The Desi JungleMan

On Life, the wonderful experiences and else…

IFSA LC FRI… The Prologue.

IFSA was something that I’d first come across in my third year of undergrad whilst I was surfing almost aimlessly on the web. I was in all probability just looking up at organisations that worked in the forestry sector globally. I also remember, much of my undergrad was spent in mourning over the fact that not much or hardly any meaningful work seemed to be getting carried out in the forestry sector in the Indian sub-continent. Despite whatever the actuality was, atleast I’d presumed it to be so. I was an ignorant ass back then, maybe which I still am. I was kind of more resentful of the idleness that prevailed in our department (*Insert the scene from 3 Idiots- the one between Rancho and Virus after Joy’s death.)

I did spend some time on the IFSA website then, more so to discover opportunities for myself than to learn more of their activities in pursuing and promoting forestry across the globe. It was without much effort that I could gather the fact that IFSA was that excellent platform which united forestry students from the world over under an umbrella, the sole motive being progress in forest sciences which might be broken down as encouraging students in forestry to widen their spectrum of thoughts by way of sharing experiences and ideas with one another, providing students with worthwhile and life-changing opportunities to work upon, thus effectively creating impact with our learning of the forests. I’d looked up on to know if there was an Indian LC whose membership I could possibly seek. I found the contact details to someone in NepaI and I left it at just that.

Sometime later on, I went to Bhubaneswar to attend a certain National Convention on Forestry, one of whose sidelying motives for us forestry graduates was the formation of an All India Forestry Student’s Association. There I was told of an already functional IFSA LC under the HNB Garhwal Central University in Srinagar, Uttarakhand by our very own Prabhakar Manori who’d himself been pursuing his post-graduation from the same university and had come with four juniors to attend the convention. I did imagine wistfully about the niceties of an LC, had it been located at FRI, Dehradun. Such an LC would’ve been instrumental in furthering the interests of forestry students in INDIA considering the central role FRI has always played in Indian Forestry, I believed. This was one thing I remember bringing forth in one of the initial sessions of the now archaic *AIFSA* regarding the role that linkages between IFSA and Forestry student bodies in INDIA had to play.

Years later, when I did get into Forest Research Institute, Dehradun for my Masters in Forestry is when IFSA again swung back to the front burner. I was in the same batch as Sunya Nani and Anand Anil. It was during one of our class and post-class conversations early on in the first semester that IFSA came in as a subject. I remember her speaking with much interest about IFSA, its activities and the unexplored potentials that were there. She knew most of it firsthand since she’d graduated from HNBGU herself where INDIA’s only IFSA LC was operational till then and whose active member she’d been. She even had the opportunity to have attended the International Forestry Students Symposium 2015 in Philippines. This she’d said was made possible since she could secure funding with IFSA’s assistance and her own efforts at the same. We both had without doubt agreed upon the relevance of an LC at FRI and resolved to set one up at the earliest as was possible. We initially thought of seeking out students in our class who were from forestry background for their views and contributions. Some efforts were indeed put in; a whatsapp group was formed in our midst for realising our efforts towards our LC. But time passed and nothing concrete took shape soon. I personally was very skeptical of how people interested would respond or act. This was attributable at least in part to the failed collective effort for a different cause I’d been a strong part of in my undergrad. I felt as if things were grinding to a halt again. I know very well of how I was also to blame for the same. My efforts were overshadowed by my own lack of conviction in getting the things done.

