Friday, 6 February 2009

The walk to the village by the river

Having spent three peaceful days discussing my plant work and visiting clearings from Ramsing Inspection Bungalow, I headed this morning to Bomdo village to carry on birding work. So early morning we woke like good birds do for worms and got to the bus stop; this is any arbitrary place where you find a stone to park your arse and where the respective driver can see that you have been waiting long. So I waited, long (from 630 to 830) then I found a tipper truck and got myself and my two bags beautifully cemented, but the trip only lasted halfway. I was headed 25 km from Ramsing to Bomdo whereas the tipper tipped me off to a place called Hawa camp, only 9 km from Ramsing. So I park my butt again and wait for more helpful wheels. Two hours later, I decided to come up with a one-liner and start walking towards the village: ‘The main difference between an opportunity and a difficulty is the one to be ignored!’

One may wonder why I didn’t walk to the village since morning because most wildlifers will agree that 25 km is walkable in four-five hours. The only thing, things actually, were my two bags in front and back of me, don’t they look heavy…

About six km later I saw a beautiful stream and someone had left a mug for me to drink, so I drank from the cup of life!

Birds on the way many; golden bush robin, sibias, unidentified harrier, etc. The reason I kept walking was hoping that some vehicle will give me a drop of at least ten of the remaining 15 km.  that didn’t happen at all. The usual Border Road Organisation vehicles were not dropping many civilians because one of their tippers had dropped from the road until the Siang river and four civilians were killed. So for the next two weeks at least, I think no long-lifts for civilians by BRO.

The only other thing that happened was that at some point after climbing a short cut for half an hour or so I realised I had dropped my binoculars cover. So I cached my two bags in the forest somewhere and literally ran back more than a kilometre to retrieve it. I am a good retriever usually, my old Jawa I took back from a mechanic after keeping it with him for a year, I retrieved my job at Greenpeace, my drum kit which I am yet to retrieve from a friend (which I am sure I will) and certain other examples. In fact the only thing that I wanted to for sometime to retrieve but I couldn’t and now don’t care to try is my ex-girlfriend!

Well, I puffed and panted and couldn’t find this stupid bag, well I need to buy this sometime when I go to a town like Guwahati. Anyway, that was another significant thing during the walk. Then when I came back out of the shortcut to the tarred road, I met this old lady from Bomdo who keeps sending vegetables for me at the place I stay, very sweet lady. So I walked with her a km, she kept talking and I kept saying things in the bits of Adi I have picked up. Later I figured that for a large part of the conversation she was telling me which all veggies were available at her home in Bomdo which I can gladly go and pick! Then she took a detour to collect fire wood, I kept walking.

Then, the last significant incident, on another shortcut to the village I saw this 50+ year old woman and her family walking in front of me. Here it’s a custom to greet people and generally ask them if the day is tiring, whether they went very far or that you are tired or that you have come from very far, etc, etc. So I asked her how she is and she gave me a surprised look, I thought she had seen me coming because for almost twenty minutes I was trailing them. When I looked closely I figured she was taking a standing pee. When I was young and in fact even now, I thought women can’t pee when they are standing! But this lady just stood-at-ease with her legs about 1-m from each other and peed!!!

I reached the IB…somewhere during the journey I’d realised that I hadn’t brought sambar powder, the ultimate mom-made panacea for flavouring food. But when I reached my camp, the Bomdo inspection bungalow, I had stashed some from my last visit in November and this will be more than enough for the next ten days. And then there was rice, dal, salt, oil, batteries, etc, etc. nice…very nice.

In the meanwhile a kid came to the IB with a basket full of veggies the old woman had sent! I think the first thing she did after she returned home dispatched some with her grandson, so my first meal here was sambar-rice, ghee and some lovely powder (for you Andhrites reading this, Putnalu podi)  we eat with rice from Andhra. And I was thinking a walk may be uneventful!

By the way, the house-Mithun of Dungé Yalik is home again after last May, when I was here in the village too! They only come around once/twice a year in this village it seems, these are some real feral cattle they have here.

1 comment:

Deena said...

Nicely written....