I was on a small pathway inside a beautiful forest which was a little confusing to describe as I had crossed a patch of grassland and then into a riverine forest and later I was resting under the shadow of a huge buttress in a wet evergreen forest. The above lines were jotted in my field book while I was sitting there looking at the kaleidoscope of the late morning light through those high canopies.
Of the few untold stories of my life, the one involving the most beautiful snake I have ever encountered on Indian soil is not an easy one to write. Though my friend and co-conspirator in this adventure, Ashok Captain wrote ‘The Barta Chronicles’ for Hornbill – the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) magazine in 2010, my account of the story remained untold till now for several reasons.
And it did move! It moved around the tree, looking at us occasionally and then going back to clean its body and finally dozing off with it’s back towards us. But we did manage to get a few clicks in that complete white foggy background through the maze of bamboo leaves. I was so surprised by the self-discipline of the trackers there, they allowed us to spend 20 minutes around the Red Panda from a respectable distance. They did not do any clearing for us by cutting bamboos to get better view other than holding some bamboos apart.