22nd February 2018
Just about 10 am I find the sky having a few puffs of clouds. The Sun is shining brightly and benevolently upon the hills. The sun light is soothing. The ground fog over the plains of Bangladesh is thick obstructing the view of the Sylhet Plains of Bangladesh. The valleys are still in the grip of the mist. The Mawsahew hill 5 km from us is seen behind a veil of haze and Mawsynram hill 9 km from us is hidden again by the thick mist. The Southern horizon is still in the grip of thick ground fog. The foot hills and the river emanating from the hills in to the plains also are hidden from view by ground fog. Chattuck Town about 12 km from us in Bangladesh is covered in ground fog and so too Sunamgunj about 25 km from us. The rainfall count for the year has started from 1st January. This is not the time for rains here. The total rainfall received in 2018 till date this year is 0.0 mm. Last year, 2017 we had received total annual rainfall of 12041.9 mm, which was above the average annual rainfall of 11697.9 mm. As we near the end of February, we now and then start getting the feel the sky is likely to open sooner or later. Still I have not heard the singing of the Cicadas. We will hear them come alive just about two or three weeks before the arrival of the rains.
With the winter taking strides into February, the grassy mountain tops are all brown with the dead grass. Despite the efforts of Forest Department, some villagers have strong views about the importance of burning the dried up grass so that new grass will sprout again. In the process they undermine every year the efforts of the Department to revamp these grasslands with newly planted tree saplings. Unfortunately, every year these new saplings planted by them are burnt up or scarred by these fires set by the villagers. Where the grass is burnt one can see whole hills scarred black. The bushes in the depressions and the forests on the mountain slopes are keeping up the green of the mountains. The Southern valleys are covered in thick tropical forests and are lush green even in winter when the uplands are dry and covered in dead brown grass or charred stubs of grass bushes. You can enjoy the green of the forests when you drive down to Laitkynsew where the Resort is located. I notice the leaves of the trees little droopy as the water levels drop at the fag end of the dry season. The forest appears to yearn for the rains. The trees are lacking the shine and lustre perhaps because they are not able to gain enough water from the soil that is more and more drier as we are in the fourth month of the dry season. In the few waterfalls that still sport water, the flow has become very thin and most other waterfalls have just vanished. I am surprised at some websites on Cherrapunjee hosted by people who do not live here trying to woo tourists to their site telling that it rains every day of the year at Cherrapunjee. Nothing can be far from the truth.
The wild chestnut trees thick with foliage are holding up erect flower stems in the tips of their twigs. They look attractive with the flower stems in bloom standing upright against the thick lush green leaves of the tree. I looked up the flower stems well today. I don’t see the nuts forming yet. The nuts take long to grow big. The bleeding heart flowers are in bloom in our garden and so too many roses and other flowering plants. The jack fruit tree has already started having tender baby jack fruits just coming out of the petal wrappings. They will grow big gradually and ripen by the month of May. The barren branches of the Flame of the Forest tree is fully decked with flaming red blooms. They stand above the surrounding trees with their barren branches framed against the valley. The tree stands apart and stands above the tree line bringing vibrant colour to the forests around. Some of the garden flower plants that bloom in red are fully in bloom. Red seems to be the colour of the season.
We have impressive sunsets during winter months, with the sky turning to different hues of red and gets accentuated when clouds populate the horizon. I used to enjoy these sun sets every day after we complete the construction work for the day. We have now created a look out cum sit out to enjoy the scenic beauty of the valley and the plains of Bangladesh and these mesmerizing sunsets. In the last few days because of misty conditions the Sun is seen as a glowing white disc just before it bids farewell to the day. Thanks and Praise for a beautiful day received to be lived, as night draws a curtain, comes to the lips as you amaze at the creation.
Winter is the best time for outdoors here. We have many treks around us that you can explore and enjoy while your body gets toned up. It is interesting to see nature at close quarters as you walk through our jungles, traverse the rivers in River Canyoning trips that are exhilarating and exhausting too and explore our underground Limestone Caves. We have soft, medium and challenging treks that can be done according to your fitness level and the challenge level that you are ready to take up. Bird watchers need to squat in jungle clearings for sometime to allow our shy birds to come out of the trees and bushes to observe them. There are varieties of butterflies to watch. We build bonfires in the evening to sit around and socialise with guests from across the world.
At night we can normally see the lights in the villages on the opposite hills clearly and also the lights in the villages and towns in Bangladesh plains and the boundary lights along the international border as seen from the Resort. The foggy conditions over the plains for the last over a month does not allow us to see the lights in the towns in the plains and the headlights of ferries plying on River Surma. For the last few days I could see the Boundry lights along the Indo-Bangladesh border.