Monday, April 11, 2016

9 September 2015 – Return to Base Camp – Tezu to Maligaon – Day 1

It was time to start the journey back home after the most grueling expedition I been on. Success at the end of such an expedition did bring a lot of satisfaction because there were times during it that I felt that I would not be able to go on any further. Yet the task had been accomplished. Accidents, strife in Nepal and numerous diversions did not matter in the end – the objective had been realized.
This part of the country of valleys and rivers are home to the Mishmi tribes that have customs and traditions dating back to the days of the Mahabharata. It is said that Lord Krishna’s wife, Rukmini, was from the Mishmi tribe! The legend of Parashuram and creation of Kerala are all part of the folklore from Parshuram Kund. Pilgrims from all over the country and neighboring countries come to the Kund to wash away sins of many births, as Parashuram did after slaying his mother and brothers.

Rajesh, as is his wont, had made arrangements with the ferry to take me across the River Brahmaputra. He came to the Circuit House just as I was done with loading the luggage. It was a brilliant sunrise that greeted us at the ferry point. Two other cars joined mine on the deck of the ramshackle water transport. I suspect it had not seen many better days! When I bid adieu to Rajesh he mentioned that the bridge would be ready by the time I would make my next trip to Tezu. The road to Tezu from the Assam border had indeed improved considerably since my visit there in 2013. Developmental works are happening, but they need to benefit the local people instead of lining the pockets of a few.

The roads in Assam too have improved by leaps and bounds. I was worried that the road near Kaziranga would be in bad condition because of the recent floods in which the National Park was severely affected. While the road per se was not that affected cattle and makeshift homes were everywhere. They were the most affected ones. Water was yet to recede in many places and people were finding it difficult to eke out a living. Cattle roamed the roads as their grazing lands had been taken over by flood waters. People lived in small huts made of straw and wood beside the road since their dwellings were still under water. They were poignant scenes, but the smiles on the faces of kids as they played with traditional toys reinforced the thought that better days awaited them, and soon.
The drive from Tezu to Maligaon was largely uneventful. Even though I missed the nondescript turn off to the Railway ORH I reached it without too much of hassle around twilight time. The 640 km drive had consumed 14 hours. The comfortable room and the nutritious hot meal served well to rest the weary body.

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