Because life is a journey I began the first day of my 2016 on a journey. It's supposedly a new chapter in our life but how we want to make it different from the previous chapter is entirely in our hand. For changing the chapter of our life, we need not have to set stringent New Year Resolutions; we need not have to change anything but our objectives. When we set objectives for the new chapter, we have to change the way forward for achieving it and it will happen naturally.
So as 2016 came, I didn't have any resolutions but I was determined to stay happy and content with what life has to offer. This became the objective of my life for 2016 and probably throughout. Embark new journey on new dawn leaving the pass remorse as mere reverie and life will be beautiful. As such the first ten days of 2016 has turned out to be most satisfying paragraphs for my new chapter. Everything happened coincidentally and each moment was beautiful.
I was driving towards Wangdue to take a tour to remote hamlets of Rukha on the first. However the 2nd was a Nyilo (Winter Solstice) and for the people of Shar and Wang, it's just like the new year. They celebrate it grand. And this made me climb to the apex of Chari Monastery making offering to the almighty and praying for the wellbeing of sentient beings. One of my nephew was entering into a three year retreat and it was also an occasion to mingle with the fellow countrymen from my village. Short yet a beautiful moment until we meet next time for a better cause.
I journeyed to Rukha, the last village to be linked with national highway. Rukha is at least 6 hours walk from the nearest road head and I assumed no bureaucrats would travel their for service delivery. Politician won't travel their least they need the vote. Some philanthropist would have dreamt of turning it into a Vajra Community but they way the people's live there and their socio-economic status is not so good. We the foresters travel there often and this is perhaps my 5th occasion. The villages there have beautiful setting but by virtue being early settlers, they too faced the vice of sticking to their inherent traditions. They are contended if they have a alcohol to drink. They remained socially backward though the Tarayana and National Park out in interventions for their uplift. The river valley is also home for the Critically Endangered White-bellied Heron.
"Beneath, it's the confluence of beautiful rivers,
Above, it's the hovering of aesthetic clouds,
Around, I can see the serene green of woods,
And from distant, I could hear the euphony of endangered Herons.
As the rivers get dammed and dreary it appears.
As the forests become dusty and fire ravages it often,
As the clouds fades into Crimson horizon,
Will I still hear the melancholy of Endangered Herons?
It's in Rukha that for the first time I handled the tree marking hammer. October to March is marking and felling season in our forestry calendar. People assume that tree marking is the work of forest guard and I am not sure whether any of the officials ranked above a Forest Ranger ever went for tree marking. Incidentally it's tree election and marking that requires the sound scientific knowledge and I am not sure whether our frontline foresters have abreast idea of this. Whenever there are trainings it's the Officers who have better affinity with the DFO that would avail it and our foresters hardly get any refreshers course. I went with a Forester and he was nervous to do the selections. The applicant won't like to travel deeper into the forest for better thinning owing to long distance. And here comes the compromise between sound selection of trees for marking. I could see numerous stumps in few hundred metres from their house.
Forestry Clearance is the most sought document for any developmental works. There was this proposal for building a bridge over Punatshangchu to connect the remote villages of Rukha with national highway and they require the forestry clearance. I accompanied the ranger to the exact site to do the inspections and recommendation. Then I realised how people undermine the effort put by the frontline staffs. I have seen cases where the applicants directly approach the DFO or Director Generals office for seeking the approval when the field offices denies, taking advantage of their personal relationships. DFO and for that matter Director General are not aware of the real field circumstances and we need to respect the effort put in by the field offices. Then I realised for sound conservation, we need real educated officers at the field offices. The field Rangers and Foresters requires constant refreshers course for updating their knowledge which they learnt once upon a time in the training institutes. Our politicians shouldn't use their power to marginally win the heart of the people by defaulting with the recommendations of the field offices.
Life is beautiful with beautiful and thoughtful journeys.