jaipurthrumylens-conversation-village-forest-guard

Forest Guard | Girdhari

We were hiking in the Aravali hills in Jaipur. The weather was great for outdoor activity. Although we were supposed to cover a scheduled trail, we ended up on a steep descent through a seasonal waterfall, as we wanted to end the hike. It turned out that the length of the hiking trail was much more than what we had anticipated. Since we were seasoned for such “off-trailing” we didn’t have any problems navigating through huge stones and boulders during the descent. We are regularly hiking in Jaipur in a group. Here is a picture from the hike as we reached the end of the waterfall.

hiking-jaipur-kadamba-difficult-section

Just when the steep descent ended, we saw Girdhari standing on a huge rock, from a distance.

jaipurthrumylens-conversation-village-forest-guard
Girdhari, standing on a big rock. 

I waved to him. He acknowledged it by waving back.

On reaching closer, I initiated the conversation.

What are you doing here?

I came to check if there are any women from the nearby villages out to cut forest trees (It’s a punishable offense). Usually, a number of women come here in the morning.

Are you a shepherd?

No. I’m a Government employee. It’s my job to ensure the safety of this forest area.

Oh!

By then, he got off the huge rock and was walking along with us.

Now, he was leading the conversation.

You shouldn’t have taken this route to get down.

Why?

There are 30-35 leopards in this forest. The route you just used to descend is where they are frequently seen. It would have been safer to take a longer route over the hills.

Oh! we were short of time so we took this trail.

With this, my mind was visualizing the image of a “left-over” goat leg we saw during the descent. Back then, we had not connected it with the leftovers of a leopard’s meal.

I was back in leading the conversation.

So, do these leopards attack humans too?

Yes, they do…If they are in a group. A lone leopard usually refrains from doing so.

What do these leopards eat? I asked.

Goats, usually! They are easy prey and available in plenty around these villages. Sometimes cow or buffalo too!

Hmm!

How long have you been protecting these forests?

Around ten years…I guess!

What trees grow around here?

Lot of Kadamba trees

What’s your name?

Girdhaari

we bid goodbye to him promising to see him on our next visit to complete our unfinished trail. I was thankful for two things that day. One, a chance meeting with Girdhari and this conversation I had with him. Two, for walking out of the “leopard zone” without any encounter!! Next time, when we’re hiking in this area we know whom to turn to for information. 

 

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26 thoughts on “Forest Guard | Girdhari

    1. Thanks Umesh! Happy that you liked it.. 🙂
      I started with this conversation series long back, but I wasn’t aware if people liked them so I haven’t posted any for a long time. I thought of posting some more…. So any suggestions (critical) are welcome too

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes Benjamin luckily the panthers decided to keep low key else everyone would have freaked out. It’s difficult to avoid such instances because we are intruding into someone else’s territory -home! On second thought actually we are intruders!
      Thanks for posting your thoughts Benjamin! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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