26 October, 2020

Billy, The Singh

A warm and delightful book, like the man himself. It is simple, straightforward and, like Billy, entirely endearing.

Tribhuvan Tiwari
Billy, The Singh
There are no surprises for Billy’s friends in the Honorary Tiger but it is a warm and delightful book, like the man himself.

I first met him on the platform at Lucknow railway station in 1971. He stood by while my mother and I cajoled a leopard, Prince, off the train. Billy was very impressed by Prince’s good behaviour during the drive to Jasbirnagar, but his two macaques and dog Eelie bullied him for many days. The only member of his new home that Prince managed to get the upper hand of was Billy’s timid elephant, Sitara.

As an animal-freak teenager, I was star-struck by this wonderful man. His passion and driving force, even at 88, is awesome. Our visits to Tiger Haven were always the same: we went to bed with the generator on, and woke up to a mechanical clanking noise which was Billy lifting weights on the verandah. Endless walks in the forest, stick in hand, hot baths in large tin tubs, roti wrapped in gur and ghee after every meal, and wonderful long conversations about wildlife. It was heaven!

As the years went by, the talk got bitter while Billy...



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