The Last Second

The Tiger Story by Soma Tales
The Last Second

Rays from the setting sun streamed through banyan trees, blessing the jungle with an amber glow. Soon, nightfall would cloak the jungle in utter darkness. A tiger prowled in the twilight shadows; dense, thorny bushes camouflaged its ebony stripes. Engrossed in following its prey, the tiger skulked in the gloom, now choosing to hide behind a tree.

With one eye masked by the tree trunk, the tiger realized the irony of its existence. Its single, all-seeing eye had been busy observing others, but it had remained completely blind to its own lonely life.

The silent void within the tiger contrasted with the cheery abundance of the other animals— a fullness that they derived from the company of their loved ones. The realization brought an existential crisis for the tiger. For years, it had been bogged down by the expectations of animal society. It had followed jungle norms that forbade co-existence with another tiger in the same territory. These unwritten codes had fueled its urge to wound other animals and thrive in the odor of their gushing blood.

The other eye opened the senses of the tiger. It began to appreciate the creaking branches, the whistling woods, and the rustling leaves. For a moment, it felt encompassed by the harmony of wild flora and fauna. The tiger felt the innocence of its prey as it watched it graze wild grass, unaware of the danger looming behind the tree. Yet, the dark, hidden eye directed its twin to turn a blind eye to the beauty and compassion present within and around it. The tiger again felt the urge to lock its senses on its prey.

Still, the tiger was in two minds: one was waiting for the opportune moment, waiting to come out of the shadows and seize the hunt by its neck, while the other was making the tiger pause and think. The tiger thought for a second— a second that was devoted to the beauty of the animal it was going to kill; a second spent reflecting on the peace that would be robbed from the jungle’s harmony; a second given to analyze the existence of its own self. Just one second. And the tables turned in that one second. That single second allowed the prey to flee deeper into the woods, back to its family, and away from the tiger.

Photographer: P K Raja

Location: Ranthambhore National Park, India

Visual Story Teller: Soma Bose

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