I was in 8th standard and my father who used to work for Indian Railways, was posted in Jammu which is part of J & K state. I am the eldest son in the family, 2 brothers and 2 sisters. But this is not about my family. This is about a short trip I had, with my friends to a forest near by Jammu. Our school sent 5 students including me and four other students to speak in a function about preservation of forests, Trees and wild life. I was too young, to understand lot of things but I knew few things, for example this function was organized by father of one of my friends, who was going with us. In fact my friend Vikas and his brother Vicky who was also my friend, was also going to attend the function. Vikas’s father was Forest officer of that forest. We had to travel from Jammu to that forest. Next morning, we had this function. All the students spoke about the topic. Once function was over, I stayed back with Vikas and Vicky, while other students went back to Jammu.
It was a nice bungalow in the middle of the forest. Since its long time back, so I don’t remember exactly if that was office cum home stay of Vikas’s Dad or just residence. Anyways, it was a nice bungalow with beautiful garden. Vikas’s Dad, I used to call him uncle, they had already got the food ready by the cook. We had lunch and after that Me Vikas and Vicky started our little walk towards the woods. It was dense mountain forest and October noon are usually pleasant, so we kept walking in the forest lanes, admiring the beauty of jungle and mountains and talking about girls. It sounds funny now but even in 8th standard, we thought that we are grownups and can have girlfriends or thoughts of having girlfriends. We discussed about girls we knew, during those days and what other boys are doing to make them friends and how a new girl in school looks so beautiful. Wishing they were with us on this forest walk with us. At times our talk’s diverted to how brave and macho we were and how any one of us could beat gang of 3 to 4 guys.
While having our talks, we went to thick forest and at a point we found that we were on a dead end, it was kind of a cliff and when we looked below from that, we could see huge rocks and little stream of water flowing. There was another huge mountain cliff opposite to us. There were huge trees on this mountain end that looked like a cliff. On our side one of the huge tree had fallen, one end of this tree was on our side and its other side was on opposite mountain cliff, which was around 15 to 20 feet from this cliff where we were standing.
It was a very interesting situation. Vicky is more adventurous and suggested that we should go across using the fallen tree as its acting as a bridge between two ends. Then we looked below to understand the depth or height. It was scary, but Vicky was adamant to cross it and reach the other side. We finally had to agree with him as Vikas was elder to Vicky and he could not let him go alone and I could not leave my friends. So we decided to cross it using the fallen tree.
I don’t remember exactly who went first on the tree, one by one we sat on the tree as standing on it was scary and started moving slowly towards the other end. As we moved in the middle of the tree, one look below towards the gigantic rocks gave me jitters and stopped looking below and kept moving forward slowly. As we reached near the other end, the tree started moving slightly downwards with our weight and that scared the hell out of us, it seemed that it will fall and we will fall with it. But luckily it only moved slightly low and with our gradual movement it was moving lower and we actually could not see how properly this tree was landed on the other end due to leaves and branches and bushes on that mountain, So we were not sure how safely this tree was landed on this mountain as it was moving slightly low with every inch we were moving towards it. I remember at this moment when tree was moving low I saw a small thick plant or a bush on the edge and planned to grab it the moment I reach near it. So when I reached near that end, while the tree was moving slightly low with the movement, I grabbed that small bush and pulled myself up. I asked vikas to use that as well. We used that to pull ourselves up. I again looked back and thought god saved us that day as tree was not very well landed on this side and over movement on it was causing it to shake and it could have fallen and we could have fallen with it on those rocks.
We again kept going the way we were earlier, talking about school, girls and macho stuff. We then sat on a tree and talked for a while. Then decided to return and used another route on our way back to forest bungalow.
Looking back at this small unplanned adventure trip, I remember it as a sweet memory of my child hood. But there is another thought,I have a 3 and half year old son and when I imagine my son in my place doing something like that, I feel how my parents would have felt, if I would have told them what I did on that trip with my friends. But there are too many such incidents in my life and may be in everyone’s life, so I feel, Beauty of life is in exploring it and not sitting on sofa and watch bear grills do Man vs wild stuff.