I also thought the same, how can we walk along the dark way! But the fact that there is also another way by passing one more gateway of the cave, it stunned me. So, I agreed to the villagers’ idea of exploring it. After they engaged in a talk in their language again, one among them brought down some dry branches with leaves of trees from top of the cave. Then, he tried to tie it together with the help of an “uri” like that of “urom sumchit”. There, I noticed that he was trying to make “meinam”. Likewise, he prepared two of them. In the process, another villager was seen pouring kerosene to the “meinam” which he kept in his bag. They might have brought the stuffs from their village and I guess they also brought match itself. Saying that the dark way will become all bright once the “meinam” got lighten up, the villagers also informed to us to pull up ours pants while walking. They also told us that the depth of the water inside the cave might be very deep. Hearing his words, I was little worried and my mind was also disturbed in thinking that we might met snake along the way. With pants pull up, everyone kept walking and was remembering almighty for blessing.
After lightening up the two “meinam”, the team proceeded further and according to discussion held earlier among the members, one was walking after another in line. The two “meinam” was held by the one who walk at the foremost and other by the one who walk at the last and the middle one was holding a torch light. Like this, the team headed inside the cave.
After getting inside, the first member made a splash sound as he jump in the water. Hearing at the sound, I thought that the water level might be deep. As I also started walking along the water filled way, my clothes was all wet. At that time, the rate of darkness was becoming grimmer and the flow of the water was running very fast. While walking, we came across many stones lying beneath the water. By walking inside the cave, it seems that the sound produce by the running water add more charm to the place.
As I mentioned it earlier, all places in and around the cave are covered with stones. In between the walk, we also noticed bat flying like in a hurry mood. Though I know that they were some kind of birds, I got little frightened at first as I could not identified what kind of bird they belong to. I came to know after one of the villagers told me that they were just bat. After walking certain distance with some fear psychosis inflicted to us, at last we got a new lease of relief as we walk out from the exit gateway.
It was all bright just after we came out from the cave. After a few moments, the fear of getting injured, causing damage to camera and others just seems vanished from ones’ mind. Then, everyone got fresh up by having bath and washed away all the dirt and sweat. Now I could see bats flying like crystal clear.
We then headed back to the village. While crossing the hill, everyone was putting much effort as compared when coming down from it. After coming back to the village, we then went to the other nearby village and night hold there. We were doing so because the villagers had requested for it. The other team who have went to inspect the road also reached at the same village. Like this following next day morning, we departed from the Tamenglong district and headed for back home.
Translated by Rakesh Lourembam, Manipur Times.