Jungle diaries

Jungle life: In love with nature. Photo: K.R. Deepak   | Photo Credit: K_R_DEEPAK

Baghira log-hut, room no. 8: It is a moonlit night. Sitting on the staircase, the surrounding space opens into the wilderness outside- Sal trees interspersed with thick bushes.

The rustle of leaves at a distance due to a subtle movement or the distinctive calls of a deer or peacock gives you goose bumps. A tiger is on the prowl. Is it a pair of glowing eyes far away or merely an optical illusion? The answer is uncertain…

Call of the wild

It is a rare melange of fear and ecstasy. Occasionally, a characteristic stillness marks the surroundings- the leaves unruffled, the silence untainted. The moon bathes the distant hedges in white, creating an eerie effect. An unsettling feeling takes over. The unpredictable darkness replaces the morning innocence. You fight the irresistible urge to return and lock yourself safely in the room. But wait…Is it totally safe in there? The window with the glass panes…

A shadowy movement somewhere around the staircase makes you miss a heartbeat. You spring into action but it is just your neighbour coming out to stand on the porch. You return to the stairs, more vigilant than ever. The night has a dreamy tinge to it. The pristine silence is intermittently broken by the nightly calls of the barking deer and the nightjar.

Also, a casual chatter over coffee prevails at a distant hut. You reflect on the hardships of bygone days. The pentup mind was driven to extremes.

Now, at last a gentle breeze regales the senses. You feel a divine unison with the natural aura around and get lost in thought and in time… Suddenly, the light from an official vehicle exploring the forest, rips apart the darkness …It must have unnerved something out there. The calls become shriller…You feel jittery.

Sleep beckons the exhausted body but the mind is restless. Is it safe to enjoy a sound sleep, wholly unguarded, unaware of the dangers lurking outside? While the others sleep off, you walk up to the window and stare outside. The night is getting darker…

The forest, indeed, has a life of its own and the Kanha is unlike any forest you will ever see.

DEEPAYAN BHADRA, 3rd year B.Tech student, National Institute of Technology (NIT), Tiruchirappalli.

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 1:18:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/nxg/jungle-diaries/article2047730.ece

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