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Husband in jaws of death
- Guwahati tiger victim was wildlife lover, says wife

Rupa Bezbaruah, the wife of Jayprakash Bezbaruah who was killed by two tigers at the Guwahati zoo on Wednesday, describes her horror.

My husband had visited the zoo nearly 40 times, such was his passion for animals and wildlife. And every time, he would find something new to explore and see.

When we entered the zoo on Wednesday afternoon, the sight before us was magnificent — the long tree-lined road leading to a hillock, dead straight from the main entrance, the rows of animal enclosures in the distance and the large number of people going up and down the road.

I could see the happiness on his face. My two (school-going) sons were excited beyond words.

Little did we realise at that moment that my husband was walking straight into the jaws of death — a veteran of the zoo was entering unknown territory for the first time.

An avid photographer who took pride in his creativity with the lens, my husband was dying to shoot the tigers. Although he had clicked the tigers on previous trips, he was always looking for the perfect pose, the best angle. No wonder, we were heading towards the tiger enclosures very soon.

My husband was the first to move up the hillock where the main tiger enclosure is located, followed by our elder son Angshuman. I was already tiring because of the long walk and had fallen back a little.

In the haze of a December afternoon, the view was slightly surreal as I watched my husband walk up the incline, the camera ready in his hands.

The next few moments were a blur, the events taking place as if at breakneck speed. One moment I could see him moving towards the enclosure to get closer to the tigers. The next, he had stepped back as he heard the shouts of warning from some of the other visitors.

But immediately, he was back to where he was, close to the railings of the enclosure, the outstretched hands holding the camera. And then the moment arrived.

I could hear a tiger’s roar and a cry of pain. Then came shouts of panic from the other visitors and, drowning them all, the fear-stricken cries of “Ma, ma!” from our elder son.

There, before me, was the most terrifying sight of my life — my husband trying to free his arm from the jaws of two tigers and Angshuman trying to help, pulling at the belt of his father’s trousers.

I felt dizzy at the sight of blood, my husband’s blood. I wish no other wife ever has to face such a ghastly sight. I can’t even say what happened next. It was the worst that could happen to anyone.

We rushed him to hospital but there was little the doctors could do. In an instant, our world had turned upside down. A pleasure trip to Guwahati had turned into a nightmare.

My husband’s first concern had always been the happiness of our two sons, Angshuman and Arunav. Whenever he had the time and opportunity, he would take them out on brief trips to places children love to go to. This was one such trip. Since our sons’ school had closed after the annual exams, he had promised them a tour of Guwahati.

We were scheduled to return to our home in Sivasagar today (Thursday). We are returning, but he is just a lifeless body.

My husband loved animals, especially wild animals. No one would have imagined, least of all him, that he would give his life to one in a cage.

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