Tall trees tried valiantly to keep the sunlight out but the summer still found its sweltering way into the innards of the jungle. We spied a beautiful lesser golden-backed woodpecker that simply wouldn't sit still long enough for a good photograph. Further on, we encountered a community of langurs, relaxing by the wayside and playing games with each other. A couple of other safari jeeps passed by, words were exchanged between the drivers and a sudden sense of tension stung the air. There were tigers in our vicinity. And in a complete turnaround of the natural order of things, we went in pursuit of danger.
I was prepared for a long and perhaps fruitless search, as had been the case in all my safaris thus far. But this time, destiny had decided to favour us. Within minutes of reaching the watering hole and joining the short line of jeeps in wait, Collarwali, the most famous tigress of Pench National Park made a majestic entry into my frame. It was a few moments before I fully absorbed the reality of her feline presence. She lapped up water from the pond thirstily and then proceeded to lie down in it to cool off.