Sunday, 8 September 2013

Man vs. Nature: An Account from a Foresters Odyssey.

It was a season of beautiful blossoms, with the adversity of winter gone and the monsoon much awaited. The trails were clear without bushes and the woods were dry. The seasonal spring waters has not yet swelled and the journey through the varied vegetation of Junipers, Fir, Rgododendron and of course the subtropical broadleved forests was a soothing adventure. It was arduous trek worth a trek. That was back in the month of May when I was leading a team of Foresters to set camera traps to study the wildlife diversity in Western Region of Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park, starting the journey from Phobjikha to Taksha.
Captures from Earlier Trek (May).

So after two months of remote camera trapping, in mid August, I was to again take the same route; this time, to monitor and retrieve the cameras. August and September were forecasted to have the maximum downpour by the local meteorologist but for the Foresters, there is no waiting.
Furthest End of Phobjikha valley in the Morning.

The Phobjikha valley looks swampy. The paths were muddy and in the fields, people were busy harvesting the potatoes. Our journey started from the Juniper vale at the far end of Gantey-Phobji stretch, but in the juniper valley was fog and rain. It would take us at least three days to reach the other settlement and the weather was not favouring.
The Highest Pass where Fir Adorns.
Early in the morning, when we readied for the journey, the weather was gloomy. We feared it would rain but as we walked on, clouds gave way to the rays of sunshine. After two hours of straight walk, we were to make a steep ascend which took us four hours. With the sun blazing, with no water by the trail, with heavy baggage, we sweated a lot and by the time we reached the peak, we were exhausted with zero calories. Out of thirst, we had no option but to drink from stagnant water on the main trail. I bought a bottle of Black Mountain for my porter, so the mixture of alcohol and stagnant water gave a better taste to quench our thirst.
To Quench the Thirst.

But the weather played a confusing role. No sooner did we drink from the stagnant water than there was a heavy downpour. This indeed provided us with fresh water to drink. The rhododendron leaves collects ample quantity of water making a clear flow of it downwards.

A better Option.
Our Purpose of Endurance.

Yet saddened I was. We had to still walk for three hours, to reach the campsite which we halted earlier. While we were descending the rain hit harder. The trails has turned into gorges, and through the gorges flowed huge muddy water. The streams that were so minute during our earlier trek have now turned into big rivers and we had to crisscross it several times. We were drenched head to toe. Luckily the elevation was quite high for the leeches to survive.
Our lone porter Jigme Struggling to Cross the Swelled Stream.

Reaching the spot where we were to camp, the spot was infested with bushes and the ground was swampy. “We have to halt here by any means.” I said. “Our camera station follows that river (earlier it was a mere stream) upward at a crow flight distance of 3 km (which we will retrieve the next day).” I then initiated the camping, while our young forester prepared fire. There was no dry wood. Everything was wet. The water was muddy, but then we had to halt there. The drying of bamboo was at our rescue. Nothing burnt but the wet dry-bamboos did, to make a campfire, to dry our cloths, and to prepare a delicious dinner after an tedious, enduring 9 hour trek without a lunch, and the days went on, wit shoes wet, blisters on the leg, with leech and insect bites, until we finished our tasks in next seven days.

Cameras lost its positions; Tigers are on the other side; Pains were endured but the result was not a good one and I for the first time in the wild, lost my Positive Energy.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Bhutanese Bloggers Tag.

Once I became a dynamic blogger, posting more than 10 stuffs in a month, posting via mobile while on a journey, posting poems, posting Dzongkha Tsoms, but then, it was when I was back in the college. But this year I lost the rhythm to write and post, often leaving my blog empty for months, and my blog hit never increased, which is sad on my part. While I lost the muse to write, internet connectivity has become a constraint as well, but with this interesting e-Conference for the Bhutanese Bloggers initiated by madam Rekha, I want to reveal my answers for the same;

1. Why did you start blogging in the first place? And what’s the story behind your blog title?
I don’t know whether I write good or I just scribble haphazard lines to form a article, but I was writing few during my high school days itself. Then, I use to compile all the short stories that we wrote during the English class, the poetries and the essays and use to arrange them in a sequence Essay I, Esssay II, and so on as and when we were asked to write one by the English teacher. Yes, I won a Third Prize in Open Essay writing competition held during my +2 both in English and Dzongkha. 

