My Christmas weekend was just awesome. My friends and I had taken a short trip to Jim Corbett National Park, in Uttaranchal. Waking up at 4 am for the cab ride was a pain, but once we all were together, time just flew. Within 5 hours we were at our resort- the Corbett Nature Resort. I have to admit I had some inhibitions about the place when I’d first heard of it, but when I got there I felt as if I’ve drifted into a dream. With the jungle in our front yard, and River Kosi in our backyard, what more could we ask for! We’d booked 3 cottages between the six of us, and they were exactly like the cute little huts that we used to draw when we were kids; complete with the tiny window, door and hay roof. It was simply adorable!
My friends and I have a bad habit of being laidback. And so as usual we hadn’t booked a safari for ourselves. After taking a power nap, we went to the booking office only to know that all jeeps and elephants were booked. We moped around, feeling awfully dejected, when two of my friends decided to try again. They went back to the officer and ever so sweetly told him, “bachhe hain sir, kitni umeedon ke saath aye hain, please try to kijiye na”. I don’t know what came over that man, but the next minute he was signing the permit for a FULL DAY jeep safari! We were absolutely ecstatic!!
We spent the rest of the day exploring the riverside, behind our resort. The surroundings were breathtaking. Just across the river, was the forest and we could see the outline of mountain peaks over the horizon. The water was somewhat shallow and we decided we would definitely try and cross the river before leaving. Watching the sun set gave us a feeling I can’t even begin to describe. Complete and utter peace!
Next morning, me and my lazy friends somehow made it in time to the gate of the park and after renting a pair of binoculars and a seemingly good guide (or so it seemed) we set off to explore the jungle. We really wanted to see a tiger and kept mum for the initial hour, craning our necks in anticipation. We did get a few “leads”and "calls"- like paw prints, or the guy on the elephant “directing” us to the tiger, or deer shooting "warnings" to each other. But no luck. We managed to spot three types of deer and a couple of wild elephants, and of course lots of ‘langurs’ but that’s it. What irked us was that surprisingly every single tourist who’d gone inside that day saw a tiger. We sulked like anything when they showed us pictures and videos they’d taken of the tiger. Just our bad luck I guess. On our way out we told ourselves that the tiger obviously suffered from an inferiority complex compared to us! *Chuckle*
That night we lit a bonfire and soaked in the warmth while watching the surroundings bathed in moonlight. Afterwards, we slept like logs coz the bumpy forest road had given us a severe backache. Next morning we got up early to keep our word of crossing the river. We found a shallow spot to cross, and the minute we dipped our feet in we screamed. The water was freezing! Not giving in, we tread on, making a human chain against the fast current. Our feet hurt as we stepped over the slippery pebbles and became numb with cold. We made it halfway and then I couldn’t go on. Four of my friends were daring enough to continue while a friend and I sat on a large rock in the river. I envied their enthusiasm as they made it to the other side and back! But it surely was some experience!
We quickly changed into dry clothes and hurried towards the cab. We didn’t want to leave, as always, but had no choice but to jump in. Most of the road trip was spent in “trying to sleep” and listening to our favorite tracks. Though I’d been to Corbett before, this time was a lot more memorable. I guess a place has something new to offer every time you visit. Hope the new year brings more fun times with it.