Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Just orchidding

March was the month when forest was cleared and burnt for shifting cultivation. Close to Itanagar too there were lot of fires; when interviewed on radio, the forest department kept saying people out there who go for picnic and throw their lit ciggarettes are mostly to blame. They have to be sure that they put off their ciggarettes.

No one goes there for a picnic, all the beer-drinkers and ciggarette-smokers are right here in town. The folks cultivating in these forests are also people who have come from other districts, attracted to the place since its closer to a town. This kind of cultivation is very very different from that practised in remote villages in arunachal. While in remote village, people let a cultivated patch recover for almost a decade, here its mostly 4-5 years before a patch is recultivated.

Anyways, the point is the other day we took a walk in these forests and saw a big tree fallen on the ground with quite a few orchids still clinging on. So my friend took two of them and I took one. When we returned we put them in buckets with moist sand and within few days the orchid i brought looked healthy. Then, we put it on a mango tree and tied it up and now about two weeks later, its flowering! Beautiful, take a look...




Thursday, 2 April 2009

Gone fishing (nocturnal version)

One night in Itanagar, after we were on high spirits after some rum, we figured we had no curry to eat with rice. Tamang da who was with us immediately said that night is the best time to fish. Just before we left, we had discussions about river-ghosts, the ones that pick up fish from nets setup by the village people in the river. God alone knows if they are referring to otters or some other animal. Anyway, it was 12 am by the time we left and the river was actually shining with starlight. So the net was belted out in the Senkhi stream and in about ten times we got quite a lot of fish by 2 am. Like the last time, we were dropping back the kid-fish into the river; the ones too small. Here’s the catch… 






Rains reign

In the Upper Siang district, it rains more than four metres a year...and there wasn't a month without rain in the last year i visited. Often its depressing if I have planned out some work already. But if you are carrying no perishable equipment, then its fun jumping in.

So this time it happened like this, from Jengging I had to reach the Bomdo village and the monsoon has already struck here and it started raining. I remember reading in a John Steinbeck book about this character who could describe ten or more different kinds of rain and he found all of them irritating. Well, theres only one kind of rain here; hard rain which takes breaks to drizzle before it brings along a landslide and a roadblock. But I am quitting my institute presently and had to get back few equipment to return to the institute to get the 'no due' certificate and had to give things like a radio and few cds to some of the villagers. So I waited two days, no break in the rain.

Then morning before yesterday's we left...rain or no rain, gotto finish this thing. 10 am we left on a bike from jengging and rode continuously for three hours to get to Bomdo, 70 km away. Once I reached the place, my friend Gekut quickly made some pop corn and tea. The thing about riding in rain is that one is fine till the point he stops.  The time when we stopped at the village I shivered like the richter scale was at 7 or something! At one point I had to pee (locally referred to as 'minus'!) and my hands were too numb to even feel the trouser button, was a struggle! Next stop Ramsing village 30 km on the way back. The home that I reached I asked for some rice wine to warm us up and then headed back to jengging to reach at 6 pm. Got back, took a hot water bath and all the good things followed as mentioned in the blog post before this.

Oh before I finish, I spent one day photographing waterdrops; this is the best thing you can do when its raining continuously and better still if you have a 500 mm lens...here's the output...





An ode to Jenging



I call it the 'Holiday inn' of Upper Siang district. More than once I have reached this place late in the night in freezing cold. Another time I reached the place after riding for 70 km on a bike which gave me little trouble; the back tyre got punctured, the kicker broke, petrol got over and the engine wouldnt just start a couple times. Every time I reach the Circuit house in Jenging, a hot water bath, a superb meal, a warm bed, electricity to charge batteries and signal to make calls await me. To add to this, the person in-charge is a sweet Nepali person, who seems to know each time I hog a lot that I havent eaten too well in the last week.

So, this time too when I reached the place after riding in rain for 140 km for six hours, I was in heaven, with few pegs of whiskey to go with of course! I wrote an ode...after many many years...served with few pictures for flavour...

'Sweet memories of Jenging

In the morning, sunlight lazily pierces through the valley to cause a delayed dawn
and birds eagerly pick up their early worms and ripe fruits
The streams tirelessly produce their perennial soothing sound
and I meet an occasional local picking up leaves and certain roots

In the night, the giant mountains morph into silent ghosts
and clouds tonight have ushered the stars
A distant frog is muttering sweet little turrings to his potential mate
and the night as usual in my memory leaves pleasant scars

Three hills away I see a bike spiralling down the road
An occasional owl calls a high-pitched teewoo
As i get back to my warm bed content after a sumptous meal
Here's another place in the north-east India I wont forget too'