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Old 21st April 2013, 18:54   #1
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Default The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!

And this time into a deep, dark, teeming with wild, wild, creatures - jungle !

And soon enough we were here:
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Wait. That is jumping the gun. Or as the corporate types would put it short circuiting the process.

So let me rewind just a little.

It began with many T-BHP Fortuner owners in the western region feeling that everyone, his uncle and the lampost were visiting some jungles, spotting some mildly wild creatures, coming back with their mouths ajar and putting up reports here. And some with fabulous photographs, though looking very unnatural, of creatures they spotted and didn't too. And sniffing about missed creatures.
And that is when the group decided that something had to be done. And one had to up the ante considerably. And go to a spot so wild and dangerous that it should put an end to mildly dangerous outings.
And then the names started to do the rounds. Tadoba ? No way - too mild. Sariska ? Are you kidding ? Forget domesticated tigers or the non existent ones, no self respecting poultry would even like to be seen there. Besides with repeated forays of a certain walrus mustachioed gentleman to that place have had even the non existent tigers give up and they select one among them, by a draw of bones (like straws), to show its face to him so he leaves the place in a trice. Ranthambore ? Are you kidding - you call that dangerous ? That jungle near Bangalore - which these days is seen in black and white snaps - and supposedly with wild elephants with a penchant to kick and brutalise vehicles ? Masinagudi ? The name itself reveals as to how mild that place is, was the collective opinion.

Or should we just drive to some place at 4KMPH breaking the current record of 5KMPH by sea ? Are you mad ? Don't we do that and slower, every single day in Amchi Mumbai was the retort. The proposer was soundly chastened.

After a lot of search and discussions with experts, the name of 'the' place to
visit was suddenly thrown up. And there was a gasp of fear from the listeners on the other side of the phone. But yet all of us knew that to raise the bar, to set a new benchmark - this was the place and no other. Some attempted to talk the others out of it. The very thought of the place sank many a heart.
But then the group set aside their fears, apprehensions & wet trousers and decided to go for it. And the presence of an expert of the area in the group who had been their enough number of times calmed the chaps of course.

I would rather prefer that the snaps do the talking. The very thought of the place and its creatures gives me the heebie jeebies. And I break into a cold sweat as I write this from deep within the dark, dangerous place. If only we could get out of this place at the earliest.

The posse forms on Ghodbunder Road, Thane:
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Initially the smiles were brave:
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Very brave indeed:
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Soon out of sheer fear - the first break was demended. Right on GB Road. Notice the gentleman in the background ? That's what fear does to you.
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And yet another break on WE Highway. And two breaks 15 minutes of start. By now the members were feeling an icy grip get hold of their guts...that is if they had any.

And another break just after Manor toll booth. This was not looking good at all.
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Suddenly a huge trailer lumbered past us:
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Carrying this:
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Railway coach ! Which compelled the member who had done his business on GB Road (as evidenced by one of the snaps above) to ask whether the coach would have a loo in it. Such was the grip of fear.

Soon the posse of brave men took their first major break. And no prizes for guessing where all of us ran first. In the civilised strata or strata having pretensions of civilised behaviour it is called a rest room. But the members hardly rested. The exercised in the most strenuous manner the muscles of unmentionable regions.
And soon after all the exercises something to eat: (laughter to dispel the fear)
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(L-R: Venkatiyer, MonaroCV8, Karan521, Manish - foreground)

Smile on...fear shows below:
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Salman (Ahmed's B-i-L and soundly cursing Ahmed throughout the trip) Ahmed & Manish.

Yours truly joins at the far end ( though the end isn't too far):
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Explanations of how creatures pounce:
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Though some folks stood up to the challenge bravely:
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Our first sight of the distant sights:
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Suddenly some spots were spotted:
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Spots ? Asked the expert. Must be a leopard said he of many jungle runs. But those are black spots.
Yeah right. But these spots would be inside the leopard's belly though:
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Run baby run. We paused there must be a wild one after it ?
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And all this was seen from outside. Who knows what perils lay inside ?

