Today is my tenth day at Tigergarh and after three safaris, including an elephant safari, I still have not been able to spot a tiger. No sir, only pug marks, tiger growls and tiger potty for me so far. However, for the last two days, many other travellers have been coming to the resort – some company people, a family from Bengal and even local tourists. And guess what? They have all been able to see the tiger. Some even saw six of them. The Bengali family saw the tiger cubs and looked thrilled to bits. Everyone managed to see the damn thing except me, someone who has been here for a while and has done three safaris. Was it just my bad luck? A way for the forest to keep me here longer? After all, I was tempted to go for my fourth safari. Maybe, I will be lucky this time.
I have seen all that I can from these villages – the art, the tribes and the farmlands of this place, but the tiger still remains elusive to me. Why so, I ask? The others have seen it in one shot. I have been yearning to see the beast for days and days. Is it a message from the jungle to keep me here, a wee bit longer? Do the forests of Bandhavgarh want me to stay back? If I had seen the tiger earlier, maybe I would have left to see other places. Is it the mother’s way of keeping her son a wee bit longer in her bosom? Yes! It is decided, I will go for my fourth safari tomorrow. The sighting of the tiger has now become something very auspicious for me as if a good omen or a visit to a famous shrine or temple. The tiger, after all, is the vahana of Goddess Durga, sheeron wali mata. It is the symbol of fearlessness, wild nature, beauty, grace and agility. It is so amazing. According to the Chinese horoscope and lunar charts, my year of birth 1974 is also the year of the tiger. A symbol of virility and potency according to the orient culture. There is something very ancient and Indian about the tiger. It is, after all, only found in the sub-continent.
Now, I must wait and watch. It was the Festival of Durga. Will mother smile on me? By finally giving me her Darshana, will I see the great tigress of Bandhavgarh with her cubs or will I be left disappointed again to try some other time?
The tiger has been used as a brand symbol for many products in India. Some of the successful brands that have used the tiger as a symbol are,
Tiger Balm: the headache cream that is a market leader
Tiger Biscuits: These biscuits promoted for their tiger energy and goodness
Tiger Chai: This brand was also famous.
Men have used the word Tiger for their names or as pet names to show off their masculinity and agility. You have Tiger Shroff, Tiger Pataudi, Chota Tiger, Tiger Nawab and so on. Kings have used the symbol to show off their territorial power and flex their muscles. It has been used as symbols for the Asian Games and even the Olympics. That powerful is the imagery of the tiger. Tiger bones were crushed and used to make medicines especially aphrodisiacs to help potency enhancement and sexual powers. The tiger is poached for its skin, claws and teeth, which are sold at huge prices. Many aesthetics including the Adiyogi use tiger skin as cloth to wrap themselves or cushion them when they are meditating. Yes, if you have the tiger, you are on top of the food chain. However, for me, sighting the tiger is a pilgrimage.