August 3, 2013

The walk in the rain

I always go home on weekends despite the condition of weather and last week was no different from any other weekends. I had asked for the extension of my leave since I had some work at Nanglam. After spending a night at Nanglam and finishing my work there, I travelled back home. The weather was hot and dusty and there was no sign of rain. Assuming that the weather might be same at my station which is about 25 kms away, I asked my driver to drop me to my station in the evening. My husband said that I should leave in the afternoon since the weather is very unpredictable in the summer and agreeing to his suggestion I got into the vehicle after lunch. Travelling through the rugged bumpy farm road is not always a pleasant experience but I got no other option.

 After travelling for about 9 kms, we came across the stream which was swollen and it was difficult to cross it. The rain had started thrashing windshield by then and it was getting heavier every passing second. We waited for other vehicles to come by and luckily two Boleros reached the spot after us. They made an attempt to cross the swollen stream. After some attempts one was successful in getting across. I got the lift in the bolero and asked my driver to return. We had gone about 1 km when we came across a huge lump of soil blocking the road. Looking up the cliff, we saw the boulders falling continuously. The rain made the soil and boulders fall easily and we were left staring at the scene. We couldn’t turn back either because the stream had turned into a fast flowing angry river.

We debated on our next strategy and decided that we would leave our things in the vehicle and continue walking towards station. I carried my room keys and the small bag that I had and started my 15 km walk in the rain (I had forgotten my umbrella at home). We started our walk at 4 pm. Taking caution and keeping our eyes up on the cliff, we started walking. My only worry had been to reach my station before nightfall. I don’t know how I got the stamina but I walked as fast as the rest in the group. After walking for more than an hour we came across another swollen stream. I hadn’t noticed that stream when I was traveling that road before because it was too small to notice. I never imagined such a tiny stream to grow into fast flowing stream that threatened to wash us away.

We tried to cross the stream in groups helping one another, catching hands and crossing the stream making a chain. After much struggle, we could cross it. When we reached the other side, we were drenched from waist to toe. We continued walking and wondering what might be the condition of another stream that awaited us. Another hour walk and we reached the stream. To our shock, there was no trace of any road that had been there a few days ago. A bulldozer was working in the stream clearing the huge boulders and ferrying the people who had been stranded there. I thanked my lucky star for had it not been for the bulldozer, there wasn’t a chance for us to get across the stream. We waited for some minutes and the bulldozer carried us across the stream. We thanked the driver and continued on our way. It was almost dark when I finally turned on the lock of my room. There was no way I could call my family and tell them about my journey because the network was down since that afternoon.

As I type this, I haven’t had the luxury of making calls to anyone since we haven’t had mobile network since 30th July and its 2nd August 10.00pm now. And there is still no sign on network. It feels like I am kicked back in time to the Stone Age with no means of communication. L

Note: I travelled home on weekend and I am posting this from home. There is still no sign of network at my station.

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