6th January 2012

When you are trying to do something really constructive, like preparing for a Chemistry test, hoping that a brainy idea would suddenly pop up and enable you to solve the hardest of conversions, the stupidest ideas knock your mind instead.

Well my brain is most prone to stupidity- a completely undeniable fact, but then I’m not a girl who would associate ‘Ideas’ with ‘action’. So I surprised even myself when I stepped out my cozy room and walked towards the chilly exteriors.

My mother barely glanced up from her magazine as I put on my slippers and went outside. Brightness hit my pupils and I had to blink before they could adjust. The sky was a perfect, cloudless blue and sweet, fragrant air wafted across my face.  

I stood for a moment at my gate, glancing towards the old playground where I used to spend the better part of my day playing when I was a kid, when my eye caught the looming figure of the water-tank.
The HUGE water tank near my house

On an impulse, without any prior planning, I crossed the road that so many times before and walked towards the playground.
And i walk alone... :P

The path was overgrown with weeds; kids no longer flocked on it and flattened the ground like before. A wave of sadness swept me. I longed for those happy times to come back, wishing I could once again laugh carefree on this place I loved so much…

My feet took me to the least expected place of their own accord. Just a little way ahead the tank, deeper into the prickly weeds was a low, broken wall that separated the housing area form the dense Hijli Forest that dotted the background of IIT Campus.  The wall had a gaping hole at the very front where the bricks had come off loose, making a clear if not a prickly way into the forest.

The site of our adventure. Peeking into the "broken wall" abode :P

A wave of memories crashed over me again, but this time they didn’t make me rue; instead, I had a huge grin on my face as I remembered another similar evening- an incident I could never forget in my life…

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

21st March, 2007

Final exams had ended that day and we were FINALLY free. Our usual trio, comprising of me and my best friends Arpita and Sushmita flocked out earlier than usual.But our group looked strangely empty that day; many of the members were apparently still snoring.

Arre unka to abhi bhi exams chal raha hai” Sushmita, one of my best friends suddenly enlightened us. She was clearly referring to some of our playmates who belonged to another school.

Just then, Aniket, the only err… ‘male’ team-mate we had came up and confirmed our guess saying that his sister cant come out to play.

“What about you?” Arpita asked apprehensively.

None of us were too enthusiastic about just the four of us cooped up that evening because Aniket, wasn’t our best chum and it was a feeling that I'm sure he reciprocated too. Like, apart from playing, the only thing we ever got into were pointless fights and arguments. 

“I cant come today. Going to play cricket” Aniket said and we three heaved a sigh of relief.

After he left, I turned towards my best friends and asked “so what? Should we go out for a walk?”

“Lets. I haven’t seen Tatasteel Stadium in like… AGES” Sushmita enthused.

“Umm.. wasn’t it like only TWO days back when you swore that you had completed S.St and dragged us both there?” Arpita teased her while she winked at me.

“Huh, whatever. Moreover,” she diverted, changing tact, “Arpelo needs a walk”.

Arpelo was Arpita’s cute little dog whom we liked to imagine as a super-heroic Alsatian but who actually was an arm-sized pug. J

“And a walk he will get” Arpita replied, looking at us meaningfully.

I caught up to the mood in an instant and dropped my voice to a whisper “you mean we should go and investigate…”

All of our heads turned  to the block of flats to check if any loose parent was hanging around.

“Coast clear, I think” Sushmita muttered.

“Wait, check with Kirti’s house” Arpita warned.

Sushmita, the tallest of our trio craned her neck  to see if any person belonging to MY household was outside.

With no one in sight, we tiptoed quietly to carry out our so-called ‘investigation’.

Now let me tell you, at the age of 11, our heads were totally fattened with the impossibly brave adventures of Famous Fives and Nancy Drews and Hardy Boys(I had a secret crush on Frank J) and yes, irrevocably, The Harry Potter series.

 So, to cut the story short, we all believed ourselves to be nothing less than super-brave Gryffindors who had somehow missed the letter to Hogwarts.

Also, we believed our Arpelo to be worthy of 10 such ‘Timmy’s’ who could understand whatever we said despite his not-so-intelligent blank stares. 

We also had a group called FUN – short for something like Funky-Unique-Natural and we unfortunately were none of the three because all we did in those super- ‘secret’ meetings was to gorge food, gossip and sing along to some new Hannah Montana song.

Yes, we all had very high opinions of ourselves and though we bragged about moving on to more intellectual novels like Agatha Christie, P.G.Wodehouse and JKR; our heads were still full to the brim with famous fives and secret sevens.

This time our ‘investigation’ consisted of venturing into the broken wall we had discovered while playing hide-and-seek. Not that we didn’t try before. But we made the mistake of tagging along with the ‘kids’ of our play-group and we had barely gone a few steps when a battalion of furious parents came and dragged us away.

There were reported sightings of a mysterious “wolf” in the area (it’s true, I’m not kidding) and our over-bearing parents dampened what could have been a prospective adventure.

But the members of FUN were not meant to be dampened. And so we led a triumphant march towards our site of adventure, stamping whatever doubts that propped up in our minds. What chance, we told ourselves, did a mere “wolf” have before our brave-superior souls??

