He yearned for the company of fellow beings. He had lived his dream and now felt he needed to share it with the world. He had resolved to set forth on his subsequent dream – to write a book chronicling his travels. He would have to abandon this one to be able to stoke the other.
One could say his decision was borne out of compulsion. Three months of staying in the wild showed on him. He was now thinner than ever before. He depended on tracking down and killing small creatures for food. But it was tough and sometimes he went for days without meals. His face hidden under thick adolescent hair bore sunken cheeks. His forehead had creases reserved for old folk. At times he felt sapped of energy and could barely walk before waiting to rest. His immobile frame had served him well though when he came face to face with a grizzly bear who passed by his bus.
He had stumbled upon the bus on day one. It had helped him brave Nature’s treachery and survive thus far. The Magic Bus – as he christened it – seemed completely alien to its surroundings much like himself. They found solace in each other’s company. For three months thereafter, he stayed in, barbecued his kill, read books by London and Thoreau and made notes maintaining a daily log of his adventures. He was planning for the other dream, while living the first.
When the snow first started to melt, he did not realize its effects on the region. He found himself ill-prepared, trapped in the wild. There was no kill to be had. He sat at the bank staring blankly at the mass of flowing water. The stream which was but a rivulet three full moons ago now flowed like a torrent. It seemed to mock him, daring him to conquer it and reach the side with the bush topped by his woolen hat – the one gifted to him by his sister who was his confidante and knew and understood his desire for this perilous sojourn. He checked his back-pack – ‘a day, two days at best’ – he said to himself, and then he will not have any of the raw flesh he had preserved from his last kill a fortnight ago.
It was almost strange that what was till yesterday a life of fulfillment now threatened to chain him down. Perhaps, this life was alluring until he knew he could exit anytime. The moment the umbilical cord was cut and he realized that he could not leave at the time of his choice, he succumbed to its vagaries. We all need the option of turning back, starting afresh. He was no different.
He returned to the Magic Bus devoid of hope of ever making it back to humanity. Days later, he became one with the wild. His dream did not let go of him. They found his journal and its entries formed the basis of a book, on his life in the Alaskan wilderness. After all, he did not let go of his subsequent dream.
~ Inspired from the movie ‘Into the Wild’, based on the life of Christopher Johnson McCandless, fondly known as ‘Alexander Supertramp’.
– Bhavesh Jeewani | Edited by Farrokh
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