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Anand Garde poses with his book and the award he was given for it.

“Watch Now, As The Tiger Chases His Hunters...”

by Rich Wilhelm

It was a typical Saturday morning in 1971 for Anand Garde, at least until the telephone rang. Garde, who was in the midst of earning his doctorate in material science from the University of Florida, was sleeping off the effects of a very late Friday night, when a friend woke him up with a call around 8:00 a.m.

“So my friend says, ‘Hey, do you want to go catch a tiger?’” Garde says. “I said, ‘Don’t pull my leg, I want to go back to bed, we’ll talk about it later.’”

As it happened, Garde’s friend, who was president of the Indian student union, was perfectly serious. He told Garde to find a pair of Indian slippers and a lungi, a traditional white cloth that Indians wear around their waist, and that he would be picking Garde up soon. A still-sleepy Garde reluctantly agreed, which is how he ultimately wound up “capturing” a tiger in an episode of a top-rated television series.

There is more to the story, of course. Marlon Perkins, host of the popular animal show Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, had recently taken a film crew to southern India, in the hopes of filming villagers as they demonstrated the traditional method of capturing a Bengal tiger. While Perkins and the crew studied the techniques, the heavy rains that accompany India’s monsoon season prevented them from getting all the footage they needed for their tiger episode.

Perkins returned to the United States with his crew and decided to stage a dramatization of the tiger capture. In order to do this, Perkins needed to find someone in the United States who would lend him a tiger. A rancher in Florida was willing to let Perkins use the “least ferocious” of the dozen or so tigers he owned, which made it convenient for Perkins to hire a big cat trainer from a circus hall of fame that existed at that time in nearby Sarasota. Perkins then complemented his own film crew by bringing in a crew that had worked on the James Bond movie Thunderball to help enhance the suspense of the tiger-catching scene.

Marlon Perkins now had everything in place to film a tiger capture, but he still needed some “villagers.” This is when the program contacted the president of the local Indian student association, who rounded up a few of his friends to go “tiger hunting.” At the last moment, however, one of the friends dropped out, and Garde got the 11th-hour call that would lead him to Wild Kingdom immortality.

Garde says that the first attempt he and his friends made to capture the tiger that Saturday was a failure — the tiger, who had been distracted by a delicious meal, became untangled from the net in which it had been ensnared and proceeded to chase Garde and his friends around until they had to jump over a fence to escape. Sunday’s attempt, however, was successful. The tiger was safely “captured” and Garde and his fellow “hunters” were paid $25 a day for their efforts, which undoubtedly lived on in syndicated reruns for years thereafter.

Anand Garde captured his tiger-hunting tale in a book titled Videshi Gudgullya (Foreign Jokes) that he wrote in his native language of Marathi. The book is a collection of humorous essays that explore the cultural differences that Garde, who has been a U.S. citizen for many years, has experienced being an Indian living in the United States. Garde won an award from the Indian state of Maharashtra (the state in which Bombay, now called Mumbai, is located) for “best humorous book” published in 2002. Though he wasn’t able to attend the ceremony, his mother accepted the award on his behalf.

These days, when Anand Garde isn’t busy trapping tigers or writing award-winning books, he’s probably involved in his new position as chair of ASTM Committee B10 on Reactive and Refractory Metals and Alloys. Garde, a consulting engineer for Westinghouse Electric Co. in Columbia, S.C., has been an ASTM member since 1986. He has served on a number of B10 committees, in addition to chairing B10.92 on Awards. In addition to B10, Garde has worked on Committee G01 on Corrosion of Metals.

Throughout his career, Garde has specialized in zirconium alloys used in the nuclear industry. In addition to holding 10 patents for zirconium alloys, he has authored dozens of articles on the subject. He received the John Schemel Award for best technical paper at a zirconium symposium in Germany in 1995 and he edited two ASTM Special Technical Publications on zirconium, which earned him the Zirconium Symposium Chairman Award.
Garde, who is married and has two grown daughters, does not plan on going tiger hunting again anytime soon. //

Copyright 2004, ASTM International