Wednesday, August 31, 2016

RUPA PUBLICATIONS: Man Eaters of Kumaon by Jim Corbett

Read a page from this book. Close your eyes for 2 minutes. Read another. Close your eyes again. Repeat this, until the chapter you've been reading is over. No wildlife based television show would ever be able to provide you with a better and more enchanting view of the life of hills and around of long ago, under the menace of dangerous man-eaters, like this one.

'Enchanting' be the one word, if I am to describe my thoughts upon reading this book.

This book is a compilation of ten tales of Corbett's various escapades, mostly spine-chilling, with tigers and leopards, who had gained notoriety due to being man-eaters. Having dealt with wildlife over a long period of time and having observed them from close quarters, Corbett has been able to outline the possible thought process or the reason for the beasts’ behaviours almost as deftly as he has been able to describe the human reactions and responses to the former’s threats.

As a reader, my personal favourite certainly is the story “Robin”, which in some sure sense resembles a typical work of Mahadevi Verma, delicately and lovingly outlining the life of a favourite pet. The protagonist of the story is Robin, Corbett’s faithful spaniel, who had accompanied and helped the author in many of his hunting adventures. In his own words, the canine was “the biggest hearted and the most faithful friend man ever had”. From how the pet came into the care of the author, to how he started training, to how his skill oftentimes became their savior, to how eventually, he bid adieu to his loving master, it is a beautiful story that leaves the reader yearning for more.

As Ruskin Bond aptly puts in the introduction, “Corbett’s exploits brought him fame as a hunter. His book turned him into a legend.”

If you consider yourself an adventure lover or are simply looking for some thrilling stories, here’s the deal. Just read this book. 

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