Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Travel Reads: Picnic at Dirok


It had begun to snow in nearby Arunachal and there was a nip in the air. Dirok like all the other places in Assam was in the midst of a cold winter. It was Christmas time in the 1990s when we were made to live in fear. While the world sang ‘silent night, holy night’, Upper Assam was silent while a pall of grim had set in. We were a witness to some of the bloodiest massacres; disappearance of local youths, president’s rule and random killings. Villagers ended up in camps while the army combed the villages looking for terrorists. It was a time filled with sickening mayhem. The hills are still green and the trees were lush-green. And one can never forget the various species of orchids. People still picnicked which they continue to do. We went for a picnic to Dirok which covers a part of the Dehing Patkai Rain Forest, the only rainforest in Assam. Flanked by tea gardens, Dirok lies on the road between Digboi and Margherita.

We lunched by the bank of the Burhi Dehing River. On either side of the bank, the forest reigned in mystic splendour. The banks were stony and the water is crystal-clear. Schools of tiny fish swam through and the water felt icy in the fingers. Burhi Dihing is also the lifeline to agriculture and is famous for its oxbow lakes. I was happy and as a child, there was a lot to take in. My sister and I socialized with the adults. Not much of talkers, we snapped into our worlds that I’ve treasured until today.

(Article by Kabita Sonowal) 

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