Land of the Thunder Dragon

We laugh until we think we’ll die, barefoot on a summer night. Nothin’ new is sweeter than with you..? Reads my sister Theodoicia, pausing awhile as if to make sense of something nonsensical, she frowns. What is that supposed to mean?
I was expecting that question. Sighing, I reply with a query of my own, Why are you looking at my Tumblr platform anyway? Ever heard of “privacy”? 
Sorry but… I just wanted to see what you like so much about the Internet. 
Umm, I live a more active life there than in reality? 
But why? 
Argh, I groan, tired of her interrogation. Theo! Can you leave me alone or do I have to call mom?
Theodoicia huffs, Fine cranky-pantz. Bet you can’t stay off the Internet for a week. 
Pfft! I scoff, I definitely can. 
Oh boy… My younger sister has that “thinking mask” of hers on, making me wonder what ignominious plans she’s brewing around in that hyperactive cranium. A moment later, she asks, I suppose you won’t be afraid to make a deal then, huh, Artemisia? 
This is going to be bad… Probably. However, I’m not one to back out of challenges. So I straighten my spine, set my mind, and accept. Theodoicia looks scarily excited, eyes wide and a rather demented grin cracking apart her otherwise cute countenance. Okay, so this trip we’re taking right? To Bhutan? 
Yeah… What about it? 
I know that as soon as we get to the hotel, you’re gonna be like, “what’s the wi-fi password?” or like–
Am not! I protest.
Are too, she counters, adding, You gotta stop interrupting me and let me complete!
Right. Whatever. She can be so annoying sometimes, honestly.
When she finally leaves my room, I sit on my bed, doubting myself more than Thomas on his first day in the Maze (get the reference?). You know that feeling? The dread and the self-doubt?
Here’s the deal. My cunning little sister has dared me to leave all my beloved gadgets -including my darling phone- behind, and instead of liking/hearting/sharing/blogging quotes and excerpts around the web, I draw inspiration from real life -from my experiences on the tour that we’re going on, from Bhutan- and write them in the red journal that mom had gifted to me on my sixteenth birthday.
I cannot believe I agreed to that, and so stupidly even. What was I thinking? Oh wait… I wasn’t thinking at all, only dead-set on proving that I can survive without electronics and the World Wide Web.
Well, since I’d already sealed the nefarious deal, nothing worse can happen now. Hopefully… All I gotta do is pretend to be Shakespeare and purple prose the seven days I spend in Bhutan.
Oh gods… I moan, dropping back on my bed. Rolling over on my tummy, I decide to make use of wi-fi as long as I can because I’ve gotta live through seven days without it. As my screensaver changes to the tab I’d been operating before Theodoicia so rudely interrupted (and landed me in this quagmire), my gaze falls on the reason behind my predicament.
The devil stares back at me, still singing the cheerful, lyrical quote from a colorful background:
We laugh until we think we’ll die, barefoot on a summer night. Nothin’ new is sweeter than with you…
Why, oh why?
You are about to read a typescript of my red journal, filled with blue scribbles of extended metaphors and fragmented similes, satirically named Purple Proses from Bhutan.
A prose a day.
Purple Prose 1
Our flight takes off, ascending up a beveled path, taking to the heavens at a leisurely pace. The firmament, obfuscated by sporadic fluffs of gray, promises a gentle drizzle; the closure of monsoons with its last bit of rain. Veiled in cloudy gloom is the milieu, howbeit this isn’t enough to dampen our blithe spirits -for us, the rains are a joy, our trip is to be one of joy.
To Bhutan, we go. We await our descent into the country with the most smiles per unit area.
I sit in my seat, sighing every now and then; the seconds I enumerate in my mind don’t go by as fast in reality. Time seems slow, deliberately delaying the path to our destination.
The Eastern valance town of Bhutan, named Samdrup Zongkhar, is a tiny place; quaint and homely in ambience. Set in the lower alpines, midst the commingling territories of the deciduous and the coniferous vegetations, it is fully harmonious with nature. No high-rises, no phlegmatic giants of bricks and concrete, just lush verdancy -fresh and enlivening- dotted with these cozy little houses, each embellished with their own unique, intricately painted woodwork.
The Immigration Department here stays closed on weekends, thus restricting us to stay in the town. It leave us with no choice but to spend the night here…
I am eager, I anticipate the future with an amatory zeal. For tomorrow morning, we shall pass the real egress into Bhutan. Bhutan, or as the patriotic natives denominate it, the Land of the Thunder Dragon. Rather grand, isn’t it? It is. And so is their government, the royalty, and their army, although pertaining to the indigenous roots, still attaining modernity in their armories with help from India.
The governance by a monarchy doesn’t bother these people, for their free-spiritedness, their infectious, happy-go-lucky demeanor inspirits me. One particular value instilled in them touches me on a spiritual level, their closeness with Mother Nature. Their love for trees. It’s deep. They planted ten thousand trees on the birthday of their prince, the future king; it’s a world record.
This is true oneness with Earth’s woodsy spirits; I cannot wait to lose myself in this verdure serenity and then rediscover my soul imprinted into the planet that sustains us.
Tomorrow… Tomorrow soon.
Purple Prose 2
I want to scream. And vociferate out all of my uncontainable happiness. And also, do my classic exultation number. But I can’t do that whilst simultaneously thinking up intricately worded proses, can I? Definitely not. Must make purple proses, extended metaphors, and nebulous similes first.
We’ve taken to the serpentine, mountainous roads of Bhutan, finally alighting on our course in a Gypsy-van. It takes us along the unexpectedly twisting, sharply turning path, and I believe I’m going to spill the contents of my traumatized stomach -the only filling being the continental breakfast I’d eaten earlier.