However, I didn’t blog then as I don’t write frequently and besides there was no internet facilities. It was during my third year of the college days that I took up blogging. I was on Blogger since April 2010, but my first post appeared only in November 2010. It took me almost six months to become an active blogger with regular prose and verse feeding my blog. Now you might be wondering why I took such a long time to start posting articles on my blog. The reasons are obvious. I didn't know what blogging is in first hand and secondly I thought Blogs are meant for some good and nearly perfect write ups. Besides I am one such person whose writing contains neither charm nor fun, so I feared sharing such nonsense of mine on Blogsphere, where world wide web can view it. But with time, I became an active blogger to share my verses, the fateful incidents and progresses in my life, which I believe is the continuity of fate as depicted by my name and so is my blog name Leythro-The Continuity of Fate.

2. How long have you been blogging? Where are you based?
November 2010 till date counts my duration of blogging into almost three years and I am based at Tshangkha, Trongsa since January 2013, but I don’t reach Trongsa as and when I desire so I don’t know much about the happenings in Trongsa.

3. How do you schedule your blog post? Daily or weekly? Or as and when inspiration strikes you?
In the past I make sure that I update my blog at least once in a week and I was able to maintain that schedule but since my coming to Tshangkha, I failed to update my blog even once in a month. I wish to share with my visitors some stunning photos from the nature but then I could possess and quality camera so I failed here as well. However I write as and when inspiration strikes me.

4. Does your family and friends know about your blog?
Well, most of my friends know that I maintain a blog and they sometimes appreciate and acknowledge my work.  In some instances I have helped my friends develop one for them, but they ended by posting a single post and not more. Regarding my family, they are based in the tiny hamlet of Darilo, illiterate and ignorant but few of my cousins know that I maintain a blog and they keep advising for a regular update.

Thank You.

Monday, 12 August 2013

What is in the Young?

What is in the young
Is not forces of diversion but unity,
In young is the dynamism and not enervation. 
The young is hope and not desperation,
The dreams of young are the reality in disguise,
The ability in youth is their beauty
And in their beauty is the happiness.

Young is green as summer, 
And immune to arid winter.
Buoyancy as spring are the young
And like autumn colours
Youths are ever fruitful
In young, there is no season.

Youth shall move, forward and upward,
Trough the rugged terrains with tears,
With sweats and pains
To grasp the fruit of endeavour, the Success;
In the young is Determination.

Celebrating International Youths Day.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Feelings in the Fogs.

The sun has long sunk below the horizon, the moon was hardly visible in the sky. Perhaps the sky lost its depth of blues as the clouds crimson and dark overcast it. I was walking by the highway, listening to the tunes of modern lyrics, and as I walked on in solitude, the road never ended but it faded through the green of woods that too were immersed in the chaos of hazy fogs and at that point there lies a stone.

courtesy: Tshering

The point gave me a panoramic evening view of swift flowing Mangde chhu, the lush of green paddies on the lowlands of Tshangkha, the strategic temple with rainbows of prayer flags at Tashichoeling, the cluster of buildings of College of Language and Cultural Studies at Taktse and of course far beyond imagination my insight could visualize the magnificent fortress of Chokhor Rabtentse and many more, if not of the distractions of stirring clouds.

Sitting on the stone and as I gazed on the flow of fogs,  and I was then tuning to a melancholic Modern Bhutanese verse, the lyric of reads as follows;

“Two souls did met, yet happiness was a dream,
Sight captured the beauty, yet mind failed to appreciate
While seldom we encountered, feelings were feeble,
Now when we are to part, your reminiscence haunt me.

There’s neither answer to my call, nor reply to my message
In the meantime, I lost my precious values.
Oh Fate, why are you such an illusion,
Why I don’t see destiny in my love…”

Soon I lost my tune to the music and in the valley of fogs, my thoughts wondered like the fleeting clouds; of beauty, of uncertainty, of simplicity, of pride and egotism, of pains and tears , of positivity, of hopes and aspiration, and of course of this beautiful life.

I first saw beauty to which I lost my heart. That was the strength of beauty. The flowers of different colours and variety, though each possess a striking exquisiteness, the taste of nectar can never be ascertained that it will be sweet. So, what? Will the beauty that captured my sight and to which I lost my heart possess a beautiful heart to cherish an everlasting relationship? I didn’t dare to doubt, after all the feelings of my heart mattered. “In my life, my purpose of living is to fulfill your happiness.” Such sentence of selflessness and dedication has already been reached to the other end, to embrace the love my heart, and so did I. Yet my positivity yield no fruit, conversations over phone and sms exchanged lost its values, little dreams and laughter we shared were to go futile for reasons so silly and vague and there was no reflecting back.  While to err is human, my forgiveness heard no echo but my own words of promises and pledges reverberated in my ears; it remained unfulfilled and there was a pain in my heart, tear in my eyes.

