Monday, 7 November 2016
The mountains covered with lush green forest. The mixture of deciduous and evergreen trees, at this time of the year i.e. Autumn, making the forest look strangely colourful with yellow, red and brown in the midst of green carpet of leaves. The trees make the mountain look smooth with little undulation. Every trees and the parasitic climbers, make it to certain heights to get the maximum sunlight. After attaining the required height, they just spread out as if giving up the competition to grow tall, further. That pact within the families of the trees and plants gives the smooth looks for the mountains, covering the rugged undulating grounds below.
It is the soldiers, like us, who know the ruggedness of the terrain below the umbrella of the forest's canopy. We have traversed ample times below the forest cover, skirting the huge trunks; some tree trunks are not round. They are triangular in the sense that it is supported by formation of triangles, at least three or more. The right angled triangles, with the perpendicular resting on the trunk of the tree forming a perfect tangent over the circle formed by the tree trunk. The gap between the triangles would provide a good defensibility for a small team, from charging and angry wild animals or from unsuspected fire from the hiding snipers. It would also provide a good shade from the rain and wind and it would be a good place to have night halt there. But we never spent the night in such locations because even the wild animals like, boars and boas must be thinking the same. It is their territory, so we give preference to them.
The route from Nganglam to Chokorling, couple of years back used to be treacherous. The battle with the leeches would start the moment you step out of the campus. The path would snake around the undergrowth below the canopy of the huge forest cover. The ground used to be moist due to lack of sunlight becoming a perfect breeding ground for the leeches and other creepy crawlies. There would be footprints of all sorts of animals, which we do not bother to identify, unless it is a huge prints of an elephant which is fresh. The peculiar stench of the wild animals, oozing amongst the freshness of the wild atmosphere does not go undetected and there used to be a shout in unison to drive away the wild.
The arrival of the farm road had changed all that. The footpaths are seldom used. As we travel mounted on the huge vehicle the perspective about the jungle changes. The canopy of the the forest can be seen from top and not from below. Having seen both the view up-close, one just appreciate the different life forms starting from the insects to an animal as huge as the largest pachyderms itself. Except that, those leeches must be missing us but we don't, at all. It looks more beautiful and praise worthy as we whiz by. It is breath taking view all together to watch it from different angle rather than from within it.
The environmentalist may argue that the roads had damaged the environment. A continuous flat piece of land around four to five meter width, carved below the canopy of the forest, following the contours of the ground did little damage. And its benefits to the human kind much surpass the damages it causes to the environment. The disturbance in the natural path of the numerous streams, were avenged naturally by washing away the road every summer. Unless, the path for the streams is created following its natural course, no amount of retaining walls or walls with wire mesh would be able to stop the road from being washed away by the yearly monsoon. The battle will continue till we understand and reckon the the forces of nature. It doesn't have to take the 'tsip' or a soothsayer to bring in the fear of 'naypo' or the spirits being angry to understand the natural phenomenon.
The ride was bumpy but less tiring comparing to walking. Less calories were burnt, therefore, less calories would be consumed. The green blanket punctuated with browns, yellows and pinks would be protected (also by constitution) to absorb greenhouse gases emitted else where and also to protect the elusive layer which has no international boundaries...