After birding at Monglajodi we boarded in the train to Berhampore (Bramhapore) from Balugaon in the morning. The view of moving Chilka on the left and the undulated topography on the right was so refreshing that I couldn’t realize that I was traveling in an overcrowded unreserved compartment. We reached Berhampore by 10, took an auto to reach the old bus stand and arrange a shelter for the coming night. By 10.30, we were again on our way to Aska, but this time by private bus. Excellent road, non-stop express bus journey without any jerk, window seat and cool, soothing breeze, all the elements for a successful script of a nap were present. But before I reach the climax, the shout of the conductor broke my drowsiness, “get down sir, you are at Aska”. Bhetnoi was still 12 km away. We left the high way and tried to board in a small vehicle, which I don’t know what to be called actually. It was bigger than a jeep but smaller even than a mini bus. Everywhere, other than the footboard was packed with people and their luggage. My wife some how managed to get into (probably first time in her life became happy for being a woman!), but I had no other choice but to hang on the footboard with my camera bag and tripod. After almost 20 painfully struggling minutes we reached Bhetnai. Mr. Amullaya Upadhyaya, the president of ‘Blackbuck Management Committee’ received us at the bus stop. The last lap of our journey was still remaining. We rode in his motor cycle o reach the other side of the village. We took off the shoes, crossed a ‘nullah’ and walked about 400 mts too have the first sight of an isolated male Black Buck in the field.
We were standing at the beginning of a huge open ground, partially cultivated and partially barren. The piles of harvested crop in some places produced a visual relief in the vastness of the field. 8-10 male and around 100 female could easily be seen from a distance of about 200 meters. A slight try to have proximity to get some better shots created a panic and a whole herd vanished towards the horizon in no time.
Mr. Upadhyaya had to leave as he had some prior appointments. But, he committed to pick us up whenever our job is done. I positioned myself behind a hump of that undulated field. The hump and the long grasses on it were partially hiding my gears and me. Time was passing at the slowest possible rate. Every single moment of waiting was an acid test for my patience. To make my waiting a bit tolerable I tried to concentrate on things around me. The small bluish hillocks at the farthest corner made the topography quite interesting. Flock of flying milky white Cattle Egret on the backdrop of hill was helping me a lot to ignore the sun, at least mentally. Some other birds, butterflies also kept me a bit active. After almost an hour or so, they again started to come to the open field again and the distance between us was gradually decreasing. I too tried to move by crawling through the ground. What a wonderful world it was!! Not just one, two. Three, or so, hundreds of male, female blackbuck were roaming around the field. They grazed, fought, played in front of my pierced eyes. I was so spellbound that some times forgot to press the shutter and thus missed to capture a lots of unique moments. I was wondering that whether we were in India or in an African safari.