"Sleeping with Tigers"

Sleeping with Tigers
Read an Excerpt: 

As a child I slept with tigers. Tracing the labyrinth of black stripes, I listened to the bedtime  stories my parents told of their India years …  

We sat on Joyce’s rattan sofa and looked at photos in my parents’ tattered album. 

One was of my father, kneeling beside the tiger he had just shot.  I explained my parents were  friends with the Maharajah Holkar and had been invited to his hunting lodge. 

“Dad’s hunting stories convinced me I wanted to work in conservation - to protect the big cats,”  I said. 

Suddenly Joyce leaned in, adjusted her glasses and read my mother’s notation. 

“Does that say Ratlam?” 

I nodded. 

“Ratlam is my village, where I grew up.” She looked at me. “It is time to make your dream come  true and visit me in India. You must return to your homeland. Come.” 

Three months later I stood on the railway platform in Ratlam and was flooded with memories  of a land I had known only from my mother’s womb. I had returned home – to this place that  was so familiar and yet, was all strange and new....

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