Hello ? I had applied for a reindeer's job for the next X'mas season...mentioned this fellow to one of our members who looked like a Santa C in the making:
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Sadly we had reached the core area of one of the most dangerous national park at 11.00 am and that was the cut off time for the morning. The next session was only at 3.00 pm. Awww shoot.
Soon an influential member of the team rang up the PMO which passed on instructions to the Min of Forests which placed a few calls to the Forest Ranger who sent an instruction to the Sub Ranger who sent for a Chaprasi who...and finally we were in...and the last words we heard at the office were: "Arre yaar unko jake marna hai to humein kya itraaz hai ? Janwaron ko utna kam khana khilana padega. Faida hamara..." The team member who heard this wanted to turn back.
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The first machaan to spot the wild ones:
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The first of the wild ones:
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Wilder ones:
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None spotted and we decided to abandon the machaan. If going up was tough getting down was:
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Monaro decided to do it in reverse. He generally doesn't want to see what he gets down to:
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The line up at the machan:
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And soon it was decided to go into the core, core area. Forest officials at the gate had informed us that they would be responsible for any untoward happenings inside as the animals were restive.
But we moved ahead, putting our fears aside and throwing caution to the wind. And many were breaking it out of fear.

And these snaps of the lineup of braves made everything worth it:
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And of the real brave who took snaps from afar:
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A growl from afar saw both of them scampering to the safe confines of the vehicle !

(Break ! I need a break ! To be continued... What place is this ? Can't you be a little patient ? Can't you see your scribe is trembling and out of breath ?
Next - The sighting !
Please do excuse any spelling and other errors in the piece above. Sitting deep inside the jungle, sorrounded by fearful creatures and thinking about the report was not quite the environment for creative pursuits ! )

Last edited by Guderian : 21st April 2013 at 19:02.
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Old 21st April 2013, 19:48   #2
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Default The Fortuner Posse Rides Again - Part Deux !

After the machaan started the drive deep into the outer inner core territory. Tourists are not allowed into the inner, inner core territory. That is the warden's bungalow.
Anyway coming to the rest of the terror filled drive. We continued with it.
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While at the back:
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Suddenly the first sighting:
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Meaning that this poor creature (called a spotted deer by the expert, who first called it a leopard, and the rest called it Chital) sighted something for the first time that scared it into a mad flight.

And then we came across a clearing where we lined up our braves. And this despite the warning by the expert that there could be wild animals around.
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And in the clearing was a small thatched out post where we rested our weary bones and minds for sometime and caught some nearby sights:
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The dam had water and nothing else.

Karan561 attempting to relax. Actually I was trying to get the board and the tree behind him. As someone mentioned that that tree is usually used by flying predators to hoist up their hunts safe from scavengers. Just that he came in the way.
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And the drive continued:
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And mind you it was all heat and dust. And we also realised that we were quite lost in the wildlife park. Were we going round and round ?

And suddenly the second sighting.
Meaning they sighted us. For the second time as they had seen us while we were going in.
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And suddenly we found ourselves at the gates. And the guy who had the keys had gone out ! Remember we came at off time ? And the calls from the PMO ?
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By now we were praying for someone to let us out of this wild, wild place !

But anyway the bloke was located and we were out ! Phew !

We took a different way to get back. And encountered roads or no roads of this kind:
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After an interesting run on terrible roads we found ourselves on the WE Highway.
And in a flash we were back home late afternoon.
Where did we go ?
Errr...ummm...Silvassa Deer Park.
Why do you have that incredulous look on your face ? Didn't you notice how wild and ferocious those deer looked ? That Sambhar (and no idlies or vadas accompanying them either), that angry Chital (spotted deer) and some of those birds ? Phew ! And what if some deer had bitten us ? Or if an angry deer had charged at us ? Those were some wild deers I tell you.
And flying predators on that tree I mentioned about ? Heard of crows ?

Awww shoot. Forgot to take some black and white snaps. And in the moonlight. Shucks, it was a daytime drive.


And the place we stopped for a decent breakfast ? Kamat's Resort Silvassa.

All in all a good drive and some mild off roading. Delightful day. Started at 0700 hrs and was home and dry at 1430 hrs.

At least now we have been initiated into wildlife spotting and driving.

Next ? The Kalahari & Sub-Sahara region. Nothing less.
Now we are experts you see.

Thank you Ahmed & Salman (who had driven in all the way from Aurangabad), MonaroCV8 and Venkatiyer (all the way from Pune) and Manish, Karan561 (the Trip Master !).

And now may I request my co-riders in the posse to add their words and snaps here ?

Aloha !

Last edited by Guderian : 21st April 2013 at 20:13.
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Old 21st April 2013, 20:26   #3
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Default re: The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!

