I love photography. I got a box camera as a gift by my uncle Shan in my school days long back. This magic box stirred my interest in photography. In those days the photography is a costly habit. I love to develop film after exposing and print on 2b size prints. You know the prints of this size are just to see an object with no proper details.
In those days my love towards photography made me spend more time with a young photographer of the city who has a studio. His name is Vasco. He was using costly cameras of Yashica-635 of Japan make and some costly German cameras like Rolleicord and Rolleiflex. Rolleiflex is long-running and diverse line of high-end cameras originally made by the German company Franke & Heidecke, and later Rollei-Werk. The “Rolleiflex” name is most commonly used to refer to Rollei’s premier line of medium format twin lens reflex (TLR) cameras.
Vasco gave me an old Agfa camera with bellows. It gave some quality in my photography. After I am going for good results in photography, slowly my cameras are getting changed. I used Nikon D90 and some other models. I tried cameras in canon like D60, then Nikon D4, after that canon7D and Canon 5D Mark II and 5D Mark III. So spending on photography has no end. All the latest DSLR cameras are good with the costly lenses, like telephoto zoom lenses, close-up lenses and macro lenses.
I came to know slowly that going for high end costly cameras is not needed. If you are good and skilled photographer, some ordinary DSLR cameras like Nikon D60 and Nikon D90 or Canon 70D or 7D Mark II are definitely better cameras.
I had the above kit with lenses like 50mm, 100mm, 70-200 for canon and Macro and telephoto lenses for Nikon DSLR cameras. I have interest in macro flower photography and bird shooting with telephoto lenses. The only thing I am interested newly is wildlife photography. I want shoot animals like tigers, leopards, elephants, sambas, Bears like animals. I had photographed some in the zoos, but shooting then in the wild forests is a real thrill.
I heard about Tiger Hill. It is forest area and some of my friends visited. They suggested me to go and shoot there and if I am lucky, I can shoot tiger like rare wild animals there. So I got ready to go to this memorable expedition. Unfortunately no friends joined me this time, so I was single and I have to look everything here as if I am searching everything in darkness with touch of the hand.
I reached the place called Tiger Hill and shooting some flowers in the bushes with my D90. I suddenly saw a forest guard, a lady of 30 in her uniform.
“What are doing sir?” She asked me with searching looks.
“Flowers, these beautiful flowers are my favorite flowers.” I said shooting the sweet lovely wild flowers.
“You have to pay hundred for viewing wild flowers.” She said.
“Paying for viewing?”
“Yes, you heard right.” The young guard said with a smile. “What will you do here? Tell me other activities you have planned.”
“I will shoot birds.”
“It’s a crime. Shooting wildlife is crime, don’t you know this?”
“Shoo.. Shooting, I mean is with my camera. Bird shooting is my hobby”.
“Let it be any shooting, a shooting is a crime.”
“It is not killing birds, just shooting with my camera. I am not shooting birds with gun.”
“Shooting is prohibited. It is not mentioned clearly that shooting with guns or pistols or shooting with cameras is prohibited. So for us, guns or cameras, both are equally prohibited things.”
I looked at her as if I was saying that the trip will be wasted if this prohibition is implemented strictly.
She thought a while and said in a low tone:
“I know shooting with cameras is noiseless. So it will not alert any others that something wrong is done in this wild life conservation task. So I allow you as a special case, if you pay me two hundred fifty rupees per day and another hundred rupees for your food. I will see by escorting you that you will not harm any life here.”
I was happy for the forest guard is in line of support. My problem is staying here. I have no preparations for this. So I said that.
“No problem. You will be given shelter also in the night. Per day five hundred, the total amount is..” She is busy calculating.
“It is nine hundred fifty.” She said.
“How is that?” I asked her with my innocence.
“Viewing flowers is 100 plus shooting Birds & animals is 250 plus food charges 100 plus shelter 500 so the total is nine hundred fifty.”
I wondered at accurate billing I gave 1000 and asked for a receipt.
“Receipts will take 1000 for printing job is left long back, computers and smart phone messages are in the place. No stationary waste is advised.” The experienced guard said.
“No problem. I don’t need bill and also the change.”
“You big people don’t have change. How we small people can have change. So I expect you don’t need change. You said right. This is what I expected.” The forest guard of the Tiger Hill said.
The day shooting is busily completed. No Tiger is viewed. My special interest of shooting tiger is not fulfilled. I thought that I will not leave the tiger hill till I shoot the tigers.
The forest Guard is Sabba.
When she said her name, I murmured, “Sabba or Sababa?”
“Sababa is my sister. Do you know her?”
“No, No, I don’t know any Sababa.” I said.
Sabba took me to her living place. It is very nice place. It is a government Bungalow with good garden. It looks like very neat and beautiful with high class furniture. A building amid the forest like this is my wonder. I said my feeling to Sabba. She smiled and said that the construction of the house is at her expenses. She had good property from her ancestors and she invested that money to build this house here and this is not the government quarters. She purchased land here and got the building constructed.
“Wow. It is very nice Bungalow. Is this not a forest area?”
“No. This one is boarder of the forest. It has nothing to do with forest.” Sabba explained.
There is a cook in the house. Sabba is giving order to her to prepare dinner with feast like food. Sabba changed to her private dress. She is in costly branded jeans and tops. She looks very rich in that dress.
Just then a car reached in the portico. A girl in black jeans red top got down from the car. She entered in the hall.
“She is Sababa. She is my younger sister.” Sabba said.
I said hi to Sababa. I heard that she is a forest guide and she studied her forestry education. She is one of the Forestry students at Makerere University, Uganda . This information made me wonder. Sababa is a very comfortable girl and she looks like a real walking wild flower.
Sababa said that changes in approaches to forestry education are needed as forest policies – and hence the role of foresters – evolve in response to growing demand for forest goods and services, participation of multiple stakeholders in forestry and emphasis on food security and poverty alleviation. Sababa said about many things which I never heard or thought.
It looked as if I came to a nice place of some friends or relatives, the arrangements are so wonderful. It looked as homely. I was completely feeling like I am in some trance. The tiger Hill expedition is my memorable one.
The next day Sababa escorted me. She is explaining every plant and every flower and each and every species clubbing with her forest knowledge. I have finished pleasantly my Tiger Hill photography.
I was in on the Tiger Hill for five days. For four days Sababa is my guide. As I told, she is my very sweet lovely guide and she is very decent and knowledgeable guide.
I asked her on the last day with a sweet smile, “Can I ask you something?”
She looked me with a very sweet smile. She said in the same happy mood without any inhibition.
“Ask me anything, but not to marry you. You cannot live with Sababa dedicated to wildlife and forests.”
“Wow, how nice it will be to have a girl like you to marry, but of course, what you said is right, I cannot live her in the forests with you. What you said is right.” I said in the same mood.
Sababa received the good spirited answer with sweet smile and asked me to say, what is that I like to ask her.
“I wonder I cannot see any tiger here?” I expressed my wonder.
“tigers!” She laughed and asked me, “Don’t you think that we two sisters are not the tigers here?”
I looked at her stupefied.
“Do you know tiger mouth? The “Tiger mouth” is so named for the lead singer’s unique canine teeth dentition and it is the first solo studio album by singer-songwriter Kelli Ali released in 2003. This Tiger Hill is also like that. You can find tigers in the name only, not really in this forest, my friend.” Sababa said with very sweet laugh.
I too laughed at the answer and I am seriously thinking why people named this Forest Hill as Tiger Hill. This hill may be appealed and appeared as Tiger for some people, so they have named it like that and fools like me think to search for tigers here that do not exist here.