All that is mortal has to leave sometime. Time is the master of everything and everyone.
The last time I saw her, on a beautiful January evening, she looked just stunning - as powerful, as grand as she was in her prime! She was wearing finest of the winter coats, doing complete justice to Blake's words. Knowing that she had made a kill and hid it in the undergrowth to our right, we waited for her to emerge from the thicket and walk up to the waterhole to our left - a routine she had been following for the past 2 days. The jungle was still napping in the dying hours of afternoon, the silence occasionally being broken by fall of a dead leaf. After a while, we could hear the carpet of dry leaves crackle and the sound did not stop, thus ruling out the possibility of it being just another leaf in its fall. In fact, a swift movement through the tall grass followed that sound.
"She's here!" I whispered, trying control my excitement.
As she appeared out into the open, we realised why Jay - one her son - was such a dominant tiger. It had all to do with this tigress in front of us. The blend of beauty and power was a gift from his mother!
Even today, when I close my eyes, I can relive that entire evening just the way it all happened. That is the memory I preserve of this fantastic tigress.
She died a natural death. Succumbed to injuries she had picked in a fight with a gaur. She lived her life to the fullest - 15 years of dominating jungles of Nagzira. The deer and langurs used to go haywire on her arrival, for she had taken so many of them to meet their destiny. It would not be a surprise then, if we heard a shrill cry of sambhar for no apparent reason in vicinity. It can just be the Queen, visiting her empire once again!A-Mark (Maai) | Nagzira, 2001-2016
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