In between we planned to have a class meeting to sensitise our own class fellows regarding IFSA. I clearly remember having failed to make a decent slideshow worthy of presenting. That discussion then had happened between Sunya, Anand and me. Months passed and there was hardly any discussion regarding our LC. Much later, the class meeting was actually convened to obtain the consensus of our class regarding formation of the LC and also ascertain the roles each one of us was to play in the LC. Little had I realised of the ground work initiated by Sunya and Anand behind establishing our LC, all this time. The two, I must say worked tirelessly behind the same for months on end. They completed the requisite formalities, corresponded with their contacts in the IFSA HQ for our LC application and months down the lane, by late 2017 I and the rest of us were told of the formalities being almost done. Sunya asked me to pen down a few words about our FRI for the purpose of forwarding to the IFSA page. Anand was again the one who designed the LC logo as well as the membership forms. And by the second week of December, IFSA LC FRI was proudly introduced by IFSA and thus began the operations of the second but ‘hopefully most-happening’ IFSA LC in INDIA. Sincere efforts by our people had borne fruit and the ball had begun rolling…

The governing body of our LC is as follows:

President – Vishnu Satheesan

Vice President – Sunya Nani

Secretary – Anand Anil

Treasurer – Freddy Thomas

Matters regarding commissions, other wings, intended plan of action etc. were discussed in the first general meeting that was held soon after. Another general meeting took place recently. For the rest of the story, please do follow (LC Blog) and @ifsalcfri (Facebook page).

Although I am fully aware of the fact that our LC is still in its infancy, I believe there is no denying the fact that much needs to be done in our limited time as students at FRI. What we achieve is what will get carried forward by our successors. The LC needs to scale up its activities towards intended goals in the times to come. All of us must strive equally to realise the benefits and possible impacts from our LC.

PS: The Desi JungleMan wishes all the very best to the Team, IFSA LC FRI and is particularly happy about this opportunity of getting to shed some light on what went into getting this LC up and running. As always, thanks a ton for reading through.


If you think…..

If you think you are beaten, you are

If you think you dare not, you don’t

If you like to win, but think you can’t

It’s almost a clinch, you won’t


If you think you will lose, you are lost,

For out in the world, we find

Success begins with a fellow’s will

It’s all in the state of mind.


If you think you are outclassed, you are

You have got to think high to rise

You have got to be sure of yourself before

You can ever win a prize.


Life’s battles do not always go

To the stronger and faster men

But sooner or later, man who wins

Is the man who thinks he can.

PS: Flashback to the days when we were still in school. This particular piece formed the last page of my student’s diary in one of the later years at Kendriya Vidyalaya, Pattom when Cicy madam was our principal. I don’t know how or why I had salvaged this one page out of all other gazillion bits that would have been there. I sure am glad I did what I did then. I’d be more than happy if reading this through has pushed you forward like it has done for me. A bit of motivation is always necessary to lead you on, no matter what.


I might have not met you today but it nevertheless is just as easy for me to imagine that we actually did. I will do exactly the same as what I’d have done had we met today afternoon for a stroll and some chat.

I promise you that I will stay clear of my “Triad of Vices”.

I will hang on to this promise with all of my dear life, and I mean it.


Induchoodan Rickshawala.


Imprints: The Monk who sold his Ferrari

49. I have had dreams and I have had nightmares. I overcame the nightmares because of my dreams. – Jonas Salks

Life is no brief candle for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations. –George Bernard Shaw

Sure I am that this day, we are masters of our fate that the task which has been set before us is not above our strength, that its pangs and toils are not beyond my endurance. As long as we have faith in our own cause and an unconquerable will to win, victory will not be denied to us. –Winston Churchill

69. There is nothing noble about being noble to some other person. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self.

Every second you spend thinking about someone else’s dreams you take away time from your own.

74. The purpose of life is a life of purpose.

88. Never do anything because you have to. The only reason to do something is because you want to and because you know it is the right thing for you to do.

125. Happiness comes through good judgment, good judgment comes through experience and experience comes through bad judgment.

117. Some books are meant to be tasted, some books are meant to be chewed and finally some books are meant to be swallowed whole. –Julian Mantle

The Leopard

This Cummins powered Tata 1512c bus belonging to our Forest Research Institute has been the subject of much of my experimentation as a bus-fan since the time I joined FRI.

