Bikram grew up in the Bardiya National Park. Where the caretakers were friendly, fed him in time, played with him, and talked to him now and then. So Bikram grew up to be a friendly rhino that loved people’s company.
I didn’t know that when I first met him. So I got a little scared and ran off from Bikram when he first came running to me. The guy there yelled at me for acting funny and asked me to give him some grass bundle he had prepared. I was too much a chicken to try that too. So one of my friends ventured for it, while I made use of that time to take the camera out of my bag (until then, I was too scared to think of anything. Imagine what thoughts you could process when a rhino comes running at you..).
Bikram was gentle. He loved ‘touch’ and needed to be fed everytime he came close to us. And as I started to get used to him and started to take pictures from every round angles, the caretaker guy came and asked me to stop. For if we didn’t feed him every now and then, he’d stop coming to people when we (or new people coming for the experience) would call him in the future.
I also realized that Rhinos make cute noises like …. well, can’t describe. But sure sounded vulnerable. I always thought of Rhinos as animals that were always wild, never tamed, very unsocial with beings other than their own, and extremely dangerous (even behind bars is what I used to say).
But this one I touched. I touched his horn, hard skinned lips, cheeks, ears and even the skin on his body. Wanted to touch his tail too, but for some reason, didn’t venture! Guess I left that for the next time I’d go meet Bikram!