My Story Ain't Finished Yet
I Have ruled this landscape for almost a decade & made this park and its people famous. I am one of the oldest surviving tiger in the wild & this is my story. While much has already been written, televised and spoken about me, this is me talking straight from the heart. My name is Machli and I am here to say” My story isn't finished yet”.
Ever since I handed over the reins of my kingdom to my gen next, I have been living in a small valley near Lakkarda. Each monsoon when the park closes for three months, there are speculations about my survival and existence. While I am certainly ageing with each passing season, isn’t reminding a lady of her age every now and then considered bad etiquette anymore in human society??? Shouldn’t you guys be happy celebrating my birthday instead?? For the record, I complete 16 glorious years of survival in the wilderness this monsoon…sweet 16 & you guys think I am already old.
Considered one of the most photographed tiger in the world, I have contributed immensely to the flourishing careers of today’s famous naturalists, photographers, filmmakers & above all Ranthambhore itself. Had it not been me they wouldn’t have been able to boast of some of their life’s best moments in the wild. Ask them & verify if you still have doubts.
Off late there has been a kind of debate on my survival in the wilderness, about me surviving on bait & that this practice should be stopped by the department so that I perish in due course & and a new fertile tigress takes over the territory & so on. One good friend who became famous because of me went to the extent of giving me a farewell assuming he was filming my last days but here I am…. fit & strong as never before. Apologies my friend, it would have been nice if you could have just waited for a few more years as my story isn't finished yet.
I lost all my canines in various fights so obviously it is difficult for me to hunt; I am not as fast as I was previously but I am still a survivor. I am occasionally fed by the forest department but that is not the only source of meal, ask my son-in-law T28 & he would vouch for it more than anyone else. Most of the time I end up sharing my meals with this uninvited guest.
Isn’t taking care of the elderly a part of Indian family culture?? So, if the forest department is
doing the same at times what is this fuss all about? Even today when it comes to tourism duties, I top the charts as the most sighted tiger during the entire season so these are not free lunches. My contributions to the park are much larger than the billions of revenues which I helped them earn. My sightings bought smiles to visitors who saw their first tiger in the wild. I gave numerous opportunities to tiger experts & researchers to learn about tiger behaviour. In fact, it was I who obliged your Mr Tigerwalah with the first-ever sighting of a wild tiger after a wait of 3 years. The list doesn’t end here as I am not done yet & My Story isn't finished yet.
Even after I am gone, I leave behind a huge clan which is contributing to increasing the tiger population not only in Ranthambhore but also at Sariska. For those of you who love numbers as many as 21 active tigers in Ranthambhore & Sariska carry my direct bloodline. So, my clan & my saga continues…..before you get emotional STOP…I am not going anywhere as my story ain’t finished yet
See you soon fellas until then… Yours truly Machli- Queen of Ranthambhore.