PART - I
By Dr B K Gohain
Strange are the ways of Government. I was working like mad in the Home and Political Department, Government of Assam during the period from 1979 to 1981, that too, mostly during the President’s rule, in the teeth of bundhs, non-cooperation, picketing of offices by the activists of the Assam movement on the foreigners’ issue . One day, Mr. Jatin Hazarika, the then Home Secretary rebuked me when he found that even the Bihari and Nepali Chowkidars who keep the keys of the locks for the Chief Secretary’s enclave and of the Departments did not turn up and as a result, he could not enter into his chamber in the Chief Secretary’s enclave ,which was the hallowed hall of Governce accommodating the Chief Secretary, the Additiol Chief Secretary, the Home Commissioner and other top ranking officers of the Government of Assam. Somehow, I could collect the keys to the Chief Secretary’s enclave and to the Home and Political Department . From that day, I got an extra set of keys to the doors of the Government and an extra duty to open the doors of the Chief Secretary’s enclave and the Political Department on the days when the Chowkidars did not turn up for the above reasons.
Besides being a glorified clerk with the desigtion of Special Officer ,Home & Political Department, I worked like a peon, clerk, chowkidar and most importantly as the errand boy of the Chief Secretary, the Home Commissioner besides going through the letters received from the Government of India and other offices as well as from the public during the Bundhs and Non Cooperation days and even I had to carry the files to the Home Secretary, the Chief Secretary and Mr.K.Ramamurthy who was the Adviser( Administration) to the Governor of Assam . Luckily, the Governor’s Secretariat was inside the Assam Secretariat and my former boss Mr.S.K.Purkayastha was the Secretary to the Governor of Assam who allowed me to hand over the files endorsed by the Adviser/Chief Secretary to the Governor. I was always at the back and call of the my bosses like the OSD Late Mr.Bhubaneswar Bhattacharyya, the Home Secretary Mr. Jatin Hazarika and later Mr. C.D. Tripathy and the Adviser Mr.Ramamurthy and I had to rush to his( Adviser’s) Chamber in the Jata Bhavan several times. My rush hours were from 10 AM to 7 PM. Seeing me rushing around on foot, Mr.Purkayastha used to say that I could join in the walking race. But the fact remains, my walks did me immense good as these were the only respites I got from the desk as the works in the Political (A) Department were immense and I had to remain table-tied most of the time having hundreds of files to attend to with Late Dharani Deb, the most hardworking Superintendant of the Political Department helping me out .
After some period of the President’s rule, the State Policy on the movement on the foreigners’ issue changed. One day, to our dismay, the office Chamber of Mr. Jatin Hazarika got locked and he could not open it from inside. I informed Mr. Paramsivam, the then Chief Secretary and others. However, the door was opened from outside by key. I got a premonition that everything was not right in the State of Denmark. The transfer of Mr. Paramsivam as the OSD in the Prime Minister’s Secretariat and posting of Mr. Ramesh Chandra as the new Chief Secretary and induction of Mr.C.D.Tripathi as the Home Commissioner were the immediate changes. I was very sad when I saw the news of the transfer of Mr. Paramsivam, who was very upright and who used to call me sometimes for discussion on some files . I was, one day, surprised to learn from Mr. Hazarika that Mr. L.P. Singh, ICS (Retired), the great Governor of Assam would come to the Secretariat. It was unprecedented but we liked it. He came to the Chief Secretary’s Chamber. Then he talked to Madam Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India and told her that she could come and declare the cut off year as 1st January, 1966. Next day, in the newspaper, I saw the news of transfer of Mr. Paramsivam. His transfer was rumoured to be the rejection of the proposed cut off year which left me confused and sad. Mr. Paramsivam, who had many a friend from the Assamese community, was a very strict disciplirian. His handwriting was bad and it was difficult to read. So was mine in my formative years and as such, I could read his notes and observations in the files and to write them down by hand for the Home Secretary. Mr. Paramsivam was a man of few words and his noting in the files were to the point and strictly as per rules, procedures and precedents. Once when I gave a note that the Government should not allow some officers to engage lawyers to defend them before the Commission of Inquiry at Government’s cost and they should bear the cost themselves as they were alleged to be involved in some excesses, he was prompt to direct me to point out if there was any precedent which I did. However, ultimately, some lawyers were to be appointed by the Government to defend them before the Inquiry Commission.
