Forgotten three days-VII (Morning shows the day but Night hides everything)
Forgotten three days-VII (Morning shows the day but Night hides everything)14 mins 481 14 mins 481
(Prologue: Escaping the Debrigarh forest, reached a village called Jhagdabehera and managed to fill our empty stomach on the 2nd noon of the jungle expedition. Leaving the village on way savored ripen Indian Pulms stomach full. Following a lantern leader in a queue scaled another slope to reach wood cutter’s camp, hill-top. After the testiest dinner of life, fell asleep till next morning. But some chapters are still covered with a thick dust, accumulated in the last 23 years ... )
10:30PM, May 13 - AUROBINDO: After stomach-full dinner it was time to bed. But here I must appreciate the group for carrying along with mosquito coils. We used previous night by the jungle stream under the starry sky and also in the camp hut.
10:31PM, May 13 - BANAJ(UK): The sweet aroma of steaming hot rice and freshly cut onions of that night are still fresh in memory and not kidding at all. Just because of that life saving memory, I can eat just hot rice with onion cubes. Many may think how plain rice can have an aroma. But when you are longing for something to eat a faint smell of starch coming through steam can open up a new ambrosial dimension.
11:05PM, May 13 - AUROBINDO: We have to have a full night sleep so as to get ready for the last day’s journey. I didn't remember whether we had blanket that night or not or if there was something to cover our body but only thing I remember is I don't remember anything till I woke up in the morning to discover beautiful human habitat at the heart of Debrigarh Reserve Forest.
Banaj, if ‘am not wrong you seem to carry more details of that night. Please add …
CROSS TALK BEGINS:
11:00PM, May 13 - AUROBINDO: Don't dare repeating the stunts … because these are performed under expert supervision of Bhegnath-the Raju Guide, Shashikant-the Google.com and Pulu-the navigator.
Ha... Ha... Ha...
11:06PM, May 13 - RAKESH DAS(USA): Aurobindo, what special thing happened once Bhegnath said Burla Enng College students?
11:10PM, May 13 - AUROBINDO: Rakesh sorry, I was not an eyewitness. But they must have reacted in chorus "Eiye Bua ... (Oh my father …)".
11:12PM, May 13 - AUROBINDO: Allow me to sip my beer. Will be back soon on topic. Cheers...
11:26PM, May 13 - BANAJ(UK): Arabinda … Enjoy your drinks along with the following missing links …
Let me proceed …
11:26PM, May 13 - AUROBINDO: Sure my friend ...
CROSS TALK ENDS:
11:26PM, May 13 - BANAJ(UK): When we were walking to the camp, it was pitch dark, following a narrow path with bushes, both the sides. The guide with lantern led from the front. Bhegnath followed him, conversing in Sambalpuri, followed by Shashikant, for further planning and Niranjan thereafter. We three were, left at the end of the line.
I was scared to death ... of ghost.
11:27PM, May 13 - BANAJ(UK): Our fight to be the second form the last continued, until Niranjan realised and volunteered to be the last in the line. After few hours walking, we heard faint sound of people chattering and some music from radio or tape at distance, of course.
That ought to be woodcutter camp.
11:30PM, May 13 - AUROBINDO: That’s true … Carry on ...
11:31PM, May 13 - BANAJ(UK): We followed the sound with revived energy and boasted aloud about our achievements in conquering every obstacles in the face of danger.
The music stopped abruptly. Even few lamps put off as well.
The leader and Bhegnath apprehended about their recognising out Katki accent and mistaking as Forest Guards or Police, might be.
Niranjan and Pulu started scolding at low tone to me and Arabinda that we were dumb silent for next hour.
11:41PM, May 13 - BANAJ(UK): Warning all of us to keep absolute silence, and not at all to talk in Katki accent, Bhegnath and our guide went up to the camp.
Niranjan asked a very valid question "How are you going to find us?"
Bhegnath didn’t appear to have time for such details. Hurried off and lost in darkness. In no time the darkness swallowed the swaying light of the lantern.
11:44PM, May 13 - AUROBINDO: I shiver with your narration but can't imagine what might have been our situation then. Carry on ... boy ...
