6 Reminders From The Big Cats Of Maasai Mara

Written By Aditi V

BIO: Aditi is a med student that likes, in no specific order, to eat, sleep, cook, read, write and laugh. Facebook: @aditi.vakil17

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1. Confidence Can Spin Wonders

There is something absolutely enchanting about seeing His Highness pad through the golden savannah. I'm not even exaggerating when I say that as soon as he is spotted, all chatter dies out and everyone looks on in awestruck, pin-drop silence. It's intuitive to think that's because of the lion's might and power to unleash havoc if provoked but that's not it - it's because of the way the lion does it - unconcerned about who's watching, head held high, with the unshakeable confidence that it's in complete control. 

It truly is remarkable how the lion makes it look like it's doing something exceptional - so just imagine, if confidence can transform a walk into a magic show, what could it do to other things in life?
 

2. Confidence And Fear Both Stem From Knowledge Of One's Own Capabilities

Once we saw hundreds of vultures crowding a small distance away from a killed antelope, waiting for a lion to finish his meal so that they could dig in. And boy did they have to wait! The lion stood up, turned away as though to leave, then returned back to its lunch three times, and each time the vultures stopped in their approach and retreated. It felt as though the lion were just teasing them, so I asked our guide why the lion didn't seem afraid of annoying the birds, or why the vultures didn't just approach together and 'take him on', to which he responded, "They can't. It just takes just one hit from that paw for a fractured wing, and they'd never be able to fly again."

Well, damn. 

I'd never thought of that.


It's only then, though, that it made sense how it was that the lion was unfazed despite its solidarity and the vultures afraid despite their majority - both parties knew exactly where they stood in terms of their abilities and power (as individuals though; I'm still not sure what the outcome would have been if the vultures united as a team)

3. Nothing Worth Having Ever Comes Quick And Easy

Case in point: we watched a cheetah hunt for over an hour. Admittedly it's the people present who prolonged the process - we blocked the cheetah's line of sight and scared away some prey, but despite all of that never once did the big cat give up or even show any sign of frustration. When cars blocked its way, it moved. When its prey got away, it stalked around for other. When it seemed there was nothing worth hunting around, it waited. 

I'll admit, at one point even I got tired of waiting and was more than ready to move onto something more exciting, but as the minutes ticked by, other tourists with the same idea peeled away while we stayed on. Eventually, with just a few vehicles were left, I was reminded of the virtue of patience as, now less disturbed, the cheetah gave chase to and succeeded in pouncing on an unsuspecting warthog. 

Better than any movie I've watched in a long time.

4. The Fruit Of Patience May Be Small, But It's Often Sweet If The Right Tree Was Planted

When I think about that Thursday morning, it's all about the two minutes of when the cheetah started running, how we rattled along in our vehicle chasing it at top speed (wind blowing in our face and all) and how it descended on the warthog. Those two minutes are everything - yet when I think about it, that was probably less than 1% of the time we waited for this to go down. 

It got me thinking about all the other times I've put in a lot of time and energy into something, only to have an outcome that seems unbalanced. But thinking of how good those two minutes felt, I figure, we need to only pick things where we feel the return is worth it. That way, when a large investment has to be put in for what seems to be a significantly smaller return, it doesn't pinch. 

5. The World Cares About The End-Result, Not The Work Put In To Get The Result

It's a little harsh, but (almost) nobody cares about the strife, the struggle; all they're interested in is what comes out of it. When we were narrating the cheetah story, not once did we mention how bored or hot we'd gotten while waiting - that wasn't interesting or juicy or even remotely 'wow'-worthy, and understandably so - if the situation were reversed, I know I wouldn't be intrigued by a detailed report on the ambient temperature either.

I imagine it's the same situation at play in daily life when we find ourselves frustrated at the lack of appreciation from others. It's nice to be sympathized with, it's nice to find someone who cares and fusses over the tiny things, but life would definitely be easier if that expectation is held as the exception rather than the rule. Everyone does not and cannot be asked to care about every little thing, and they're not wrong or bad for it; it's just up to us to keep at it and bring the flowers to flourish. 
 

6. Taking One For The Team Doesn't Translate To Inferiority

Lions (males in particular) are not just proud; they're also jerks. We got the memo when a lioness tried to approach the game she'd had a role in hunting down, only to be roared away by her mate. She retreated right away, but the only comment we had was about the lion being selfish and mean; not once did anybody point a finger at the lioness and call her 'weak'.

Sometimes the same thing happens with people where there's no option but to give in, but that doesn't make us any less of a person. It can feel like that, but as the lioness reminded us all: as long as you walk away with grace, you haven't truly lost.