Drive to Chitvan

Drive To Chitvan

It was that time of the year when my soul desired for some peace, some solitude. I packed my camera equipment and set out to Kanha National Park. My overnight train reached Jabalpur in the morning, I couldn't wait to get off the train and set out on road to Kanha. Had breakfast en route, about 50kms short of Kanha and entered the Jungles which Kipling immortalized.

The tall Sal trees on both sides of the meandering road, every bend of the road saying slow down, do not be in a hurry to reach the destination, enjoy the journey. I listened, and asked the driver to change gears. Stopped the a/c of the car, rolled down the window panes, and I was hit on my face by this intoxicating daft of fresh air. I felt I was breathing, as if my lungs had come alive, my heart was rejoicing, my mind focused only on the present, past did not exist, future did not matter. This moment had to be lived to eternity. The ground was full of leaves shed recently by the Saja trees. Sal stood tall and green, Teak completely barren, and Gulmohur interspersed occasionally and adding soothing red somehow completed the painting. Looked up to the smiling clear blue sky, which was welcoming me, just like an aging father welcoming his son back home. Some rays of sun piercing through the trees, falling on some leaves, making its presence felt, and telling the denizens of the forest you are blessed to be living this day.

Some old Bollywood songs came to mind, began humming, but was cut short by the wonderful sound of Indian Koel, moved on, and the Indian Cuckoo was on song, Coppersmith Barbet did not want to be left behind, and behold the orchestra of Kanha had come alive. My Bollywood tunes took a back seat, and I merged in this evergreen melody of nature.

Einstein's relativity came to fore. How and when did that hour pass, did the time fly? Did it freeze, as I do not recall when my driver said, Sir, we have reached Chitvan.

A spellbinding drive through the forest came to an end, but I knew this was not the end, but the end of a beginning.

Sharad Vats


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