Footprint

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There must be limits, somewhere, to the human footprint on this earth. When the whole of the world is reduced to nothing but human product, we will have lost the map that can show us how we got here, and can offer our spirits an answer when we ask why. Surely we are capable of declaring sacred some quarters that we dare not enter or possess.

 

Recently I read a quote somewhere, “The only animal that you should be really petrified of are humans”, aint that so shockingly true? The footprints we will probably leave behind us will be only ours in a few generations. Just as I took this picture of a lemur in Singapore zoo and I watched its legs and fingers I realised how beautiful these little animals were, how little damage they did to the planet, how difficult have we made it for them to survive, very soon the only place all these animals will be left for discovering will be Zoo’s I guess.

Its not just a random thought that just came to mind, I regularly keep observing, most times I keep it to myself but then sometimes it does make me want to voice it out. How much will we consume, how much will we keep growing, how much will be keep capturing, how much will be enough? We humans will never stop will we? Wonder what legacy will we live for the coming generations, perhaps we will have found newer technologies that will enable us to survive in any case although all other eco systems on the planet may not survive.

We must be careful what we use, how much we use, if we could cut down on our consumption in every small little way we can. Each individual can himself probably ration his own consumption, think not of how you may appear to others, think about what is best to sustain this planet.

Think, reduce, reuse, recycle and please keep repeating this! Lets try to leave only footprints.

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Don’t you stand in my way!!

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As this hungry and angry male tiger was crossing the road, our driver and guide tried to intercept him, the growl was enough to bring both of them to their senses and they allowed him to quietly continue on his path!!!

He gave us some really scary growls before he went away, clearly he was not amused by the way the driver tried to go near him.

After the episode we asked our driver to keep a safe distance, in the exuberance of spotting a tiger and wanting to get a closer photograph many a times we cross the line and get too near to the beautiful animal, almost mesmerised. However, it must be always kept in mind that we must keep a safe distance. The tiger should be allowed his space in the jungle and we must click him from a distance without causing any irritation to him.

We learnt a lesson and also requested our driver to not again repeat this in the future.

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Stop! Tiger on Prowl!

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Early morning safari’s are blissful! Not only do you get to be in the woods early in the morning and take in the fresh air, but the slowly penetrating sunlight gives you a thousand sights that will fill your memory for all those days when you have to go to work! The jungle is fully alive first up in the morning, the birds in full flight and at their chirpiest best!

The visitors in the park even more excited at the hope of spotting animals and among all a tiger!

Then, 5 minutes into the park you see this beautiful young female cub walking all alone on the road towards you and you wonder whom do you thank for your luck today!

Oh she was awesomely pretty walking down towards us! We kept reversing our jeep as she kept on walking towards us, she refused to acknowledge our presence, spraying on the trees and marking her territory.

This cub is not yet an owner of a territory and will soon mature into a full grown tigress and make her own territory, she has started doing a bit of it. We were blessed to watch her from up close! 🙂

Himalayan Blue Sheep – the first sighting!!!

About a couple of hours of walking on the route to Rumbak in the Hemis National Park, suddenly the guys leading the trek were hushing us to keep quiet. They had spotted something. Immediately everyone went quiet, a hush fell upon the valley as all the struggling trekkers immediately stopped and took a deep breath. Eyes started to strain and so did the neck trying to catch a glimpse but nothing was visible. Anticipation and excitement gripped us, the silence that suddenly spread across the valley was surreal, we waited for a movement, panting and whispering to each other whilst waiting, what is it? Is it a snow leopard?! Don’t tell me we got to see it so early!!! Its times like these when you feel you should be leading the trek and not be trailing behind for then you just have to live with this suspense and fear that the leaders will probably see the thing first and you just have to wait for it at the back end.

Eventually our guide gestured with his hand for all of us to move ahead. Stumbling on the rocks came out this fella, strutting like the king of the place, poor fella is just fodder for the elusive Ghost Cat!

Here is presenting the Himalayan Blue Sheep also known as the Bharal! You can read more facts about this high altitude ranger here.

During our 4 days in the Hemis national park this is one ranger that came to see us the most, the way this fella runs on the steep, sharp cliffs is a sight to be seen and the balance that these people have there is unbelievable, I am pretty sure they do not ever suffer from vertigo!!! They don’t just balance but actually perform aerobics on cliffs and I am almost tempted to give you a warning!