11:47PM, May 13 - BANAJ(UK): We were left on that dusty trail of hardly 2 feet width with thick bushes around as it was a cross road and there was a bit extra space. Silence was broken by Crickets and darkness by twinkling stars overhead. But the fear inside was in bountiful.
Mention of a possible crawling snake by Shashikant made that waiting horrifying. At one hand we were not supposed to make noise, to avoid undue attention from the woodcutters, but on the other hand we have to keep the snakes away by thumping of our feet, as advised by Google.com.
CROSS TALK BEGINS:
11:51PM, May 13 - AUROBINDO: Could not stop laughing, imagining what Pulu was doing with his torn shoe?
11:51PM, May 13 - MANOJ DAS(USA): Yeah … Pulu managed rest 2 days with torn shoe-sole and Lau (Odia word for carrying someone piggyback) on Banaj?
CROSS TALK ENDS:
11:51PM, May 13 - BANAJ(UK): Pulu asked with a barely audible voice the question nobody wanted to hear …
"Abey jadi sei’thi rahibaku na mile, aji rati kauthi rahiba? (Hey guys, if they do not let us in, where would we stay tonight?)"
His words sunk into my mind. In that pitch dark night I was trying in despair to look for an open space and a log for another probable open-air night-out. Alas, my eyes didn’t pierce through the darkness.
0:09AM, May 14 - BANAJ(UK): You turn a bit, the spikes of the bushes prick you. You stand still the mosquitoes and insects were all over you. Even slapping hard was not allowed. Any sort of noise was strictly prohibited.
Do you recall ... Arabinda?
Everybody would agree how gratifying to give a hard slap, there by killing a pricking mosquito and taking out the itch of the bite. But we were pressing so soft with our palms at biting mosquitoes and insects that I doubt if any of them died.
0:11AM, May 14 - BANAJ(UK): Though the legs couldn't carry us anymore, we were not allowed to sit on the ground as Shashikant strictly forbidden for fear of snakes.
0:13AM, May 14 - AUROBINDO: On the last part I agree that Dr Shashikant was the real Google.com. We were fortunate to have him for the trip.
0:15AM, May 14 - BANAJ(UK): After waiting for 20minutes or so you dropped another bomb "Sala se di’ta nku bandhiki rakhi dele ni ta … (Brother-in-law, what if, our 2 companions are made prisoners…)"
You said it jokingly, but part of me was thinking … if it were true!
0:20AM, May 14 - AUROBINDO: Oh ... I can only correlate now.
Don’t know if it’s recalling that night or the beer ...
I am under full intoxication …
But you carry on ...
0:25AM, May 14 - BANAJ(UK): I only remember this part because I was scared to my core. Thought of spending a night among bushes was no way comparable to the previous night’s much comfortable stay on a flat bed of rock with a roaring fire, giving protection from wild beasts and a fountain giggling with fresh water. Here in the bushes, we have no space, no water, no fire and snakes and insects all around. That thought had shaken me completely.
So much so that I even, suggested to shout out loud to attract their attention and be their prisoners than to die of snake bite. At that very moment, a streak of light approached from a distance and not long before appeared Bhegnath, relieving me of those spine chilling thoughts.
What a relief, seeing him back!
0:35AM, May 14 - BANAJ(UK): Finally we were lucky to pass that night in a 6 feet by 6 feet hut without any blankets but a lovely wood fire. As bed, we had nice thick layer of straw. But one more thing happened that night which many of you have already heard from me multiple times.
0:38AM, May 14 - AUROBINDO: Without wood fire we would have frozen in that chilly night in the heart of the jungle at a height of 400 meters above sea level, as I now confirm from Google Map.
0:39AM, May 14 - BANAJ(UK): In the middle of the night, I woke up screaming "Dhara re bhai, bhalu mo goda khai gala … (Someone save me … Bear has bitten off my leg …)"
0:41AM, May 14 - AUROBINDO: Oh … Ho … Ho … But what made you shout that way?
0:43AM, May 14 - BANAJ(UK): Thankfully when I woke up and looked in horror at my leg, it was there, intact. My whole body was shaking and sweating. My right thigh was too close to the fire.
My scream woke up Niranjan. We had a good laugh discussing my dream before dropping off again to sleep, to being a log of human body till the next morning.
