Samuel was the Divisional Security Commandant in Khurda Road when I was posted there as Divisional Operations Manager. He was also my next door neighbor in the Officers’ Colony. I suspect that ours were the only two families in the Officers’ Colony that ate meat. I still remember the secrecy with which the delivery boy dropped off meat in the house. The Khurda Road colony was more inhabited by snakes than human beings. The toddler Maya was very active on the floor and Beena used to be petrified of the reptiles finding their way into the house. Once she shared her concern with Samuel during a social visit and his response was a classic: “Beena, see snake; think Samuel”. He is now posted as the Chief Security Commissioner of NF Railway in Maligaon. I came to know of it through Fr. Joseph, who I met in Imphal and who happened to be Samuel’s teacher. I visited the Samuels this morning and had breakfast with them, catching up on the fortunes of the kids; they have four and all of them are studying in Bangalore. The Samuels were getting ready for a pre-Xmas event being hosted in their house today for students. I promised to drop by in the evening if time permitted.
The rest of the day was for thanksgiving, repacking bags and washing clothes. My Traffic Service batch mates, Sunder Ram, PS Nerwal and Dr Manocha, with their support staff had extended all the assistance I had asked for to make the trip comfortable. I lost count of the number of meals I had with the Nerwals. The IG (Admn), Assam Police, Mr. Chandranathan, AIG (Admn), Mr. AJ Barua and the wonderful set of police officers I came to know through them, young and seasoned, went out of their way to make me feel completely at home and savor the NE in a manner that is not given to many. These officers hold the promise of a brighter morrow for the State. It was Mr. Siddharth Sarmah IPS, who gave me an insight into what I could expect in the North East and exorcised certain demons that had come to inhabit my mind owing to ignorance and information from less informed people. The warm and hospitable group of officers and support staff he introduced into my life will remain an integral part of it.
I took stock of the luggage I was carrying around to send some back to Cochin – stuff that I had not used so far and that which I had accumulated over the past two months. The repacking took the whole morning and I left the bags in Nerwal’s house. I felt lighter after the effort. Nerwal has promised to get the bags delivered in Cochin.
I was so impressed by the Saraighat Bridge the last time I saw it that I wanted to see it one more time and take some more pictures before leaving Guwahati. The trip was a disaster. A truck got stuck on the bridge and my journey lasted a couple of hours of ‘slow pedaling’. After returning to the ORH I readied the car for the trip tomorrow. Dinner was once again with the Nerwals and I gorged on extremely tasty pickles. I understand that Panipat is the place to pick it up. I am glad that I have repacked the luggage – I can pick up some extra pickles and Basmati rice.