‘My body was changing, my mind was changing’ and the morning started on a bumpy ride, with savage thoughts, “I exist and nobody cares”, ‘Is it? Why? Why is it like that?’ Being a father can ‘unreason’ one’s world view and ‘Papa’ as I fondly call him started the day with a moral sermon on the importance of following a lucrative career rather than pursuing my heartfelt passion of being a wildlife photographer. The tussle ended in a conflict with heated verbal exchange, and SELF, with an indomitable fighting spirit, landed up locked in my room, on the couch feeling dejected and alienated.

The day left me extremely vulnerable and I escaped into a never-never land. I found myself in a thick forest full of treasured ones, ‘the mighty Baloo along with the slippery Anaconda, the Cloudy Airawat, the dove, the mouse, the lion and the bull, the Brahman and the mongoose, in short the ‘Euphoria of Panchtantra’ in all of its splendor.’

In my hands was my pride, my delight, my passion, my camera and guess what, it transported me into a realm where imagination meets reality, the believable meets the unbelievable. The word ‘Capture’ made every creature come alive and filled me with happiness ‘Unlimited’.

I visualized Baloo dancing to the tunes of ‘Shakira’, Anaconda wrapping the entire forest into the vineyard of compassion, the Lion exploring the Indies, the three-headed Airawat, its highlighted Tusk, the Brahman chanting the Hymns of the Vedas, the Mongoose relishing the snake and the Wizard spinning his magic web, creating an atmosphere of enchantment and contentedness.

The animals in the valley made me experience a variety of emotions, sadness and mirth, kindness and unkindness, leadership and community and made me view life in all its facets. The Queen-Ant with her companions, building the storehouse passed on the lesson of hard work, patience and discipline, whereas, the monkeys tying the bell on the cat embodied mischief and laughter.

From the woodland I wandered into a land of technology and automation and equipment where everyone was lost in the world of profit. An entire family in a Happy House with no communication, hinging on the wire of acquisitiveness, commercialism, I-phones, Laptops and materialism. This world was an absolute contrast to the former one. Separate and isolated individuals living under one roof, running the race of competition and avarice. Robots were performing the tasks of men. It was a place where everything could be procured by the touch of a button or a mere command. I saw newspapers being printed by the house, radio, clothing, headphones, and televisions were awesome. The world was air-conditioned, full of strife, hostility and disagreement.

It made me ponder my own behavior, my rebelliousness vis-a-vis my ‘Papa’ as I fondly called him. The ‘War’ which had given me a lot of ‘bumps and bruises’, paved the way for a harmonious blend of tradition and modernity. ‘Yes’, there was no harm in pursuing a career which would help me sustain my future family, at the same time I could always aspire in the field of wildlife photography. The world of fantasy and realism brought with it a reconciliation, a compatible arena of tranquility and concord.

I woke up with a start and dashed towards my ‘Papa’s room. I apologized for my misbehavior and promised to make amends. The evening ended on a note of aspiration, contentment and accord. ‘Yes, I can’, ‘Yes, I will’. The simplicity of the individual parts of the former Panchatantra world envisaged euphony of the whole structural unit called ‘family’. I perceived the values and the ants and realized that everyone has a role, either the whole pack succeeds or the whole falls apart, the need of the hour is to strike an equilibrium.

Word meanings:

  • alienated – estranged
  • acquisitiveness – excessive interest in acquiring money or material things
  • equilibrium – balance
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