0:45AM, May 14 - BANAJ(UK): Rest all as you described …
0:46AM, May 14 - AUROBINDO: Well I again admit, on that night from the moment I was on bed till next morning it was an unperturbed sleep. Those hours are excluded out of my life.
CROSS TALK BEGINS:
0:56AM, May 14 - MANOJ DAS(USA): Last part... Back to hostel next morning... To be continued...?
1:06AM, May 14 - BANAJ(UK): Next day’s half day trek down the hill to Bhatli and back to Burla was not that eventful but most enjoyable. The 400mts climb down through loose rocks at parts was bit scary for us though.
1:09AM, May 14 - AUROBINDO: Banaj, have patience! I will force you to take back all your words, after unfolding of few events. I still carry few unforgettable moments and would love to narrate tomorrow.
8:49AM, May 14 - HARESH BHAI: Many Many happy returns of the day Dipti - kudos to you for 100 club UCEANs. Good luck for many more achievements in your career.
10:06AM, May 14 - AKSHAYA SABAT(East Asia): Auro aji hostel pahanchiba na nahi? (Auro are you reaching hostel today?
10:07AM, May 14 - HARESH BHAI: Aji se Hostel Asi jiba ...(They will reach hostel ...)
10:07AM, May 14 - Lamay: I think by evening ...
10:08AM, May 14 - AKSHAYA SABAT(East Asia): Sala ratire padhi padhi sakale office re red mark ... ( Brother-in-Law after reading all through the night, red mark in office at morning ...)
10:09AM, May 14 - Lamay: Guards on right deck will scold all of them heavily, as they took their office as cycle stand ...
10:10AM, May 14 - AKSHAYA SABAT(East Asia): Such a wonderful experience never heard in UCE ... Unbelievable
10:10AM, May 14 - AKSHAYA SABAT(East Asia): U guys rocked on ...
10:11AM, May 14 - AKSHAYA SABAT(East Asia): Missing poor Bhegnath ...
10:11AM, May 14 - AKSHAYA SABAT(East Asia): Would have been a different platform altogether ...
10:20AM, May 14 - AKSHAYA SABAT(East Asia): Raat me pura sanatta ... sirf (Total silent night ... Only) Auro and Banoj with little whisper from lamay ... Neither you can ignore them nor can avoid reading ... Morning total flat at office ...
CROSS TALK ENDS:
10:56AM, May 14 - AUROBINDO: I don't recall the exact time but it was dense mist outside. But the group was onto the common act of getting ready for the next walk from woodcutter camp to Bhatli Durga(Fort). Well with reminiscent of Bhegnath's narration about Bhatli Durga from where the Great Veer Surendra Sai fought a long glorious battle with British East India Company at the back drop of India’s first Freedom Fight and continued the same for next few years, I was excited with every imagination for our real destination, we were likely to reach in next couple of hours.
11:08AM, May 14 - AUROBINDO: He narrated about Veer and his group getting arrested after decades of fight. Veer sighed his last breath at Hazaribag jail along with few companions and some of them got hanged at Cellular jail, Port Blair.
It was during my trip to Cellular Jail in July 2012, I found the list of the Freedom fighters, hanged at the jail, had few names from Odisha, mentioned in bracket. After I started posting the expedition, I came to know from Google search that most of the names were companions of Veer only.
11:12AM, May 14 - AUROBINDO: Why mentioned the above details has a reference to Bhegnath's telling about many nearby villagers putting their whole life in search of the hidden treasure supposed to have been kept by Veer and his group in that Bhatli Durga. Till 14th January 1993 the treasure was not traced. But as on 16th January 1993, the day we were scheduled to reach the place, no idea if treasures were still undiscovered.
We were absolutely cut-off from rest of the world, roaming in that part of the world which our Professor J. K. Dash from Civil Department refers "Third World's … Third World's … Third World's... Third World.
11:15AM, May 14 - AUROBINDO: Professor Dash was a real genius with both philosophical and literary bent of mind. During one of his classes, watching the bare minimum little side margins left on the exercise book by our friend, Ved Prakash Jain, he ridiculed, “Tu ta Sala … Marwadi ta … kire … (Are you … brother-in-law Marwadi … ”
11:15AM, May 14 - AUROBINDO: Whole of the class roared with laughter, “Yes Sir!”
