the sighting of a sale, a celebrity or a slick flick.
Yes, you pay the money, and you might go home having spotted eight feet high grass that extends until the horizon. Nothing more.
It is luck, by chance, for real!
Please be quiet next time so you dont frighten the animals who might have been hiding three feet away from us in the elephant grass. Ok?
The lady whom you assumed was hard of hearing.
We did spot the rhinos, from a distance. And a majestic water buffalo up close. A mother and child pair of wild elephants and deer. And many many extraordinary birds.But mostly we spent our time being hypnotised by the landscape. ( not on the same trip as the annoying man, he saw nothing)