It was quite a few moons back… maybe decades…I don’t remember, it doesn’t matter.
Exasperated with what life had to offer me then, I deposited my three-yr-old son on the lap of my responsibility-ducking husband and went off for a camping trip with people I didn’t know. It doesn’t matter who they were. It was a three-day tour into the interiors of Purulia forest, in India, where the only sounds were the swishing of the dry leaves, the only light was the light of the moon and the only food was what we cooked on fire. We slept inside tents and went for toilet deep inside the forests with a stick and a torch. It was wild nature at its rustic best deprived of any trace of human civilization.
This is the time when I started shedding my shackles of bonding one by one. First it was a relief to become just a woman, not a 24X7 mom… Then the terms “man and woman” merged in the face of nature and I became just a “human”, with no name and no identity. I was not anyone’s mom, wife, daughter, friend, journalist or writer. I lost all identity. I was nobody. Then, with the passage of a day, I had merged completely with nature and had no body, no existence… had become just a soul.
I was soon just a part of nature, an insignificant part of creation… another one like a bird, a flower, a leaf or a blade of grass. I had become one with them.
I left the camp members the last day at dawn and decided to get lost. I walked over brooks and dry leaves through the forest, unarmed and barefooted. It didn’t even matter if I didn’t have clothing on. I was way beyond civilization.
I walked for miles in the dawn and climbed a small hill. I sat down on top of the hill, watching the rays of the sun come up. The birds chirped around me, squirrels scampered around, I felt at peace and sat down beside a tree. That’s when I started to cry. I don’t know why I cried… but I howled and cried aloud. And I decided never to go back. I decided to get lost.
Then suddenly something happened. A three-year-old baby’s face appeared from nowhere, stretching out his arms at me…. “Maaaa….”
I wiped my tears. And stood up. I had to go back. I retraced my steps and here I am, today.
But I have walked with my soul.
I am not afraid to go back.