You hear of a place, you see it in photographs, on the television, read about it, even pass by it, but have never actually been there. It is then that your imagination starts to work; what if you are completely alone, right IN there? Your mind then takes you inside it, with borrowed glimpses and fancied scenes, you make it up as you want it to be. For us, there must be atleast one such place, one such wonderland. For me, one of them has been the jungle.
Here is how I imagine it to be:
The fresh smell of dew and wild flowers hypnotizes you as you open your eyelids in your enclosed sleeping bag and tent. One can hear the synchronized and harmonious tune that the delightful songs of a multitude of bird species build up. Coming out into the open, it is a whole new, different world. The wilderness is magical, as the trees tower above you like magnificent giants befriending the sky. Black-crowned cranes, crimson-breasted robins and pelicans with golden-yellow beaks perch themselves on the welcoming branches of the rising poplars and oaks. Every leaf, every bough and even bird’s eye is sparkling with a golden twinkle as the sun rises. The sky is visible only in the form of tiny dots, it is a deep pink with a magical tint of gold. By noon, straight, bright, sunny rays filter through the dense, reinvigorating green canopy of leafy boughs as if the sun is struggling to catch a glimpse of the spectacle that the towering vegetation hides.
The flowers sprout in countless numbers from hedges, on barks, on trunks, upon logs, a treasure chest indeed for any botany fanatic. From beyond the sphere of view, a hyena calls out, it is an unsettling laugh. Even though the presence of wild animals is a dangerous prospect, one can feel the rush of adrenaline at the thought of viewing them in real life rather than on a television screen. Out of the blue, a naughty orangutan leaps on a tree bough, causing the birds meditating in peace to fly off into unknown, unseen quarters of the jungle, or into the endless sky. A hard-working woodpecker looks up quizzically at the unexpected visitor.
Curious onlookers also reveal themselves as the day progresses. Insects never seen or even heard of make themselves visible on the emerald moss. Inquisitive squirrels come out of their dark burrows, looking down at the unknown visitor, searching with their big, round eyes for any crispy nuts which could be added to their already full pantry.
The wind has made its way into the secretive jungle, shaking the leaves, which rustle soothingly, providing background music to the birdsongs. One gets absorbed into this lovely reverie, and the brightness alters as the sun sets, waking one up from the jungle dream. The visible portions of the sky adopt a bronze shade, only to change into violet and then a deep blue later on. The greenery loses its golden tint, as if the sun was Midas and has surrendered to the miraculous jungle that its Golden Touch can work no more. The black, velvet sky envelopes the jungle into its protective cover. The twinkling stars and the benevolent moon allow guidance to the towering trees to single-handedly rule the content creatures within their magical domain.