On a cold morning, I woke up with excitement. Running around doing last minute packing, checking passports, visas and itineraries added to the excitement. We were going on an exotic holiday to Singapore!
Our flight was at 11:00 pm and I just could not wait for the day to finish. A seemingly unending wait ceased when the clock finally ticked to the flight time.
Thanks to clear skies, we had no flight delays and boarded the Singapore Airlines SQ-354 at 10:45 pm and set off on our dramatic journey to Singapore.
The journey was amazing. In the flight, we could watch movies, watch television, play games etc. The food was a mix of Singaporean and Indian cuisine .It was a really good start to the journey and we enjoyed the five and a half hour flight trip.
As we landed in Singapore, I felt great enthusiasm. As we walked along the streets, we saw a variety of people from around the world. The weather being hot and humid suppressed our fears of rain playing spoilsport. We relaxed for a couple of hours and set out for the much awaited sight seeing.
Our first rendezvous was the night safari. The introduction given by our tour operator made us impatient! A couple of hundred people were ahead after which was our turn to alight the battery operated buggy that was supposed to take us around. I was thrilled!!
The buggy was swarmed with multinationals and lo! Only two seats were left in the current one. The operators ushered me and my sister hurriedly into the buggy despite my sister wanting to come with our parents. They assured us that our parents would be right behind and in the fervour I felt agreeable. The slow paced buggy explored through the dark night into the dimly lit forest and freely wandering animals. The wild boar, wild deer, the bison and many new ones. It was amazing to see the animals so calm despite the human excitement. The buggy slowly stopped and the operator suggested that we could take a short walk along the trails.
In the excitement, I assumed that my parents too would opt for such a walk and got off the buggy and decided to take one of the trails on offer. I had committed my first mistake when I got off the buggy without checking on my sister. I only realized my sister was still in the vehicle after it left.
I couldn’t do much and feeling helpless, I informed one of the officials about this. He assured me that she would be taken care of.
We were handed a route map in case we got lost and since it was the first time I was looking at a route map, it took me some time to locate my position on the map and where I should head.
I decided to take the tiger trail to view all the different varieties of this majestic wild animal. The first sight of a magnificent white tiger sent shivers down my spine and I involuntarily looked around for my parents. To make it worse the tiger and I were the only living beings on the trail. The encounter with the tiger was the last thing I expected. Then I consoled myself that the tiger would not get too intimate and physical and moved forward.
As I continued my endeavours on the trail, I entered a dark patch which was isolated to created a natural vibe.
I saw that alternate patches of dark and light added to the ambience of the forest. Gathering all my courage, I dragged my feet along the remaining course of the trail and ended up seeing a Bengal tiger, a Siberian tiger and other varieties of them.
My body was soaked with sweat due to fear and the climate of Singapore.
As I returned to the now familiar but nevertheless scary dark patch, I felt numb hearing the rustle of leaves and a buzz which made me jump in panic only to realise that it was just a mosquito. In the thick of the jungle, close to wild animals, I was susceptible to fear even by the buzzing of a mosquito. At any
other time it would have sounded ridiculous.
As I regained my composure, I continued defiantly. But, it seemed that nature had more in store for me when I saw lightning. A brief spell of light assured me that no wild animals were around. It is said that there is light at the end of the tunnel but for me it was danger at the end of the trail. My fears were far from over as my fear of darkness was replaced by the fear of wild animals getting a taste of me.
I went through a gamut of emotions and breezed through my escapade. I remembered as many gods as I could and recited all the shlokas I had learnt and begged Him for forgiveness for all the sins I had committed.
Finally, I could hear human voices and, in my dazed state, it seemed like I was hallucinating! The sight of a buggy was so soothing! I jumped and reached the place where we had boarded. I had never felt so much relief on seeing my parents and sister .Teary-eyed, all of us were speechless for some time.
The thought of what could have gone wrong dazed us. I narrated my tryst with wild animals with a few doses of exaggeration.
As we bid an eventful day a good bye, I felt humbled and confident of scaling unknown territories in the future.
Thank God I was lost and found!