This is arguably something that is closest to my heart, among other things. And it has always been well-received too. The article has been edited and re-edited, published and republished so many times over.

But today, I shall share with you the original unedited manuscript of the ‘research’, first written when I was 15, sometime in September 2004 (I was in Class 10th then) and believe it or not, it was barely half-a-page long! I had included this for comedic value in a letter I wrote to my high school crush. If you are reading this, you know who you are. Took some while to dig up this almost 8-year old little piece of paper, something which had been tucked away for good, along with happy old childhood memories. Read & enjoy. A happy weekend to you. Cheers!

No, this isn’t a “research” on the behaviour of cheetahs. It’s about your behaviour on confrontation with a cheetah. Suppose you are going through a dense forest in the middle of the night and you encounter a cheetah. Discussed below are “common” ways of escaping it:

  • You are quick enough. You pick up your 0.22 rifle. Aim. Fire! The cheetah is an endangered/protected species. So how does it feel to stay 7 years away from home? Is your prison cell good enough to hold you and your rifle? Sorry. No comments.
  • Try running away. Anyway, for your kind information, the cheetah runs at 120 kmph, almost 5 times faster than your fastest speed. Before you say “aaj nahin yaar, phir kabhi”, CHOMP! CHOMP! You taste better than it thought. A compliment? Thank you!
  • Suddenly, you realize that the cheetah belongs to the cat family. So you take out your packet of Nandini milk to lure it and start singing and dancing, “aja aja, main hoon pyar tera…” The cheetah advances. But before you realize that it is heading not towards the milk, but towards… BURP! ‘Tribal dancers’ are the cheetah’s most favourite dish, you know? Moral of the story? Pasteurize before you serve – whether the milk or the cheetah depends on you.
  • You decide you are “braver” than the rest and try to scare the cheetah away. You take out a match-box and light a match. But the cheetah has other plans. It assumes you are lighting a camp-fire. It loves camping at home, especially after a non-veg dinner.

The outcome of the “research”? It is better not to go into a dense forest in the middle of the night. If you do, hold onto your nerves and pray that you don’t encounter  a cheetah, and if you do encounter one, then leave the rest to God, because you may be heading there a few minutes later…

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