Sunday, 7 October 2007

Boat!..No, there is a Bridge, a concrete Bridge

While going to my village Mohanpur, taking the Masimpur-Rani feri route, you will see a bridge, a long concrete bridge. It was not what today it looks. It had a history of its own. And those who have been to the Bishnupriya Manipuri villages like Baropua, Pithir Gang, Bihara, Tehngara Gang, Burunga etc..they know how their travel changed with the dynamics of the river.

Since childhood, I don’t know how many times I have taken this route. At first with my father as my companion, and as time passed by I started going alone. And from here my memories start taking wings. Well, it is not that I don’t carry any impression of those days I as a child used to go along with mother and father. It had an altogether surge of feelings associated with it.

I remember, after getting down from the bus my father used to give one rupee coin or lesser denomination per person to a manned bamboo check post. And the same was repeated by each traveller – giving a fee to the manned bamboo check post. The word “check post” would be wrong and inapproprite since there was not a single policeman in and around the bank of the river. Moreover, there was not a barricade on the bank of the river instead it had a rope of jute crisscrossing the kutcha path.

To cross the river, we used to have boats waiting. And it used to come as a primary mode of communication for all travellers. The bus on which we had travelled used to remain there. And all travellers after crossing the river had to board bus to get to their destination. Now, when the bridge is built and it is in the transporation condition, I think of those people for whom boat was their primary source of income and livelihood. What alternative profession they would have taken? Do you know?

And there was a period when the bus used to go along with the passengers on a big iron lounge. I had travelled once or thrice. It was a motorized boat. Next came, I don’t have word to express its name; it had a look of two boats joined together.
That was the intricacy of my travelogue which has etched in one corner of my mind. Last time when I went there I found there was no man in the check post with a jute rope collecting denomiantion of 1 rupee. It was missing and so was the bank which which once had a lively market with shops selling toffees, biscuits and what not. A bridge has taken place of the boat.

This time, the fear of how to get into the other side of the river, no doubt was missing, but I was missing also the little tension and little bit of communication I had while crossing the river. The bridge has made the road straight and so is my journey of thoughts. Now, when I have started earning my bread and butter and there is money in my purse I don’t see the man in the check post. It has vanished as nothing was there before. I don’t know – what I would see in my next visit. Will there be any sign of civilization that once had its existence in this same bank? It has to be seen.

Friends if you take this route; stop there for a moment and see the whole surrounding. It was once full of activities. Please don’t take the Silchar-Badarpur-Kalain route to visit my place.

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