The most important change effected was the posting of Mr.S.K.Agnihotri as the D.C. Kamrup (undivided). It was the after-effect of the massive defiance of the curfew orders imposed by the Deputy Commissioner, Kamrup by the Guwahatians.I was asked by the Home Secretary to go and see for myself the situation arising there as he was getting alarming report from the D.C. So I went there. It was a sight to see. Several thousands of people gathered at Chandmari and the Magistrates and the Police were silent spectators. No damage was caused by the massive gathering of the AASU activists and of the public. Mr. Kamaleswar Bara, the then D.C. had to lift the curfew. I came back after the people started going away from the place and reported the matter.
After intensive interactions, Mr. Tripathy decided to trust me after testing me several times. One day he called me and handed over some files on preventive detention and said that I should examine and put up these files to him directly. He also advised me not to show the papers and files relating to the Preventive Detention to anybody including the Deputy Secretaries/ Joint Secretary and not to discuss these matters with anybody which I obeyed scrupulously. In the meantime, one Persol Security Officer was posted with me and a car was allotted for going to the High Court with the case-files on Preventive Detention which used to come up before the Hon’ble High Court. I had the opportunity to interact with Mr.D.N.Choudhury ( presently a retired Justice of the Gauhati High Court,) the then Senior Government Advocate of the Government of Assam who used to represent the Government before the Hon’ble Courts in these cases. I was also to present the Government views before the Advisory Board constituted for examining the cases of detention under the tiol Security Act very often. One interesting event took place. The Government authorised the Private Secretary to the then Justice Mr. K.M.Lahiri, the then Chairman of the Advisory Board to draw the Travelling Allowances for Hon’ble Justice and the retired Justices who were the members of the Board. One morning at 10 AM when I went to the Circuit House to attend the Advisory Board meeting as the representative of the Government, Mr.Lahiri summoned me on that morning and when I entered, he asked me why his Private Secretary was notified as the Drawing & Disbursing Officer for him and other members of the Advisory Board, I humbly submitted that as his Lordship was a busy Justice of the Gauhati High Court, the Government thought it prudent not to overburden him as the DDO. He looked at me sternly and asked me to notify him as the D.D.O of the Board adding that he should see the notification on that day before sun-down. In spite of my discomfiture, I was happy that he was using the word ‘sun-down’ which is found in the cow-boy novels only. I promptly submitted that I might be allowed to leave for the Secretariat to meet the Home Commissioner and Fince Commissioner for getting their approval. Unfortutely for me, Mr. Bandopadhyay ,the then Fince Commissioner was attending a meeting in the Agricultural University campus at Khapara and the Joint Secretary ,Fince would not concur to the proposal if not approved by the Commissioner. He, however, allowed me to take the file to the University campus, Khapara to the Fince Commissioner. When I entered into the Conference Hall of the Campus, the Council meeting was going on. I silently approached the Fince Commissioner and whispered about my predicament. I showed him the file. After going through it, he put his sigture of approval. I went back to Fince Deptt and got the concurrence of the Fince Deptt to our proposal for notifying the Hon’ble Justice as the Drawing & Disbursing Authority of the Advisory Board. I was reading my watch now and then. After getting the sigture of the Home Commissioner, I rushed to the Circuit House, Guwahati to hand over the notification before rising of the Board at 4 PM. But the sitting of the Board was over at 3.30 PM and Hon’ble Justice Mr. Lahiri already had left to his Bungalow situated on the bank of the Brahmaputra. When I pushed the calling bell of the Bungalow, one Lady came out and I guessed rightly that she was Lady Lahiri. I told her about my urgency of meeting Hon’ble Justice before the sunset as ordered by him. At that point of time, Justice Mr.Lahiri came out to the drawing room and looked askance at me. I simplely handed over the notification. Mr.Lahiri smiled at me and asked Mrs. Lahiri to bring me tea and scks introducing me as an efficient officer of the Government. My nervousness was gone. I was highly elated hearing these words. Another incident took place on a day of hearing of the Advisory Board. Myself and the then Deputy Superintendant of Police ( DSB) were present in the Circuit House when one noted literary figure appeared before the Board. Seeing both of us in the Circuit House waiting for the call of the Board for appearance in a room, he commented, ‘How come two good looking gentlemen are in the Secret Service? The Secret Service men should be non-descript. You are not.’ We thanked him but kept quite. In this way, I was to be very busy in my official works and I could go back to my residence at 8 P.M. on every working day.
