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Photographer's Note

At Lepchajagat, a local kid gleefully agreed to show me into the forest. So, he was my guide, Amar Rai, who took me to places he visits from time to time. He is 10 yrs old, and studies in Class V at the Ghoom Higher Secondary School at Ghoom. It was a Saturday, and so he was at home. He goes to school Monday through Friday by the local bus.

He told me that there are two beautiful viewpoints just two hills away, and one has to take a shortcut through the forest to reach the summit which lay 1200 ft above. He took me through a part of the forest where he showed pugmarks of wild boars and deer, and we visited the first view-point, the Ghoom Rock (photo later). Then we had to enter a thick, moist and dark forest which can be seen in the picture here. He was showing how the black bear has ripped the skin of a tree trunk, and it was really fresh!

I asked him, "so, do bears often come here?"
He said, "yes, they live around this place".
I asked, "what do you we do if one appears right now?"
He smiled, "they do not charge you unless provoked. Once a bear came near me, sniffed from a distance and went away".
I was assured by his words, he was really confident about this point. He actually showed me a bear's den near the other view point above Hawa ghar.

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Additional Photos by Arnab Chatterjee (arnabchat) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 775 W: 143 N: 975] (7233)
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