Suffocation in the forest

Suffocation in the forest

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By Haroon Rashid Dar

“Oh, how I love adventure! And today is such a pleasant day… The greenery of nature, the flower booms, and this scorching heat of July..!” thought Muhammad Asif to himself.

He made up his mind and left  for  a  tourist  destination  home  in  his  own  vehicle  all  alone to  enjoy the  fresh  and  cool  air  in  the  silence  of the meadows  and  forests  without  human  disturbance, which was about a hundred   kilometers  away  from  his  home.

In the afternoon, he was  driving  smoothly and enjoying  the  thrill of the music  playing in his  car. Soon after,  he  was  driving in the  middle  of  the  meadows and was lost  in his imaginations  of  nature.  He  sighted a beautiful  bird  with  green  feathers,  a red  beak  and a  long  tail  dancing  and  singing  in  a  pleasing  tone perched on  the  branch  of a  tree.  He  stopped his  car,  watching  the  bird  amazed and did not even notice the passage of time  as  hours  passed  away.  He spilled some grains on  the  road  and the bird  came  down  flying.  Both  Asif  and  the  bird befriended each other  as  Asif  stood  watching  the  bird.

The  bird  took  short  flights  towards  the  forest  and  Asif  followed  it  silently,  till  it  took him  to  the  middle  of  the  forest.  The bird again started singing in its attractive tone. Asif was listening from behind a tree. He  slowly  took  his  mobile  phone  out to  capture  the  video  of the  bird.  However, the mobile phone rang loudly and the bird swiftly flew away and disappeared.

Ah, this has ruined my work, he fumed silently and disconnected his phone in anger. The phone rang again, and this time too he disconnected it.  The third time he reluctantly  saw  the  number and immediately  received the  call. Oh!  It is  the  boss. . “Sir  I  am  at  work  and  I  will  report  to  you very soon!” he said,  and  the  line  disconnected. Suddenly around him from behind the trees appeared a group of seven armed men.  “Hands up” said the commander of the group. The earth receded from beneath Asif’s feet and perspiration burst throughout his whole body.

“What  are  you  doing  here? You  are an  intruder  and  you  have  transgressed  the  boundaries  of  our  area!”, he said.

“Who are you?” asked Asif in baffled voice.  ‘We will let you know right now!’ answered the leader of the group. “Only an enemy  or  an enemy’s  agent (meaning police agent) would  intrude  in  our  area,  so who  ever  you  may  be,  you  will have  to  face  same  punishment”, said one of them.

“Kill him” the commander ordered his men in anger.  All  the  party  members  raised  their sharp axes  high  in  the  air  to  strike  hard  on  Asif, who was already fainting,  in order to  slice  him  into pieces.

“Stop!” the leader ordered his men as their weapons were a few centimeters distant.  Asif  fell  down  unconsciously  on  the  trunk  of  a  tree  and  started bleeding  through  his mouth  and  nose out  of frigt. They thought he probably died of fear without being killed.  They took their weapons and went on to ransack the forest. They  brought  down  the big  trees  and  cleared  a  big  plot,  which was their the  main  target. This was the notorious gang of forest smugglers.  They were enthusiastically running the saw on the trees.  Then,   they would  burst  into  laughter  and appreciation  as  the trees were felling  down  with  loud  crashes.  They were calling themselves the lions of the forest.

All  the  creatures  who  were  losing  their  homes, their nests and shelter, the animals, the baby  birds  raised a loud noise,  cursing  the  humans  and  wailing  the  destruction  of   their  homes.

As  they  finished  their  work  and  were ready  to  run  away, Asif  showed  some sign of movement. The  commander  pointed  towards   his  fellow  men  and  asked  them  what  should  be  done with  that  beast (Asif)  lying  on  the  trunk  of  the  tree . One  of  the  them  said,  they  should certainly kill him  and  leave  him  for the wild  animals  or  he  may  report  to  police.  Another  said  they should  drag  him  to  the  center  of  the  forest.  I  have  an  idea  said  the  leader  of  the  group,  we   will  tie  him  fast  with  a  tree  by  ropes  so he  will  die  a  natural  death  and there  would  be  no  murder  on  our  shoulders.  Yes, said all the fellow men in a united voice.  They  spiraled the rope  around  half  dead  Asif  with  a  tree  from  toe  to  head,  each  one of  them  kicked and smashed him  and  left  him  in  oblivion.

Sun  dipped  into  the  night  and  Asif  was lying  there  all  alone  in  the  dark  forest.  A  sweet  voice  pierced  the  ears  of  Asif  that  rejuvenated  in him  new  life.  He showed some signs of being alive.  A   bird  with  green  feathers,  a red  beak  and  a long  tail   had  appeared  on  the  branch  of  a  tree  near  Asif.

The  birds  encouraged  him  to  live  and  sang:

Survive my friend survive

I wish you, be alive

I will spread wings to hide you

I will carry you, on   my wings too

O, my friend open your eyes

No one listens our cries

Those who harmed you

Destroyed our homes too

Survive   friend, and prove

What others failed to do

I will be always with you

Survive, my promise to you

O, God make him rise again

I would delight him again and again

And  the bird  came  down unraveling  the  threads  of  the  rope and freeing  Asif  from  the  bondage,  whispering  in  his  ears  “I am the call of life”.  The  bird  asked  him  to  follow it back towards  the  road  where  he  had  parked  his  vehicle.  Asif  followed  the  bird limping, standing  and  again  falling  till  he  reached  the  vehicle.  The  bird  told  him then, “Man  has  destroyed and  disturbed  every  creature  on  the  earth.  GOD  is  angry  with  everyone .. those  who have cleared these forests  and  those  who  are  silent. Then it swiftly  flew  away  and  disappeared.

Author studies Convergent Journalism at Central University of Kashmir.


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  • Sammeer Wani

    Beautifully written, A journey from despair to hope… Truly inspirational…

  • Aaqib

    Theme is very strong and dedicated to those who are destroying our forests without caring for its repercussions on the human lives as a whole.
    Author has skillfully written this piece, thought provoking and a matter of concern. Keep writing Harun….:)

  • amira

    This makes me miss the magical beauty of Kashmir so much :(