Did you know that inheritance and legacy are two different concepts? Well, inheritance is a concept that refers to two generations, something a son gets from his father. Legacy is a deeper concept; however, it relates to inheritance. It refers to monetary possessions that are passed onto 3-4 generations or more. Inheritance are qualities that a baby derives from their parents; something that can be termed as ‘genetic possessions!’
It was my family’s legacy to hunt leopards. Apparently, that is what royal families in India are particularly known for. However, I have inherited the act of saving these big cats from my father, of kindness (pun intended). Plus, nobody in the entire world can escape the hypnotic effect these creatures have on them. I’d always been confused with the concepts of inheritance and legacy until I’d met this gorgeous beauty; the female leopardess, Nagini.
Unlike humans, the expressions of leopards are not confusing if you know them enough. Unlike humans, the leopards don’t give up on their ability to live. They survive, no matter what.
Evening of 17th March, 2016 was a surprising one for me. While I was on my way back to the camp, I got a call from a tracker telling me that a couple has been spotted mating. Such moments in life are priceless. In these times, don’t question. Just follow your intuitions and look forward. I turned my gypsy around and drove to the spot. She was there, with Nagwasi. Each time I spot a different leopard, my curiosity overwhelms me. It makes me feel as if a new baby is born. My senses tell me that no matter what happens, but I need to protect it. I did what I had to do: Dig the history, ask people around, find out who she exactly is.
From my sources (even though I had a few then), I found out that she was the daughter of Naina, the female leopardess who lived in the ‘Nagwabji-the snake-God temple’ at the top of a hill. We don’t exactly know which litter was Nagini exactly a part of, but we got to know that she was born from Naina. It was when Nagini & her brother were 6 months old & on their visual training of hunting when Naina died. She tried to catch a peacock on a tree but accidently landed on a transformer and died of an electric shock, leaving the cubs untrained & alone. Somehow, the male cub was never found later and is still a mystery. On the other hand, the female cub—Nagini, survived.
You know why did I name her Nagini? After Naina’s death, she somehow survived. She must’ve learned to hunt, found some sort of will to live. Call me old-fashioned, but I believe that the Snake-God saved her, protected her; hence the name! Yes, like every other leopard, she was different too. She used to wander around while scanning the area around her with those glistening eyes, always on alert. After my first encounter with her on 17th March, I was expecting cubs. That is a process. The mating, followed by the female’s disappearance, and then the cubs after few months. During September 2016, I spotted Nagini with her 1st litter of 2 cubs—a male & a female. I named them Baghi & Lakshmi, respectively.
Nagini left her cubs to be on their own sooner than I’d expected. They were only 10 months old when she left them in the Sena Village. I suspected the reason but only came to a conclusion that she must’ve in the heat of mating with a partner. Well, I was right. I spotted her mating with Nagwasi for a whole week. That’s the usual mating period. The surprising event was when she joined her cubs in Sena Village right after that. I’d never never seen that. However, she didn’t stay there for long. She threw her cubs out of her territory; could be because she was pregnant with her 2nd litter.
Baghi and lakshmi found a home in the hills of Jeevda Village. They seemed happy & regular to me. On the other hand, Nagini might’ve given birth to her 2nd litter. On 24th October 2017, with a group of guests I spotted Nagini with 2 male cubs & 1 female cub. For the next few months, the spotting was great. We had a huge number of guests who were interested in seeing the mother with the cubs. However, on 17th January 2018, she nervously ran with her cubs into a secret cave where she had been recently living, Hingalaj Mata Temple. I was on safari with a few guests & for safe purposes was advised to go back to the camp. The tracker suspected the arrival of a male. We left!
The trackers usually stay even after we’ve left & observe the activities of the leopards closely. According to him, Baghi had come. He must’ve either come there to mate with Nagini & kill the cubs. Considering that the relations between leopards end after a certain point of time, the suspicion made sense. A fight between Nagini & Baghi took place where the male gave up. Nagini did not kill Baghi. It must’ve been her kindness, or her motherly nature that somehow stopped her. Baghi made a gesture. He had been living in the same village on another hill. From their gestures which were explained by the tracker, we assumed that he only wanted to live there peacefully without demanding anything else.
Do you really think the only reason Baghi was there, was to just live there without creating any sort of chaos?
Will Nagini allow Baghi, a well-grown male leopard who is capable of building his own territory, live there?
Are Nagini’s cubs safe with Baghi living in the same territory?
For more, you gotta wait! The second part of the story will be updated day after tomorrow. Let us know what you think of it in the comments!
~~NOTE: The story has been written from Mr. Pushpendra’s (Owner’s) point of view. All the experiences described in the story are his personal experiences and has nothing to do with the writer~~
I am an engineering student with a developed passion of writing over the years. I love to scribble mostly about my own experiences. I stand strong on the belief that writing can a make a person vulnerable and resilient at the same time. My strongest urge to write what I feel is undeniably resolute. Loves to explore books, music and stories at anytime of the day.