One year under the moss
At the southern side of Rotevatnet in Volda, guarded by the pride of the village, Rotsethornet (649 moh), stretches a narrow trail road up the spruce-covered hillside. A couple of degrees east and down in a tangle of trees and shrubs, it somehow opens up like a pocket inside the otherwise dense forest. The little cottage or “moss hut” is almost impossible to spot and blends in perfectly with its surroundings.
– Welcome to indian-norwegian gamme, Kishore smiles while he light some small candles which little by little lights up the hut from inside.
On the small table next to us lies an old book he uses to write down his thoughts words that comes to mind. Gajendra used to work as a journalist in his hometown of Bangalore in southern India. After an exchange year at Volda University College in 2015, he fell in love with the small village and decided to return again in 2016. In addition to the master's degree he’s taking in Media Practices, as well as two jobs, he has a special and ongoing project afoot. He is going to live in this little hut without electricity, 200 meters above Volda for a whole year.
– It's a long way to walk every day and it's going to be hard and tiring at times, but if I manage one year, I think it will make a great experience. In India, I grew up close to nature and the forest, so doing this I guess is just a natural part of me, says the 26-year-old student.
A simple lifestyle
The sun enters through the tall tree crowns embracing the little moss-covered cabin where Kishore now spends the nights. Outside there is a small bonfire place and some benches, and even a sign towards the toilet are to be found only a stone’s throw away. Down the slope runs a small river where he usually gets water.
– Once I tried to take a “shower” in it, that was just painful, Gajendra laughs.
The forest also offers enough wood to fire well in the small wood stove which occupies about a third of the floor space in the hut.
– I've got everything I need here and I’m doing very well. I have always been fascinated by the little things in life and this simple lifestyle suits me and my mindset.
The full-time student also practises yoga and meditation, and sees the hut as a place where he can just “be”.
– We always think of something, things that are going to happen or things you need to do. But when I sit here, I have almost no thoughts. It is completely quiet and perfect for meditation. The fact that it's only the forest and nature outside is a special feeling.
Winter is coming
As many people know, the west coast of Norway often invites to long and cold winters. Despite the unlimited access to wood to fire with and even a pair of cross-country skis, Gajendra doesn’t hide the fact that he's a little nervous about the cold.
– I'm a person who likes to take things as they come and it's hard to plan or prepare for the winter because I do not know how cold it's going to be, neither how I'll react to the cold. But I have a very good sleeping bag and also received a lot of woolen clothes from people who come to visit here, so I think I'll do good, he smiles.
A social meeting point
It may seem a bit lonely to live like this alone in the woods. But the student can confirm that it is not. The moss hut has become a social gathering place for him and his friends.
– I've even arranged a pizza night up here and people often come to visit, Kishore explains.