Yesterday being Sunday and all I went for the usual walk in the wild and met the man described here. Happens that he is not the lone man living alone in the wilderness like a modern day Thoreau beside his Walden Pond. His name is Aliya, and he actually lives in a nearby hut in a slum colony that has sprung up on the foothills of Parsik Hills. He has planted some rice in the aforesaid wilds where I had gone and has also constructed a hut to take care of the rice, protecting it from wandering wild cows that inhabit these areas. There is plenty of ground water, there’s fertile soil, good rain, life is fulfilling for this venturesome man of the wilds. Meaning, in the shortness of it all, that he is not a permanent resident of the hut but an occasional one, once the rice has grown and it needs protection. But he does sleep in the hut sometimes, to protect the rice he has planted.
Oh, disappointment, why do you have to come into my life like an intruder?
“Hee chawal thumala varshabhar purthath kay?” I ask in Marathi, looking rather sceptically at the small patch of rice he has cultivated. Does it suffice? Does it last a year?
“Ho, purthath. Pushkal purthath.”
Yes, it does.
I think immediately of the early farmers living such a life, a small patch of rice in the wilderness, a small hut like his and his self-confidence. I ask him many other things, like is he afraid of wild animals. He says he hasn’t seen any. Snakes? No, snakes leave you alone if you leave them well alone. Snakes have never entered his house.
I feel like I can talk to him for hours and days. But I don’t impose.
I then wave a goodbye to this bold adventurer. I wish I had the guts to live like him.