It was beautiful morning. Triveni and Thomas reached the elephant stand. Rani was waiting there with her mahout, Issar. Carefully they climbed onto her back, and set off ride into the forests of the Corbett National park
The jungle-cock craved and the sun rose from behind the mountains, as Rani reached a wide open space covered with short grasses. She walked slowly, pulling out a juicy bush, or plucking a bunch of tasty leaves. Then Issar pointed straight ahead. Far in the horizon they spotted some wild elephants. On moving closer, they saw them more clearly. There were eight adults and two calves. The little ones seemed to be playing Hide-n-seek! Triveni looked around, and her eyes fell on a huge tusker. It was merrily scratching its back against a Sal tree!
The sun was now up, and under a clump of Shisham trees, they saw a heard of chital. The deer looked magnificent-their brown hides dotted with white. They were munching at something falling from brown hides dotted with white. They were munching at something falling from, the trees. High on the branches were a troop of languor. They were busy plucking the Shisham buds and throwing them to the ground!
Rani moved along, swishing away flies with her tail. She was a very careful walker. Going down a steep and narrow path is not easy or an elephant. Rani first checked the ground with her front feet. Getting a foothold, she bent her back legs at the knees. Only when she was very sure, did she go ahead.
To get into the jungle they had to cross the Ramganga. Like all elephants, Rani loved water. She stood in the middle of the river, filling her trunk and drinking with large, long gulps.
A kingfisher dived to get a beak full of fish, and at the edge of the river were a family of wild boar, come to quench their thirst. As they heard the crunch of Rani’s feet, they flashed past, running as fast as their legs could carry them.
Beyond the river was real tiger country. Here the grasses were tall and dry. Their shadows, together with the black and yellow bamboo stems, made an excellent hiding –place for the tiger. Triveni and Thomas were now scared. They clutched on to the legs of the upturned cat that was their seat.
Partridges, quails and other jungle fowl scurried about, and as Rani reached a clearing, they saw a peacock with its feathers spread out. It was dancing.
A hare hopped ahead. Suddenly the silence of the jungle was shattered. A deer barked, monkeys chattered, birds twittered; and Rani stood still. Issar pointed to his right. The grasses moved something was surely there! A few minutes passed. The grasses moved again. A tiger lifted its head. It stared and then ran past.
`You have been very lucky’, said Issar. `Not everyone who comes here sees a tiger as you have.
Triveni and Thomas were thrilled. Triveni had even managed to take a video photograph.