Saheb Biwi and Gangster
A filmy title borrowed from a Bollywood flick which aptly describes the intense drama going on at Ranthambhore currently. Saheb(T28) is a longtime mate of Biwi(T19), together they have successfully raised a litter of 3- two male and one female cub who are now separated from learning to live on their own. The family stayed in Lahpur Valley for almost two years, Dad T28 doing rounds of his vast territory including precious lake areas.
Saheb(T28) has always believed in free meals and preferred to snatch a share in kills made by females in his territory. sort of protection tax. Incidentally, all three females in his territory were blood relatives T16 aka Machli and her two daughters T19 and T17. Both the sisters are attracted to this lanky male and therefore didn’t mind sharing the meal & the poor old lady didn’t have much choice anyways.
As T17 moved away from lakes to another area of the park, T19 staked claim over the area & has been a resident tigress since then. Perhaps she wanted to be on her own for a while after playing the role of a devoted mother for more than two years. However, Saheb for the love of his wife (read food) was not ready for this and was always seen around her. Sheer curiosity to explore the unexplored led Biwi(T19) to new and dangerous areas outside her territory where she met Gangster(T25).
Gangster’s(T25) two sub-adult cubs which he was taking care of after their mother’s death had recently been moved to Sariska and he was all alone looking for company. His previous partner T17 who was rearing her litter of 3 in his territory was also not showing interest and at times they had clashes overkill which she fiercely protected.
So, our Gangster(T25) encounters this new girl in town that too in his turf, you bet he was going to let this opportunity go away. Almost forcefully though but he courted her for three days before she escaped and returned to her old companion Saheb. Incidentally, her sister T17 had exhibited similar behaviour wherein she had mated with two males in a single day and was on the lookout for a third one as well. Who says only boys can have all the fun huh!!! So Biwi returned to Saheb who co-incidentally was on the lookout for her for the last two days unaware of the secret alliances being made behind his back.
Given the cold war going on between Saheb(T28) and Gangster(T25) since the last monsoon or so, this surely wouldn’t have gone well with him. While he has been tolerating Gangster’s (T25) presence around lakes this surely wouldn’t have gone well. Male ego after all.
Almost a month and a half later -Biwi(T19) tired of letting Saheb(T28) watch enjoying kills made by her one after another decides to move out. Opportunist Gangster was quick to grab the opportunity once again, stealing someone’s wife that too of his biggest enemy is surely worth everything They were sighted mating near the Gular Kui area of the park on 31st May and then following their scent T28 arrived on the scene. After a brief fight, he was successful in chasing T25 away from her, proving who the real Hero is. Poor Gangster fled the scene without taking any further risk.
Since then, the current royal couple are together, they are now back in their palace on the shores of Rajbagh Lake and in fact, obliged shutterbugs with a rare opportunity of capturing royal mating at the hunting palace.
Is this the ‘happy ending’ of this high voltage Bollywood drama or like they say ‘Picture Abhi Haaki Hai Mere Dost’ i.e. the story isn't over yet? Given the skewed gender ratio in park with a smaller number of available females more gangsters would rise. Watch out for more updates from the Land of Tigers as they happen.