“After all, we have our Timmy” I said in defense, I think, to my own thoughts.

We all looked affectionately at the intelligent dog in question; Arpelo had chosen that precise moment to lift his leg and pee on the wall.

Looking with disgust at him Arpita said “Oh let’s just ignore him”.

Hesitating, she crossed the loose pile of bricks and went inside, we both following her.
The broken wall and the forest it held...

We tried to ignore between the sharp contrast between the vibrant light of the spring on one side and the eerie dark on the other. It was completely quiet except for the rustle or our feet and the funny sniffing sounds Arpelo made. Every time we stepped on a loose twig and snapped it, I winced.

We were hyper with the excitement undoubtedly, but with every step we took into the dark, green, unknown abode of the forest, our enthusiasm died down.

Our awesome campus jungle with TALL trees :P

 Because honestly, there was nothing worthwhile to look over there unless you wanted to see trees and more trees. And living in IIT means you get super-used to greenery. Like there is hardly an inch of ground which is not covered with grass and an inch in the sky which is not dotted with trees.

As we went inside, we saw something that suspiciously looked like a quicksand, not that we were going to confirm it. As we went in deeper, the forest grew thicker and the size of the grass longer. It only took a moment for the light behind us to fade out completely.
swamp? marsh? dunno :P

Everything around us seemed greenish and damp owing to the extremely UNTIMELY rains we have here. We tried to talk about stuff that we normally couldn’t shut up about but silence was all we could manage. The sudden whooshing sounds that the trees made chilled us to bone. With fear or cold, we couldn’t say.
cold?? oh YEAH :P

The ground was filled with brambles and stones and the muddy water that percolated at some places made it difficult to walk. Having a hard time to look where we were walking and make our way through the shoulder length grass, I missed a step and pushed Sushmita such that we fell head-long on particularly steep undergrowth. Her foot stepped on my arm and I yelled.
the path that made our lives hard :P

Before we could get up and check our bruises, the unimaginable happened- Arpelo broke free of his leash and ran away. Our hearts stopped. We looked at each other frightened. Now ARPELO running away was something to be terribly scared of.

Firstly, finding him when he runs away like that usually took us about an hour. And doing that THERE, in the middle of the forest was unthinkable.

Secondly, we couldn’t possibly leave him like that in the forest; he wasn’t trained and DEFINITELY won’t be able to come back.

Thirdly, we couldn’t possibly go any deeper than that cuz we didn’t know where it led to and we had already exhausted our last iota of enthusiasm.
Grass that engulfed us completely. No trace :P

But we had no option but to pursue him, trying to push away the ominous thought that it was a herculean task to CATCH him even if we succeeded to FIND him.  We called for him relentlessly, wishing that he was at least 1% of the “Timmy” we liked to think him of. We were somewhat comforted by the fact that we were still together, if not totally busted. 

We were even trying to joke a little when we got the biggest scare of our lives.

A loud howl echoed in the forest at barely a few feet away from us followed by a high-pitched yelp.

 Maybe the reported sightings of wolves in the region were not a fairy tale after all.

 We had read enough of Harry Potter and seen enough of movies to get the words and visions of “were-wolves” float in front of  our eyes.

“Maybe its just Arpelo” Arpita said hopefully.

But we weren’t fooled. Arpelo had never volunteered to display his skills of impersonating a wolf before so why the hell could it be any different that day??

None of us felt any inclination to go any further. 

Because honestly, I had never flattered myself thinking that I was brave enough to fight a WOLF or any such species for that matter. And even though I KNEW Harry Potter was fiction, I couldn’t risk getting bitten by some fanged monster and left to keep braying every full moon night. Or is it howling? Whichever.

Then Arpita, picking up a stick went forward to ‘save’ her dog. 

Feeling slightly ashamed, we followed suit. 

Luckily, we didn’t have go very far as Arpelo, scared out of his wits for God knows what reason limped towards us and flung himself into Arpita’s arms. He didn’t seem injured, just whined continuously and we had to try our hardest to stop Arpita fuss over his well being like George did when she thought Timmy was hurt.

Oh wait; am I talking Famous Five yet again?

Feeling that we had enough adventure to last for a lifetime, we turned and started walking again when we saw a dilapidated building.

The curio that nearly killed we three cats :P

 Half of it was broken, with bricks jutting out here and here. It was about a 100 meters from where we were standing. And at that moment curiosity got better of our sanity and we did what could have been the biggest mistake of our lives that day.
anyone there???

The grass grew denser and Arpelo kept on a constant stream of whines.  We took the same path as him when he had run away and he sure did put on a fight come with us.

“I smell something fishy”, I said suddenly as we walked.

“Yeah we all know you have super-human senses. We are in a JUNGLE for god’s sake, not an ocean” Arpita said sarcastically.

“But I am serious!” I insisted.

“But how can you know the smell of a FISH?” Sushmita countered. 

Looking at our confused expressions she explained “I mean you are a vegetarian…” she trailed off under our looks of mingled disgust and exasperation.

