One evening, after the days work during the anti-plastic campaign , I went to lower camp, to make some phone calls. As the signal was very weak, I climbed on a rock, adjacent to the dam and was talking, when I heard alarm calls of bonnet macaques and they were looking on the opposite hillock and calling... having ignored it , I continued the conversation and then a cop came running and asked me not to take pictures as it was a restricted site. Later, he went on to do a proper interrogation! As to who and why was I there and what not. By that time, it was 5-530 pm.. I casually asked him why the bonnet was calling and he told me that there is a leopard on the rock. (now it was my turn to interrogate!)
I asked him, if he had seen it, had it made any kills, etc etc, he said he sees it daily and had killed a monkey that morning and he also added that the leopard would cross the road that evening to drink water in the dam. Out of curiosity, self and field assistant went and looked around for the leopard... but no luck.. soon it was about 6-15 pm and we decided to go back to mundanthurai, where we was put up for the past one month and went back to the rock to pick up my back pack, the cop advised me to climb on the filter house next to the rock and see if the leopard is there... Again I ignored him and started the bike and left the place, hardly had we gone 30m and suddenly, in the corner of my eye, to the right ,I see this beauty sleeping on the rock giving a damn to all the traffic and commotion on the road! I immediately stopped the Yamaha and got down from the bike and ran to shoot this creature and when I took out my camera, it said change batteries!!! I felt like kicking myself! :( But i had time to change the cells and shoot one decent image. :D
while i was changing batteries, 4 vans with blaring music went past and the leopard was staring at us in all its glory. It was a mesmerizing feel until one of the staff of the dam stopped by and shouted in top of his voice "SAR SIRATHE! ( sir, a leopard!) and the poor creature which got a shock of its life got down the rock and ran..!!! soon some 10 people gathered and were talking and rattling stories about it. I knew that it had not gone anywhere and so i sneaked up the filter house and climb to see the leopard was right there and was hardly 4 feet from where i was! our eyes made a contact and then she turned around and left as it to say " to hell with you!" and there ended the wonderful sighting of about 10 minutes!
Incidentally, the next afternoon, while making phone calls, i saw the leopard cross the road and go towards the dam in the middle of the day!!!