Do not try this at home!!!! 😛 😛 Here are some pictures of it.

The first one strutted out like an emperor, the lens had to be changed and fast from 18-55 to 55-300!!!!!! Busy times for the camera folks you know!

The first one strutted out like an emperor, the lens had to be changed and fast from 18-55 to 55-300!!!!!! Busy times for the camera folks you know!

I am the king of these places he seems to be saying... and I am going higher! :D

I am the king of these places he seems to be saying… and I am going higher! 😀

Apparently the first one was just scouting the territory and checking if we were safe for his mates to appear! As he passed by...

Apparently the first one was just scouting the territory and checking if we were safe for his mates to appear! As he passed by…

the remaining folks in his herd appeared

the remaining folks in his herd appeared

Then we spotted these two stuck on a cliff... it seemed the one behind was complaining to us that his mate is a sissy and not moving fast enough!

Then we spotted these two stuck on a cliff… it seemed the one behind was complaining to us that his mate is a sissy and not moving fast enough!

and then the other fella decided to show what he is made of!!

and then the other fella decided to show what he is made of!!

Just to give you an idea of how far and wide they were! It was a free fall of about 300 feet if even a centimeter of his calculated step went wrong!!!

Just to give you an idea of how far and wide they were! It was a free fall of about 300 feet if even a centimeter of his calculated step went wrong!!!

This is what they call living on the edge... never mind us humans who claim it!

This is what they call living on the edge… never mind us humans who claim it!

You talking to me??

You talking to me??

Yes... they do behave like they rule these places... they find the highest perch to pose!!!

Yes… they do behave like they rule these places… they find the highest place to pose!!!

Leh – First Impressions

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For the past 10 years one of my most wanted places to see was Ladakh, as time passed and more and more people I knew went on visiting Ladakh I would get restless and impatient, wondering if I would ever be able to visit this place. As movies were shot in Ladakh, more and more people started going there. Infact one of my best friends, Jay, who goes there every year now since the beginning of this century started lamenting about the sudden over influx of tourists and how they were littering in paradise and also creating traffic jams and chaos almost made me feel like I am probably never ever going to see it before paradise was dirtied. Thankfully though, I managed to reach there in winter, a relatively low tourist flowing time for Leh.

As I landed on Leh airport at around 12 noon in a blazing sun I noticed that I was breathing out smoke without actually smoking, thats how cold it was, however, the early excitement and the sun did not make me feel so cold and I was wondering why my friend Jay had been insisting that the cold is a huge challenge apart from the low oxygen content in the air. The streets of Leh were relatively empty and very few shops were open some brave tourists and locals got around but nothing much of a crowd anywhere. As time passed and we made our way to our hotel, slowly but surely the chills were becoming more consistent and the shiver was a constant part of me. As we got off our taxi to reach out hotel I saw this little dog curled in fully to keep itself warm. I think he seriously needed a blanket but then, probably these animals make better use of their bodies than we do!

Leh had a lot of Poplar tree’s but at this time of the year I don’t think I spotted one green leaf, explains the low oxygen content there. The high altitude, extreme cold, low oxygen and super dry conditions were a challenge. We spent the first day fully resting and sipping in lots of butter tea, black tea, soup and watching a bit of cricket. According to my friend Jay who is a regular here it was most important to give yourself maximum chance of combating the conditions and he did not let us take it easy. By 6pm in the evening I was in 5 layers of clothing and under two blankets still shivering and pulling muscles whenever I tried to twist things in my body!!!!

It was seriously, seriously cold, at night the temperature went below -20 degree celcius and we had been instructed my Jay to not take any heater in our room!!! It was a seriously tempting thought to take a heater in the room but well I decided to brave it out. The night went by with scanty sleep, however, slowly but surely without even really realising that then, I was acclimatizing to the conditions in Leh.

Gazelle

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This beautiful antelope is called Gazelle and you might wonder why, well the name gazelle comes from the Persian word Ghazal which means “elegant and quick”. The name now suits doesn’t it? 😀

In India we also call it the Chinkara! 🙂