Is there a reason you chose to get a tiger tattoo?
It makes me feel close to home, in a way that is not overwhelming
How the tiger got its stripes
Ishika Laddha, 21
From Madhya Pradesh
Recited The story in their mothertongue, Hindi
"The folktale that I am about to share is one that is gathered from my father who heard it in bits and pieces from my grandmother and other elderly people in the family growing up in Indore. It focuses more on the lesson that is to be gathered than the tiger itself, as most folktales do. This story is about being humble and about identity.
In short, it's about how the tiger, which once had golden fur, used to think a lot of himself and would go around getting himself into trouble because of his pride. In order to teach him a lesson, his mother demarcates him with her nails and thus he gets stripes and as a lesson, all tigers thereafter have stripes.
There's an alternate but similar version my family argued about saying That once upon a time, all tigers had white skin and their mothers couldn’t identify them. To solve this, the mothers demarcated their kids and thus all tigers have unique stripes.
Nonetheless, it's interesting how one has a positive correlation and another a negative one in order for a 'lesson' to be learnt and how parents' negative or positive reinforcements have different impacts."
Ishika’s encounters with Tigers
“The first time I ever saw a tiger, I was around 8 years old. We were out with my mother’s side of the family, which is very close to my heart, we went to the Kanha Jungle. We were staying there for 2-3 days, and really wanted to see a tiger. My mom and my Masi, the just love tigers. If you look at them, they are the embodiment of tigers. So, we went to the jungle, looking for tigers, sitting on elephants. We went around the jungle for about half an hour or so and could not spot any, and then suddenly in a very dense part of the jungle we saw a tiger sitting under a tree. It was very very full like you could see how full it was, it had probably just hunted. It was sitting about an arm away; it was the scariest most beautiful thing ever. It looked into out eyes, and it felt like it was saying “I could eat you, but I want to because I’m too full”. My Family is very loud, we were screaming and shouting while walking around the forest but when we saw the tiger it was just silence. We got lucky the tiger ate a big meal right before we saw it.
The room that we were staying in, one night there was a lot of noise outside our room. There were three rooms side by side in the middle of the jungle, we just figured the noise was coming from the other room. The next morning, we woke up and saw tiger and boar paw prints everywhere outside our door. They were probably right outside our door while we were sleeping.”