Indifference to Admiration: My Journey with the Wild Ass Sanctuary

Mother and ChildHave you ever ignored or rather been indifferent to something or someone until one day your mind’s eye opened and you recognized their being, the inherent beauty in them and their role in your life!!!  This is exactly what I felt when I visited the Wild Ass Sanctuary in Little Rann of Kutch (130 kms away from Ahmedabad). We set out of our Resort (Rann Riders) in Little Rann of Kutch around 7am in the morning and headed towards the sanctuary. After a half hour ride through desert villages, shallow water bodies and salt plains, sighting nilgais, flying cranes, delicate pelicans we stopped by next to a water body which was dotted with flamingos of all sizes. I waited in anticipation for the flamingos to look up, flutter their wings and show off their bright red hue.  My focus and attention, occasionally tested by the bunch of flying cranes who soared high and then made a perfect landing on the parched ground, slowly unfolding their legs, reclining their body and regaining balance within seconds.  I wish my life was like that, forever in balance.

After a while, our vehicle moved through the desert area, negotiating through thorny shrubs, patches of desert vegetation and a group of white animals appeared in a far corner. I reluctantly got off the vehicle and walk towards them, imagining a group of donkeys  that the neighbor hood washer man owned when I was growing up in the 70’s in India. A short walk ahead , I rubbed my eyes in disbelief.  The beautiful creatures huddled together sporting the brown spots on their otherwise spotless cream color bodies was indeed the Wild Ass (ghudkur).  At first, I forgot to click and I am glad I did. For the untrained eye, it may just appear like a horse (pardon me horse lovers, but ghudkur sounds similar to ghoda). The lonely one in the corner is the Alpha Male Ass who often remains aloof from the rest of the group. The young ones are nurtured and protected by the mother and believe it or not, their face is mostly turned away from human admirers.  I had to really struggle to get a front glimpse wondering if the English word “ass” often used as slang has got anything to do with this trait. I alternated between clicking and looking and managed to get a few shots for posterity.

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Two Safari’s in an open top vehicle into the sanctuary and I have swung from indifference to admiration for the Wild Ass. That evening as I contemplate on the day, I am left wondering if this is a step in my journey to cultivate infinite acceptance. Everyone sees beauty in the obvious, while some go beyond and appreciate beauty in the not so obvious and I wish I was abundantly blessed with that skill.

This is a must visit on your list if you are travelling to Kutch or Ahmedabad !!

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