By Tanya Issar, Intern
Working amidst the Himalayan ranges was always on my bucket list. Himalayan Ecotourism has helped in ticking off my bucket list, along with providing me a great platform to work for the Himachal forest. I am a huge supporter of conserving environment and when I got to know about this organization working towards eco-tourism and forest conservation, I immediately grabbed the opportunity.
As a city dweller, I was also skeptical about living alone in a remote area all by myself. However, as soon as I step into the place all my fears gone and filled up with new sense of rejuvenation and enthusiasm. The place was rightly called “Eagles Nest” perched on the top of the mountain giving a 360◦ view of the beautiful landscape. I was taken to a room which will be my abode for the next 1 month; I liked the place. I was told that I will be sharing the room with a girl named Poonam, she was not there, as on weekend she used to go to her parents living in a nearby beautiful village of “Jibhi” Little did I realize that she will be the most comforting factor for my short stay in this pretty little village of Himachal.
One of the few things, I will always cherish is meeting this beautiful young girl Poonam. Since the beginning she has tried to make me adjust in the new environment that I am not used to. The moment I saw her, I was awestruck with her innocent smile and that zeal in her eyes who wants to work upon her-self and along with that also work for the betterment of the society. Her love for the nature was so evident in her actions. She has grown up in a conservative society and never got exposed to the world beyond her village and the small town of Mandi. But Himalayan Ecotourism has given her a great platform to expose herself to the current topics of sustainable development and responsible Ecotourism. She is a full-time employee of the organization and is in a learning phase. This is also a learning phase for me; at a professional level, I look forward to a mutually educating relationship with her and on a personal level I got a friend whom I will always cherish.
Bang from the day one, we hit the road and had range of meetings with the forest range officer, village Pradhan (chief), NGO’s dealing with critical subject of forest fire, availability of water etc.
It has only been a week and I already feel that I am no more a stranger in this world; I look forward to contributing in my own humble manner making this place conserve its natural self; still opening itself to the world to come and explore its beauty but as a responsible tourist.