The undying love of a man and a deer
AGARTALA: He always has a soft corner for the animals. Because of his profession, he spends over 20 years in the forests. Like other foresters, Nani Gopal's life was not easy as he also spend many a sleepless night at anti-poaching camps to save the animals from being prey.
Amidst hectic and hard life in the sanctuary, he developed a father-daughter relationship with a baby deer whom he rescued before it became a prey to the predators.
During his posting at Rowa Wildlife Sanctuary a long time back, Nani Gopal Debnath used to leave for patrolling in the morning and returns to his cottage at sunset. At that time, they rescued two deers including a baby deer from a bordering village. Nani Gopal undertook the responsibility to feed the baby twice a day.
"As soon as I opened the door of my quarter, she used to give a jump from her mother's lap and came to me. If I open my door late in the morning (sometimes), she used to sit in front of the door till I came out. Without pampering her, I couldn't move for my work," he said.
Though the deers by characteristic are not accustomed to people, she was quite different. Even she used to have her feed first in the day from Debnath's hand. "No one has the heart to go in front of her during her feeding time, except me. When I went out for work, she used to see me off with her innocent look and non-verbal gestures. She waited for me till I return. I never tied her as she felt pain one day when I was trying to do so. She was my daughter and how could a father give his daughter pain," he said.
However, as she grew up, she was shifted to Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary. When she was taking away to board on the vehicle towards her new destination, she understood and cried loudly to return to her foster father – Nani Gopal. "I couldn't forget her eyes that time. The scene was like that a daughter was parted away from her father to her new home," he said with tears on his eyes.
Currently, she is in the wildlife sanctuary, not in captive. Ten years passed, she is now a grown up deer. Perhaps, she forgot her foster father, but Nani Gopal still yearns to meet her and hug her and say ' My daughter, I still love you.'