Clearly, the nerve-racking experience had done nothing to improve her sense of joke-cracking.

“I feel something… smell something WRONG” I said again
“Stop being a Hercule Poirot…”

Arpelo set out a volley of barks just then and we froze.

To our right, a distinct cackling sound could be heard and to accompany it… there was SMOKE.

The forest was on fire.

"RUN" I shouted and we again ran back the way we had come. 

And then- we lost our way.

It was a very obvious thing actually, all of us were tired and scared to actually remember where we had started from and the bushy brambles did nothing to  help that.

ouch! prickly!

But we ran. 

We ran as if dementors were behind us and entered a totally new maze of the forest. The tall grass slowed down our pace greatly and soon we were all exhausted with our legs aching with strain and cuts scraping our arms.

We were close to tears too, I mean come on, we were just KIDS, the forest didn’t seem to be ending and the smoke was choking our throats. And it also didn’t help that Arpelo was making pitiful noises that took our morale even down because it sounded like a dirge in background to our pathetic story.
which way to go??

“We didn’t even read The Deathly Hallows yaar” was my last regret. 

That somehow made us three laugh, yeah I have said it many times before that I was crazy and that clearly is “sangati ka asar”.

“No we will read it bas!” Arpita said determined and feeling slightly better we started walking again. 

We could see the foundations of a building at some distance and we internally groaned thinking that this was some new sort of hunch again.

But our path cleared suddenly and a huge building loomed before us and we heaved a sigh of relief- It was the Agriculture Department of IIT Kharagpur. None of us had any idea that it extended so far off…

We turned back to see smoke high up in the sky and the forest catching fire slowly.

Looking at each other we swore “Never Again!!”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

We later came to know that The Agricultural department was extending it fields so they had to burn away a part of forest to clear the grounds. 

The only thing we could think of after escaping was that we could finally make it to the last installment of Harry Potter but now, thinking back, I realize how crazy and stupid that idea was. 

And what a hell of risk we had taken. But then,that is the true fun of being young. 

You don’t plan, just go on along a whim, get scared like shit, come back unscathed, forget your fears and BRAG about your bravery.

But that I guess, is the thrill of one FIERY ADVENTURE J

*This story is based on a true live-incident.

* All names and places mentioned in this story are completely real. 

*The photographs WITH CAPTIONS are actually taken in the Campus jungle itself as mentioned in the story above.

*Thanks to my friend Sushmita Maity who acted as the Photographer on my behalf :)

This post is written for Indiblogger KFC contest.  

You can promote my post HERE.


  1. wonderful BOOK :)
    with pictures it added beauty !
    good luck for the contest :)

  2. Oye yaar!!! Ye kab hua tha???!!! Aur mujhe ab kyun pata chal raha hain? :-P
    Loved the post! Literally fiery ;) (The pictures made it even better so kudos to Sushmita). Still laughing :-P hum log is campus mein KYA NAHIN karte!!!

    All the best for the contest *fingers crossed*

  3. adventurous narration...

    All the best!

  4. @deepak thanks a lot :)

    @antara arre 2007 me hi hua tha re. details me kal bolungi :P
    thanks btw

    @Saru Di thanks a lot!!

  5. wow! wow! wow!
    For the story and also for everything u've mentioned :P. We have same taste gal ;).

    Ok coming to the point. I loved the post. Mahn! Your dareness. I would do that too :P but still. You earned a lifetime experience and that too a great one. Nice to know ;).
    This story made me laugh :P but later I realized how dangerous it was. Still KEEP DOING THIS gal ;). Hope to accompany you next time you have an adventure :). And HOPE HOPE HOPE there will be famous 5 :P and then we all can go to hogwarts ;) :P.

  6. wow !! lovely post :)
    keep blogging

  7. @Pooja. glad you liked it dear!! and surrre we will go on together on the next venture. will include Antara too :) and you know what... i STILL dream of going to hogwarts! :P (sigh)

    @Saikat Ji thank you. glad you liked it :)

  8. Beautifully written NS!!
    our stories have a lot in common, related to jungles!!
    I too love exploring them, we went to those jungles a lot in our 4th year!!!
    The pics add more flavor to the post!!
    May we both win :)
    All the Best :)

  9. Hehehe :).
    Same here!! We will go ;) One day. For Sure.!! Hogwarts will always be there waiting for us :D.
    And wow!! An Adventure with u and Antara :D! Omg!! Wow :D

  10. yeah lets hope for the best :)
    and bring on an adventure!! :P :P

  11. My beautiful... your many words touched me. Keep those fingers typing... never stop reaching for the stars!


  12. thanks @L your encouragement surely puts that spirit in me!

  13. Saaala. I wanna tell everyone tht 99% of this post is exaggerated. Nothing like this happened!

  14. abe chup reh. i wrote this for a competition. and i never said THIS IS a true live incident. i said it was BASED on a true life incident!!
    and mere painfully less readers ko bhi bhagane aayi hai kya??? :P :P

  15. Very Intuitive ,well i thought of leaving the read but then i came across this line "“Maybe its just Arpelo” Arpita said hopefully." well i had to continue then


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