Trip to Kanha Tiger Reserve

Trip to Kanha Tiger Reserve was not only about tigers! It began with preparation and understanding our  own fears and beliefs about travelling in sleeper class. Then, next in the line was series of apprehensions on or rather images of travel - getting lost, fear of strangers, appropriate toilets, travel arrangements, food, away from parents, need of gadgets (nine days without TV or Video games). While we did not try to reduce any fear, we only gave all the information they needed to make travel safe and in their hands.

Thanks to Anoop, Samiksha and Shravan, we got to experience forest in different forms - we walked inside buffer zone, we walked around the forest facing our own fear, we walked in the dark without torches knowing our own senses, we traveled early morning in the forest to embrace mist, we went into the forest in the evening to see the life at dusk….we talked and talked and came back inspired with the knowledge they had on each topic related to forest. We spent time at the Machan to experience life around a forest village field. We went around in the night to know how does the forest feels in the light, we searched for owls and eagles in the daylight and also in the nights. We watched bats and their distress due to our presence. We saw fox and Jackal to love them more than jungle stories….we listened to jungle stories with loads of curiosity. We all came back super charged about birds and trees and butterflies and barahsingha and….of course tigers.

We began with constraints ‘travel light’. Carry only what you need. We came down from 10 pairs of clothes to 4-5 pairs and with washing during the trip we all survived. Any outstation trip brings some natural constraints like food, place to sleep, schedule, waking up time, rest, toilets etc. Our schedule changes, our routines of sleep and food were disturbed. Other constraint of the places like silence during Safari, not get down from Safari, keep up the time of Safari and so on were all accepted with ease and understanding. Other type of constraint which were designed like ‘talk only related to the topic, play games related to the topic of forest’ was fine by some, while some wanted to include some other topics also. This constraint pushed all of us to stay with the topic and invent as and when needed.

We all came back with many stories of the trip to Kanha Tiger Reserve. One of the highlight of such spaces is the people who know the place in depth.

The trip made us wonder that we all know so less about our surroundings better..trees in our area, visiting birds, history of the area, about the people who live around (cobbler who is master in repairing, plumber who can solve all your problems, grocer who delivers in minutes, your next door neighbour who can engage kids with stories of his childhood, a painter who painted the walls of Bangalore, soldier who was part of army till last year and so on).

The whole idea is not to keep it limited to verbal sharing but take it forward to create wide learning opportunities. This also creates opportunities for kids to learn by themselves and have confidence in themselves and take their learning in their hands. Invite other kids for walks in your area to know your area better. More children interact with others, more they become master of their surroundings.

The trip was just a small exposure of nine days, the learning begins now!