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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 January 2006, 16:06 GMT
Man lives in tree after domestic spat
By Sanjaya Jena in Orissa

Kapila in his tree house [Pics: Sanjeeb Mukherjee]
Kapila survived a devastating cyclone in his tree house
An Indian man has been living in a tree for the past 15 years despite passionate appeals by his mother to return home.

Kapila Pradhan, 45, a resident of Nagajhara village in the eastern Indian state of Orissa, left home after an apparent tiff with his wife.

"My son and daughter-in-law quarrelled constantly after their son was born and their relationship soured day by day," says his mother Sishula.

"One morning I found my son had left the house while everybody was still asleep."

Since I left home I have hardly had any cooked food

A month later, villagers found him deep in the forest living in a tree.

"I went to the forest to bring him back home but he refused," she adds.

"Hurt and rejected I had to come back home. I cried a lot," says Kapila's mother.

Cyclone survivor

Kapila lives on whatever he can find to eat in the jungle.

"Since I left home I have hardly had any cooked food," he told the BBC News website from his tree-house 7.6m (25 feet) above the ground.

"Sometimes the villagers feed him during festive occasions," says a local resident Sukanta Dakua.

Sishula says she has given up hope that her son will return
"However no amount of coaxing can make him leave his tree house," Manoj Sahoo, another local resident, says.

Even during a devastating cyclone in 1999 when winds of 300 km/h destroyed large parts of Orissa and killed thousands, Kapila continued to live in the forest.

He recalls the terrifying moments when it rained persistently and the other trees in the forest fell one by one.

"I just survived as a tree missed me by inches," he said.

However more than the cyclone, it was the threat posed by wild elephants and monkeys that forced him to move to a tree closer to the edge of the forest, near a village.

'Illicit' relations

Kapila's life is far removed from the one he once lived.

Before he moved to the forest, he was married, and says he was overjoyed when his son was born.

Tulasi and Babuan
Tulasi and Babuan now live together
The family celebrated and the entire village was invited to dinner.

But things soon soured.

His neighbours say Kapila's wife, Tulasi, began having "illicit relations" with his younger brother Babuan.

Soon after Kapila left home, Babuan moved in with Tulasi and they had a child a few years later.

"I am not formally married to Tulasi but have accepted her as my partner because I care for her," says Babuan.

He rejects the allegation that his brother left because of his alleged relationship with his sister-in-law and says he began a relationship with her only after he realised his brother was never coming back.

Both Tulasi's children address Babuan as their father.

With Kapila away from home for more than a decade, his mother has accepted the new family arrangement.

But what if Kapila comes back?

His mother Sishula says it is hardly likely, but if he does, he should not reclaim his wife.


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