Forests have forever beckoned me. Africa holds a special charm. She is like a stripper who reveals more than what she hides. There she unfolds with each tantalising step, moving closer, one more scanty piece of cloth flung off. Yet surprise of surprises: she is never bare!
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And here I am.
Animals, animals and more of them! This is the migration time when they cross over in herds from Serangaty, in Tanzania, to Maasai Mara, in Kenya, eat, copulate with abandon, then return.
Sometimes it's like a traffic jam of wilder beasts, zebras, buffaloes, deer, all clanning together to take the battle to their common enemy, the King. In the vast pastures, I see the fierce guards, the buffaloes, at four corners of the grazing ground.
Yet one move from the lions, and the big crowd of grass-eaters is a lost army, they flee leaderless, rudderless! The lions hunt cold and ruthless. It's the lioness leading the charge, jumping from the bushes. In this relay killing race, she hands over the baton to the males, who close in for the final kill.
In the forest, there is no battle of Good versus Evil, nor is Love and Desolation. No ceaseless life enhancing pursuit either. There is just the law of the jungle: of food and starvation, of survival and death. There's the mighty and the weak, the predator and the prey.
There is a reckless abandon in these beasts when death may be lurking just beyond the next bush! There has been an endless debate over the animal mind. Many among us have forests for a mind! Yet, there is affection and care beyond words in the forest, without any strings attached. There is the first step of the newborn fawn under the watchful eyes of its mother. The appreciative licks work wonders on the baby.
In one absolute self-obliterating moment, the fawn takes its first anti-gravitational thrust forward. The four legs work in tandem, not in perfect unison, but a shaky stagger. It almost looks accidental. Without waiting to gloat over the masterly feat, the fawn bends down, snuggles close to the mother and attaches its tiny snout to a teat.
The forest is where the mystic, the artist and the wild are related. It is just that these wild ones have no craft. We, the humans, are here on a transit visa. We never know where we come from, or where we are heading to! We celebrate life as if death is for our neighbor, never for us. We fake some permanence in our comfy homes, bank balance, relationships, swanky new cars. The animals are always in transit. They come from neighboring lands, have no visa problems, they feed on, most of them return, the unfortunate few perish!
But here am I, in soliloquy. Do I feel transcended? Do I feel as if I am at the feet of a realised one? All I know is that I am led from a state of Wretchedness to a state of Blessedness - just this moment!
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