An image shared by an Indian Forest Service officer has left people on the internet in awe. There is no denying the fact that the profession of a forest officer is marked by several encounters with wild animals, and spotting a big cat, whether it be a tiger or a leopard, in one’s front yard isn’t a thing of surprise. 

In the picture that is now viral on social media, a leopard can be seen wandering in front of a forest rest house where IFS officer Akash Deep Badhawan was lodged. The over 150-year old forest rest house (FRH) has a rich history within its walls, the IFS officer informed as he shared the post.

Badhawan shared the image with the caption, “Like a Ruskin Bond story, met this one outside a Forest Rest House and we spent a good amount of time in each other’s company last night. So much wildlife history in the walls of these 120 plus years old FRH of Katarniaghat.” 

The IFS officer’s description of the picture aptly brings back memories from several Ruskin Bond stories describing the narrator’s encounters with animals. From the enchanting “music in the hills” Bond hears when the female protagonist takes her cattle to graze in the fields in Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra, for which he won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1992, to the infamous ‘maneater’ tiger from The Tiger in the Tunnel, Bond’s stories often talk about human-animal co-existence. 

Badhawan’s caption may be referring to the Padma award-winning writer’s The Leopard, where he describes his relationship with a leopard he sees several times drinking water from a stream. He describes the leopard as trusting him as it realises he is a harmless human. 

‘Spine- chilling’, Netizens react 

The viral photo has accumulated several likes and shares since being shared. While some commented on the big cat sighting, there were several others who talked about the beautiful 150-year-old forest bungalow. 

“Awesome….This frh is 120 years old?…looks young (sic)”, a user wrote.

A second user commented, “Want to live in this house. And go for a post dinner walk. (sic)”

Talking about the encounter with a leopard, a netizen quipped, “He is not startled by your presence, must be used to of roaming there. (sic). Another netizen commented, “Spine- chilling”. “Wow. A surprise guest,” wrote a third. 

(Image: Pixabay)

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