By the time we reached the exit gate of the forest, it was almost 7:30. Doyel finally was wide awake and had started whining for a loo. At first I hardly realized what she wanted, I thought she was having another fight with Makkhi. But Doyel, being Doyel, soon got us all engaged in search of a proper place for her in the jungle. I suggested she should take that wild leopard print thing she had and get down, would have been the best camouflage ever! Got a hard pinch for reminding that in front of kaku. We all were pointing out shrubs and bushes to her but finally she chose to go out in the open. I know it was my fault, because as soon as I got to know she was cribbing for a loo, I started assuring her that tigers and snakes are just waiting for her to get down. She would have done it in the car itself, had we allowed it.

In the meanwhile, Rakesh, our host, has already called twice to confirm our whereabouts, so that he could send his driver to take us to his estate. The road after the forest boundaries was in a dilapidated condition, “Not fit for an Innova”, Rakesh has said. We got down near a school and waited for the white jeep.

The village outside the forest was small… cemented houses flanked on either side of the road, a convent school and some small tapris with two tapering alleys cutting a fork in between.The dried brown leaves scattered on the narrow lanes, the dusty jeeps, a fog covered sun yet a mild weather, all hinted at the arrival of spring. We were looking around for some refreshments when the driver arrived. He took us to a local vendor, we had a cup of tea each & got seated for the onward journey. Never can you imagine a ride like that…..