The Bandipur Diary – Wild conversations -Part 1

” Karnataka alone has lost 100 elephants in less than a year and it is mainly female elephants that are dying .” The wood cracked as the smoke curled up , warming up the air. Mithun the naturalist in Bandipur is speaking to the guests. He moves on from one group to the other .The conversation gets heated.More figures are rattled. Unofficially it is claimed that 40 elephants in just 15 days have died..”maybe an exaggeration,” someone muttered, chewing on groundnuts.”It is a serious concern,” he cried indignantly. “Didnt you read the papers ? Its poisoning and not poaching,” He moved on to the next table..” So , did you enjoy the safari ? Did you see the herd ? Oh ! yesterday, there was a herd at the hilltop…” conversations drown in the drinks as tourists take over the conversation from conservation. “Give me a beer please !And a sprite for me !”

“Travelling today is all about badge value,” I say. ” I agree,” he nods. Tourists , today have a lot of disposable income, are educated , but their idea of a holiday is to come, get drunk, listen to loud music , eat good food and party ! Thats ok, but why come to a wild life could do that in any resort ? ” And of course,throw a mineral water bottle or a lays chips plastic cover around ..” lol…


“Hi,do you need a wake up call ? 5.30 am ..that would be great ?” “By the way, Mithun,what was that about elephants .. ? Mithun turns around and the conversation goes back to conservation .” They are electrocuted, poisoned as there is a conflict..last time 60 elephants barged into a sugarcane field..their corridor is taken over by man. Resorts are being set up in their corridor..a recent upmarket resort with just 10 acres of built up area has fenced 40 acres and thats the crucial corridor, ” His fingers trace a satellite map which shows the elephant trail..” Hey, do you want to go tomorrow after the safari to the villages ? You will get their perspective.”Sounds good to me !


  1. hitch writer 18 November, 2008 at 17:22 Reply

    The battle for survival is too lopsided. We humans are i must say this the worst animals on the planet. The tourists throwing litter should be thrown out… Corbett park is wonderfully managed in this aspect… it was the only park in india where i travelled 50 kms and didnt find one Mineral water bottle or one Chips packet lying in the sanctuary area…

  2. vishesh 18 November, 2008 at 17:29 Reply

    hmm…tell the people to stand in front of the elephant and then try and kill it with their bare hands,they can’t…but as humans we have only one thing to survive and that is our mind…
    yet a few insult the mind by destroying and not creating…the war is not about saving animals but saving ourselves…

  3. Nandan Jha 18 November, 2008 at 17:47 Reply

    You are growing old (and wiser). This is a book material.

    I wont be surprised if I find my hands on one by you not too distant in future.

    Please read Mark Tully’s “India in Slow Motion” when you have time. The ability to not get lost amid the euphoria of a trip comes only with time. After a while, travel become more a part of you then some thing strange which you discover and feel high. I no longer feel any high by having beer :), its almost a part of me.

    I might be off to Corbett with my office folks this weekend (and its drinks + DJ + Lays/Bisleri. and thats fine, but why Corbett then).

    Probably I would find time and company to sneak in a quick excursion to compensate the loss. Even if it could as simple as walking down to local tea-waala and having a conversation around the local life.

    You are growing wiser (and old).

  4. Priyank 18 November, 2008 at 20:51 Reply

    Nice stuff! There was one incident in my late teens when I got lost in a forest and couldn’t find anyone for almost 30 minutes. I panicked. Then I spotted a chocolate wrapper. I followed it. Then there was a plastic bottle. The treasure trail lead me to the camp, to everyone’s relief. I was happy and I shared a bag of trash with them.

  5. Anu 19 November, 2008 at 04:26 Reply

    Wow, the first line hit me hard.. thanks for giving us that perspective, never knew about poisoning elephants!! Who would ever thought that people would be heartless.. waiting for more details

  6. Mridula 19 November, 2008 at 11:14 Reply

    That is why we like to trek so much, or go to places where the ‘badge’ crowd is not around. And thankfully as of now there are so many places in India where you can shake that crowd off. I very well understand what you are saying.

  7. Aaarti 20 November, 2008 at 00:43 Reply

    Now, that was fascinating… love the writing style u’ve taken on girl..

    also,scary facts abt elephants being poisoned n all that.. scary!! sad world we live in…. sigh!!!

  8. Vijay 20 November, 2008 at 09:13 Reply

    We will never realise the greatness of the land we hail from. No point in blaming the Govt or the Depts, the pride has to come from within each individual.

    Your new style is absorbing, kind of transports you to the scene of action.

    keep them coming


  9. ~vagabond~ 20 November, 2008 at 21:38 Reply

    I can tell this is going to be an interesting series to read.

    “Tourists , today have a lot of disposable income, are educated , but their idea of a holiday is to come, get drunk, listen to loud music , eat good food and party!”

    So glad you addressed this issue. Cant tell you how often I’ve been in the midst of an utterly serene location only to have its serenity ruined by a bunch of drunk tourists. There should be a law against loud music in national parks. Oh wait, there is. Some tourists just choose to disrespect it. :{

  10. Jeevan 21 November, 2008 at 10:24 Reply

    Is not healthy to know more elephants are dying recently. If one is wild enthusiastic doesn’t they have responsibility to take care the nature and animals to enjoy it forever! I witness there is less awareness among people and children about Eco tourism or traveling, even there was sign board of no-plastic they used to throw. We have build comfort homes here, even though selfish, must acknowledge why these places don’t may be a forest in past and it continues is no more. For good, must save forest lands for animals and humans.

    I fine new in your writing buddy, hope u have wonderful times in Bandipur.

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