The setup was different this time around - Jim Corbett was being hunted. The winds were gushing across the lush green forest. Jim knew the jungle and its inmates well. He had a hunch that the tigress which was credited with at least 64 human kills was stalking him. Jim had his own aura over the jungle. He knew every sound and paths inside the jungles around Kaladhoongi (Nainital). He could read the minds of tigers and folklore went that he walked alongside tigers, both wary of each other but never crossing their respective lines. That day, Jim hoped that he was her next target.
Jim leaned against the rocky slope of a hill and lit a cigarette. The Chowgrath Tigress had already sneaked up on him once in this grove. Jim was trying to give her the chance to do so again. The afternoon was slipping into the evening and Jim understood that the Tigress would not try the same trick twice. The hunter was being hunted.
He opted to lay one last trap for his adversary before the sunlight failed. He led a buffalo into the grove, and tied it up securely as it grazed. If the tigress took the bait she would be able to kill the animal, but would be unable to drag it off. His intent was to circle behind the nearby hill, climb to the top, and give watch to the grove below. It would be a shot of over two hundred yards, but over the years he had felled many a beast from such distances. Even if his long-range shot only managed to wound the man-eating tigress, he would at least be left with a blood-trail to track, and therefore end his months-long hunt.
Jim set off at a quick pace, anticipating that the tigress would observe his departure and take the opportunity to prey upon the buffalo. As he rounded the hill in a dry riverbed his pace wasn’t so hard as to shut out all distraction: in a shallow depression there rested a pair of Rock-jay eggs. As an amateur oölogist, or egg collector, Corbett could not pass up these unusual specimens. He used some moss to wrap them up, and carried the eggs delicately against his belly with his rifle crossed over his chest. He continued briskly along the sand, hoping to make it to the hilltop before the tigress finished her buffalo feast.
He was squeezing past a large boulder which blocked most of the riverbed when his peripheral vision gave him a pause. The colors orange and black, with predator’s eyes, stood behind the boulder and ready to pounce. In that instant, Jim knew he had been outmaneuvered. With his hands full of Rock-jay eggs, and his rifle hugged against his body, there wasn’t much he could do to deflect the imminent attack. He turned his step into an anti-clockwise spin, set the rifle butt against his hip, and managed to fire a single shot.
For a moment the tigress was unaffected, and stayed coiled on the verge of springing out. Her brain was focused onto her target but the blood vessel supplying adrenalin had been pierced. Her muscles slacked and head came down to rest on her fore-paws. The bullet had entered the back of her neck, and plunged through to her heart. After ensuring that the Chowgrath Tigress was indeed dead, Jim returned the way he’d come. He believed that he could not have made that improbable shot without the eggs in hand and returned them to the nest. It was the least he could do. The Tigress had been tamed, finally.
There is a tiger inside each human being. It is always lurking to do something new, something different and something off-beat. No one can see the tiger inside but for the individual himself. The tiger can become a man-eater due to reasons well known. It can be old age, injury or just the taste of the human flesh and blood! The tigers inside the hearts and the minds of humans collaborate to produce the results of life. Good or bad is the by-product of the actions that humans take based upon their internal sensitivities.
Jim Corbett did not panic when he saw the tigress eye to eye. Neither did he throw the eggs nor did he try to run. The barrel of the gun had to be positioned in the right direction and the trigger had to be pressed. He did exactly the same activity and the bullet did the rest. Had the bullet missed its mark or had not achieved the fatal spot, then Jim would have been in trouble. A wounded Tiger can be lethal.
The tiger inside humans keeps rising to take a look. It hides inside the cranium crevices and deep inside the heart in various forms. It waits for the opportune moment to come out with its trademark roar. Little does it realize that the gun is loaded and trigger has been pressed. The bullet pierces and the tiger lies still. The tiger has been tamed. Trained humans do their acts effortlessly and no sweats are broken.
Tame that tiger which resides inside all us. Let us do something better for the society around us whether professional or personal. In the end, the tiger would lose its life, so why be a man-eater at all? Do you have it in you, eh?