White Tiger.jpg

Enchanter

by A.M. Broadous
September 2018

All white tigers can be traced to a single ancestor: Mohan.

 

Born in Rewa, India and raised in captivity, circa 1951, Mohan had the luxury of strutting about the court of the Maharaja in unparalleled splendor. He was the only Bengal white tiger of his kind, a spectacle to all who witnessed his snow-white fur, the soulful stare of his glazed aquamarine eyes.

 

But his stay was far from uneventful, for the Maharaja, on a desperate quest to procure more white cubs, put Mohan to work—with the “royal consort,” an orange-colored tigress named Begum.

 

***

 

Under hushed palm fronds,

two howls hurried with the heat

of Indian sun—

            orange, orange,

            orange, orange.

Again, roared the Maharaja,

and with a daughter, grown,

once-teething tigress,

a white gene kept quiet within her,

Mohan sighed—        

            white, white,

            white, white.

Two on display in the New Delhi Zoo,

one bought by a billionaire,

 

            one to lie with Mohan.

 

            Give me more.

           

            And more.

                     

***

           

In Hindi, his name means “Enchanter.”

 

Though he didn’t quite make it to age 20, Mohan would one day be immortalized in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers each Saturday at 10 AM. He’d fight Lord Zedd and Rita while a little boy ladled soggy Fruit Loops.

 

Mohan couldn’t conceive he’d be reincarnated on a hot summer’s day, huddled pensively, as a mini train chugged past his cage in Farmington, Utah. Many would ogle and crane their hot and sweaty necks, but that same little boy would look upon the scene and dream he could run his fingers through bleached hair. Dreaming he could growl low, nibble on a hundred pounds of wild boar, then fast with the macaque.

 

***

 

Now grown to a man, this boy waits in a darkly lighted speakeasy fizzing with jazz piano and gin. Like Mohan, should he prowl? Should he approach the Indian girl in the yellow dress who smiled twice? Should he go in for the kill, primed and precise, in that hope that he could enchant her?