The sky was sea blue and the sun was bright and warm. Lakshmi and Gajodhar decided to go for a walk with their children, along with their herd, to the forest in the hunt for fruits and flowers. They walked passed the imposing Sal trees and came to a tropical forest, filled with the essence of Mangoes and the sweet smell of pine, Rohini and Rhododendron

While the elephants were busy eating and plucking fruits from the trees, Appa, the youngest child of Lakshmi and Gajodhar seemed least interested in the activities, as she wandered away in her thoughts. In that process she took an unknown path, drifting away from the group, to a picturesque expanse of grassland at the bank of river Ramganga. The rich terrain from the foothills to the plain provided a gorgeous view. As Appa stood in silence admiring the panorama, the sun started to set, leaving the sky bathed in a spectrum of colours. 

DeerAs she looked further, she spotted a few bare thorny branches peeping out of grass at a distance and her inquisitive mind made her move towards them. To her utter surprise, the thorny branches of the bush reciprocated by moving away from her. 

Elephant 4As she was preparing herself to chase the fleeing branches, she heard a trumpeting sound echoing through the valley. Turning her head back she found her mother calling her frantically, asking her to come back and join the herd. “Maa, look at those moving trees. We must catch them before they run away from us” said Appa, Lakshmi looked at what appeared to be branches and laughed. “They are not branches dear. They are Barasinghas, a kind of deer with huge tree-like horns.” Lakshmi clarified. ”Now come back before they come to you and hurt you with their horns.”

Appa took her steps back away from the river with a bit of reluctance and walked towards her family. It was time to head home, Appas home, amidst the safely of tall Sal trees.     

Photography by Akash Das

Location: Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand, India

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