It was a typical morning in South India. The entire household woke up to the notes of M.S.Subbalakshmi's Suprabhatam but for the sleeping beauty. She lay all cuddled up on her special bed. Even the aroma of fresh filter coffee(she had loved sipping coffee during the rains) wafting in from the kitchen failed to wake her up... Finally when the Sun streamed in through the window grills lighting up her skin golden, she yawned and stretched her tender-self and opened her tiny little eyes much to the amusement of Kamala who had been watching over her keenly. "Amma*, She's awake... Amma, Sunaina woke up...", Kamala called out to her mother. Within minutes, Amma came in with two glasses of milk, one for Kamala and the other for Sunaina. Both the girls slurped up the milk in a jiffy as if it were a competition. "Can Su and me play for a while in the garden?" asked Kamala. "Sure dear. Be careful with her and don't trouble her too much", so saying Amma went back to her chores.
Kamala was thrilled that her mother was letting her play with Su. The last time they had played with each other was nearly six months ago when Kamala was home for her summer vacations. It was Kamala who had come up with Sunaina's name. She had chosen the name after loosing herself in those deep-amber colored eyes that oozed mischief and innocence. She had gone back to her residential school with a heavy heart at the end of what had been her best summer vacation. Now for another 3 weeks, she could play with Su to her heart's content.Both the kids were lost in their world until Appa** came home for lunch.
Seeing their games, Appa whispered to Amma "Oh how adorable they look together!! I can't imagine how Kamala will react when she comes home next summer. Sunaina will be nearly a year old then... I cannot keep her with me any longer. She needs to go back to where she came from, the forest, after all that is her home. She was born to be wild...". Amma comforted him saying "Don't worry dear, I'll speak to Kamala about it. I'm sure a smart girl like her will understand ".
Kamala went over to Sunaina's bed and kissed the little cub goodnight. And so it was the end of another day at the Bhadra Tiger reserve.
(Background: Kamala's Appa was incharge of "Project Tiger" at Bhadra Tiger Reserve and had brought home the cub he found while following the tracks of a dead tigress after succesfully hunting down poachers.)
PS: Tiger, the national animal of India is on the list of priority and endangered species of world wildlife fund .
In India, efforts are being made for tiger conservation through Project Tiger.
According to world wildlife fund "The tiger population is at its lowest level ever, with possibly as few as 3,200 remaining in the wild."
*Amma - Mother
** Appa - Father
For source of image of the cub, click here
For source of Bhadra Tiger reserve map, click here