SHILLONG, July 3 � Except flinging from trees to tress on creepers and belting out an ape cry, Edgar Rice Burroughs would have been proud of Bowel Puwei�, whose lifestyle seems close to his fictional character �Tarzan.
Unlike the fiction, Puwei�s loin cloth and also the dreadlocks are for real. He emerged from the jungles of Lyngngam in West Khasi Hills district, Meghalaya recently after living in the wild for twenty-years. �He is our Tarzan,� a village elder, who has spotted Puwei� occasionally in the wild, said.
Villagers say sixty-year-old Puwei� is from the remote Nonglang Lieh village in the district, some 55 kms from the State headquarters. He left it twenty years back after the death of his wife and children and took to the wild.
He built two houses, one atop a hillock and one inside a cave near the Kynshi river and regularly fished using a bamboo pole. To further supplement his diet, Puwei� planted sweet potatoes and maize and also hunted wild boars and lived on.
But one day, Hollywood�s 1962 flick �Tarzan goes to India� where Tarzan saved elephants came to haunt Puwei�. �He came across an elephant calf being swept away by the strong currents of the river. Puwei� jumped in and fought against the river currents trying to save the calf,� villagers who witnessed the incident from the other side of the river said.
They further narrated that about seven to eight wild elephants also tried to help Puwei� in the rescue process unsuccessfully.
�Ever since, he has developed a strong bond with elephants. Puwei� treats the wild animals as cattle and the elephants obey his commands meekly,� Nonglang Lieh villagers claimed.
After the �return of Tarzan� curious villagers and children are flocking to his place of dwelling in Nonglang Lieh to hear about his adventures in the wild. But he now speaks in a strange lingo hardly understood by anybody.
But, Puwei�s free spirit, love for animals in the wild truly makes him the Lord of Lyngam jungle.