set my alarm for 4:30 am to ensure that I get an early start on my fieldwork. To my surprise, I woke up to pleasant notes of song birds although there was still an hour to go till sunrise. I dragged myself out of bed and by the time my assistant Sameer and I were ready to leave, the orange rays of the sun had lit up the morning sky. Soon a purple-orange hue accompanied the cacophony of busy bulbuls, barbets and the blue whistling thrush – common birds in this landscape. It was a perfect prelude to what lay in store for us. There was Gurung daju (daju means ‘brother’ in Nepali), our guide waiting for us scantily clad – while we stood buried under layers. He addressed me as ‘madam’ instead of the usual bahini (sister) more commonly used in the region. What struck us about Gurung daju was his humility. The day before he had helped us carry our heavy soil corer (instrument used for soil profiling) up the hill. Contrary to our assumption of him being the caretaker, he turned out to be the owner\ud and a small tea grower – an entrepreneur in his own right. In addition to his diverse entrepreneurial activities he was also an avid birder
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