As I moan, clutching at my tummy with a desperation to keep my meal from ejecting itself forcefully, and groan, agonizing at the dizziness I feel in my head -acceptable, considering how my brain is being rattling around my cranium due to all the jerking and jolting; I pray for the malady to end. And just like that, it does, for my eyes have caught sight of perhaps the most beautiful scene a nature-lover will ever see. My optic nerve sends the sensory signals to overtly reactive brain, and it perceives the sight as a glimpse of paradise. I behold Zion before me. I have laid my gaze upon Arcadia. Elysium has settled on Earth.
The view is simply breathtaking, just magnificent, utterly gorgeous; sheer masses of arête, their visages expressed in vivid shades of viridian frondescence, colonized by the prime lifeforms that keep our species in existence. It’s a facet of our life sustaining planet quilted in the finest of velvet shawls, woven with reflective greens; an emerald cashmere enfolding of the most enriching flora laid upon the tectonic curves of our terra firma -untouched by the desecrating grasp of urbanization.
The variety and diversity of the foliage astounds me… Makes me wonder how many are yet to be discovered and catalogued…
Purple Prose 3
We’ve set up camp in Yongphula, at the Indian Military Training Team (IMTRAT), they were kind enough to accommodate us in one of their Major’s quarters.
Just like every place in Bhutan, the IMTRAT campus is a total beauty. A feast for any artiste’s eyes. A heaven on Earth. A piece of Shangri-La for the humans to savor a taste.
The garden is not entirely what I’d call a garden, more like patches of plants allowed to grow and thrive of their own accord, left to their own primeval state of being with the freedom of continuing on their own wild ways. The product thus obtained is, of course as Mother Nature would have each of her children to be, beguiling in its untamed resplendence. Flowers, vibrant and psychedelic, dazzle us with a startlingly artistic arrangement of their deviant colors and forms; an opera of songbirds serenades us with its gratifying symphony; each lungful of air inhaled is fresh and enlivening; the mountain breeze is vivifying, coming mingled with the light aroma of pines and cedars, and carrying around the soupçons of cold humidity.
I love it here!
A bonus comes with the whole pretty package- an adorable little Labrador called Christy. She’s our welcoming committee, being the first one to have descried new-comers at the camp, and since then, she’s been frolicking around us, yipping exuberantly and attempting to lick everyone’s faces. A pure-hearted sweetie is how I’m gonna describe her soulfully, and physically, well she’s as obsidian as unadulterated Buckminsterfullerene can be, and with that agility on all her fours, she can traipse the upsie-daisy-downsie-fall landscape like she was born a Sherpa.
I know I am going to have a fruitfully invigorating stay here, and with Christy around to keep us company, everything’s gong to be more than the fun we had anticipated.
Purple Prose 4
Our energies, being drawn out and consumed by our bodies to renew our lost cells after the tumultuous car ride, weren’t enough for us to even stand on our feet yesterday. But, today, oh-ho-hooo. Today, we are simply bubbling with an outrageous verve that has our mum screaming, Artemisia! Theodoicia! Stop running around before one of you falls over the edge. 
Her warning falls on deaf ears, for we continue gamboling about with Christy chasing us and friskily nipping at our heels. A sigh and a shake of her head, indicate mum giving up on trying to make us obey her, and thankfully, she reverts to giving the driver directions to wherever we’re going today.
Rangshikhar Monastery! This is our destination today.
The drive is an hour long traipse downhill, in a spacious and comfortable Bolero, as opposed to yesterday’s Gypsy. After the signboard for the Pam-Trashigang route, we take to a dirt path and continue onwards from there, cruising on for another half an hour. The climate is, as per usual, characteristically pleasant and uplifting; the zephyr is clean and fresh, and the wilderness is in its full, form.
Author’s Note
In literary criticism, purple prose is prose text that is so extravagant, ornate, or flowery as to break the flow and draw excessive attention to itself. Purple prose is characterized by the extensive use of adjectives, adverbs, and metaphors. When it is limited to certain passages, they may be termed purple patches or purple passages, standing out from the rest of the work.
Now, that just a definition of one of the many things in this world of our. And just like those othe things, this one has angles relative to everyone. So, to all the authors out there, whose love using flowery descriptions and become poetic, romantic, melodramatic whilst writing, OWN IT!
Because, while some may criticize your work and call it “purple prose”, there still are others who will find your piece exquisite and exemplary. I, for one, am a full on sucker for ornate descriptions, sinfully beautiful characters, and awesome, almost Mary-Sue/Marty-Stu-istic action, and other parallel stuff that “critiques” disapprove of. You are one free individual of planet Earth, it hasn’t been conquered by some superior alien race as of yet, so please, by all means, WRITE ALL VERBOSE FLOWERY PRETTY STUFF THAT YOU CAN THINK OF, BE IT HAIKUS OR POETRY, ESSAYS OF PROSE!
On a serious note, however, do it with proper grammar, punctuation, contextual usage of words, and suchlike… Since, weakness in their departments, those necessities of writing, is like disrespecting the language, so…
As long as you pay attention to keeping your basics of language and writing correct, go on and knock yourself out with those fervid writings!
Oh, and thanks for reading Purple Prose from Bhutan. Much gratitude and love has been sent your way.

