AS I WALKED WITH THE LIONS

Breaking the monotony is something that every person looks up to tim-to-time. Some join a music class while some go and take a dip in the swimming pool. Some go for a long drive while some opt for a cosy dinner. But there is one thing that is actually welcomed by all at any point of life – A vacation. Holidays help you rejuvenate, refresh and rediscover yourself. On this note, I am sharing my memories from a beautiful vacation that I had in the lovely island country called ‘Mauritius’.

Mauritius has its own charm with which it enchants all. Out-of-the-world coral studded crystal clear water, clean and green beaches, serene waterfalls, plateaus and mountains, rich flora and fauna, sugarcane fields and a tropical climate for you to relax and refurbish; there is a long list about Mauritius that can leave one in awe and reverence. A mere drive down the serene roads passing by the hills and the waving sea can fill one up with serenity. It renders us into a different kind of trance as we get surrounded by shades of blue from all around.

As we landed, mighty rains casted a spell across the country turning the tropical sun into wintery chills. With no specific itineraries planned, we embarked upon a journey of exploration with a GPS and a car on us. There are a number of places that we explored viz. Sunset point in centre of the country, Grand Baie beach in North Mauritius, Discotheques and Restaurants on Flic en Flac road, Port Louis, Casela Nature Park, Crocodile park, Chamarel Winery, speed boat rides to Ile Aux Cerfs and Round Island along with many islands, beaches and nature parks.

All these places in and across Mauritius exuberated a captivating tranquillity. There were a number of activities that we indulged in. From taking a dip in the sea to swimming with the dolphins, from snorkelling to walking under the sea, from seeing corals in a glass bottom boat to riding in a speed boat, from trekking amid the sugarcane fields to jungle safaris in the wild; we made sure that we explored Mauritius in the best possible manner. Keeping all this aside, there was an out of the world experience that I had giving me great adrenaline rush and a feel of being above cloud nine. This was when I walked with two big white lionesses Zaza and Matata, touching them, talking to them and holding them. These big cats were never chained and were trained to be good with the visitors who visited them from across the world in large numbers. Though trained and tamed, they had the ferocious gait of being queen of the jungle, and exuded the same wilderness as any other cat of the same family would do.

When I was walking with the lionesses I could feel the amazing understanding that they had developed towards human beings. Despite of being surrounded by people, they acted as if there was no big deal about anyone’s presence and as if every other person was their friend. They let us come near them and lovingly we touched them and even held their tails. We learnt about them, their behaviour and how they lived with the tamers at Casella Nature Park. When I was looking into their eyes, a thought kept sprawling my mind – “Which is the wildest animal on Earth – one of the Big Five (Lion, Leopard, Cape buffalo, Rhinoceros and Wild elephant) or the entire race of Human Beings?” After the experience of walking with the lions, I got my clear answer that no one can beat human beings in their wildness. While people have been able to tame animals, there has been no way with which a human mind has got tamed.

With much such food for thought and a bagful of lovely memories we flew back from Mauritius with my heart lingering onto the island. With plans to revisit the country, I am already planning my next itinerary to complete the missed on adventures of scuba diving and sky diving.

Author - Ruchika Kedia

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