Nature

cat and its lair…

Indian desert cat, Tal Chappar, Rajasthan, India

the cat is a contradictory phenomenon, a pet you don’t really own, an existence that baffles Schrödinger, symbolic of witches or exuding the air of a wiseman… if the canine is warmth of attachment, the feline is cold of detachment… bereft of anxiety, it basks in the aloofness that comes with predatory instincts… the cat, one surmises, is quite sorted when it comes to the conundrums of mortality, forsaking the quest for meaning and focusing on getting some sun instead…

Indian desert cat, Tal Chappar, Rajasthan, India

‘twas getting cosy in the car to lull one into a nap as we waited for a sighting of the desert cat, as Atul, a close friend and the expert-in-residence at Tal Chappar, obliged and (quite literally) went in for a catnap… after treating us to a delectable selection of raptors, we were keen to check the cat off the list, and knowing the region like the back of his hand, he parked the car near a small mound, and we waited…

Tal Chappar, Rajasthan, India

my spotting skills aren’t much to brag about, and were proving to be even more redundant in these arid environs, missing birds in plain sight… so ‘twas not a surprise that I was looked rather dumb waiting for the cat as it basked nonchalantly in the sun dead in front, concealed in the short grass, and revealed by the keen eye of Atul (no less than a raptor’s, one could say), who discarded his catnap for, well, the cat…

Indian desert cat, Tal Chappar, Rajasthan, India

the desert cat is a pale resident of pale landscapes… inhabiting Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent – separated from its European cousin by the Caucasus – reddish coat in the former and grayish in the latter, changing camouflage with changing hues… these are diminutive creatures, to the point where they might go extinct and one might not even realize it… the plight of small wild cats, ironically, is the fixation on big cats…

Tal Chappar, Rajasthan, India

there’s a sense of melancholy watching these cats bask… moments when they let their guard down to offer a glimpse into dispositions unperturbed by the elements, and unburdened unlike the human… they seem to hold up a mirror, nay, a prism of indifference that seems to shed the gravitas civilization seems to be cloaked in… we hung around the mound for a while, soaking in the cat as it soaked up the last dregs of sunlight, and rambled back on to the dusty roads…

Indian desert cat, Tal Chappar, Rajasthan, India

musing on Indian desert cat, Tal Chappar, Rajasthan

Author: Parth Joshi

Allured by the outdoors, the author is made up in parts of that quintessential lost soul wreathing under the pangs of biophilia in a desk job, a wannabe elegist mostly ending up in dungeons of poetasters and an optimist waiting for the senility of the modern world to fade away while sampling shoots and leaves. In saner times, he has a keen interest in areas pertaining to tourism, history, agriculture and climate change, especially with respect to historical interpretations, emerging technologies and future livelihoods. An avid trekker, runner, cyclist, birder and photographer, he is more often than not found gloating over anything hinterland, on foot or over computer monitors, and fantasizing solutions that can foster inclusive growth and sustainable livelihoods for communities at the grassroots.

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