I ’m a banker by profession, and I used to be a painter by inclination. But when I was 25, I bought a Pentax ME Super camera, with an idea that I wanted to take portraits. Instead, I found my world taken over by birds and animals. And I stopped painting.
|Fresh from an evening bath in the Ramganga river, a herd of elephants sprays dust as a preventive measure against insects. At Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand.|
Initially, I would visit Bharatpur National Park, about 180 km from Delhi, to take photographs. But in 1991, I took up photography seriously. I’m still a banker but wildlife photography is like a love affair, it embraces you completely without you even knowing it. Above all, though, I’m a conservationist. My ultimate aim is to get people interested in wildlife.
|Charger, the tiger, prepares to attack the elephant that Rajput was sitting on in Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh. The elephant was grazing on the grass near the watering hole where Charger was resting.|
As a wildlife photographer, there is always a chance of a close encounter with animals, because I am invading their space. For example, I encountered a tiger in Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh. His name was Charger — that’s what the authorities called him. I was riding an elephant. As Charger rested at a watering hole, I started taking pictures. But then the elephant decided to graze on the grass near the hole. Immediately, Charger took an aggressive stance, as if about to leap. Needless to say, we retreated immediately.
(As told to Meher Ali)