of rainbows and wings – Wangchuk ‘Chuck’ Basi

time passes, and a great many things just become a clutter of memories . some days i think of days past and remember things from my childhood. the many treks and hikes down to the valleys where our two rivers flowed..relli on the east and teesta on the west. the many paths and trails in the woods and forests that led to our secret swimming holes. aah, then the rivers were pristine, their waters clear and cool and we spent magical summer days diving off the rocks basking in the sun wishing the day never came to an end. and innocence would last forever.

along the way we often came across the most gorgeous butterflies .They seemed to be everywhere. So many that the national geographic magazine once did a long article on it under the banner “the valley of butterflies”. then sometime beginning in the late 60’s the butterflies vanished. they say the great floods of 68 was responsible.likely. what remained swiftly became a collectors treasure hunt. and they came from all over the world with butterfly nets and trophy boxes,and for a while it seemed like these winged creatures of such exquisite beauty too would be driven to extinction.

Almost four decades ,and it seems somewhere in the hidden shades of the remaining forests and under the warm moist rocks of the river bends, the butterflies have made a slow but definite comeback. i don’t know how long it will last this time. the nhpc with their grandiose plans to build hydroelectricity dams are clawing away in the valley; and human colonisation of forest lands, the butterflies are making their last stand here.

i took these pictures over the last two summers. butterflies are very difficult subjects. their flight patterns are absolutely freaky. and most times they land and stay still just long enough to tease you. i had some very interesting moments getting these shots and will tell you about it some other time. for now hope you enjoy these pictures as much as i enjoyed taking them.


6 thoughts on “of rainbows and wings – Wangchuk ‘Chuck’ Basi

  1. Shubhayu Chakraborty

    Dear Mr Basi

    A wonderful job with the butterflies. I am really amazed how you managed to get the butterflies during flight. I have spent my childhood in Kalimpong and I was fascinated by the variety of butterflies available in and around the area. I had managed to catch a few but due to lack of knowledge or anyone to guide me, my collection weathered away and soon my interest in catching them.

    But I think photographing them is the best way to appreciate their beauty. It brought back a lot of wonderful time and memory that I spent there running after butterflies. Thanks a lot.


  2. wangchuk basi

    my dear shubhayu,

    glad you enjoyed the pictures. for everyone i cught on camera there were many more that got away, perhaps this summer i will be faster on the draw and get some more. till then, have a great new year. and may your fond memories of kalimpong endure. wangchuk basi


  3. Abdul Salim

    Dear Chuck Uncle,

    This is Abdul your nephew’s (Baby) friend, I never knew that you have become such a real photographer. They are just superb and fantastic. I still remember when I was a kid that you used to play football for Dr. Grahams Homes, and your brother Jerry Basi is one the great footballer who have contributed a lot in the field of football in Kalimpong, he couched kalimpong footballers with his latest skills and made some guys shine like late Pem Dorjee, Mini Daju….I hope you will send some nice photogrphs relating to the sport events that take place in Kalimpong Mela ground.

    Abdul Salim Bhutia
    Consulate General of India
    Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


  4. wangchuk basi

    my dear abdul, thank you for all the kind words for my fledgling passion. wonderful to hear from you…and rest assured that i will make an effort to visit the mela ground and send you some pictures from there. with all good wishes, and a blessed and happy new year to you.


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