By then, the music in my ear has shifted to soothing melody of Minzung and Namgay Jiks, but it was an irony;

“Oh! Please don’t go, leaving me behind,
When you go, I am filled with misery and poignancy.
Please don’t go, leaving me behind.
Without your presence in this world
my existence resembles a soulless body.
When you are gone too far
My life endures a hellish pain…”

My conscience is my strength. I looked around; the clouds are drifting as usual with its shape changing frequently. The fluttering prayer flags came to standstill. Every phenomenon is momentary and fleeting. Uncertainty is the law of universe. I then stared down the valley and could see the Mangde Chhu flowing swiftly though its sound faintly heard. Life is never static but it’s ever dynamic and it must flow on like the river. Each of us have a path to follow and destiny to reach, like the green paddies that will soon reach the bowl of landlords in the form of grains. At the end of the day, our mind should be free of guilt, of ego, but be filled with humble thoughts and positive energy. Life is only beautiful with positive energy and with values of humbleness and simplicity.

It was getting darker, and soon the clouds gave way to light drizzle to cleanse my thoughts. Such a place, such a weather to get immersed into the depth of feelings and emotions in solitude.

“Life is beautiful not because one is beautiful, one is wealthy, or one has extraordinary character. Life is beautiful only because of positive energy. In life, don’t regret about the past because it taught you lessons. Don’t worry about the future because it will come as surprise, sometimes it will surprise you because it is beyond your expectation, but sometimes it will surprise you because it is not up to your expectation, but it is meant to happen. We can’t pretend to be happy when we are not so do what makes you happy. After all our happiness matters. Don’t expect too much because expectation hurts.  Most importantly feel the pride because we cared for ourselves. Life is short, live happily. Never be proud because we let somebody down. We are meant to live this life by living principles. Avoid negative energy and inculcate positivity.”

Tuesday, 30 July 2013


Today morning
I woke up late.
With contemplations numerous
I leaned for long on my bed.

I thought about the days
That just passed by.
Memories of love and loath
Reverberated in my mind.

With Reminiscence of words spoken
It ached me hard
For it remained as broken promises
Without hearing back any echo.

I wondered why?
The fate has a twist.
Yet I believed
Everything is ephemeral.

I thought about the moment
I walked round the stupa.
Praying for eternal happiness
Not realizing prayer will fade in breeze.

I remembered the errs
That I often commit
Yet I seek forgiveness
Even if I am not wrong.

Thus I wronged my rights,
I wept for the values I have lost
Yet conscience shook me hard and said
"Life is beautiful only with Positive Energy."

Then I woke up and readied fast for the day
Forgetting all agony, I set out,
Yet here, the same reminiscence
It appeared in black and white.

Monday, 22 July 2013

The Source of New Dawn.

From the infancy as I rose,
Ephemeral turbulence shook me hard,
The truest of fatherly love I didn’t garner,
Yet the almighty disguised as my mom,
To lighten the burden of dearly loss
Showering with the light of the new dawn.

Fate envied our joy and ecstasy,
And ailments broke our wealth of tenderness.
Ruined further, the family of innocence,
When icily, a sibling laid numb in cruelty’s hand.
Goddess in a sisterly disguise, dispersed our doomed despair,
Yet again, gleaming us with the rays of new dawn.

In the states of chaos as I struck,
In solitude as I stroll the paths of confusion,
I miss not the blessings of almighty
But the words of aging mom and caring sister,
“Not to follow the paths of evil but the righteous one”
For your words are the true blessings for my new dawn.

Monday, 20 May 2013

My Life in JSW National Park.

The magical clouds over Thimphu city and the first crystalline flakes of 2013 that danced down the air of Wang valley appears to be the last source of inspiration for me to jot down lines in my blog. My blog went silent for quite long since the January 19th post but that doesn’t mean that my inspiration to write ended with the disappearing of magical clouds and melting of crystalline flakes. Indeed, there were lot of inspirations and many new experiences that I have gained since the inception of my new life in Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park.

My first couple of days in the office had been quite boring, not knowing what to do and how to proceed. However, owing to the benevolent gesture of our Chief Forestry Officer and cooperation of the fellow colleagues of the office, I felt very comfortable without much worry. My joining the office was on such a time that the local residents were conducting their annual lochoe, so it was such a treat for me to be part of the JSWNP family to attend dinners at the homes of the local residents for quite a number of occasions.

As time passed by, I felt the need to explore the park areas and fortunately, the park is in the process of carrying out biological corridor survey so I got the opportunity to be part of the survey team that gave a chance to be in field to explore the forests officially. Knowledge is gained through experience but experiences are never gained overnight. While in the field, we were to record the diversity of flora and fauna but my taxonomic knowledge was baseless as we were in temperate forests. All I know is the name of certain plants of tropical region. However, the team comprised of what I can call a field botanist, a local ornithologist, mammal and camera-trapping specialist, though all of them are either Forester of Asst. Forester by rank. Their working in the field for many years made them experienced and knowledgeable, which I could learn from them.

