These lines from the title of an immortal Thomas Hardy novel have become clichés due to constant use and misuse. We all want to escape from the pressures of day to day living, the deadlines, stress, pollution and traffic. But can we survive for even a few days without the trappings of modern civilization? How many of us can survive without electricity, newspapers, mobile networks, internet, roads, immediate access to healthcare and other sundry necessities?
I tried and succeeded in spending exactly 48 hours at Forest Rest House, Jhirna, Corbett Tiger Reserve. This is a place bang in the middle of the jungle with no electricity (few solar lamps are all you have), no restaurant (there is a kitchen with some sorry looking utensils and a gas cylinder where you have to cook for yourself), not much manpower (an alcoholic chowkidar and a sober forest guard) and a half damaged solar electricity fence for security (the batteries were dead so the fence was not working anyway). There is a generator set which is switched on for one hour every night and you can barely charge your camera, laptop and mobile batteries in that time.
So these are the problems. Are there any pluses? As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words so I will let the pictures speak for themselves. And yes, I’ll definitely go there again.
Vivek Banerjee is a pediatrician by choice and a writer by chance. He tries to escape from the pressures of his profession by seeking refuge in the world of writing. His debut novel The Long Road, which was well received by readers, was published by Cedar- an imprint of Pustak Mahal in December 2010. He counts photography as a recent obsession.