I, somehow, became an expert on the Preventive detention matters as I studied the law and went through the rulings and found that the tiol Security Act was a very strict Act and one should be very careful while drafting the dossiers and the grounds of detention. While Mr. Tripathy was highly supportive as he saw my works and the intensity with which I performed my duties without fear and favour, Mr. Agnihotri was different in his approach and thought that whatever grounds of detention he framed were right. One day he called me to the D.C’s Bungalow and in the presence of some top ranking police and civil officers, he gave a piece of his mind. I explained how and why the cases put forward to the Government on preventive detention did not conform to the laws and the rulings of the Supreme Court of India. He got pacified and later on, he sent a proposal to the Government to post me part time with him for overseeing the preventive detention cases. The Government did not find it proper to put an Officer of the Secretariat in the office of a Deputy Commissioner but some of my friends working there in the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Kamrup advised him to put me in place by posting me as the Area Magistrate of Dispur. Even Mr. Tripathy who saw me everyday working late hours in the Secretariat could not prevent it. When I saw that the notification of my posting was signed by an officer who was working with me in Silchar, I could understand the significance. I then realised that a civil servant has his ‘well-wishers’ not amongst the members of the public but amongst his friends and colleagues who are sufficient to do him ’good’. It happened many times in my service life and with every change of Government, I had to bear the brunt of the ‘good will’ of my well wishers for some time after which things become normal. After all, every Government has to have some officers to bear the burden of hard works.
One day, I was detailed as a Magistrate at the Oil Refinery in Noonmati to maintain law and order there as the ASSU and All Assam Gasangram Parishad had given a call for blockade of the movement of oil tankers from the Refinery. One Mr. Pathak who was detailed there as the ADM did nothing to prevent the disorder. I got some picketers arrested which became an issue and then I convened a discussion with Prabin Gogoi, the Convenor of the Oil Committee and requested him to lift the boycott. He agreed on condition that I got the arrested students released to which I agreed. I submitted a report to the Additiol Deputy Commissioner Mr. Pathak stating the facts, who, on turn, might have submitted to the D.C. The D.C., in turn, must have sent it to the Governor and when I received my own note perused by the Governor landing on my table on the Dak files meant for the Chief Secretary and the Home Commissioner, I was dumb founded. Then I went to meet Mr. Tripathy to get me relieved of my duties as the Special Officer to the Government. He smiled smugly and in a characteristic way told me that I should accept whatever was in store for me. Then one day, I was posted in Dispur P.S as Magistrate in charge and law and order and I met Mr. Ashim Roy, the renowned Additiol S.P. Kamrup as the top police officer there. When we were sitting in the Police Station, he suddenly got up and when asked told me that he was going for a round. Since I was posted as Magistrate in charge, I requested him to allow me to accompany. We moved towards Rajgor tri-junction with a posse of CRPF personnel. When we reached the spot, we found that some ladies were squatting on the road. Mr. Roy wanted to lathi-charge them. But I promptly climbed up the bonnet of the Gypsy and announced that I declared the gathering unlawful as they violated Section 144 of Code of Crimil Procedure and got them arrested. They gave the assurance that they would disperse voluntarily and peacefully and would create no law and order. This step taken by me was strictly in accordance with law and I was not perturbed as to what the D.C. would say.
However, as my works as the Special Officer increased many fold as we were not only to dispose files but also were required to send a wireless message to the Government of India every day at 730 PM to the Government of India even on office holidays , I persuaded Mr. Tripathy to relieve me of my Magisterial duties which he did .The most rewarding experience was the day when I could save the m-ghar situated in the last gate in front of the MLAS’ hostel when I , as the Area Magistrate, desisted the attempts of two Magistrates mely Mr. Barkakaty and Mr. Kakati placed under me from D.C. office to demolish the m-ghar. I vehemently opposed it saying that the location of the m-ghar in front of the MLAs’ hostel should never be the ground for eviction and the demolition of a religious Institution, which is always an epitome of integration and peace and serenity in a secular country would be compared to the sacrilege of Kalapahar of the great Kamakhya temple of Guwahati.
Mr. C.D. Tripathy was always enterprising and he strictly followed the laws. I liked his extracurricular activities besides admiring him for his straightforward way of advising the Government correctly and precisely. When he was the Sub-divisiol Officer (Civil), in North Lakhimpur subdivision, he went up the hills of NEFA along with Mr. Anil Barua who was the B.D.O there and discovered the ancient ruins of Malinithan.
