Friday, September 4, 2009


We've got everything here that point to us being a death spot. Perhaps we should just promote ourselves as 'Suicide City' and encourage people to come here.

- Mayor, Aokigahara

Must have been young age…must have been a rush of blood. He couldn’t attribute any other reason for espousing her. Now he had started despising her. She irritated him with her dumbness. There were no common planes where their interests coincided. Besides all that, he was head over heels in love with another woman. Priyanka...thoughts simply froze when her name sprung up in his mind. She had come five years late in his life. But he had no doubt that she will be sharing the rest of it with him. Before that, one important question remained; what about his marriage? He had built up a charade of perfect nuptial life for five years now. How should he break it? He didn’t even entertain thoughts about divorce…family…friends…raised eyebrows…smirked faces…NO!!! It was out of question. He had to think of something else. How much ever he racked his brains he could come up with only one solution. He had to become a widower.

The destination was a stroke of luck. He heard about it on his business visit to Japan, the country with highest suicide rates. It was called Aokigahara Forests. The place was notorious for mysterious deaths which happened to its visitors, most of it being categorized as suicides. He remembered watching a special series about the place on CNN a few months back. It was believed by the locals that the forests were teeming with Yurei, known to be spirits in the Japanese folklore. As the myth goes, if a person commits suicide, then his reikon or soul does not rest in peace and transforms into a Yurei which truncates the physical gap between earth and nether world. Though the locals ascribed the deaths in Aokigahara to Yurei, Scientists still believed that the thick, dense and vast expanse of forestry made people lose their way and eventually die of fear or hunger. Whatever the cause was, he was itching to have a look at the place. The moment he set foot into the woods he could sense the appropriateness of the place with regard to his mission. Even a peaking sun could only make gentle peeks into the almost impenetrable cover of trees. He visualized forests to be reverberant with chirps, peeps, tweets and other animalistic noises. But the eerie silence of Aokigahara gave him Goosebumps. The occasional rustle of leaves in the wind echoed across the woods like a ripple traveling on the surface of a still lake. Exploring the forest for a perfect spot to carry out his act led him to a moderately steep trekking path. He made his way up. He could hear the whooshing sound of water flowing, or rather, falling. The final stretch gave way to a mild clearing, a few yards in front of which, he could see a waterfall. He made his way across the slippery terrain to the unprotected falls…there were no railings, no security and literally no holds barred. The view below was breathtaking, so would be an accidental fall onto the rocky bed about 200 feet below. He had found his spot…perfect!!!

He couldn’t wait to talk to Priyanka. Entering his house with unusual cheerfulness, he found his wife also in a good mood. Apparently her sister had conceived. As she bored him with details of it, his irritation returned…another trip to the land of the rising sun beckoned him…and her. He excused himself from the nonsense and made his way to his room. Immediately he phoned Priyanka…how he missed her!! She was like a magnet, attracting his senses and repelling his irritation. Without going over any details, he told her that their dreams were soon going to materialize and that he loved her with all his heart. As he replaced the receiver he heard a parallel click. It could mean only one thing. He peeked into the living room and could see his wife crying silently into her hands. Good, he thought, now even the feeling of guilt will reduce. The next few days were pleasant for him as she had cocooned into a resigned state which he thought was due to her anticipation of the divorce. He decided to break the news to her. “You seem to have gathered that there is another girl I my life. I assure you that it is only because of my blind love for her that we are going to separate, not because of my lack of it for you. I could never love anyone like the way I loved you. I would like you to make one last trip with me to Japan, where I will be going for another meeting this week, before we separate, as a token of our love.” He could see more tears welling up in her eyes, as she nodded silently…at least old fashioned dumbness had its few advantages.

Very few tourists, be it even Japanese, made a return trip to Aokigahara. Even fewer people seemed to know the whereabouts inside the woods like the back of their hands. He was one of the few. He sensed an instant familiarity with the place as he plodded into it for the second time inside two weeks. Only, this time he had company. She was clearly awed, and to a certain extent frightened by the vastness and eeriness around her. He could comprehend this by the way she tightly held on to his hands. “Allow me to show you one amazing view I came across on my last visit here. It is simply out of this world”, he said, smiling inwardly at the unintended pun. With clasped hands they made their way along the trekking path…he with a rush of adrenaline…she with pangs of happy sadness.

“This is indeed a mind blowing view”, she exclaimed, clearly awestruck. She was standing just near the edge of the falls and he was a few paces behind her. A gentle push should do it, he thought.

It happened in the same fraction of a second. His gentle push coincided with her grasp of his arm. The slippery ground beneath them did the rest. The last thing he could hear as they fell was the blend of their shrill voices…It caused a temporary undulation to the spirited wander of the Yurei in the eerie tranquility of AOKIGAHARA.

Footnote: Aokigahara forests, located at the base of Mt. Fuji in Japan, is the second most infamous suicide hotspot in the world after The Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco. Bizarre rumours about GPS systems and compasses going irrepressible due to the Yurei influence have made rounds though scientists ridicule such beliefs, attributing the non- functioning of the systems due to magnetic and volcanic deposits in the forests. With more than 75 dead bodies found in 2002 alone and the year 2008-09 being predicted to go some numbers better due to the economic crisis related depressions in people, this is one spot to watch out for.

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