Renu Majhi, a 15-year-old Indian girl, was in tears as she told her story of how she escaped death’s clutches. She couldn’t cry on February 14 because it would have meant certain death, so she now sobs whenever she recalls those dreadful two hours.
“On February 14, the morning we all came out to see the leopard. The entire village was out to have a sight of the leopard, which was roaming around in Bordubi Gaon. About 10 am, we reached this particular house when the leopard suddenly appeared near us. It was a moment of panic and chaos as none of us had seen a leopard from such proximity. Elders shouted, directing us to move into the house. We shoved ourselves into one of the three rooms in the house. There were seven of us in the small room. Suddenly the leopard dashed into our room. All managed to dash out and someone closed the door from outside.
“I was left behind, and by the time I realized I couldn’t get out, it was too late; the leopard was inside, and the door was shut behind me.” I had no idea… I wanted to yell to let my people know I was inside, but I couldn’t because it would be foolish. The leopard was on the bed, so I hid behind a suitcase beside the wardrobe. My friends assumed I had left. I couldn’t call anyone despite having a mobile phone for the same reason. My limbs were practically numb and I was trembling. I was sweating despite the fact that I was cold. Every second felt like an eternity, and I was in a funk,” narrated Renu Majhi to News18.
After a glass of water, the petrified student of 10th standard continued her conversation sharing further details of the escape.
“I was thirsty, and my lips were parched.” I realized I hadn’t moved an inch in an hour, and my gaze had been fixed on the leopard, which till then did not notice my presence. Film scenes of tigers and leopards devouring humans flashed before my eyes. The house had two more rooms, but they were both locked. People kept shouting from the outside, asking if anyone was inside. I couldn’t answer them, at that moment one of my friends called me on my phone.
“I whispered that I was locked up with the leopard and asked that the villagers be informed as soon as possible.” It was my last hope and my SOS. A few moments later, I noticed people removing the room’s ceiling and descending a ladder towards me. They were motioning for me to cling to the ladder, but I realized I couldn’t move. I mustered the strength and courage to scale the rungs of the ladder. The leopard stared at me at that point, and I stared back. I was rescued,” narrated Renu.
It took the forest department several arduous hours to tranquillize the leopard inside the room at around midnight. After several darts, the leopard was moved inside the cage placed right in front of the door.
“I swear to myself that I shall never go to see leopard or elephant in my life. For a girl who’s dead scared of snakes, staying with a leopard locked in a room, I don’t even want to recollect it again ever in my life. Inside the room, I was worried about my parents. My mother is mentally disturbed and my father doesn’t keep well,” said Renu Majhi.