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And quiet flows the Kabini…

Sambar Deer crossing, Kabini -

There comes a time in the lives of even the mightiest forces, when it’s not all about that relentless charge towards their destiny. This is a time to ease off, and reflect; to pull back and gather your strength about you, and not proclaim your majesty in full voice. This is the time when your loyal subjects can approach without fear and establish a familiarity, an almost familial intimacy that would be unthinkable when you hold court otherwise. Consider the picture of the Sambar Deer crossing the river. It all seems so calm and pastoral and suggests a peaceful everyday occurrence. But still waters, even metaphorically, can run deep. When she is in full flow, the Kabini is a raging empress and mistress of all she surveys. There is simply no way a humble Sambar can dream of crossing over so insouciantly without being swept away or being fodder to crocodiles: those grim reapers of her deep dungeons. But then, this is summer, a time when another force of nature puts forth in all his blazing glory, and even a mighty empress needs to withdraw, yield awhile to an incandescent Sun, and look after her own flock. Summer is when water sources dry up and food is in short supply. This is the time when a ruler needs to wear the garb of a nurturer. And true to type, the Empress withdraws gracefully to reveal islands laden with a table of green. A royal invitation to dine is extended not just to the powerful elephantine clans, but also to a humble, solitary Sambar who seeks sustenance. And a chance to quietly go with the flow.

Photograph: Giri Cavale Story: Rajesh Ramaswamy

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