As the SUV chugged slowly through the meandering paths of the forest, I craned my head out to catch a glimpse of any wild animal. The wildest animal so far was my fifteen-year-old. The first rays of the soft corpuscular rays streamed in through the heavy canopies, the light and shade gave an eerie feeling. The wild fifteen-year-old too looked tamed atleast for now. His hands were busy adjusting the settings of the camera while he squinted his eyes to sight a wild beast.
Suddenly we heard a rustle somewhere close to us and a loud trumpet. The first thing that crossed my mind was you asking me if I knew what to do if I were faced with wild elephants! My answer was an expected infuriating one. And now I understand why it was infuriating.
A huge tusker stomped his way right in front of our vehicle. The guide gently whispered to us that there could be more coming and we need to sit still. The driver of course was scared out of his wits.
I was scared too. I hadn’t envisaged death under the feet of an elephant. But right now, I could only think of Josh. If anything, he should escape. The wild fifteen-year-old sat like a calm sage and took my hands into his.
The tusker raised its trunk and with another loud trumpet turned to the side and trampled its way into the wilderness. The entire incident lasted not more than five minutes but it was one of the most petrifying five minutes of our lives. Both Josh and I heaved a sigh of relief as we hugged each other and I promised to myself that I will never yell at my smallie little baby ever in life.
The guide too heaved a sigh of relief while the driver sat frozen to his seat. We could see sweat trickling from his forehead. What if it wasn’t just a lone tusker, what if it were a troop of elephants? I held Josh’s hand again, before he took it off to go back to his camera.
The driver, regaining his composure started the vehicle. I couldn’t thank you enough for insisting that we take a guide to lead us into the forest and not try this on our own.
In the next hour or two we saw innumerable birds, names I had never heard of. I know you did tell me that Malabar Hills was famous for a multitude of different birds. We also sighted cheetah paws by the river. Had the tusker not stopped us we could probably have sighted the cheetah too.
As we got busy taking in the different sights and sounds of the jungle we soon forgot our little encounter and me my promise not to shout at my son. Well what’s worth he can do stuff that needs hollering.
In our innumerable conversations about your experiences in the forest I could never fathom what pulled you so into these lanes. But now I understand. The deep dark recesses of the wilderness harbours a mystery… a mystery that is life itself. The thick tapestry of green and violet have witnessed the annals of time and guards its secret like a gatekeeper maybe searching for a timekeeper who would understand the true meaning of the enigma that’s nature.