Sathkhol (Or Satkhol?)


Log 1, Day 2 (12/10/2016, Wednesday)

So, well, my autumn break started like, a week ago, or somewhat closer to that time period. The main plan for these holidays was to visit the Himalayan Heartspot called Sathkhol—or Satkhol, I’m really not sure which is the correct spelling. Either way, the pronunciation remains the same.

Alright, back to topic. The first few days of my holidays were spent traveling and visiting the alleged “Queen of Hill Stations,” Mussoorie. Here’s another thing that used—used to, no longer does—confuse me, the different spellings of this hill station and the American state of Missouri. I got pretty clear on this, though. Okay, you must be thinking how I manage to drift from one topic to another this fast, and consequently never manage to remain on the initial train of discussion that I started out with.

Okay, okay. Right back again, and this time staying on track. Now, Mussoorie is not as “Queensy” as they claim her to be. It’s rather unimpressive…

And thus, I will not be elaborating anymore on the two or three days that I spent there, instead I’ll be moving on to my time in Sathkhol/Satkhol.

Moving on, Satkhol, “the opening to truth,” is pretty. Today, 12-10-2016, is my second day here. It’s 11:31am and not even half the day has passed by. Either time’s moving excruciatingly slowly, or I’m a bit too bored to be able to enjoy. Yeah, that might just be it. You see, we—my sister and I—did some voluntary work (Shramdan in Hindi), had some tea and our breakfast, sunbathed, trekked down to the gardens and someplace outside the Heartspot boundaries through the road not taken—Robert Frost, LOL—also plucked bright-orange fruits that we couldn’t recognize, returned to the kitchen-dining area to cut the fruits up, found out that while they looked like tomatoes on the outside, they had chickoo seeds on the inside, then had some more tea, got tired from all the treading through damp, mossy, un-metaled pathway snaking through mountainous vegetation and bramble… And now, we have nothing left to do, ‘cept laze around and that really isn’t our style.

