• Jithin Vijayan

Sholas and the lantern of Golden fireflies

A lean tree branch was reaching me through the Seminar hall window. Leaches were trying to crawl on my feet stuck between the chairs. Butterflies emerged from the slideshow and started flying around.


Eyes sank in the deep darkness. The chillness from earth shook me. Am I lost in the Sholas? Where's Dr Kishore ?. He just disappeared or what? Feeling like someone forcibly pushing from the back, or somebody pulling me!?

Commelina flowers, on the way to Shola forest


Sliding through the forest floor, reached the Shola’s lap. Touching the cold water with fingertips, I melted into the watery tree roots. It was a mother’s gentle touch. I completely forgot about the camera for some time. “Stay here, please not leave me” - thy cry was echoing in the Shola breeze when I was climbing up from the stream.

“Stay here, please not leave me” - thy cry was echoing in the Shola breeze when I was climbing up.

The screaming of Chathurangapara* called me back to the Seminar hall. The next slide was overflowing with the statistics of quarries in Kerala.

I closed my eyes forcefully; Kurinji flowers bloomed in my frozen mind, which was stuck in the Shola’s floor. I saw a Tahr coming towards me, from the mighty mountain top!

Nilgiri Tahr (Nilgiritragus hylocrius) and Kurinji (Strobilanthes sp.) flowers.


Holding a small fruit in its beak, a red-whiskered bulbul posed for my camera. The ‘heavy’ backpack became very light. Growing wings and dreams, am I emerging to the sky?!


Dewdrops hanged on the camera’s focus point. Bees were flying amongst Osbeckia flowers adjacent to the fern fronts. Struggling to open my eyes, I realized that Chathurangapara was no more. Lights in the seminar hall were switched off. Somebody was coming towards me with a lantern. A golden firefly dissolving in the dual meaning of darkness?


Even before allowing me to etch the face into mind, the ‘human silhouette' scattered. Pieces of the scattered darkness transformed into golden fireflies for a moment and touched the ground. Burned wings and ash covered the floor.

Scattered pieces of the darkness transformed into golden fireflies for a moment and touched the ground. Burned wings and ash covered the floor.

Story Behind

This personal note is from my Bachelor's study tour (2018 November). The tour was coordinated by Dr K. Kishore Kumar, Head of the Department of Botany, Farook College, Kozhikode, Kerala. Locations depicted in this note include Anamudi Shola and Eravikulam National Parks, Idukki, South India.


Happy Moment

These photos were featured in my first photography exhibition 'Chirakukal' (Wings) held as part of 'Aranya' art exhibition in connection with the Myristica Ecological Fiesta.


Note: Chathurangapara is a hill area in Idukki, Kerala.

Graphics Credit: Image by Yuri_B from Pixabay

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