Saturday, 23 February 2008

Migam and the Muntjac

Today was the day I visited the village Ramsing after two days at the forest camp, so I thought people from the village and I could watch a movie at Parme bhaiyyas home. While we were half way through the movie I was invited to another friends place who had taken down a barking deer, also called the muntjac, at about 3 pm. I was told its a Serow so I hurried to the place. When I reached, it turned out to be an adult muntjac quite big in size, about 35 kilos in weight.

The deer was shot while feeding on fruits of a tree and the guys waited for it after seeing its hoofmarks. When I saw the body, as usual I was little dumbstruck and kept quiet for a while. I had two paths for conversation in front of me, obviously I couldn't keep quiet, that too after tasting a mug of millet beer. The first path was to ask him why he hunted down the species and if it really is necessary to eat wild meat when meat of pig and high protein mithun meat was available, with the occasional chicken and duck. The second conversation topic was to take in details; as many as I could about this species and others he has hunted down in the last few years. A little buzzed, I went for the latter and the details were fascinating too. The guy turns out to be one of the five expert hunters; a Migam, as they call in the local Adi language, the chief of the village, Solung Apang would also be called a Migam I think.

Ramsing has had the highest turnover of muntjacs this season, since October 2007 the hunters from the village have taken down a hundred of them, its a record for the last five years. The number dwindles between 20 to 60 since the year 2000, with the highest this season. In a sense, I maybe wrong, but it seems the number of muntjacs in the forest surrounding the village hasn't gone down. So I ask him further about Serows and Takins, they are both found close to snow, he said. The Migam told me that once he had seen 5 muntjacs together; a family, which is a large number even for a group. He also reported that he himself has seen at least 10 more individuals in the surrounding forest. He had noted the place where the guy feeds and posted his brother-in-law at another point and both of them sat motionless from 12 till 3 pm. The outcome was a 35 kilogram or more muntjac.
So the broth in the pot was cooking as all the times I have been here and some wild meat cooking in the pot, it also turned out that I was invited to have a sumptuous meal there. I refused the offer, feeling bad since in two occasions earlier I had eaten the meat. However after another two mugs of beer, I tasted a piece of the liver, tasted alright. The conversation went further and the grandma there who actually knows no hindi and I know pittance Adi liked me and named me ‘Ruksan’ after a memory of someone she had seen before. Now at the end of her meal she offered me a piece of the stomach; an offer I could not refuse if I didn’t want to hurt her sentiments, I took it, tasted like high protein sponge actually.

At the end of these events enters my good friend Obit with some kids who had brought a frog to eat, this one...

So I looked at the guy and told my friend, ‘since you have 30 kilos or more of wild meat, can we let him go’ and he smiled and let him go. This was my small victory, king for a day, fool for a lifetime maybe. Both songs by ‘Faith no more’, a super band.
Thats that for now.

1 comment:

Saurabh said...

One step at a time mate. One small step...