Picnic on a Streamer Launch to the Sunderbans

(this essay example based on a true incident)

I had never been on a streamer before. So this winter my father decided to go for a picnic to the Sunderbans on a streamer, called launch in local parlance. On a Saturday morning about fifteen of us went to Sealdah and took a train to Canning. From there we boarded the chartered streamer named MV Sundari. I was told every streamer has a name to identify easily.

We were greeted with a hot cup of tea and snacks on boarding the MV Sundari. The vessel steamed off and soon reached the midstream of the Bidyadhari River. What a sight! The banks were full of sundari trees and that is how the Sunderbans coined its name. We saw plenty of cranes and storks and many other fishing birds with long beaks. There were several inlets or creeks all around. There were a couple of small boats hovering at the mouth of the creeks. We wanted to go in that direction but the captain refused for fear of tigers. The Sunderbans is famous for its tigers and crocodiles. We were wondering if we would be lucky enough to see one during this trip.

The buzz on board alerted us. We spotted a tiger in the water quite close to our streamer. It jumped from the bank of a creek and concentrated on its kill in one of the small fishing boats. Once it had a good grip, it held the goat by its neck and jerked the body in such a way that it cushioned on its back. Then it jumped off and landed on the bank in one giant leap. We saw it disappear into the thick jungle with the goat still hanging in its jaws. We were all shaking from this ordeal. It could have been one of us! We were so gripped with apprehension that we forgot to pick up our camera except my uncle.

Our reactions were divided. Some were delighted to have witnessed from such close proximity a live instance of a tiger stalking and escaping with the kill. The others were all too scared to continue the joy ride. I cannot even remember what we ate. However, we chose the middle path and stayed inside the chambers downstairs. I was keyed up to have witnessed such an ordeal but at the same time I was frightened. However I returned with a mixed feeling. I had a lot to share with my friends.

© Arked Infotech

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