Today we had a longest day excursion covering more than 200 kms to and fro to the natural forest in the state. Jharkhand is known for its rich forest and natural resources if not for its unstable political scenario which saw as many as 8 chief minister within first ten years of its creation in 2000. Saranda forest is one of the famous subtropical sal (Shorea robusta) forests in Asia due to the profuse regeneration, but unfortunately most of forests of the northern states of India are infested by naxalite which pose a great threat to the commuters/government official/tourists etc and Saranda forest too has fallen prey to the maoists. I came to learn from the professors and seniors that in the past, they use to carryout hand on training and campings in the core of saranda sal forest but that was some 30 years ago, after all this college which I am studying is one of the oldest forestry college in the entire south Asia.
This entire semester, we had been visiting many forest-based institute and other forest areas to put into practice the theory we have learnt for the last three years. Although the activities and visits were in times exciting and sometimes boring, the intense heat has ruined our interest most of the time. For the first time in four years, I experienced unbearable heat in this place called Ranchi, which was considered as summer capital in the past. There has not been a single drop of rain for the last two months and mercury has risen above 40 degree Celsius. The ponds have dried, and the ground remained as barren as winter, and I have heard that in the nearby places, people have even evacuated their flats owing to scarcity of water.
However today’s excursion somehow gave me a sense of joy as this is going to be the last local excursion for us. The journey was too long and heat waves were really torturing but seeing the framers toiling in their dry field, rishaw paddlers striving so hard for earning their breeds and tribal peoples slogging in the intense heat, I reassuringly comforted myself in bearing the last heats. Of all the moments, the moment, under the shade of Eucalyptus was more nostalgic and mesmerizing.
The time has changed a lot since the starting of our semester in March. During those days, the forests were dry and brown with their leaves shed. Slowly they turned greener and later we could see beautiful pinnacles in the florescence of sal trees. Added to the greenery were the colours of Jacaranda and other wild flowers. Now the sal trees are in full ripe bearing their spectacularly winged seeds in abundance. The purples of Jacaranda has given its way to the saffrons of Delonix and Cassia.
Excitedly awaited is the exotic tour to the Doon Valley for the next couple of weeks starting 16th this month :) . By then let me hope that the monsoon has come and given a fresh look to this arid environs.
How have been your days this summer? Has monsoon reached your places or is it as hot as I described here?