I am going to talk about Darla, a village under Chukha dzongkhag. This wide valley is about five miles south of Gedu. As we travel between Thimphu and Phuentsholing, we see Darla always being clouded with dark dense fog, or rather receiving rain.
“What a boring place to live?” the commuters say, almost contemptuously.
And they wonder, “I wonder this place ever receives sunlight!”
Three months ago, I had an official work at Gedu and my colleagues and I decided to visit Darla. Frankly speaking, I was not at all excited about the visit. For I thought this place was no fun. Moreover, I heard it was infected with deadly snakes and leeches. And in some strange ways, I was little nervous.
However, office work is office work. You like it or not, you have to go and do it. Initially, I decided not to carry camera with me because I thought what would I shoot under those fog and rain. And I was not interested to take pictures of those snakes and leeches. Seriously.
In the end, I took it. And I didn’t regret my decision.
It was early evening when we arrived at Darla. The sky above, then, was just open and this was the first time I could see entire texture of the valley. It amazed me thoroughly, and I fell in love with her instantly.
Putting on quite the expression of a joyful lover, I looked upon her, sincerely, with utmost admiration. Over the overcast of awfully gorgeous blue sky, a few lines of cumulous clouds spread like strokes of fine paintbrush. The sun was just setting and patterns of its rays shining through the clouds were making on the valley. It appeared to me like the Almighty above was just blessing it.
Darla was a vast stretch of country, which was inhibited by over 670 Ngalong and Lhotsham households. Different shapes and colours of houses were scattered all over with mountains on the opposite. Exceptionally tall and giant dark woods grew abundantly, and broadleaf grass and cardamom plants in deep green tenderly blanketed surface of the valley.
Right between it meandered the dwindling road, and this nice blacktop road was interestingly bendy, yes, exactly like the shape of a snake. And we rode down in snaking movement. This ride was strangely joyous; indeed it’s one of the most thrilling rides of my life.
I dropped my luggage in my room at guesthouse and then I rushed out again because I didn't want to miss the beauty outside. I walked on the road keenly watching the wonderful landscape of Darla and the cumulous clouds that hung in the sky. And also feeling the pleasant odour of the trees that were just bursting into leaf. It felt like I was in the company of a beautiful woman.
On the road, I came across a group of countrywomen with spades in their hands. They were just returning from their farm, from their daylong hard labour.
“Kuzu Zangpo la!” I greeted them.
They responded me promptly, “Kuzu la.”
“I am scouting your village,” I said smiling and added matter-of-factly, “Your village is very beautiful. I am already loving it here very much.”
“Las la. Lopoen, where are you from?” the oldest woman, supposedly in her 40s, from the group asked me.
I said I came from Thimphu.
“Thank you for liking it here. Darla hardly opens up. But when it does, it’s beautiful.” she said.
They left, and I resumed walking.
Gradually the evening grew deeper, and I grew more fascinated. To put it more accurately, I was bewitched. The sky had turned absolutely magnificent maroon, ember, and there was something so evocative about the myriad ways the clouds play in the sky.
“It can’t be real,” I said to myself.
It's like I was looking at a brilliant art on canvas. And I fell in love more.