I was back in the Indian jungle, in Ranthambhore National Park, a place famous for its wild tigers and enchanted landscape. Looking down from the ruins of the ancient fort, I wondered how possible it might be to re-establish the forests and trees we have lost.
As I saw it, the forest tells no lies but only shows the truth. So who better to ask than the forest itself?
When entering the jungle, or indeed any wild place, I naturally want to feel part of it.
If there’s a plant I don’t know or an animal I haven’t seen, I want to know more. In the forest I become more receptive to my surroundings.
Counting, watching, listening, opening my senses … I imagine myself as a samber deer or even a tiger. How would I hunt and escape being hunted? Where would I live? How long could I survive?
Engaging with wild animals in the jungle requires patience. Many of the animals here, from the largest to the smallest, naturally hide or escape from view, keeping a low profile for much of the time simply to stay alive.
It is when animals want to communicate with others that they reveal themselves. And that is when you realise how rich and diverse the forests are.
I was captivated by this young male stag with his first set of slender spikes. They will remain on his pedicles until he sheds them later to grow a larger set of antlers.
His caring mother could be seen close by with her beautiful young female fawn. Looking at these three sambar deer made me think of my own family: Felix my son, Jessie my daughter and Elaine my wife.
As I moved deeper into the forest, I thought of what else makes up three, from the ancient Hindu Vedas: Brahma the creator, Vishnu the protector, and Shiva the god of change.
And what three things are universally important to every living thing we know? Sun, moon and earth.
We came across three male spotted deer, engrossed in a battle of strength. The clatter of antlers echoed through the forest. The outcome would ultimately determine their position within the herd.
I saw some black-faced langur monkeys. Friends of the spotted deer and sambar, they send out alarm calls whenever danger is upon them …
… most importantly when a tiger or leopard is detected prowling though the forest.
And that’s when the forest answered my question.
Find a place where you can plant 3 trees, then ask a friend to do the same and by doing so you will be making a trail of trees that amount to a large forest.
That same day I met up with most of the drivers and local guides I knew in Ranthambhore National Park. I passed on the message and to my delight they all said they would plant3trees.
It was now time for me to do the same. I would ask my friends at Ranthambhore Bagh, if they could help me.