Thanks Guderian for the write up

It indeed was a great drive to Silvassa Deer Park.

Right from the Rendezvous point @ Thane from where the the 6 Fortuners took off battling the undisciplined traffic of NH8 & reaching silvassa in about 2 hrz and on schedule thereby enabling us to complete the trail & spend good time in the reserve.

It indeed was a good show by all the drivers.

Special thanks to Ahmed(who had driven in from Aurangabad), MonaroCV8 and Venkatiyer (all the way from Pune) to make the plan happen

Kedar Walke was missed this time, but next time hope he can join in as well.

Here are a few pics from my side;

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The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-1.jpg

The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-3.jpg

The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-photo-5.jpg

The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-photo-1.jpg

Last edited by karan561 : 21st April 2013 at 20:45.
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Old 21st April 2013, 22:21   #4
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Default re: The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!

Jungle safari of a different kind !

Maybe, the deers got entertained.
Or not.


Great narrative as usual HG!
And I'll never forget the 'wash your hands' story.
Karan's agenda was spot on.
Thanks guys !
Nice to catchup with Manish, Venkat & Ahmed.
Kedar, you missed out on some action.
Here's my section of the report:

Line-up at kamat. Notice how clean all the cars look.
The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-miniat-kamat.jpg

All Dusty now!
The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-minijungle-line-up-1.jpg
The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-minijungle-line-up-2.jpg
The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-miniline-up-jungle.jpg

Spotted from the Machaan.
The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-minimachaan-shot.jpg

Manish trying to shoot me while I shoot him!
The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-minishooting-each-other.jpg

With their respective cars. They wanted to guard their cars from Deers running into them.
The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-miniwith-owners.jpg

This Bolero was not a part of our convoy in the jungle.
Somehow he managed to sneak in with us into the forest. Cheeky!
The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-minibolero-1.jpg
The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-bolero2.jpg

The forest trail was winding and dusty. But fun.
The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-minijungle-1.jpg
The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-minijungle-2.jpg
The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-minijungle-3.jpg
The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-minijungle-4.jpg
The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-minijungle-5.jpg
The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-minijungle-6.jpg
The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-minijungle-7.jpg

Thats Madhuban Reservoir in the the background. Not a part of the sanctuary.
The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-minidam.jpg

Of course, the deers, for whom we journeyed this far..
The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-lone-deer.jpg
The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-minideers-under-shed.jpg
The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-minideers-hill.jpg

On our return journey, back to the main gate. HG thought we were lost in the jungle!
The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-return-jungle-journey.jpg
The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-return-jungle-journey-2.jpg

Out of the forest and we thought' lets take a short cut which would join the WE Highway for our home-bound journey. Instead we hit a patch of 'washed away' roads which were non-motorable at some parts.
The plus side: we got to drive through a few rustic villages (tribal?) and got glimpses of rural Gujarat!

The bad roads:
The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-minibad-roads-1.jpgThe Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-minibad-roads-2.jpgThe Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-minibad-roads-3.jpgThe Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-bad-roads-4.jpgThe Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-minibad-roads-5.jpgThe Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-bad-roads-6.jpg

600+km run from Pune and Back, for me and Venkat.
A day well spent!

What Next??

Last edited by Monaro CV8 : 21st April 2013 at 22:33.
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Old 22nd April 2013, 07:21   #5
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Default re: The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!

With the kind of ferocious looks given to Fortuners, I was trying to spot some oil trails on the trails, but indeed the Toyotas seemed to have braved the ordeal very bravely.



What an absolute entertainer I say. Way to go, be brave and conquer more such intimidating trails

Thanks a zillion for sharing and hats off to General for doing justice to narrating the ordeal.

Last edited by GTO : 22nd April 2013 at 11:10. Reason: Please do NOT use acronyms when referring to cars (e.g. T-Forts). Full make & model please
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Old 22nd April 2013, 13:17   #6
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Default Re: The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!

Sorry mate, but this truly lacks sensitivity!

I am not sure how the forest officials could let so many vehicles inside a protected area! Did you guys grease their palms?? This is certainly in bad taste mate.

Enjoy nature by being a part of it not abusing it!

Last edited by vinair : 22nd April 2013 at 13:25.
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Old 22nd April 2013, 17:48   #7
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Default Re: The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!

Quote:
Originally Posted by vinair View Post
Sorry mate, but this truly lacks sensitivity!

