The forest officers of Sanjay Gandhi National Park have been bombarded with questions from tourists. Everyone wants to see Yash and Laxmi, the two new members of the park. Yellow and striped, they are Bengal tiger cubs that have just been released for visitors to watch. The city’s very own national park has a tiger safari too. But it’s not like the open jeep-ride of Kanha National Park or Jim Corbett. The mini-bus that navigates on 5kms of winding, muddy forest roads allows tourists to catch the last glimpse of the endangered animal, only in a cage.
So, the two tiger cubs play with their mother Basanti on a concrete patch of land inside what the forest officers refer to as the secondary enclosure. But for tourists any glimpse of the tiger will be memorable. For years after, they believe the tigers might just not be there for them to see. Unaffected by the preying eyes, pointing fingers and whispering voices of human visitors, mother Basanti lays stretched, soaking the afternoon sun.
The national park which sanctions ‘walking passes’ to people has other visitors too. Away from the preying eyes of their families and friends, couples make regular visits to the forest. Finding a cozy corner on the banks of lake Tulsi can be difficult considering there are so many other people falling in love at the same time.