AN EXCITING JOURNEY IN A JOURNEY OF LIFE.
A long while ago, when I was headmaster of junior high school of Dambuk, in Dibang Valley, a district in Arunachal Pradesh, I had a tough time of survival of life. There was no land communication, to supply ration commodities to civilian staff by land road, hence airdropping was the only means of food supplies. Sometimes, when the goats were dropped, the goats were shattered to pieces on the ground, due to the technical difficulties in parachutes. The field used to be covered by kerosene, mustard oil, dalda, etc. The wheat flours dropped were full of warms which were not at all hygienic for human consumption. Letters received were months old, which had literally, lost their meaning and relevance. During that time only, in the month of June, I was deputed, by the Government of Arunachal Pradesh, to undergo a National Cadet Corpse army wing training at Kamptee, Pune. The hilly seven rivers of the route were over flooded during that time and they took the shape of ocean. Having no way out, I, with my wife and son along with Dr. Choudhary, who was the Medical Officer there, and his wife and son started to undertake the journey to perform our duty as per the Government orders. We had to reach Roing; from where only we could get proper convenience to go elsewhere in the country. Our team consisted of ourselves and ten ALC’s, (auxillary labour corpse). We reached Bomjeer same day and halted there for the night. Next morning, with the help of local people and boatman we crossed the river Bomjeer but further journey was very tough. When we reached the other bank of the river, river was in its furious form and it was impossible to cross it. On this bank we burnt jungle leaves to produce smoke to let the others know of our presence in this remote and dense jungle. The day passed and there was no trace of human being on the bank. Having no way out, we planned to back to Bomjeer itself. In the mean it rained so heavily that it was now impossible to cross the river and hence, having no way out we had to stay in a hunters’ jungle hut, which was in dilapidated condition. We had no ration at all with us and hence, the ALC’s collected some edible jungle leaves, roots and stems of plant and boiled them for our eating. Maybe, because of this food or because of nervousness my wife and doctor’s wife suffered of acute dysentery and fever. Children’s condition was pitiable. We passed the whole night by sitting and burning jungle fire to protect ourselves from elephants and nocturnal animals. Next morning also, we could not cross the river either way. By this time through Wireless Telegraphy message, the Circle Officer Dambuk and the EAC Roing came to know that our whereabouts were not known to either side, except our departure from Dambuk. Next day, search parties with expert boatmen were sent from Roing and they could see the smoke arising from the river bank of the other side. They reached to us and we boarded in the boat for Roing. The rivers were so furious, the furious waves sometimes entered the boat heavily and sometimes we lost hope of life also. Anyhow by grace of god we reached the other bank of furious rivers and from there we had to cross a nala. The boatmen and the search party immediately designed a two bamboo bridge, one for walking and the other to catch with hand for support. This was a very typical and dangerous experience too, where a slightest mistake could take you to miseries of life. On this bridge only one man could walk at a time. Anyhow we crossed this nala and reached to the river Ephi Pani. It is such a river which has very much undercurrent with shallow water where boats cannot sail. One has to cross this river on foot only, where every possibility of drowning existed. Here all the people made a human chain by catching each-others hand and under the supervision of the boatmen we started crossing the river, one behind the other. There at Ephi Pani bank we reached at night and halted in a thatched house made for boatmen. By this time all were very hungry and had no food stuff. The ALC’s managed some wheat flour from the local Mismi people at a very high cost and passed the night there. Next day we reached Roing and all were happy that they were alive. Such difficult days are not rare there. After that I went to Kamptee to undergo my army wing training of National Cadet Corpse and doctor went to Calcutta for his training.
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