Some ruminations enroute Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary
Where have the hills disappeared?
This was my thought as I looked around me in disbelief, on our way to Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. I knew Guwahati had changed. It had always been a congested city, given its importance among the 6 north-eastern states. A gateway to NE India, that’s how Guwahati is described. As I wiped down the misty car window glasses on a cold December morning, all I could see around me were looming apartment towers. The hills had been ‘cut down’. Or strangled by a burgeoning population that had taken over entire hill-sides. Who are these people? I winced as the car moved along, the dust and the fog intertwined. And then, just as despair was about to set in, there came into view this beautiful stretch of teak forest. I opened the windows and let the air in. And as if on cue, faint rays of sunlight streamed in through the canopy of trees. The world was alright, again.
The yellow fields of Punjab
That’s what I was reminded of as I looked at the golden yellow fields of mustard on both sides of the road. I have always remembered the fields of Assam to be a luminescent shade of green. Where were the lush paddy fields? At this time of the year, the paddy fields are supposed to be straw coloured, the rice having been harvested, leaving only the dry stalks. Have the agriculture habits of the Assamese people changed then? Apparently, the root lay in politics and I shall not venture there.
The one that got away
My one regret was that I did not stop along the way and click a picture of the mighty Brahmaputra. There it lay, its milky white sandy banks flanked by the golden mustard fields. A beautiful sight to behold. Yet, come monsoon, and the river turns into a monster frothing at its mouth. Who would have believed that this calm river, basking in the morning light as would a languid python, is responsible for such terrible floods in the region?
The pink pond
That’s how it seemed from afar. A pink-hued pond. A closer look and it turned out to be a water body filled to the brim with lotus blooms. (Or were they water lily?) They glitterred with quiet dignity as the morning mist began to fade away against the emboldening sun rays. A pretty picture to gladden the heart and yet quick to miss by in our hurry to reach the destination.
The tree of life
We had almost reached Pobitora when something caught my eye. A few green leaved trees. Aren’t most of the trees supposed to be barren and bald at this time of the year? Had I not seen so many of such trees on the way? Then why do the same trees have leaves here? Fluttering, brightly coloured leaves… Oh, I see. The mystery cleared as a loud screech rent the air. The green leaves were rose-ringed parakeets, after all. Now, aren’t they quite a naughty bunch, to confuse people like that?
Fresh, hot and steamy
The dew was still glittering on the lawn when we stopped at a newly open resort at the entrance of Pobitora for breakfast. As we waited for our grubs I pottered around the property, clicking at all and sundry. The rickety old bullock-cart, the narrow canoe-like boat, the sun-drowsy dog, everybody got their due share of attention till I was enticed by the aroma of golden, fluffy lusi/puris and hot chole. The table-mat was an interesting one and I spent some time reading about the various fishing equipment of Assam before tucking into my plate of deliciousness. A few sips of delicately flavoured Assam tea later, we were ready to explore what Pobitora had to offer us.
Let’s start our adventure then, shall we? Coming soon.