Right now, I must dwell on first things first. The title seemed apt to me because of the presence of leopard in our campus and this particular image of the beast which to me seemed to evoke a similar feeling. Next, my indulgence in bus-fanning despite being a forestry student can naturally appear abnormal to many considering how I should be lost among trees and the wilderness. But strangely enough, these mechanical beasts, the wild and heavy of the lot have kept me hooked since my undergraduate years. It started off as a fancy for my state transport buses (KSRTC ~ ആനവണ്ടി) eventually taking a diversion to brand specific fantasies at least for the time I was to be out of my home state. Multiple forums (ksrtcblog & Team Tata-TRAK) have helped me cultivate this crazy streak over time. My line despite these years has largely been similar to the awe and wonder of a child for them rather than the technicalities as such. Shivam & Dharani have been two buddies whom I’ve nagged constantly into shooting me whilst I’d be shooting the beast. And, they’ve always played along well in my pursuits more than what I could’ve possibly hoped for.

The earliest I remember having captured this leopard on camera is during the orientation visit of our own campus. The fascination with this beast has only seemed to grow ever since. Some of the girls studying with us might even remember me lurking near the reserve forest barrier and shining the camera flash as it approached after the fresher’s party. Come every study tour, excursion or field visit, more than learning something of academic value, I would always prioritize shooting the beast through the lens from all angles and poses that one could possibly dream of. Every portion, part and accessory of the bus seemed to catch hold of my attention.

More than anything, I know that it was indeed a sense of belonging to that same family called FRI that brought both of us closer. I would never have even in my wildest dreams imagined doing all of this had the bus not belonged to our institute.

We have by now gone on numerous outings in the same beast to multiple locations and with different drivers. We all had different portions earmarked to each, the row opposite to door for the faculty as usual, the last row for us ‘Mallu Gangstas’ and most of the rest fitting in between. Some time spent sitting on the front side row facing the driver or on the bonnet would usually for me make the entire trip worthwhile. It was no longer the driver’s area in front but the ‘cockpit’ where the ‘leopard tamer’ sat while ‘taming the beast’! 😀

This particular bus has even unintentionally figured up in other turning-points and adventures of my life (Chakrata & Dhanaulti, for instance). It has been witness to me confessing and then advising the same person on something totally different, all during the course of a single trip (The Bus-Bonnet Conversations). So, it was indeed an added joy when I got familiar with this particular Leopard Tamer (read Driver, Dummies!) who was also coincidentally my namesake and his companion on this recent tour to Chandigarh. His energy, behavior and openness (read, my lack of flesh!) were contagious and I knew instantly that we would bond well and that I’d trouble him for my whims and fancies! And you bet, I did just the same in that very trip itself. To blurt out the least, I can safely say that I did have my way around and that was only made possible because he concurred with my demands. 🙂 Whilst we were returning, the fact that he literally asked me sit cross-legged upon the steel frame on the bonnet and even went so far as to have his towel spread out on the frame (again obviously, to compensate for my मांस की कमी !) just so that I had a better view through the windshield and could go on clicking away was nothing short of a privilege. 🙂

One thing I know for certain is that as long as I remain in FRI, I will always be found looking up at this one where ever he be spotted, for he is my pet leopard!

PS: This started as a simple caption for the said image on Instagram, but all of you can very well see what it has finally turned out to be!

Imprints: One Night @ the Call Center

  • Something you don’t like about yourself, something that makes you angry or something that you fear; all this makes up our ‘Dark side’.
    • I have so many- like half a dozen dark sides. I am like a dark sided hexagon”
  • Four ingredients of success – Failures, Self confidence, Imagination and Intelligence.
  • Close your eyes for 3 minutes, think about what you really want and what you need to change in your life to get it. ACT ON THOSE CHANGES!

Imprints: Train to Pakistan

  • Ethics, which should be the kernel of a religious code, has been carefully removed.
  • Take philosophy about which there is so much hoo-ha. It is just muddle-headedness masquerading as mysticism.
  •  Thought which should be the sine qua non of a philosophical code is dispensed with. We climb to the sublime heights on the wings of fancy.
  • It is both cowardly and foolhardy to kowtow to social standards when one believes neither in society nor in its standards. 

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