We walked as far as the sign that indicated that Black Bucks were to be found deeper inside. Since we didn't want to be caught trespassing on a Sunday morning, we turned and walked out of the gates, disappointed at the turn of events. I'd honestly gone in with high expectations, going by the reviews I'd read on Tripadvisor, but I guess I should have gone on a better day and perhaps a bit earlier in the morning. Nevertheless, we drove away from the sanctuary, planning to explore the Tughlaqabad Fort next. On our way back, I was generally looking at the scrubby forested landscape on my left, a little lower in height than the road. All of a sudden, my gaze caught something hidden cleverly behind short trees and dry bushes. I yelled at the top of my voice and we ground to a halt.
There was a Nilgai sitting in the foliage, calmly looking on as the traffic passed by on the road. My yelling may have been a bit of an over-reaction, for Nilgais are found all over Gurgaon, Haryana, and on the Yamuna Expressway around Delhi. But this unexpected incident of a wildlife spotting made the whole morning expedition to Asola Bhatti seem worth all the trouble.
My incredible Bear Grylls moment
The creature was well-camouflaged behind the scrubs, but I wanted to get a better shot. So I slowly climbed down the side of the road, making eye contact with the Nilgai throughout to preempt any sudden movements and be prepared to save my ass. But while it stared right back at me, it looked bored and did not stir. I went as close as I could without putting myself in danger of not being able to run back to safety in case the animal charged. I did not end up getting very good pictures, since it was hidden behind the trees, but the experience still felt like an adventure. For a moment there, I even thought of myself as Bear Grylls. Thankfully, the moment passed as soon as I was back on the road.