11:16AM, May 14 - AUROBINDO: Professor Dash walked near Ved Prakash and begged sorry, literally with lot of remorse, on his face. Even though Ved retorted, “An’ta nai kahun … Angyan … chal’ma … (Don’t say that … Sir … It’s OK … )
But the compunctious Professor continued …
11:17AM, May 14 - AUROBINDO: Ved Prakash, it was just like the most favored slang of Sambalpuri people “Sale Katki … (Brother-in-Law Katki …)”
Indian Constitution gives its citizen “Right to Equality” but a sane mind never judges a person on his caste and creed …
11:19AM, May 14 - AUROBINDO: Though I always address the Western Odisha as "Third World's … Third World's … Third World's ... Third World” but I appreciate their rancor for people from Cuttack and their Katki accent and their favorite slang “Sale Katki ...”
11:20AM, May 14 - AUROBINDO: It doesn’t matter if one hails from Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Puri, Berhampur, West Bengal, Kashmir … … China … … London … … even USA, if one doesn’t speak Sambalpuri, is a “Katki” and would be scolded with “Sala Katki…”
(Forty-five budding Electronics and Tele-Communication Engineers didn’t dare to argue with Professor who never speaks irrational. All were attentively waiting for his next argument, explaining his rationality for calling our friend Ved, Marwadi.)
11:20AM, May 14 - AUROBINDO: “Sala Marwadi” is on the similar pretext of “Sala Katki”
But we miss to acknowledge the underneath kinship in the slang “Sala Katki”
(Made many raised their eyebrows…)
11:20AM, May 14 - AUROBINDO: Rest of Sambalpur … is Cuttack …
Just imagine what part of world population is addressed as “Sala Kataki…”
I don’t know how far my friend Ved Prakash and rest of class were satisfied with the explanation but I became a huge fan of Professor J. K. Dash.
11:27AM, May 14 - AUROBINDO: Finding the Hidden treasure at Bhatli Fort was the motivation behind the expedition. But it was Pulu's malfunctioning magnetic watch, the group diverted from its goal since the first day afternoon with sole agenda to reach a nearby human habitat and to have a stomach full meal.
11:34AM, May 14 - AUROBINDO: During that morning self-preparing session in the camp, situated at a good height as it was evident from last evening's long up-hill walk, with improvement in visibility, something caught my attention. It was a 30 feet long mast affixed to the ground and a YAGI antenna (Used that time for capturing national channel) atop. A black flat cable, dangling around the mast, was running down.
11:37AM, May 14 - AUROBINDO: The moment, we stepped into the Debrigarh Reserve Forest, not a single lamp-post was witnessed nor any overhead hanging wires. Might be I was grossly mistaken in presuming that the place was deprived of the basic amenities, electricity and roads. Might be we didn’t come across.
11:38AM, May 14 - AUROBINDO: Suddenly a nude kid ran across dragging a rolling toy car, honking in mouth. The toy, even the wheels were carved in wood, so dexterously.
Re-focusing on the mast and the YAGI Antenna that was taking a clear shape, as the mist thinned a little was a wooden one. The black flat cable running down was stitched from cloth! It was a show piece, never knew till that point that a modest TV cable and antenna could be a piece of aspiring decorative item.
Still there are many inaccessible places in our country, deprived of the basic amenities.
11:44AM, May 14 - AUROBINDO: I don't recall if we had the liberty of a morning tea/coffee but we six were ready for another walk along with the wood-cutters.
Ready ... Steady ... Go...
CROSS TALK BEGINS:
11:44AM, May 14 - Lamay: Without breakfast?
11:44AM, May 14 - BANAJ(UK): Happy Birthday Dipti bhai.
Haresh bhai, let’s have a combined party, as that of grand feast of hostel days.
11:48AM, May 14 - BANAJ(UK): Bibhu, you are in Singrauli. I had my first posting at NTPC power station thereat and continued till 1999. Good memories of the place. Enjoy your holidays.
CROSS TALK ENDS:
To be continued …
[You will not give importance, even to nectar, till you have not earned it. So is our freedom. Let’s never forget the sacrifices of our freedom fighters who smilingly kissed death to ignite a fire in the fellow countrymen for the struggle to freedom.
We have always complaint about what the country has given us! Have we ever thought of the deprived lot who even don’t know whom to ask for and never opened their mouth at?]