A forest is the source of many unending stories where the characters are all its living entities. We can easily feel them if we just keep our senses open. Some of these stories are quite flamboyant. For example, a Silver breasted Broadbill performed a spectacular dance for its partner and you witnessed that dance and their mating following that dance. Some of these stories are packed with high voltage actions. For example, a Royal Bengal tiger gave a long and exciting chase for a deer and caught it. And sometimes you yourself become a part of some action stories. For example, you are on a safari deep into a forest and suddenly you realise that you are somewhere in the middle of a fight between two wild elephants, and you are unable to move forward nor backward. You are then the third character of that particular story. The fight was merely between those two elephants, but at that moment you cannot escape the heat that the fight of those elephants create. That gives rise to a climax of excitements. These moments become unforgettable in your memories. And you never in your life forget that forest and that particular place where the two elephants fought. There are some other stories also in the forests which do not have so much of actions or romances. The characters of these stories are not so prominent either. The plots of these stories are short-lived and mundane. If you do not pay minute attentions this will just skip your notice. Most of the stories of many forests of these world are like this only; they pass by unnoticed. That is why there are so much mysteries in the forests. Here in my article I will try to place some stories which fall in the second category.
That day I was supposed to have my lunch at noon in the Mathanguri forest bungalow. My wife and my son both were tired and disgusted. For the last three days we were making continuous jungle safaris without any rest. All were full day safaris. Our bodies were not permitting any more strain. The tourists usually have their lunch in the Mathanguri bungalow itself while they spend the whole day for jungle safaris, as it is difficult to carry lunch packets all the day with themselves. When one needs food within the forest area the only place where it is available is that Mathanguri bungalow and before entering the forest in the morning one must book their lunch packets for that day through walky-talkies. After one enters the forest areas and travels into the deep forests near the Bhutan border one cannot find any mobile network no place to have food. The staff of the bungalow make an approximate estimate for ensuing one week’s total amount of ration and collect that from a nearby market. On many occasions lunch becomes unavailable even if it is ordered beforehand. This happens when they run out of their stocks of rations and when their estimates come short of the actual demands. I had those bad experiences many a times. On one instance a leopard entered the kitchen and was unwilling to come out of that place. The bungalow staff could somehow drive it out of the room in the afternoon after many hours of effort. That day all the people, the guests and the hosts both, spent the day without any food.
Now back to my topic, I ordered five lunches for the noon that day. But that much was perhaps not for our quota of meals. Some students from two different schools had arrived there suddenly without any prior information. The commotion created by their loud outburst of joy and freedom broke the inherent silence and calmness of the soundings. The students visited that place for an educational tour. All of them were very young. A message came from the kitchen that arrangements of meals for these students will be made first and then meals for other tourists will be served. My driver cum friend Biku, (his good name is Biku Biswakarma), and after several requests I made some separate arrangements for some rice for my wife and my young son. They stayed back in the bungalow until the food was served to them. I and Biku, along with our armed guard ventured out towards the river. I washed my face with the crystal clear water of the river and looked around. I could see the distant horizon across the river along the large expanse of grasslands of the Panbari range. It was a clear sunny day and was usual Manas in February. A giant spider was waiting patiently in its cobweb for its possible prey.