Upon receiving a phone call from the Director of BRT Tiger Reserve, Mr. Vijay Mohan Raj, inviting me to document the daily lives of staff of reserve and the people, I always cherished dream of visiting BRT forest for its typical setting with mountain ranges and ‘Sholigas’. I was thrilled. Though it took 10 hours journey, the feeling of going to the “dreamland” eased my fatigue of tedious journey. When I left Bellary it was 45 degree Celsius in the month of May, but next day when I stayed in Jodigere, I was shivering with chilly winds hitting me hard. I felt like jumping from hot pan to the deep freezer!
Having worked previously with Vijay Mohan Raj on the coffee table book ‘Daroji – An Ecological Destination’ I was fairly conversant with what to expect, but the landscape and the subjects discussed were altogether different. My effort was to get an insightful story of the lives of the staff of BRT, this necessitated staying with them. I stayed with them, documenting their daily lives. Staying in Anti-Poaching Camp with the Sholiga guards, eating the ragi balls and the soup which these guards cook, listening to the thrilling stories of their encounter of wildlife and tales the forest brigand Veerappan – is unforgettable and fascinating. The intense commitment of the frontline staff ob BRT Tiger Reserve has to be seen to be believed.
Some of the images I shot were featured in BRT booklet and I am proud to be part of this activity.