It led him to do research in archaeology and his contribution to the archaeology of Assam is immense. His mother was also a noted Archeolgist. He used to tell me about his experiences in North Lakhimpur. He told me once, knowing that I hail from Gohpur of the undivided Darrang district that one Mishing gentleman clad in white dhuti and shirt with pockets on both sides called on him and asked if he could get the permission of the Government to buy an aeroplane for his use. With smug smile,r. Tripathy asked the gentleman as to what he would do with an aeroplane. He said that he had to got to Tezpur, the District headquarters of the undivided Darrang many times a month and the Trunk Road from North Lakhimpur to Tezpur being of gravel and difficult to travel on a bus, he wanted to buy an aeroplane so that he could fly from his area to Tezpur. Mr. Tripathy jokingly asked him if he had brought money for buying the aeroplane, the gentleman lifted his shirt, took out a wrapper of cloth from his waist and opened it. It was full of bank notes of one thousand rupees denomition of those days. Seeing the huge bundle of money, he told the gentleman that an aeroplane could not be bought by a private individual and only Government could buy it. The gentleman felt bad and so he was given a cup of tea and scks which he took as a matter of respect shown to him by the S.D.O.
I was one day called by Mr.Tripathy in 1980 to his office chamber and he told me to escort the prospective Chief Minister who was to take the oath immediately. But he did not mention the me of the person to be escorted by me and by the contingent of police force headed by an Additiol S.P. of Guwahati. He simply told me the mes of two persons Hiteswar Saikia and Anowara Taimur and desired that I should escort the right one. He strictly told me not to mention about it even to my wife. Next morning, I went to the S.P.’s office at 8.30 A.M and met the Additiol S.P. with the contingent. We proceeded to the Airport and on way I requested the Additiol S.P. to instruct him the escort officer not to blare the horn in the Gauhati University area as the students might block the road when they see a VIP crossing the area thinking that some Minister of the Government of India was travelling. We reached Guwahati Airport safely. That day being an open day for the University classes, the possibility of the students accosting the car-Cade was very high. The Additiol S.P. also did not know whom we were to escort to Dispur. As I was the Special Officer, Home & Political Department I knew the S.B. officials in the Airport. So both of us entered the Airport and asked the S.B. personnel to show us the list of travellers coming in the morning flights. We found that while Madam Anowara Taimur was coming in the morning flight, Hiteswar Saikia and Keshab Gogoi who were M.L.As were coming in the afternoon flight. Even the S.B. personnel were not briefed about it.
So we received Madam Taimur and were escorting her to Dispur and to my dismay, the sirens were blown full glare throughout without stop and even in the University area, the sirens were not stopped. Habits die hard. The pilot and escort party are trained to blare sirens . So I did not say anything. Anyway, we escorted Madam to the MLA hostel safely. When I went to inform Mr. Tripathy, he smiled and smugly said, ‘After all, you could choose the right one. ‘ To add to my anxiety, I was asked by Mr. Purkayastha, Secretary to the Governor to assist him in the matter of swearing of the new Chief Minister and her council of Ministers. On that occasion, I distributed the swearing-in-oath papers after ascertaining whether the prospective Chief Minister and the Ministers wanted to take oaths in the me of God or by the Constitution of India and in Assamese, English or Bengali. Madam wanted to take the oath in Assamese and in the me of God. At the last minute, she changed her mind and said that she would take the oath in the me of the Constitution of India. In the meantime, Hon’ble Governor was about to enter into the hall. Seeing my expression, Mr.Purkayastha looked askance. But I hurriedly handed over a form of oath by the Constitution in Assamese to Mrs. Anowara Taimur and rushed to Mr. Purkayastha and requested him to change the Oath sheet meant for the Chief Minister to be read by Hon’ble Governor. As soon as the Governor entered the hall, the tiol Anthem was played and after the swearing in ceremony was over, Mr. Purkayastha came to me and smilingly said that the Government was not to face embarrassment and I did the right thing. My only feeling was that the Government overtax those officers who work hard while the officers in the other some Departments take their works easy and are not overburdened.
