Wednesday, September 17, 2014

When Flood was a Festival for me

Imagine a delightful day on the bank of a river- enjoying its pristine beauty, the snaky-winding curves it creates while flowing tirelessly through the landscape, the various shades of blue it carries, admire the lush green valley on both sides, …like the poet says…..there is no parallel to a lovable mother just like nothing is parallel to the flow of a river.

Come rain in the hills, be ready to see the other dimension of this legend. The soaring waterline, destroying all beauty once it created, people running for their lives from the curse of the nature. Is this the balancing of nature…..price we pay for miss-management of this resource, or the inevitable effect due to human domination in this world, or asking us for more respect?

Yes! This mirror has two faces. But, whatever may be….two kinds of people welcome flood every-year in general. The first are the ones who have been given responsibility by the Govt to control this natural disaster. More often than not take this opportunity to siphon off the money meant for the affected to improve the health of their bank accounts. I still remember one of my friends who is a son of a Flood control & Embankment officer asking his father for a sporty bike…and his father replied that sooner the flood arrives…faster his wish will be fulfilled.

And who is the other kind? Children, who are unable to see too far due to their innocence while their parents taking the enormous pain to ride over this period. Going back to the days, when we used to chase the butterflies by a river, I was in this category…Flood was just like a festival for me those days.

My sweet Dichang river. I used to go with my granny and aunt to take bath, wash cloth, sometimes with my uncle for fishing or just to see our paddy field on the bank of the river. Me and my bro used to take out sweet potatoes, pluck out the peas and relish them looking at the running water, sitting on the anchored boats, counting the buses moving above the bridge…

But, the same river would become extremely ferocious during the summer time, swell as if unable to bear the scorching heat of the earth, and inundate the whole area on her bank. 

Probably I was in class II. Whenever there were some discussions in the village about impending flood, some kind of excitement, delight I used to have. I would plan about things to do after my school hours, going with my uncle to see villages where water level was fast rising, join with neighbours to do fishing, watch people trying to catch floating wooden blocks, enjoy the ride on the banana tree boat. My village was on little highland so, I had a small anguish as it used to be the last one to get submerged in the flood.

I would join my dad to visit relief camps, but both used to have different agendas. He would sympathize other villagers and acquaintances while I enjoy looking at people making the tents on the highways, kids of my age playing marble games, football etc.; I used to feel jealous. Great to see so many cattle together! Food items and cloths were distributed. The ladies used to cook beside the tents, and serve warm food to all the family members, as if it was a picnic spot. Political big heads, govt. officers with their greedy minds used to visit the place frequently. Some ladies used to cry continuously…but alas! I didn’t understand why they were crying! Just used to enjoy the crowd, looking at the nature’s changes!!!

I used to get up early with an excitement to see water, water everywhere….all the nearby places engulfed by Dichang. My mom and aunt used to worship the river requesting her to calm down, not to be so cruel. But, silently I used to request her not to go away…..and be there for some more time.

I used to enjoy flood like Durga Puja till I was class IV, while I started reading out books, listen to the radio news, or understand my parents or others conversation what kind of pain flood brings.

My innocent childhood used to say – “Flood, Flood, Come again”, now with all my heart, I say, “Flood, Flood, never come again…”

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