This is my fourth visitation to Satkhol. All the prior visits were fun-filled and exciting and time flew on by with such speed… However, this one, on the other hand, is the ultimate boredom experienced by us.

I mean, the weather is nice, the flora and fauna are still beautiful, but the things to do and the people are simply U-G-H. Cue The Neighbourhood’s song #Icanteven.

It’s only 11:46am now, hardly any time’s passed as of yet… And I’m bored of writing this log as well. So, gonna wrap it by writing a few more things.

I am sitting on a table in front of the canteen, I don’t even know why it’s called a canteen when its functionality lasts only an hour (or less) per day. The people who were here before me were idiots, devoid of any consideration for the planet that’s sustaining their very existence, without any knowledge of the Swachh Bharat Abhigyan, or of the rules that said “leave the Heartspot clean for you found it clean”—they freakin’ dropped three empty packets (non-biodegradable material) on the floor when there’s a trashcan just two feet away… How much dumber can people actually get?

Blurgh… *dies*

*is revived* *screams in frustration* *dies again*

I’m done. Gotta go, walk around, see what’s there and what’s not. Will be back for Log 2.

Log 2, Day 2

It’s 9:01pm. Nighttime is here, took her long enough to arrive. But, she’s here finally, and that’s what matters at the moment. Another day gone by, thank lords. That leaves about three more days until we reach the ultimate day of our visit and are out on our way back. Honestly, I’d rather have spent my Puja (autumn) holidays in Kharagpur, enjoying the ten days away from the hectic college life just relaxing with my mother, sister, and nipaipai (nipaipai meaning beloved in a language that my little sister and I invented just ‘cause we could) Kuku.We could’ve gone biking around the campus, had puchhka at Tech Market, gone to the Puja gathering at the Tech Club in KaziNazrul Community Center.

Well, it didn’t happen and no use pining about it right now, when I’m miles away from home in the hills, and I know I should enjoy the present and so, that will be what I’m going to be doing tomorrow.

For now, let me just concentrate on today, because this Log is for today.

After that little rant inLog 1, my sister and I went trekking with four other people from a town in UP called Etawah. We followed the trail along to the walnut orchard, stippled in places by the patches of chili, spinach, marigold, and shilly-shallies. We collected some pines, some native fruits whose name we don’t know—but we’re certain of its edibility because we asked the natives about that. We spoke to the natives—the Kumounis—about other things too, like, their language, where they come from, what they do for a living (cut grass, maid-service, selling milk from their cows and goats, and apples from the three or four trees growing in their plot), and parallel topics.

We returned at around 3:30pm, went straight down to the kitchen to volunteer help in chopping vegetables for dinner. I gotta write it down here, I have become quite a pro at this job, especially if I have that large meat-cutting knife. I go chop-chop-choppity-chop! And really fast too, all without cutting myself. I find that activity very, very, very enjoyable. I’m planning on volunteering for it every day, like a scheduled thing for the next four spells of twenty-four hours that remain. Then, when I return to the hostel, I’ll put up one hell of a show for the sandwich veggies we cut every evening. I’ll be titled “The Demonic Dissector,” or “The Cutthroat Cyborg,” or “The Knife-wielder of Kharagpur,” or “The Lacerating Legend,” and other totally badass, macabre names!

I could say that I enjoyed a little today. Quite the contrary to how I’d assumed I’d be utilizing the time.

Miraculously, I’ve also decided to be more productive and make substantial progress on my novels…

Resolutions that weren’t made on New Year’s…

I do not know how much value and validity they hold…

Am really too tired to care right now…

My laptop’s tired too, like, just imagine its battery running out as its diminishing energy and increasing exhaustion…

Good night. 10:00pm.


Log 1, Day 3 (13/10/2016, Thursday)

It is 11:30am, I woke up at 7:00am and toweled myself clean. I wanna take a shower though, and I think I might just do that. In a few moments. Fresh for some time, while I cannot wait to go back and take a proper shower… Well, just waiting for my sister to come out of the washroom so that I can in after and do my cleaning works. How about I go in see, like, now and finish off with her itself?

Yeah, that might be a good idea.


Log 2, Day 3

It’s been almost eight hours since I made my last Log… I do not know how that much time passed without me getting bored and turning to my laptop for engagement. My sister is staring at me creepily, very creepily. It’s a deliberate attempt at distracting me, and tell you what, it’s working. She just came over to my bedside and read the whole thing, now the acts of unnerving me is even more deliberate than ever. She’s crazy, just like me, just like mommy. We’re a bunch of crazies; even Kuku is, he just shows it a lot less than we do… Get me?

