As is usual on Sundays I went for a walk in the wilds surrounding Artiste Village, New Bombai, where I live. The serenity, the calm, the wind in my hair and ears, the whistling, the whispering trees as they swayed. The trees here are still green because of the plenitude of ground water. Monsoon is only a few days away and soon these tropical rainforests would be dripping with rain. I felt a calm as I have never experienced before in the midst of nature, thinking about those nostalgic times when I hiked on the hills surrounding me with Captain Yadav (well, I was and am reluctant to go alone in the hills), an intrepid explorer and army man, who, alas, is no more. He had survived wars and insurgency in his army life but couldn’t come to terms with life in the raw in Artiste Village. Poor man! Like all good men he also left this world, the prey of the vicious manipulation of a family into which he was married.
I also think of other people who are no more. Just a chain of thought, and think how vulnerable man is. He thinks he is indestructible, indeed, he is. As I sit there I watch a man cutting firewood with a machete, he lives alone in a small hut in the wilderness, surrounded on all sides by the forest. I wonder how unafraid he must be to live like that. There are leopards around, yes, friends have sighted them, maybe, even tigers. And, snakes. I think of his courage, to live all alone, in the dark when the night closes around him. He doesn’t seem to have a wife, I can’t see anyone near him. He is quite self sufficient, he cultivates a patch of land, collects firewood from the forest, and is dressed only in a white cloth vest and a dhoti.
I think he is incredibly courageous. He looks healthy and is invulnerable, reinforcing my belief in man’s survival instincts.
Captain Yadav, and you, lonely man in a cloth vest living on the brink of a rain forest, I salute you, I admire your courage. You reinforce my faith in mankind.