I am not sure how the forest officials could let so many vehicles inside a protected area! Did you guys grease their palms?? This is certainly in bad taste mate.

Enjoy nature by being a part of it not abusing it!
Ahh there vinair ! You had last visited the Fortuners thread on the Rajmachi drive. At that point of time I had mentioned that your PoV was respected.

But this time I think you have made certain comments which, giving you the benefit of doubt, I presume would have arisen from complete lack of information and out of making huge assumptions, which are rather mistaken, to say the least.
Firstly this is a deer park and vehicles are allowed inside to move around the trails following certain driving norms and numbers (in terms of vehicles allowed inside at a time). All norms were judiciously followed. Rounds these parts the officials are fairly tough in enforcement of park rules that truly matter. Or at least it appears to me.
And secondly no, no palms or any other part of their bodies were greased. The only parts around that were greased well, I am sure, were the Fortuners propeller shafts.
And no, I don't think any of the participants require any lesson on/in how to enjoy nature without abusing it or sensitivity/taste (?) or other such mumbo jumbo motherhood statements. I am pretty certain that all members, who are fairly well travelled and experienced, could do well without that.

But I sincerely thank you for your concern for nature.

Last edited by Guderian : 22nd April 2013 at 17:49.
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Old 22nd April 2013, 18:54   #8
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Default Re: The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!

Seems you guys had fun. Not very safe to take Fortuners in the midst of such dangerous wildlife though.

Do a similar trip to this part of the country in case you need some B&W photos :-)

I know a nice colonial bungalow in a tea estate that also has a nice offroading trail. Throw in campfires, gaurs, leopards etc.
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Old 22nd April 2013, 19:40   #9
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Default Re: The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!

When I read this, I knew something sinister was coming up. And was also looking up about some visit to the unknown.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guderian View Post

It began with many T-BHP Fortuner owners in the western region feeling that everyone, his uncle and the lampost were visiting some jungles, spotting some mildly wild creatures, coming back with their mouths ajar and putting up reports here.
Do I smell a hint of jealousy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guderian View Post

And some with fabulous photographs, though looking very unnatural, of creatures they spotted and didn't too. And sniffing about missed creatures.
I strongly, vey strongly, rather very very strongly protest and object to this statement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guderian View Post

Sariska ? Are you kidding ? Forget domesticated tigers or the non existent ones, no self respecting poultry would even like to be seen there.
This is HOWLarious.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guderian View Post

Besides with repeated forays of a certain walrus mustachioed gentleman to that place have had even the non existent tigers give up and they select one among them, by a draw of bones (like straws), to show its face to him so he leaves the place in a trice.
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Old 23rd April 2013, 08:28   #10
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Default Re: The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!

Thanks HG for the awesome write-up, really hilarious! Here are a few pics from my side...

Awesome Antlers!

The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-a0deer.jpg

The Black and Whites

The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-a1bw.jpg

The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-a1bw1.jpg

BHPians in action:

A crowded machan! (Guderian, Monaro, Karan, and Manish)

The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-h1.jpg

A sermon on animal movements and alarm calls?

The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-h2.jpg

Ahmed in action

The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-h3.jpg

The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-h4.jpg

The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-h41.jpg

Salman bhai

The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-h5.jpg

And the vehicles

Overflowing RVM!
The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-drw.jpg

Karan561 and Guderian
The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-dscf0998.jpg

Dust storm
The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-dscf1005.jpg

Immpecable driving manners
The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-dscf1008.jpg

Monaro CV8 and Ahmed
The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-dscf1013.jpg

The countryside
The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!-dzlasr.jpg
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Old 23rd April 2013, 08:45   #11
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Default Re: The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guderian View Post
Ahh there vinair ! You had last visited the Fortuners thread on the Rajmachi drive. At that point of time I had mentioned that your PoV was respected.

But this time I think you have made certain comments which, giving you the benefit of doubt, I presume would have arisen from complete lack of information and out of making huge assumptions, which are rather mistaken, to say the least
Lack of info on the game reserve? may be. But a sense to care towards our very fragile ecology overtakes me than any other. Also, I find it very hard to accept the whole idea of disturbing the natural world in the name of so called 'fun and cheap thrill'.

I bet, you will find my comments in all such post mate! Start to care for what is fast depleting, let our children too enjoy the little patch of greenery left!
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Old 23rd April 2013, 09:58   #12
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Default Re: The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!

