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Forest Rules

Forest Rules
When we left the city for the forest, we decided to step out of our circle of safety. We were to enter a new maze with different rules. The law of the jungle follows divine justice and cannot be argued in the human court of law. Big and small incidents keep reminding me that humans truly overestimate their role in the larger scheme of the universe.
Animals in the zoo and in cute cartoon caricatures have desensitized us to the force and power that they are capable of. One evening, as we approached Siliguri, my husband and I decided to walk through the beautiful Sukna Forest. All of a sudden, a shadow my height loomed near me. I turned to see the backside of an elephant. Excitedly, I took my phone out to click a picture to show as proof. My husband was appalled at my folly and urgently suggested that we literally start running for our lives. What we saw was a baby elephant. It obviously meant, a protective mother was nearby. Once safely seated in the car, I realised how far removed we are from nature that is not virtual.
The Darjeeling Hills are like a beautiful woman. They entice you with their beauty, but are capable of throwing full size tantrums. During one such stormy night as we stealthily climbed up, a branch broke from an overhead tree and crash landed before our car. We were quite lucky as it had missed us. As all of us got off the car to evaluate the situation, the entire scene seemed to be a screenplay from some movie climax – the dark night, the streaks of lightning, the strong, howling wind and the broken branch. Once again, I was reminded of the sheer majesty of nature. It took the combined efforts of all five of us to remove the branch from our path. Basic, old-fashioned effort which had no dependence on Apps and Search Engines!
The most heart-warming thing about Selim Hill is that it is overgrown with wild bushes that spill on to the narrow roadway. There are no traffic or street lights, no policemen… fact hardly any people. However, experience has taught us to be very vigilant and use our God given eyes to their fullest potential. One foggy night, the car was suddenly brought to a halt. What was that in front? What was that lying on the road? Was it a snake or a small branch? Neither of the two. It was drunk man’s leg. The upper half of his body lay in the bushes as he was sprawled with his legs sticking out. As the menfolk slapped him to senses and dragged him to safer place, I thanked my lucky stars for the bullet that had been dodged.
Every Dorje Team Member realises that working at a Tea Garden is possible only if you are nature loving and nature fearing.
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