|Luckily we do not have to wait for official permits to start building: Bhagya's enclosure is going to be extended by a 36 m² big compartment and a security gateway. By mid December the foundation is completed; the first pipes stand in designated holes and are set in concrete.|
The workmen have brought along a generator for carrying out welding works. As the generator clatters, Bhagya becomes awfully nervous and is in a hurry to escape the hubbub of the construction works. As soon as the door of the enclosure opens, he pulls me away through the adjacent field planted with beans and slows down only when the racket cannot be heard any more.
For hours we explore the farm compound for both of us special and thrilling expeditions. In the morning mist we ramble through the pineapple plantation, edge through scrub all along the fence and watch the neighbors without being seen. In meter-high dry grass he comes across an irresistible track and detects a carcass in the thicket. Nearby we discover a hideout, where the grass is entirely flattened - the sleeping spot of a jungle cat? Bhagya sniffs around and examines the place thoroughly, before he decides to rest there. Usually I bring along toast with omelet that we share in the bushes for breakfast: Bhagya takes the omelet and leaves the toast to me.
|During these days we resume walking already in the early afternoon. The stack of thatch in the grassland becomes his favorite playground - he frolics on top of and all around it, until he is entirely out of breath.
Then he lets himself fall into the shade of the stack and winks his eyes. But his exhaustion is deceiving: naughtily he looks at me out of the corners of his eyes and pounces on me. With groaning sounds he chews my shoes and sweater, pulls on my hair and stretches his velvet paws into my face.
Deprived of his midday nap, he likes this choice of place for a little snooze in the sun as well.
|His weight is 25 kg now, and with him pick-a-back not so easy to be assessed any more. At Christmas he looses his last temporary canine.|
|Over the holidays the hand-made wire mesh is being attached to the pipe structure, and Puran builds Bhagya's new machan. As the work proceeds, Bhagya exercises preying: no jacket that hangs unguarded on the laundry line or on a tree is safe from him. He enjoys stalking laborers in the fields, who – if and when they notice him in time – pack their belongings at lightning-speed and take to flight. However, he retreats quite startled, when he for the first time comes across the piglet, whose grunting we perceive from within a farm building. Even after repeated visits the excitedly snorting animal gives him the creeps.|
|On 30 December Bhagya inspects his new compartment for the first time and without any apparent effort climbs on top of his new 2.50 m high machan, which is to become his preferred vantage and resting place.|