Monday, 19 May 2014

A couch potato in the forest

The crossword puzzle cuckoo continuously calls, intermittently a green pigeon sings or perhaps tries to sing; melody for some, closer to cacophony for others. I am sitting below a pine tree that even has pine cones. The leaves clumped together looked like a thousand flowers on a tree. They make the ground slippery too, for they are round and cylindrical. The leaves are like the ones I used to play with as a kid, made of small fragments that can be detached and reattached. I have a mat on the ground and some time to kill. Due to some turn of logistics, it so happens that I am the one to lie down on a mat below a pine tree on top of a hill somewhere in Meghalaya with a 360 degree view with a jagged horizon due to the lining of pining trees, and a ticket to a concert of several birds. I take it all in.

I don't even bother fetching my binoculars to know what bird that is that looked like hurried feathers onto a shrub far-away. Its okay, today I will be a couch potato in the forest.

A great barbet calls continuously; its like the orchestra conductor instructed, 'you play rhythm today and hold the beat'. The brainfever cuckoo fills in a one-second monotonous lead, out-of-beat too! Its that time of the year in the north-east when so many cuckoos call, its the end of April and the pre-monsoon showers are due.

The wind is now roaring and sounds like a jetliner flying low. I have been sitting on this mat for an hour and no one and no vehicle has passed, nice! This was a time to switch off other voluntary senses and just take in the sights and sounds.  I also now hear the puff-throated babbler, its a higher-frequency version of one of the calls of a Magpie Robin. I remember my friend G V Reddy Sir who used to say, the Robin calls 'Mr. Reddy' and I think the babbler says 'Come on Mr. Reddy'!

At my 10 O clock direction, I see a forest cleared for jhum and perhaps a week ago was burnt, for the patch stands out in a background of verdancy. There is also a temporary jhum hut where I would love to stay in for few nights. For once, the entire landscape, inspite of all the differences fuses into one. Below this hill is a beautiful stream where lots of butterflies were fluttering. There were also tadpoles that were perhaps feeding but it looked like they were practising synchronous dancing.

The mat now wants to leave and is vigourously blowing from all sides due to the wind, but I perhaps have an hour more here! And then, I realise, all the physical and the mental effort I put in throughout the year is mostly for this, to spend time hearing and looking at things in a forest and take it all in.