There has been a power cut since 7 pm last night. It is now 9 am in the morning. The generator for the mobile tower over in the village is humming away. Barely audible, amidst the wailing calls of the birds that come here at this monsoon season from Bhutan.
The mournful sound of their calls has an oddly poignant edge and drowns out the chirps and delicate melodies of the local bird life.
It is interesting that they turn up here in this little patch of
forest near Darjeeling, year after year. Many families from Bhutan are established along this ridge and within this patch of forest with its few remaining giant Utish trees, dripping with orchids and ferns. A little further up the road the forest changes markedly as huge, old Norfolk pines rise up in long, straight lines. Nothing could contrast more with the semi tropical forests, that surrounds the old Temple than these towering, pine giants. The Norfolks are remnants of British rule and were planted during the days when they came to these hills to enjoy the views and the cool temperatures during hot summer months.
When i first moved to this small Gompa, which had been offered to my teacher in the 1970's, the caretaker was one of Chadral Rinpoche's old Bhutanese students. He had left Bhutan some years before to settle here in these forested hills, bringing with him his two sons, both of whom were ordained as Buddhist monks.
Pala, as we call him, was a wonderful caretaker. He had a green thumb and the gardens around the compound were always a mass of blooms. He was never idle, and seemed always to be busy fixing or making something. The two sons visited regularly, but were often busy visiting local villages to perform rituals and pujas for local families... Read more in Masters, Mice and Men Books by Lyse Lauren