by Zaiceka Ahmed
There are those who make an excuse of a minor mishap to drop to their passion like a hot rock, and there are those who make nothing of mountainous barriers to pursue it. Mohan Thomas, a wildlife photographer active for the past 17 years, and recipient of Muthukulam Ragavan Pillai award 2015, took the second path and didn’t let a serious injury incurred in December 2012 from a car crash thwart his love for wildlife. The incident left him with six broken ribs and a brain injury that required surgery, yet barely a month after the operation he was back up on his feet and in the woods fiercely doing what he loved most.
“I was drawn towards photography at a very early age but followed this passion only in my early forties. It was during a trip with a friend, Mr Satheesh, to B.R. Hills – a beautiful wildlife reserve – where seeing wild animals roam majestically reignited the love for nature in me. Bandipur and Kabini became prominent on my list. My thrilling journey of capturing wildlife images started with a small digital camera till I eventually moved to a Nikon D200, my first DSLR. I can never thank my wife enough for being absolutely supportive of my new found endeavor.
Amidst all this there was a huge ambition of mine – to capture a Tiger in the wild. Those times were a dark period for our national animal, their numbers dropped really low. I returned disheartened from every trip without even catching a glimpse of that orange and black color.
Twelve years had blown by in a flash and I gave up on ever spotting a tiger, until one afternoon safari into the jungles to Bandipur when my photographic aspirations took an unprecedented leap. As we were passing along, we were alerted to something laying near the salt pit. It was a tiger. I began to shiver in excitement and the enormity of the situation left me awestruck and dumbfounded. My hands were failing to grasp the camera. I soon recovered and began a memorable half hour of shooting.
The secret behind my success lies in the support I get from my family, their wholehearted encouragement has kept me going all these years without which I would have stumbled early on. At some point along this wondrous journey I resolved to continue my love of photography till my limbs can no longer support me.” – Mohan Thomas
A look at his work is enough enough to make you condemn the concept of a zoo.