It was in December, 1997 when i discovered my passion for wildlife...I was in the seventh standard in school. My papa is totally aware of my zoophilia since childhood and arranged for a trip to the Palamau Reserve, now in Jharkhand. We boarded the Shaktipunj Express and reached our destination around 4-30 A.M. The morning was chilled and so foggy that i could only see what's in front of me upto 2-3 feet. A man waved his hand with a torch and asked papa, "Kya aap Betla jaaoge?" My papa agreed and we started off in a jeep..The road was dark..the headlights of the jeep struggled their way through it..All of a sudden, two eyes sparkled at a distance..the driver applied brakes..i asked, "Is that a deer?"..The driver smiled and replied, "naa Munni, ek gaai thaa"..The road was packed with trees on both sides and it was too dark to explore..I was tired by the journey and dozed off on mom's lap..When i woke up finally, i found myself in a well-decorated room of Naihar..it was 10 A.M. by the clock..I was curious and went to the veranda...O My God! It was like heaven..a very colourful garden with the rarest of flowers in bloom..and a flock of jungle warblers in their business..I had a breakfast and started walking with papa towards the point of entry into the forest.We got introduced to a forest official in duty and after knowing about my love for wildlife, he advised me for a jungle trip in the earliest hour of the day as greater chances of viewing wildlife lies in the early morning..A government tourist lodge on a tilla beside the forest-gate caught our attention and we went there to have a look..A plate displayed, "Last tiger seen by : Vikram Kumar on 24.11.1997". I was overwhelmed because the sight of a tiger would be a treasure of a lifetime. A care-taker approached and we expressed our interest to see the rooms for staying though we already booked rooms in our current hotel.One room was enough for three but the lights were inadequate..Papa was excited and said, "This will add to the awesome feeling of staying in the wild!!" The balcony protruded into the jungle at the back..and we found some salt-licks tied to the trees there. The care-taker informed,"Yahan hiran aataa hain".. Hearing this, there was a sparkle of happiness in my eyes as i was feeling the presence of wildlife with all my senses for the first time..