North East Exotica -The End

Everything that has beginning has end. I knew one day this sojourn gonna end. Wherever I went, I developed roots and always needed external force to wake from my slumber.  I know iam getting too attached to idyllic life in mountains, forests and waterfall terrain.. Just when I was in dilemma when I should leave North East, and mind coming with various reasons to stay or to leave, I met with accident, which almost killed me and had to come back to plains. More on that , but lemme tell you interesting people I met during my tenure. The Good. The Bad. The Ugly. The kind. The dangerous etc

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  I really miss The music of Tetseo sisters of Nagaland, Shillong Choir in Meghalaya (their Bollywood renditions are awesome) , Bihu dance in Assam or Bamboo dance of Mizoram or hypnotic mantra chanting of lamas in Sikkim. One day I met 5 guys in street corner beckoning me. Sometimes people from plains are roughed up or money is extorted by drunk gangs. When I went closer I realized these guys are my friends from college days. Life has come full circle on Meeting them after decade in remotest corner of India. It was such heartwarming moment.

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Another association was with a Major in Assam rifles & CO of that sector. He was epitome of values Indian Army stood for. (BTW FYI, Army doesn’t guard borders, Paramilitaries do!) The leadership lessons were so evident from the way he led his men. Once he invited me for trek to scale Blue Mountain which was highest peak. It was planned for 5-6 hours, but to our bad luck, stretched to 12 hrs. Trekking & gasping for air on mountan, darkness, dense jungle, without food or depleting water. However Team leader/ Major saab kept inspiring us, offering his water brought us back to base. He never drank his own water , but shared with his men. His men welfare before himself.

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This stream divides India with Burma

Often I came across underground insurgents as well.  Insurgency over period of time has become big industry which thrived both sides of border. Many of N-E insurgences like NSCN (in nagalnd), GNLA (Meghalaya), Boros (Assam) have offcies & camps in open. Burmese insurgents also have kith &kin on Indian side and frequently comeover. Borders are porous & locals always travel between India & Burma with no restrictions . Not everything was good always, though I made best of everything. One day, friend was kidnapped & killed . It was hammer blow. Next day everything changed,I became too conscious about people around me. Even friendly faces on streets appeared differently. Don’t know which person would betray , or an insurgents (Manipur was kidnapping capital, same goes for Assam, meghalya ). The signs of end has began.

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The end :

Finally the end came unexpectedly. One day , I retuned home and found weakness set in. Here iam in place where good doctor is 500kms away and good medical facilities, I should fly to Assam or Kolkata. Local doctors couldn’t figure out whats happening. My last memory was watching rotors of chopper and I blacked out.  When I opened my eyes, Nurses were jubilant. (This Near Death is recorded here said , I went into coma for last 3 days and doctors lost hope to revive me. It was huge relief for everyone. Friends & Family. My family made their 1st trip to north east and was bewildered at exotica. My sister made best of trip, went on shopping spree. It took one month to recover and another 6 months before I could say, that’s the end of North East.  

Thankyou for your time & slice of life as Time is life made up of..!!

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Praveen Sagar

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