Gayal

Gayal. In Apatani, we call them “Subu”. And to the Apatani people, it means wealth. It is considered as wealth because it plays important role in economical, social and cultural life of Apatani community of North-East India.

My father used to own a fair numbers when he was still alive, when he was still strong.

Long before he was misdiagnosed with tuberculosis; long before he endured grueling treatment of tuberculosis medicines – he actually had a lung cancer and died from lung cancer – the numbers of gayal dwindled terribly. I was away at boarding school in Delhi. And he couldn’t tend to them like he did it before. Eventually we lost all our bovines to Swpya, or so they say. I don’t know what Swpya really look like. I’ve never seen one in my life – alive or dead. Some call it a wolf. I guess it might be. Anyway, at least they served their purpose of being in the food chain. And served it well.

To make a long story short, Gayals are very fond of salt. The one with tongue out that we’re seeing in a picture was stalking me. Unfortunately, I didn’t carry any salt in my backpack. So I shove my empty hand out at her – hoping without hope to lick it – she licked anyway. The touch of her warm tongue on my palm was healing and divine experience. It reminds me of old times – herding the gayals in the forest with my father.

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Crossposted [at] rotochobinphotography.wordpress.com

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The Lake in Itanagar

Though I heard a lot about Taai Siimi a.k.a. Gyaker Siinyi a.k.a. Ganga Lake I couldn’t muster enough passion in me to visit it.

D-day finally arrived. Obviously, my expectation (to get hold of a great shot of the lake) was extremely high.

I got frustrated when I saw the face of the lake. It was not a photogenic as expected.

My friend and I toured the length and breadth, but nothing strikes me. The lake appeared to be quite depressing and sinister.

My mom used to tell us a story about the Taai Siimi.

According to Apatani folklore, a man stumbled across an unclaimed Gayal near the Taai Siimi. The mammal bred beyond imagination. The rise in numbers consequent upon the prosperity of the man. At long last, the man decided to sacrifice it to the God. Perhaps the consideration was immoral in God’s eye. And so the mammal took all her progeny and vanished into the lake.

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