the ahom revue (angle 1)
kirata kachhaari khaachi gaaro miri
yavana ka~nka govaala |
asama maluka dhobaa ye turuka
kubaacha mlechchha chandaala ||
stumble past the million army checkposts, that dot the single highway coursing through the length of assam, and you will arrive in a country of strange. fog. clumps of trees you've never seen before. huts and more huts. speeding trucks stopping only for armour clad one horned rhinoes. a million cups of 'sa', each one better than the previous. rogue tuskers from burma wrecking 'sa' gardens. strange people. stranger goats. and a mighty mighty river that defines the landscape. it's a story that must be told. and apologies for the time it took coming.
it's flat country out here. and all the himalayan soil brutalized downstream by the powerful brahmaputra makes for a fertile table. elephant grass shoot skyward in gravity defying proportions. where the tar stops, the green begins. and everything stops where the brahmaputra begins. it's a mighty mighty river. as i've undoubtedly made clear. but it needs to be seen and vignetted. for you need an owl's head to soak in the entire majesty of this grand sight in one pan.
the goats, are top heavy. unstable. short legs, make for lesser soup. but with a river as big as a sea ploughing through in the background with eddies, whirlpools, river dolphins, drift wood and a million truckloads of sand, chances are you won't notice, the goats are strange. but that is true for all of assam. a melting pot of peoples. if you spoke bangla yesterday, it meant you were on the endangered list. but hindi today is the lingua franca that could get you killed. traveler tip: stick to english.
and if you ever decide to take a boat ride upstream, understand this. in the middle of a river that is actually a flowing sea, the boatman is god. his wish is universal decree. and heaven forbid if the overboard runs out of diesel, gasoline or kerosene or whatever it's running on, get down. and pray.
the brahmaputra for all its swirling, twirling, gushing fury is also a calming influence. it's a constant that really isn't constant. it takes a richter scale shattering earthquake to get the river to shift course, as has happened once before. or the chinese might actually dam tsangpo and put a cruel end to all the beauty it brings to assam. but soak in the sheer expanse of water that the brahmaputra is, and you will understand that divine is not just a word. that man and god or whoever put this sight on earth will never be on the same playing field. and for all your dragons and cheap labour intensive toy manufacturing units, you will never never be able to build a wall strong enough to stop the son of god.