In between the walk, everyone used to take rest at sunshade places. Bedyajit of Sanaleibak was seen all sweat while walking; it seems that he used to get sweat very soon as compared with other colleagues. On the other hand, Kanglei of Imphal Free Press was in a mood of making joke in most of the times. His temperament is something and I hardly find him talking serious matter. My other colleague Wilson of DDK Imphal was spotted walking in healthy manner with a long-shape cowboy cap covering his long hair. Since he hails from Senapati, Wilson’s body is like of muscle-man and he does not look tired as he used to walk and travel to hill places frequently. And, Mungyamba as expected was teasing and trying to cheer up everyone.
Though everyone chanted hard and loud noises while walking, we also used to take rest intermittently. One by one the sounds went off passing from one landscape to another. Sometimes while taking rest, the cold wave blown out from the region swept across us and it lilted each and every one. At that point of time, I remembered the tale of race between a rabbit and a tortoise where the rabbit used to take rest at various intervals after covering a certain distance.
Then suddenly, shower of rain held us unexpectedly. Everyone was covered with mud and faced all wet as of the rain. The condition of the road is not worth mentioning. I mean it’s really deplorable. We noticed some places almost filled up with water. The team also come across certain roads section almost blocked due to landslide. Despite of it, everyone kept walking even it forced us to climb some section of hills to proceed further. While walking, there are also times come where “Kakfei” attacked us. The mighty “Kakfei” found in hills region seems to be very dangerous, even it falls from trees atop. Everyone expressed concerned with some trying to remove it from their body. After having struck by “Kakfei” a couple of times, Michael said let it bite him. Smiling his face, he even said if “Kakfei” does not bite and suck blood from us then what will they eat.
After walking around 20 kms, the sun set and dawn arrived. Then, Oja Thomas told to all of us that the team would night hold at Namkalong Village saying that the team would discuss further plans following the next morning. After hearing his words, we all further headed for the village.
For reaching the village, the team had to pass another high hill amid the dark night. There, we proceed facing much difficulty as one had to help another because of the dark. Everyone felt extremely tired after putting upmost effort. Then while walking along the main road, I was feeling very thirsty due to dehydration. As we were walking through the hollow and bushy region, there was in my mind thinking that we can be attacked by deadly animal and kakfei. There was also chance of getting slip as the way was very muddy. At that juncture, I started feeling very hungry. After covering certain distance, at last we reached at top of the hill. Everyone got a new lease of relief after reaching the place as we came nearer toward the village. There, we found a vast and flat stone happened to be used by villagers for taking rest. Taking rest at there, we were waiting for other colleagues to arrive. While sitting at the place, suddenly some unknown insects started biting us. After taking rest for a while, we were feeling much better. At that time, a much-welcome, gentle and cold wind blow toward the place and it made us forget the boredom inflicted by the long journey. As other teammates arrived after waiting for around 30 minutes, we again headed further for the village and started climbing yet another small hill. After passing the hill, we at last reached the Namkalong Village at around 8 pm.
The Namkalong Village happened to be a small village. There, the villagers were putting hard effort in arranging accommodation for the team. The village was not in a position that it could provide bed for each and every member of the team. So, they roll out a big “Dambur” on the floor of a family. There, everyone was supposed to sleep together. After having dinner there, everyone was preparing for having slept as all of us felt extremely tired. Following the next morning, the team met with the villagers and while waiting for the lunch, we discussed about the condition of the road. The team also tried to build report on the matter of health problem as well being faced by the village. Then, when we asked the villagers if there are any places where we can explore and construct worth news, they informed that there is a ‘cave’. But Oja Thomas told us that we shall visit up to Barak Bridge by foot from the village. Since I was interested in visiting the ‘cave’, I did not take part on the Barak’s tour. Oja Thomas headed for the Barak tour along with Bedyajit of Sanaleibak. On the other hand, I along with Wilson and some villagers decided to visit the ‘cave’. But Mungyamba and Michael decided to stay away from the visit saying that they would want to take rest instead of the expedition.
To be continued….
Translated by Rakesh Lourembam, Manipur Times.