Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Jackal Hunter

Ladies and Gentlemen,
I hope you have done justice to your day's work...and its time for a lighter hour...I'll try not to push it hard on you...
Please stretch yourself in a cozy sofa in a little quieter corner of your house.... and imbibe a well relaxed smell of a hot cup of mocha....from some hand ground  Guatemalan Elephant...your nerves will thank you for the care you have extended them...

... Corbett's way...

All I am going to talk about today is about a prospective hunter...who was so insanely infatuated with Corbett...that he committed himself to a night of  craziness... to hunt down a  jackal who he believed had killed a well-known goat.

The goat was well-known, because ... he was seen in almost everybody's have quick sneak peak at the garden grown vegetables... and anything that felt tender...including trash bags... also because...he was searching for food ... irrespective of whether it was day or night...all the time.

Still the goat was medium built and was not known to be you would otherwise imagine him to be...and he always had a very mysterious look that defied our every resistance to fall for him on sympathetic grounds.

On that very particular day, when we were running toward our cricket ground, we found the goat lying dead in a nearby ditch, little closer to the forest line of our village. We, the school going kids, were perplexed...for we could not barely believe that such a  stable element of our known surrounding could stop living so easily.

"But why did he die?" We all were confused.
 Everyone was looking at me expecting a satisfactory answer since I was believed  to have better understanding of cases like this that happen on the forest line of the village. They were not untrue to some extent, since I had gained a sound knowledge about forests from extensive reading of Corbett's books and virtually I had mastered every ability to convince my age goers about what I thought to be right in cases like this. So I quickly thought for a moment. I remembered that I had heard a bunch of Jackals hallowing "hukkeh-hukkeh-ho" several nights before.
Indian Jackal

So I immediately concluded that those bunch of jackals might be responsible for the goat's death. And I started explaining the theory to my cohorts.

But even more surprise was waiting for me.

In order to prove my claim I sat down to inspect the body of the recent kill. I tried to roll the body of the goat around (which by itself was a big deal for a boy like me) and I was indeed surprised to see tooth marks deeply buried inside the goat's throat. I sprang up from the goat unknowingly and I felt a steam of very cold blood ran through my spine for I could not believe that my bluff about the jackals would indeed come true.

But it was indeed getting exciting. We forgot about the game that day and I decided to take it to the next level. I called for launching a through investigation of the foot print of the goat and the jackals to understand what happened. Excitement had made me lose my mind. However, I started looking around for fresh pug marks of jackals. Very early in the childhood my grandpa had trained me a bit about tracking animal movements from their pug marks. No matter how insignificant that training was I was all excited to make use it at that time. I started looking around in half but expanding circles toward the jungle line from which direction I thought that bunch of jackals would have come. Luckily there was a big patch of land that was recently tilled and I, with the help of my friends (who were equally excited since it was a new thing for them) I located a bunch of pug marks of jackals. But we did not see a pug mark of the goat. However, with circumstantial evidence we concluded that the bunch of Jackals must have tracked the goat on hard ground and thus, jackals being not so heavy, we cannot see their pug marks.

Evening was setting down quickly with the wintry blanket spreading smoothly over us. After all the investigation and tracking we we convinced that it was the rogue jackals who have brought the end to our goat. We were tired, we were cold and we were mad. So we decided to avenge the goat's death.

Very hurriedly we started procuring all the air rifle bullets we had collected from our previous bird hunting parties. The number came up to five. Now the problem was to get hold of an air gun (that was the most advanced weapon we were exposed to). That was not easy. So we took a task to ask the only person we thought who could let us have it remotely, Tukun uncle.

For a good reason we did not have to work hard that day. Tukun uncle was out of bullets for several days and thus had no use for his gun. So he was glad to hand it over to us once we promised that we will protect the gun with my life.

With the air rifle in hand and with the five bullets in hand, I felt like I am totally in the shoes of my idol, Corbett. We were four in the group and two had to get back home by the dusk at the latest. So the remaining two of us had to shoulder the task of avenging our dear goat.

We decided on our strategy pretty quickly. My friend Krishna had already procured his sling shot and some marbles. So I decided to climb a nearby mango tree and keep a guard on the goat's carcass and Krishna had to wait a little far on the fire track that we predetermined that the jackals would come from. Our idea was that we would try to get at least one of them with a head shot  or several shots on the body. So Krishna was supposed to shower marbles from his sling shot as soon as I take careful shot at the first jackal that comes.

The plot was set and we took our positions. I was feeling the rushing of adrenaline and I was feeling very elated. If I succeed in this mission and I could kill a jackal I'll be known as an established hunter. I will be well known in school and in the area to be the bravest kid alive. And Krishna will be known as my most faithful companion and the second bravest kid in the area. I was feeling as if I was almost going to live one of Corbett's life's moments.

We waited in the dark for around forty-five minutes. We neither saw or heard anything. We were just getting numb with the chilly evening breeze that had started blowing after the dark.

After fifteen more minutes of waiting we  heard some noise. A little subtle movement where the goat was lying. I tried to look deep into the dark and suddenly all I could see a pair of feline eyes. I took careful aim and pressed the trigger. And as soon as that happened Krishna got up from his position and started showering with marbles. I jumped down from the tree and tried to make sense of what happened. I called Krishna to join me. When he came down and I asked him what was he shooting at he said that he was not sure. But he had gone crazy on such a long waiting in cold that he had just emptied his supply of marbles.

We started heading home.

Well... we did not get that famous, still we started getting complements from everyone around for such an effort.

Corbett's life relived...partially.
Talk to you soon.


  1. Such an anecdote! For a moment, I felt as if I'm reading Corbett's book. Did the beasts revisit your village thereafter?

  2. Good question,Kiran. They actually did. And we had to use up our fire crackers for several nights to keep them away for a good while.


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