Page 23 - Litterateur March 2021
P. 23

Meet me in my dreams

               him to his core. He closed his eyes to steady himself, and

               when he opened them again, he was lying in the opening in

               the forest overlooking the great mountains.

                                                         * * * * *

               Andy did not have any destination in mind, so upon arrival

               at Siliguri, he headed north-west, in the general direction of

               Singalila National Park. He hitched rides or walked, going

               further  inside  the  forest  and  up  the  hill  range.  The  April

               sun,  blue  skies,  spectacular  snow  bound  mountains  that

               he  glimpsed  at  some  odd  turns  on  the  trails,  the

               cacophony  of  birds  in  the  mornings,  and  the  utterly  still

               and  silent  middays  made  Andy  forget  the  reason  for  his

               being there. He lived in the now, grateful for the simplicity

               and beauty around him.

               Andy  stayed  in  villages  where  ‘Jhankris’  still  practiced

               their  ancient  traditions  and  village  elders  sat  around  the

               fire telling stories that were hundreds of generations old.

               He roamed the forests and ridges, sometimes returning at

               twilight.  Elders  of  the  village  warned  him  of  leopards  or

               losing  his  path.  In  hushed  tones,  they  mentioned  about

               sacred  areas,  where  people  did  not  venture  without

               permission  from  the  spirits  of  nature,  places  from  where

               people never returned, of wild plants that could alter
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