Mr. Tripathy was very kind to me. Mr. Ramamurthy , the Adviser , was specially kind as he saw my earnestness in work and when he was to bid farewell at the end of his tenure as the Adviser ( Administration) , he called me and asked me if there was any loose end. When I answered in the negative, he was relieved and asked me as to what he could do for me. I requested him to give me credit for my works and reflect it in my Annual Confidential Report. He said that he already did that and if I wanted to go on central deputation, he would be happy to recommend it. I told that I was very junior in service; it would be awkward to go on Central deputation in a very junior post. To my delight, he got up and bade me farewell by shaking my hands. He handed over a letter of appreciation to me saying that he had ordered a copy to be placed in my persol file. That spell of the President’s rule ended on 6th December, 1980 and Mrs. Anowara Taimur took the oath as related earlier. I continued to work as the Special Officer, Home & Political Departments. She was very understanding. It was the habit of mine to take the files on the Preventive Detention persolly to the Home Commissioner and to the Adviser. Now I took such a file to the Chief Minister Mrs. Anowara Taimur. There was an advocate of the High Court present in her chamber. She wanted his advice on the subject in the file. I immediately and politely advised her not to show the file to him as it was a Top Secret. Moreover, all the files of the Political Departments are always rated top- secret or confidential. Moreover, as the Chief Minister, none can show any file of the Government to outsiders. All the Ministers including the Chief Minister take oath of office and secrecy not to divulge any secret to any other person. She agreed and did not show the file to the advocate.
As I was the Special Officer, Co-orditing and Monitoring in the Home Department also, besides other works, I had to go to New Delhi for discussion of the details of the schemes to be undertaken under the 6 th Fince Commission Award. I was also required to co-ordite with Police Headquarters regarding the Police Housing schemes to be undertaken by the Police Headquarters under the 6th Fince Commission Award. I had also to co-ordite with the Department of Welfare of Scheduled Castes & Backward Classes, Government of Assam as a large dose of Compensatory Allowances was granted by the Sixth Fince Commission for the officers and staff working in the difficult and most difficult areas of the State. Mr. Hazarika as well as Mr. Tripathy authorised me to go and attend the Review meetings on the Implementation of the Sixth Fince Commission Award. When I told Mr.Hazarika that I was too junior an officer to represent Government, he said with a smile, “Go and introduce yourself as an Officer on Special Duty. You know, OSDs are in the rank of Joint Secretary.” I kept mum and went to attend the first Co-ordition in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India with lot of apprehension in my mind. In Assam Bhavan, New Delhi, the Resident Commissioner, Government of Assam was A.K.Saikia . I paid a courtesy call on him and requested him to represent the Government of Assam as the Joint Secretary, Home Ministry,
The Government of India was taking the meeting. I gave him a set of papers on the subject. His reaction was typically bureaucratic. He retorted, “Why should I go and attend? Go and attend the meeting.” I came out of the room and went to the room of the OSD and asked him whether there was any Assam cadre Officer in Home Ministry. He told me about a very high profile officer mely Mr. R.V.Pillai whose left hand was hit by a bullet of Mizo rebels in an ambush on the Government officers posted in Lushai hills in the early sixties. He became famous for his great sense of duty amongst officers and in the country. I was highly relieved thinking that the officer who could make such a sacrifice in the discharge of his duties as an Officer of the Government would definitely sympathise and help me. So I went to the Home Ministry and entered into his room with due permission. He stood up and greeted me. After hearing me, he talked to the Joint Secretary concerned saying that it was my first meeting in the Home Ministry and that he should help me in all respects. These kind works worked wonders and I felt elated and after the meeting I came to his room and thanked him. He smiled and said that he missed the state and the simple people of Assam. I felt a sense of pride in meeting such a great man belonging to Assam-Meghalaya IAS cadre.
In spite of my hard work, when my time for posting as the Sub-Divisiol Officer ( Civil) came, I was surprised to find that I was posted as the S.D.O. ( Civil) Hamren. In this case also, the machition of some of my batch mates in D.C. office Guwahati was noticed. I was surprised beyond measure to find, in the meantime, that Mr.S K. Agnihotri, who was a friend of my respected Mr. Tripathy replaced him. It was rumoured that someone in the Secretariat gave a list of files pending with Mr. Tripathy which became the cause for his transfer from Home & Political Department to the Government of India on central deputation. I got relieved at the turn of events as I did not now have to serve under Mr. Agnihotri who was not kindly disposed towards me as seen by his actions. I could not understand how an officer holding the post of a Deputy Commissioner could also be posted as the Commissioner, Home & Political Department. I was also surprised that the same officer had to give approval as Commissioner, Political Department to his own orders as District Magistrate on some issues like preventive detention cases. However, my impression was that intense hard work does not work for you but yours proximity to the seat of power does.
