Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Into the Jungle

Everybody loves Christmas and New Year, the best time to plan holiday. Jaree was excited about the trip, which was in air for few weeks now. Mom and dad was planning for camping in Jungle this time. They had indeed took forest permissions for three days and two nights too.
On Boxing Day, we started our journey to the Jungle around 5 a.m. After a long time Jaree was seeing the sunrise in the clear sky. This was little unusual for Jaree, a college going student who usually used to wake up around 8:30 am, just on-time for reaching college of engineering and later in evening, hanging around with friends late night. The clear sky with warmth of fresh sunlight was new to him. After having breakfast at Local restaurant on the highway, it was 11 a.m. they entered boundaries of the sanctuary.

As the green zone of jungle started, the air became cooler, sounds of bird chirping, and sounds of buzzing and zing-zing of insects started. There seems to be unheard silence around us, it was just sounds of car and jungle. Everybody was excited to be first to cite a animal around the highway. Jaree's eyes were hunting for a sight of animal like a sniper eying his target via field glasses. Mom was watching the other side of the road. Dad had slowed down, just in case anything comes in way. Suddenly, Dad slowed even further and whispered, "Jaree, see those spotted deer on the right side." A herd of deer was roaming near the roadside. "Jaree, see those Bamboos. These seem to 30-40 feet high and do you know that these are the fast growing grass?" "Yes dad! I have known it since my school days. But first time seen them this thick and high", Jaree replied. "You remember the Christmas tree we got this year? There, pointing to diagonally in right hand side to pine tree, that is a fully grown Christmas Tree as you remember seeing in Polar Express movie." All these years, Jaree had never seen skyscraper like trees. Soon, they were at the sanctuary head office, where they verified the amenities needs for camping and started trekking into the jungle.

The Jungle was beautiful in its own way. The trees with different size of leaves, the creepers on some running from bottom to top, the algae on some and the path with dry leaves which seems to whisper as one step on it. Even, though it was sunny day yet the trees with their magnificent size and stretch was hindering the sunlight to reach the land. In the meanwhile, they got to see langurs, monkeys, spotted deer, sambar, bison and peacocks. Jaree’s eyes were continuously flocking around with Camera in hand to shoot the animal. “Can you hear it coming?” Mom asked. Jaree was still guessing the sound, Dad shouted, “Its elephants!! We need to stay together and away from them. If there is calf in the group, they will be watchful.” It was fear of elephants was getting over them. It was indeed 6 or 8 Elephants with calf heading towards them.

In the elephant stampede, how to survive was the big challenge now. The earth has started shaking now. Dad facing the elephants shouted, “Jaree, you take mom and run towards left most side of me. I will run tom my right most side. It will not take too long for elephants to cross us. We will come back once it is done.” “Dad, but how will we reach each other? There is no signal in my phone”, Jaree questioned. “Son, no time to wait here, we will be safe. Just run and keep your mom safe. I will find you!” And so the family parted to opposite directions unaware how and when they will meet. By the time elephants to cross the site, it was about an hour or two. The day had gone to sleep and darkness has spread all over. Jaree and mom were worried and out of fear and panic of the dark, started shouting. Moving slowly forward, they keep on looking for him. And after around 20 minutes, they heard a faint sound. The sound was familiar and was coming from around 50-60 meters. They ran to find dad was twisted his leg and was bleeding. “Thank God”, Jaree whispered to himself and took out the first aid kit.

The trip to jungle was far from scary then. The three built a tent house, bon-fire and spent the night watching one-another’s back. The next morning they went to forest department and happily back home.
“Time is precious and time is all we have.”