Okay, so, moving away from my creepy sister and going back to whatever I was talking about or was supposed to talk about earlier. Now, how exactly did I manage to cut by eight whole hours and proceed on to this time of the day, 8:38pm, without planning of or talking of killing someone out of sheer boredom?

Of course, the main part of our routine today consisted of trekking. We went trekking with some kids of the massive Etawahan clan that has also come to enjoy Satkhol. Turns out, besides being extremely annoying, they can also be extremely funny sometimes. Today, the funny character was predominant for some unknown reason. My sister found out that they had nicknamed us Blackies and Mowgli and Gundi (villain in Hindi). Oh well, not like we didn’t nickname them. We totally did, it that would be too inappropriate to put down here.

Bello hello bello bello!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

^That was my sister. Suddenly down to my keyboard to type whatever comes to her mind, which I believe, right now is the devil’s workshop!

Okay, back on track again.

Where was I?

Right, we made Etawahan friends. Or just… Acquaintances…. I’m not really sure.

Tellytelly bunkum box.

^The BFG ref. Again, courtesy, mah sis. Dork!

Oh ohooooh!

We went off trail again and found the dirt road that can be seen from the dining foyer of our Heartspot. We saw people on white shirts and black pants there in the morning, before breakfast, and then after lunch, we ourselves went there, reached that place by simply walking up and higher up the wild, brambly, rocky, rough side of the mountain. We saw a small stream further down. How pretty it looked… We really wanted to go down there, however, we’d stupidly taken the responsibility of a rather small child, whose causalities might’ve brought the parents’ machetes down upon our necks. You guessed it, we didn’t go, only marveled at its existence from our vantage point.

I think that’s all…

Good night.



Log 1, Day 4 (14/10/2016, Friday)

4:45pm. Didn’t write earlier because I didn’t want to. I am feeling lazy. Gonna show my sister a movie or something.

No… #Icanteven!



Log 1, Day 5 (15/10/2016, Saturday)

After lazing through most of yesterday, I am back today to write a properLog.

Okay. Soooo… Yeah, well, I woke up at 7:30am, after getting a butt-smack wake-up call from my mum for not having paid heed to my alarm which went off at 6:30am, and for rolling over and going back to sleep every time my sister called for me to awaken.

Right now, it is 10;13am, and my sister and I are sitting in the dining foyer, taking in a mountainous, green, beautiful vista, surrounded by birdsongs and the distant sounds of the natives going about their daily house chores, their hill-dogs and Sherpa-mutts barking and frolicking around.

I am hungry and am constantly thinking about the breakfast we’d had in the morning…

Fast forwarding to the moments after breakfast, whence mom, sister, and I went down to the Heartspot gardens and took pictures in the greenhouses. Mommy took my support for scaling the treacherous slopes and it was kinda scary. Mum’s navicular fracture is an attention seeking abomination and perfectly conforms to the line made by Peter van Houten (more John Green than PvH), “pain demands to be felt.”

Regardless, once mother sets her mind to something, she accomplishes it. And thus, we went to the gardens, took lots of pictures, came back up the sheer, uneven stone pathway. By then, mum was exhausted, yet above that, she was happy.

Today is the penultimate day of our stay at Satkhol, and while everyone is making one hell of a misery fest, I cannot wait to be back in college and working to be at the top of my class. I still stick to my initial opinion that I’d be having more fun if we’d all stayed back in Kharagpur. Nevertheless, mum wanted a break from her workplace and hence, here we are. Mummy had fun, so well, I had fun too, and that’s all that matters.

While every other abhyasi is out visiting the BabujiNilayam (a small residential complex just west of the Heartspot), we returned early and are enjoying the quiet, serene, people-less atmosphere just to ourselves. Getting a much needed alone time here… The annoying, noisy, nosey, absolutely enraging children aren’t here and it’s so unbelieveablyperfct that I wish they all get lost on their way back to the Heartspot… Yeah, that would be even more perfect.

Oh, and you guys will not believe the variety of mosses that grow on the sides of almost every organic surface. Their beautiful, like spongy grasses, and in such vibrant shades of green. I took tons of pictures. And had tons of fun.