On May 5th , 1981, I along with my wife and 8 months’ old daughter proceeded by car to Hamren ,the sub-divisiol headquarters of Hamren in West Karbi Anglong of the district of Karbi Anglong . Except having a batch mate John Engti Kathar whom I met only once, I did not meet any Karbi of the hills nor did I visit the district of Karbi –Anglong. Only I learnt that Dispur, the capital of Assam had some Karbis and the fields which had become covered with residential building in the village Rukminigaon and its adjoining areas were their paddy fields. Of course, later on, I found some Karbi families living in the Ambikagar areas. My spirits were high as I thought we would see the hills and dales of Karbi Anglong, which is a hill district and a Sixth Scheduled area and would get to know some aborigil people of Assam. It was a Saturday and at about 11 O’clock in the morning, we reached the town of Hamren after traversing the difficult road called Linchiga from Dongkamokam to Hamren. The driver did not take the Donkamokam-Baithalangso-Hamren road saying that the road was lengthy and in bad condition. Dongkamokam is the last outpost of progress in the plains after which the hills begin. The Saturdays are the weekly market-days in Hamren where all the traders from Hojai, Lumding etc. of gaon district came to sell their merchandise. When we were climbing up the hilly road by car, we noticed that some people wearing loincloths went down the slopes seeing our car while the ladies and the girls wearing their colourful traditiol dresses walked up the road without going down the slopes to hide themselves. When I asked my driver Shri Timung, a Karbi young man why the male persons wearing the loin clothes went down the slopes from the road seeing the allotted vehicle of the S.D.O. (C) Hamren, he smiled and said that the former S.D.O. ( C) could not stand the Karbi men in loins cloth and he used to carry a stick to beat them up . So the men-folk avoided him like a matador avoiding a bull. When we reached the PWD Dak Bungalow in which we were to stay for the night, we saw from the top down on the plains a lot many people with their colourful dresses gathering there and doing shopping. When I asked the caretaker whether it was a Mela( festivity), he told me politely that it was a Saturday market held weekly once in which most of the Karbis came for shopping as well for selling the home grown vegetables and other merchandise to the people in the township. The hill Karbis, both male and female in their colourful traditiol attire were eye catching. I felt as though we would enjoy our stay in Hamren by meeting the people and visiting their villages. After a cup of it, we decided to go to the Bungalow of the Sub-divisiol Officer (Civil) which was situated on a hilltop. When we arrived there, we found some people doing some repair works. Seeing my car, some gentlemen came and met me and one of them introduced himself as the Head Assistant of the Office of the S.D.O.( Civil) Hamren. The rest of them, 13 in number were introduced as the gang-men who would work for me and assist me in getting water from below and do the tit-bit things both in office and in my official residence. They were the errand boys and the posts were created at the time of formation of a new district of Mikir hills in 1951 seeing the difficult terrain and the logistic difficulties prevailing at that time due to bad roads. One had still to carry water from the stream. Later on, I found that only source of water for the official residence of the S.D.O ( Civil) was a well at the foot of the hillock on which it was situated. Some of the places of the district could be reached only on foot or on a pony and not by any vehicle. Later on, I learned that there was no bus-service, public or state transport service to Hamren. Two three public buses I saw on the first day of landing up in Hamren were Bazar buses from gaon districts carrying the vendors and dealers to the weekly market on Saturdays.
After some time, we came back to the Dak Bungalow and after having lunch; I went to my office to join in my new assignment as S.D.O. (Civil) Hamren and met the officers and staff. When I came back to the Dak Bungalow at 4.30 PM., the gathering in the weekly haat (market) was thinning out. On way from the allotted Bungalow, I noticed that some Karbis were selling Endi cocoons and so I went to find out the rate at which they were selling. To my surprise, they were selling dirt cheap. I mentally took note of it.
Next Day, we moved to my allotted Bungalow. It was beautiful. All around, there were wild flowers growing and the bees were having their hey days. Another beautiful thing was the presence of many birds and their sweet sounds exhilarated me and removed the feeling of loneliness when one moves in to a sleepy village styled as a town from a very busy city like Guwahati. My wife started complaining of not having running water as there was no water supply system not only in the Bungalow but throughout the township. I consoled her saying that we should think that we were living in a village in the hills with ture soothing our minds and we should learn to live with lanterns here. Our daughter would get to see ture in her pristine glory and would respect the beauty of ture and love the birds, trees , flowers in course of her rearing up in this rustic town. My wife got pacified.
The next morning, I got up early and