‘Still drawn to the adrenaline rush of courting danger’
Everyone has a childhood story, but some are certainly more gripping and worthy of being shared with the world, in the form of a novel. Narrating one such life-altering experience is Nidhie Sharma, through her book Invictus: The Jungle That Made Me.
Best known for writing the web series Inside Edge, the writerdirector divulges in this book — her second — why she decided to share this story now, years after it took place. “It was so powerful and surreal that I was able to hold onto it for the longest time. But, never in my wildest dreams did I think my unintended adventure would be of any interest to the world. Now more than ever, we need to hear stories of survival and resilience,” she says.
The book is a real-life account of what six Army kids faced on one fateful day in the jungle during their summer vacation: “I was a happygo-lucky 13-year-old, ready to take on the world, till we had that first real brush with the ferocity of the elements. I realised how crucial one’s choices can be, how they can affect you, others with you and those waiting for you back home.”
As the story unfolds, one gets to know how six children go missing in the jungles of Arunachal Pradesh, without no food, resources or any means to communicate. “It was too early to process what I experienced that day. There was shock, disbelief for days after, but there was also a sense of relief that no one died. I suppose penning it down did help process the punishing events of that day,” she says, adding that it’s sad she isn’t in touch with those who had accompanied her: “I do hope to meet them all again.”
So, how much has changed after those experiences? “I’m no longer reckless, but I am still drawn to the adrenaline rush of courting danger,” she opines.
For adventure seekers, Sharma’s book has a whole section on lessons from the jungle and even survival hacks. “But, the most important learning would be to evaluate how your choices could play out if they went south and how they’d impact others… Never give up, whatever the odds might be!” she concludes.