Penning this piece down is transporting me back to the day when I visited a jungle for the first time. There was this excitement about a probable and accidental tete-e-tete with a tiger or a fox or a fiercely wild animal, I was scared of the unknown. And whatever knowledge I had about the forests was from the Bollywood movies. You know how they portray the wild, overdramatised, thundershowers, rains, swamps, quick sands and of course villains. But back then, there was no internet, no smart phones and with a childlike innocence I put all my trust in the movies.
However, I was equipped with thick full sleeves to protect myself from insects, a double layer of lowers to withstand snake bites, waterproof poncho for the unwarranted rain and a scarf to cover my face. For safety sake, I remember packing a pair of scissors from my craft supplies. But then, that is history. Let me bring you back to the present. I am addicted to the jungles and they bring about the much-needed sanity to my life.
We have a long weekend coming up and I am off to the Jim Corbett National Park in Nainital district of Uttarakhand. I like Corbett because it is home to more than 600 species of birds. The jungle is diverse and apart from the royal tigers, the elephants here are pretty mighty.
Do you want to know what goes into my bag to Corbett?
Well, first of all, it is very important to dress right. Even in the forest!
Clothing: I pack clothes that cover my arms and legs so that I do not come in direct contact with any insects or spiders that can cause me any allergy. In case I am going for a longer duration, I always carry a pair of camouflage arm sleeves that turn any of my sleeveless or half sleeves shirts into full sleeves. Also, early mornings tend to be a bit cold, so dressing in layers is advisable. I am going to pack my safari hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, closed shoes with socks and a neck scarf.
Medical Kit: is a must and ideally, it should have all your medication for known allergies. Also, it might help to keep any medicine that cures stomach infections. Do not forget the mosquito repellent stickers, bands or lotions.
A notepad might help you to take notes of the animals, birds and plants that you see as you explore the wild. Who knows you might have had a rendezvous with a species spotted after a long gap!
Emergency Tools such as a Swiss Knife, a whistle, a torch, raincoats, antiseptic cream, water bottle, first-aid kit and personal hygiene products. In case you wish to do a small trek, ensure you carry a rope with you.
Jungle guide books might feel redundant with a forest guide explaining the animals and the habitat. However, guide books ensure that you make the most out of your visit, especially if you are planning to write about it later.
To create memories: Binoculars, photographic, and video equipment will help you get back souvenirs back from the trip. So, do not get tempted to get down to collect things that belong to the jungle—be it a small feather or a tusker!
Extra chargers, sanitizer, flip-flops for the resort/forest rest house, travel towels, wet wipes, toothbrush, toothpaste and toiletries are a few more things that you might want to pack depending upon your usage and requirement.
Lavanya Singhal is a travel writer and runs Nature Lounge