Quote:
Originally Posted by vinair View Post
Lack of info on the game reserve? may be. But a sense to care towards our very fragile ecology overtakes me than any other. Also, I find it very hard to accept the whole idea of disturbing the natural world in the name of so called 'fun and cheap thrill'.

I bet, you will find my comments in all such post mate! Start to care for what is fast depleting, let our children too enjoy the little patch of greenery left!
I would suggest we pick up this topic through another thread and I'll share a few of my beliefs that I hold dear. And plenty of motherhood statements to boot.
And incidentally having children is also ecologically a very damaging process...whether or not one wants to give them a green or brown patch left !
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Old 23rd April 2013, 10:34   #13
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Default Re: The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!

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Lack of info on the game reserve? may be. But a sense to care towards our very fragile ecology overtakes me than any other. Also, I find it very hard to accept the whole idea of disturbing the natural world in the name of so called 'fun and cheap thrill'.

I bet, you will find my comments in all such post mate! Start to care for what is fast depleting, let our children too enjoy the little patch of greenery left!
wohh vinair! chill dude. Let's not make grandiose statements about protecting and caring for nature without knowing facts, or knowledge of the people involved, their philosophies and "nature-protection" awareness, or the things they have done/are doing to protect wildlife and nature! With regards to this specfic log, we followed all rules of the deer enclosure, where private vehicles are the only mode of traversing the reserve, and we did take care to make sure that nothing was harmed in any fashion. For such establishments (this is not a true-blue wildlife reserve by the way, but an enclosure for deer and other ungulates, who are taken care of, from the proceeds of tourism, and they are doing a good job of it!), money earned through receipts from tourists is extremely essential to take care of the animals within.
As Guderian has said, every act that we do has an effect on nature.By that token, we should
1) have never driven a petrol or diesel vehicle in your life, because we are depleting a extremely "polluting, non-renewable" energy source, every time we use a vehicle becasue of our selfish need to get from one place to another right?
2) not use soap, shampoo or any of these "chemical-laden" products, because of the immense damage we cause to the rivers, seas and all water bodies
3) eschew use of computers, mobiles etc. as you are well aware, IT related waste and its disposal is one of the biggest ecological challenges we face.
4) not work in these "concrete, air-conditioned, extremely nature-unfriendly" companies/conglomerates, as every day, we use and deplete extremely scarce natural resources, deplete the ozone layer etc.
I could go on and on about this. But for us mere mortals, all we can do is try our best to minimise our "footprint" by balancing the need to earn a living, indulge in our hobbies/passions responsibly, and "act" within our limited means, to take concrete steps towards conservation, anti-poaching, wildlife conservation education etc.
Now i will shut up, and as mentioned by Guderain, not clutter this thread, and probably take it up in an "appropriate" forum, as to the best of my knowledge, this is a forum for travelogues
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Old 23rd April 2013, 10:48   #14
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Default Re: The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!

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Also, I find it very hard to accept the whole idea of disturbing the natural world in the name of so called 'fun and cheap thrill'.
Though I was not a participant in this drive, such comments are uncalled for.

Most, if not all the wildlife parks and sanctuaries in India have safaris, either self driven or otherwise and all of them are authorized and very strictly regulated by the WII and the State Forest Depts.

The team that drove in, very evidently followed all the rules set by the authorities and did not do anything to disturb the ecology of park beyond what had already been done.

Let us not bloat things out of proportion please.
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Old 23rd April 2013, 11:13   #15
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Default Re: The Fortuner Posse rides again - Into the Jungle!

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Originally Posted by n.devdath View Post
Though I was not a participant in this drive, such comments are uncalled for.

Most, if not all the wildlife parks and sanctuaries in India have safaris, either self driven or otherwise and all of them are authorized and very strictly regulated by the WII and the State Forest Depts.

The team that drove in, very evidently followed all the rules set by the authorities and did not do anything to disturb the ecology of park beyond what had already been done.

Let us not bloat things out of proportion please.
My comments are not specific to only this drive but any other where in the name of fun, people care a hoot for the natural world. Period.

What is the meaning of 'bloating things out of proportion'?

There is a separate thread on kids driving super cars, may I ask why so many people felt the doing was wrong when no outward incident happened and the kid seemed to be controlling the car pretty well. Would you advocate that as a talent or sheer stupidity??
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