A Tiger Safari and the US Constitution

A Tiger Safari and the US Constitution

What does a tiger safari have to do with the US constitution? I found the answer in the Sundarban forest.

The Sundarbans are the largest set of mangroves in the world. They’re a UNESCO natural heritage site shared by India and Bangladesh. And they’re home to the endangered Bengal tiger.

I went there from Kolkata – with the deceptively named Tour de Sundarbans. Much to my chagrin, it was not a bike race, and there was very little doping.

I stayed in a village, in a comfortable tent. I took in some cock fighting with a husk full of rice wine. It was like being at a UFC fight, except the fans had more teeth.

But the local cock-fans sure have it hard. Rising sea levels have forced them to build levees around their crops. Crocs stalk them from the water, and tigers munch them on the land. Collecting wild honey is a blood sport over here.

Hey, who you calling chicken?

We saw some animals on safari. On the shore there were boar, spotted deer, a jungle cat, and a heap of birds. In the water there were sea otters and a few small crocs. I resisted my wanker instinct – withholding that crocs under ten-feet are technically considered geckos in Australia.

But, unfortunately, the tigers eluded us. The closest we came were fresh tracks at low tide. And, in retrospect, this was hardly surprising. Chugging around in a diesel houseboat is hardly a black ops approach. Plus they’re nocturnal. There’s an honour board at one of the viewing stations. It logged around two sightings a month, and there’s over thirty boats on the water. So, on tiger safari, point-one percent of the time, it works every time.

So, yeah, a good trip. But I didn’t see a tiger. I guess it’s like the US constitution – never does it guarantee your own happiness, only your right to pursue it. Sounds like George Washington went on tiger safari.