Midnight Chronicles: Defying the Darkness in Satkosia Tiger Reserve, Odisha

Midnight Chronicles: Defying the Darkness in Satkosia Tiger Reserve, Odisha

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The driver told us that he would guide us into the forest at night, even though it's against the law to enter that zone after dark. Despite the legal consequences, a group of young men, intoxicated and smoking marijuana, were eager to defy the rules. After a chaotic evening, we stealthily escaped over the wall of the forest camp in Odisha. It was around midnight on a cold winter night, the darkness illuminated only by the sky's faint light, transforming the forest into a magical place.
We drove for about half an hour, navigating poorly demarcated roads with only tire marks visible in the car's headlights. The driver emphasized the importance of maintaining silence and refraining from photography, as it was prohibited for outsiders to wander in the forest at night, risking repercussions from the rangers.
In a pitch-dark location, the driver stopped the car, turned off the engine and headlights. Suddenly, we realized the profound silence of the forest, surrounded by darkness. Only the stars above, visible through the canopy, illuminated the scene. The driver whispered, drawing our attention to the elegance of the forest's quietude. We strained our ears to detect the distant roar of elephants, succeeding after a moment of concentrated listening.
As we marveled at the distant elephant sounds, another enchanting sound captivated me. Seated beside the driver, I lowered the window to better hear the elephants, only to notice the sweet sound of dewdrops falling from one leaf to another on the trees above. In the cold January night, this natural symphony of dewdrops created a mesmerizing opera in the forest. I wished to record the sounds but chose to etch them into my memory, savoring the beauty of dewdrops falling on the trees in the night forest.
🌳🌲🌴🌳🌲🌴🌳🌲🌴🌳
Satkosia Tiger Reserve, Odisha, Dec 2017
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