While conversing with my mates who opted Territorial Divisions and Districts, I came to learn that they hardly get any chance to be in field or out of station for official purpose but my Chief, he has nominated me to attend an important workshop on Biodiversity in Thimphu in March, giving me a chance to be in Thimphu for the first time after my joining the office in January. Attending such workshops give us an exposure and better interaction with outsiders, thus building our capacity of a civil servant.

And currently, we in collaboration with UWICE of Bumthang is in the process of  stationing camera traps in our park, thus giving more chance to interact with nature, hiking up the hills and descending down the ancient trails. This is the pleasure of being in a leisurely profession.
Excerpts from my last expedition on Tiger Survey:
week-long adventuring through the jungle began with disappearing of mobile network as we entered the forests of Berti in Zhemgang. We were on an expedition to camera trap Tigers in Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. Following the ancient trails, the journey took us on top of ridges and deep into riverbanks all in the forests. Discovering pugmarks and scats inspires us to venture further in weather beaten days of spring and as the week ends, the mobile signal is back and now we are to exit from Surey in Sarpang. What an adventure together with Professor Mark of Montana University, Dr. Ellen of UWICE, the UWICE team of researchers and of course my fellow JSWNP mates.
For now, the next expedition through the nature is just a day away. Hope the weather will play fair this time as well. :)

Friday, 17 May 2013

The Rhododendron Trail, an Arduous Hike worth a Hike.

This is a time when all the passes all over Bhutan are adorned with the blossom of rhododendron. Bhutan herself being a home to wide diversity of rhododendron, with species list as high as 46, the passes of Dochu la, Pele La, Yotong La, Thrumshing La, etc are the paradise of Rhododendrons. While such passes are in clear glimpse of every traveler, Bhutan has many ancient trails that are now least used, linking every valleys, and these trails too are offers a scenic glimpse of the glow of different rhododendrons, and one such trail is Khebethang-Rukha ancient trail in Wangdi Phodrang.

It was the third phase of remote camera trapping for tiger survey in Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park and our team was to station around eleven plots starting from Khebethang (13 Km from Phobjikha) towards Taksha following the Khebethang-Rukha ancient trail. It took us 10 days to station cameras in all the plots in an arduous hike of as many as 31 kms a day. However, the beauty of Rhododendrons that were in full blossom helped us relieve the pain that our leg endured and fatigue that our muscles borne. Even the beat of torrential rains and hailstones appeared blessing as we sit beneath the dropping branches of rhododendrons, hearing the splashes rain and hail but sighting the petals of rhododendrons fall.

Khebethang is located at an elevation of 2713 masl, and as you ascend upward for four hours, you will finally reach a pass at an elevation of 3669 masl, after which we have to again descend. It is in this range of elevation that the following rhododendrons species were found blooming.

  Rhododendron thomsonii,
Rhododendron arboreum,

 Rhododendron barbetum,


Rhododendron falconeri,

Rhododendron kesangaie,

Rhododendron hodgsonii,

Rhododendron cinnabarium

Rhododendron glaucophyllum.

There might be few others but not in blooming stage. With such diversity of rhododendrons, the trail has a potential to turn into an exciting eco-trail. However, the path being too steep and non-availability of water is a biggest constraint. For our team, besides successfully setting the camera traps, it was a wonderful expedition to be cherished from the spring of 2013.

So rightly, the Royal Botanical Park at Lampelri has also celebrated the first ever rhododendron festival in the country from 11th-13th May 2013.

P.S. The quality of photographs are poor as i used my cell phone to snap it. I tried to identify Rhododendrons at my best but if there are errors in naming the type of flower, kindly comment for rectification.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Magical Clouds and Snow Fall.

Yesterday, the magical clouds spread overhead Thimphu valley giving the azure blue sky a beautiful look. The cumulus shades were so beautiful, making constant splashes giving the normal sky a tantalizing look. But today as the dawn cracked, I peeped through the window and surprisingly saw crystalline flakes dancing in the air. Thimphu is getting her first snow fall for the year 2013. Every year, people eagerly waits for the first snowfall as the government declare the day holiday so that the people can celebrate the joy at home. Unluckily this snowfall on 2013 happens to be on a weekend. 


