We at Dhole’s Den have a particular spot called Jabu’s Corner on the fringe of our farm facing the majestic Nilgiris in the distance and the various hues of green that make the Bandipur and then the Mudumalai national parks and also facing our nearest village called Kaniyanapura.
The reason why it’s called Jabu’s Corner though it has the paw markings in concrete of his father Shaka is that our Champion Jabu as he is rightfully called now can stand there for hours looking into the distance.
We always wondered what he used to look and search for. Sometimes it was a monitor lizard that would slide down in the distance, sometimes a wild boar and most of the times a black naped hare but we were sure he was looking at the village or wasn’t he. Those who know Jabu know it’s very difficult to be sure with him. Gentle he is to the core but you really don’t know in which world he lives in. A dreamer, a drifter we call him all that.
One April afternoon on a walk along the edge he just disappeared and we wondered where he was. A lot of calling and I realized I saw him a kilometer away and there were some goats in the front of him. I decided to follow through the fence only to realize he looked once back at me and moved away. My staff followed me through the fence but nothing could stop him.
My colleague Sukanta jumped into the jeep and drove out towards the village. In the meanwhile I realized that the multitude of goats wasn’t goats actually but it was the whole bunch on mongrels of Kaniyanapura. I was scared for my life. I too got into my car and sped away towards the village to find that Sukanta driving back with him.
We reached home and Jabu drank water to his heart’s content. He was bitten at three places but seemed to just wink at me as if to say it was an experience. My staff narrated the scene to me as he stood tall and just barked at the pack and each mongrel took a chance at him knowing well alone they don’t stand a chance. In my own mind I wished his brother Simba was with him as he wouldn’t stand and bark but charge at a mongrel that dares to attack or his dad Shaka who needed no invitation to show every bit of his warrior and samurai self. Bleeding but standing tall we pacified Jabu and of course didn’t laud him but ignored his escapade.
The next morning on our walk he again slipped through the fence and ran towards the village. This time I knew it was that lone female in that pack who had been visiting him at the fence and whom he wanted to pay a visit. Thus ignoring even last evening’s cuts and bruises Jabu broke through the barriers that we humans have created.
We now have strengthened the fence just to make sure he doesn’t slip through, just for his safety and started to look for a suitable partner for him and have made calls to breeders of the Chippiparai hound with photographs of him and his brother accompanying a full page ‘matrimonial’ praising him and his brothers beauty and grace and their lineage.
The episode reminds me of Tarantino’s film ‘Django Unchained’. Beaten and bruised Jabu did go back… He isn’t chicken, but man every bit.