An Encounter with the Forest Spirit

One of my favorite haunts is a forest path on a small climb behind an old temple in the outskirts of the city. On a recent afternoon trip to the place, sitting at my usual stone I thought I heard the old Spirit of the forest speaking to me. He spoke, to my astonishment, in English..


“Call me the Spirit of Basista. I am as old as the forest itself & have only slept since the day I was born.. like babies do! I have woken up at times, disturbed by activities beyond my control.. for which I don’t blame you either! I have learnt in these centuries of baby sleep & wakefulness of my life, that I have really accomplished nothing. The only thing noticeable is that I have grown & grown in size, feeding from the soil, covering fresh land with my foliage till I could no longer understand myself, where I began & where I ended. This is probably nature’s law.. because we all are caught inside it, aren’t we?”


Today, just before you arrived, there was this young gentleman sitting on that stone. He carried a side bag on his shoulders, his head entangled in thoughts.. he sat on that stone for some time reading his works, which he took out among many rolls of paper from his bag. One of those rolls which he left on that stone. I am very curious, a habit of all these centuries, to know, what you see if you open that roll of paper lying on that stone. I am not much fond of your static, lifeless art which I find as quick gratifications of your human senses.. as human life is so small so is the life of your art! I prefer art which are living.. growing each day, and is always evolving.”


Not much later, after clicking some photographs of the roll of art on the stone, I left the place. Before leaving, I spread the roll by placing two stones on two edges of the sheet leaving it exposed towards heaven hoping it was a ‘real’ hallucination induced by the roll that I smoked.