Reflecting back into the articles that I have posted over the past years, I discovered an Ode to Snowfall, and following the last stanza of the poem is as follows;
"As soft as the silky wool, yet as clear as the crystalline glass,
The snow in its purest form, afloat so silent yet never motionless.
It cleanses the world of misery and sorrow, the woe and sins,
Thus in rejoice, they eat and drink, all together the kith and kins.
It’s snow of health and happiness."
Over the last 20 days, I have been strolling in the Thimphu city and I sometimes feel that I am now even acquainted to the stray dogs. I have been to the bars, to the clubs and to the snooker rooms just like a lad loitering without a purpose in life. Since the day RCSC provided us with the appointment letters to join our offices, many of our friends have joined their offices, but me and few colleagues of mine in the Department of Forests and Park Services got struck in the midway with the hope to get our placement changed. As we waited for the RCSC's new resolution, we have already spent more than 20 days, and this kept us waiting, until yesterday, we made our mind to go to our first placings. 

So finally I am leaving Thimphu for Tashiling in Trongsa to officially join the Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. I am sure that the like the magical clouds of yesterday, my journey across the two passes of Dochula and Pelela would be an adventurous one without any struggles on the way.

God Bless Me On My WAY. _/\_

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

To End is to Begin.

When 2012 kicked off, I was in my college fulfilling the requirements of my final year B.Sc Forestry degree. And when the year begin, there was a fear in every soul that celebrating 2013 would be a dream for there were rumours that the world will end on 21st December. The first day of 2012 was not so good for me as rain drenched us completely then.

As months passed by, the year with lots of ups and downs, have finally come to an end but not the world. Looking back into the year just gone by, i can say that the year had been one of the most challenging ones in my life so far, but in the end, things turned out to be a great blessing. At one time of the year i was not sure whether I would be able to complete my degree on time and sit for the premiere BCSE as our session was late. This worry had been wrecking me since the beginning of 2012.

Somewhere in the month of June, we were having our final semester educational tour in the Dehradun, visiting all the forest based institutes and industries. It was during those days that i was further depressed. First, like in a horrific nightmare, Wangdue Dzong, my district headquarter was reduced to rubbles, and in the mean time, RCSC has announced the timetable for the BCSE 2012 procedures. I came to learn that the preliminary exams were to be held in August, while our semester is scheduled to complete only in September. I could not think of waiting a whole year just because of 15 days delay in my semester. I wondered what exist beyond hope, that keeps us strong.

However, with all the requests made to the college authority, we could somehow manage to come for the writing the PE and attend the NGOP but without a degree in hand. I couldn’t really concentrate on the preparation as my mind was already preoccupied with worries. No sooner did we completed our NGOP, we returned to our college to write the semester exams, after which we requested for special attention to us in compiling the academic transcripts and PDC. When we finally reached home after completing the requirements of our degree, two of us were left with just two days to complete our verification for main exams, as we were through with the PE. Therefore, in times, things turned out to be blessing in disguise.

So, with each and every steps for BSCE 2012 completed, finally I am to join the league of Bhutanese foresters, after we were showered with words of wisdom by the chairman of RCSC Lyonpo Thinley Jamtso, and taking the oath of allegiance on 27/12/12.  
“In civil service you must take pride to serve with humility, appreciating small beauties, without ignoring the small duties, because, these small things make a big difference, just like the small springs together making a big river. As civil servants, always try to bring pride and honour to your country, to your parents and to yourself.” - Chairman, RCSC.
On the same day, we had an audience with Director General of Department of Forests and Park Services, stressing to the younger FOs that we explore the forestry studies with our best abilities.
“Issues like melting of snows and retreating of glaciers are a result of global phenomenon, the global warming so there is less we can do to control it. But within your reach are the minute streams so protecting the watershed in the proximity of your home will make bigger difference.” - Director General, DoFPS.  
And finally came the new years eve, where I got to meet with friends and relatives, over a glass of beer, waiving adieu to the bygone days of 2012. Thank you 2012 for making me bolder in taking risks, facing the obstacles and of course making choices and compromises in my life.

Meanwhile I am thankful to all my friends and peers for dropping new year greetings. "Years come and go but this year, I specially wish for you a double dose of health and happiness topped with loads of good fortunes. Have a great year ahead. Happy New Year 2013." Read one of the sms that I received from a friend. 

Today, the New Year is Thimphu for me is just like other normal days, but unlike that of 2012, the weather is good sunny day. The day somehow gave me a special light for me in living a sociable life and as the 2013 progresses, I only wish to have that special light glistening me brighter, and as a resolution, I want to keep my mind under my control and hereby I welcome 2013 with open heart, with responsibilities on my shoulder.
image courtesy: google.

Wishing all my Readers a Very Happy New Year.