It was 5:45 in the morning… we had journeyed almost the whole night from Bangalore, that too in a car. My head was being hammered by a thousand nails (effect of two continuous sleepless nights the days before). I could feel cramps in almost every part of my body. My leg has stopped responding long back to my efforts of stretching out. From her side, Doyel had already started whining ’bout sleeplessness and the lack of space in the car. I was just about to pull out my earplugs from the duffel bag when suddenly the car stopped. I heaved a sigh of relief and pulling the sweatshirt over me, I got down for a fag….and then I stopped.

In front of me was the entry gate to the Nagarhole forest. Thick dense fog overhanging the trees loomed large in front of me. Before the gate, the trail vanished somewhere up in the mist. There was a strong wind blowing up from the north. As I walked down towards the large welcome board, suddenly I heard a strange moaning sound coming afar, from the western part of the jungle. A chill crept over my heart and I knew it was definitely not the effect of the winds. It was almost full moon but the silver light did nothing to add to the visuals.Somehow, it was very eerie, to the very core of its heart.. in that moment, I felt as if every inch of the cramps & headaches were worth it.

And that was just the beginning….