THE FOREST IN THE MAKING
By Param Singh Gujral
The mist was so thick in that forest
that Robert couldn’t see far ahead. But, while spooky and sinister, it was strangely magical and attractive. It had
exerted its charm on him.
Walking along what seemed to be a
path, Robert got a strong feeling that he was not the first. On either side he saw human beings in their strangest form. They
looked like normal people except they didn’t have a body. Those “people” seemed to be made of thousands
of tiny particles of dust. They floated aimlessly and casually. Robert looked at them in wonder, and asked an elderly gentleman
when he overcame his speechless wonder and initial fear,”Sir, who are you?”
That gentleman wore a pair of thin round rimless spectacles and an amiable smile. Bending his head
for he was much taller, he looked Robert in the eyes and asked casually, “Who do you think I am?” in a deep voice.
He was paying close attention to the fifteen-year-old’s
facial expressions. They told him more than anything else about what was going on in Robert’s head.
Taken by surprise by that pointed question, Robert answered
unconfidently, “I, I think think you bring to my mind all those ghosts in the short stories I read as a kid.”
“I see, then, we have originated from those short stories you have read.”
“What? What are you saying? What do you mean? Aren’t
you’ll real?”, asked Robert in disbelief.
aren’t. I am not real; I am a figment of your imagination.” The man spoke calmly despite the emotion in Robert’s
Without thinking Robert retorted, “I don’t believe
you.” He ignored the voice in his head which said otherwise.
In almost complete indifference to Robert’s exasperation, the old man added, “There is a voice in your head
telling you that this is not real.”
There was something
about the steady and deep voice. It reminded him of someone. He just couldn’t remember who. Slowly
his defiance was melting away, and a part of him was coming to agree with the old man.
In a low voice Robert remarked, “But it all seems so lifelike.”
“You created it, so hats off to you. You have idolized some writers, haven’t
you?. You wish to produce something like them someday. ”
do you know about that?”, Robert interrupted in disbelief.
I am in your head. You made us. All of it. All that you see. Unknown to you, your mind has been creating this space over some
months. It is this I want to impress upon you. There is this thought at the back of your mind that you will never create anything
of quality, and your life’s work will be mediocre.”
stared with his eyes almost popping out and mouth wide open.
worry. You are putting in the effort. Look how far you have come. Earlier, you couldn’t have created an inch of this
place. Now I want to show you something.“
He told Robert
to look as far as he could through the mist.
“It becomes blurred after a
while, don’t you agree? Don’t let this blur discourage you. The only way this blur will transform itself into
a clear and vivid picture is by hard work. I think this blur is telling you to work on something you have always neglected.
Robert had stopped gaping. Every molecule in his being had
become active in the last few minutes as he listened intently.
must neither worry nor panic. And do not pretend this did not happen.”
We often subconsciously pretend that we actually know something when we really don’t. This is a bad
habit as it brings about no improvement. On the other hand, we can embrace the fact that there are certain ideas we haven’t
yet grasped. This is the much required first step in the path that will definitely lead to the nurturing of our intellect.
This is a story of a teenager who learns that his creation
( his forest ) is incomplete and he must work with patience and without fret towards its completion. Robert is told by the
wise old man to abstain from giving into the proclivity that his creation is flawless.
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