He lay flat against the bed of wet earth and fallen leaves and stared at the sky. He felt euphoric, lying totally naked inside the forest. Baring the body had achieved baring of the soul. Set in the turbulent 1960s Days and Nights in the Forest (Aranyer Dinratri) was the second novel that a young Sunil Gangopadhyay wrote. Largely autobiographical, it is the story of a whimsical, impromptu journey that four city youths Ashim, Sanjoy, Shekhar and Robi take into the forests of Palamau. The four friends blithely imagine that their escapade into the wilderness will distance them from civilization and take them closer to pristine nature. In reality, the solitude and austere majesty of the forest force them to look deeply into themselves and confront their all-too-human follies and civilized foibles in new, unexpected and frightening ways. As they hear the ominous sound of one tree after another being felled, encounter mercenary traders bent on milking the forest for all it is worth, and see the simmering unrest flickering in the eyes of the tribal inhabitants, they are compelled to look well beyond their own time to a plundered and violated world where the forest can never be a pastoral utopia a world that is, inexorably and inescapably, our own. They return to Calcutta ineffably changed sadder, older, more introspective.