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.
Ziro Festival of Music was marshaled for the second time in a row. The venue of the event was once again the picturesque place – Biirii, which sit amid paddy fields and just 5 km away from Hapoli town.
ZFM managed to line up a large numbers of bands which include Lee Ranaldo, Steve Shelley and the Dust, Sky Rabbit, Polar Lights, Menwhopause, Digital Suicide, Sulk Station, Peter Cat Recoding Co among others.
Entry ticket was priced at Rs. 1000/- (which is equivalent to 17 US dollars approx) for each day event. However, they were giving a discount of Rs. 500/- on three days pass. That was ZFM in a nutshell. On the whole, ZFM is awfully ambitious event.
May I add some of my reflections… Well, despite tight budget, I somehow pulled off… I managed to show up for the last day event. On second thought; Lee Ranaldo and his guitar did the trick, I am not a great fan of alternative rock or fusion genre though. Jack Johnson suits me well. However, it was great to see Lee Ranaldo and his band up on the main stage.
I was kind of expecting to witness a huge crowds gathering on the last day. But sparse collect was disappointing, indeed. There’s no denying the fact that ZFM received a wide publicity. I’m sure it’ll grow in the days to come as it is still young. Maybe, Ziro per se is yet to make a mark on the world map.
My best wishes to ZFM organizers for all the efforts. I had a great time.
“That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.” ― Emily Dickinson
Two meters away from my bedroom window, close to our granary, we have a lemon tree. It used to bear massive and delicious lemons. Once I asked my mother how it got there. She told me that my sisters may have planted it while I was in boarding school.
Over the years, we’ve harvested its produce countless times. Sometimes it would give us a plentiful harvest; at other times good. My mother would take it to the market to sell whenever reap would be plenteous. But, many a time, we would just give it away to our friends and relatives to share the grace. Then there were our neighborhood that would slyly sneak in our property, but its robust spikes had often thwarted their ambitions.
As time goes on; as year turned into years. Everything begins to fade away. Our lemon tree is also showing us the sign that she has grown old. I’ve tried to prune its withered branches, but it didn’t help her much. Still it bears fruit, but the size has reduced to a tiny ball. Of late, despite her age, she began to attract a lot of new visitors. She‘s getting on quite well with feral birds, besides the fact that it has been a playground for numerous house sparrows ever since she attained three meters in height.
Some months ago, I saw a beautiful white bird with a long tail perched on its branch. I couldn’t believe what I witnessed. A fine looking bird on our lemon tree! In the heart of Hapoli town! Since I’d never seen this beautiful bird in my entire life, I thought it must be new specie. So I used to address him/her as an “Angel bird” until someone told me its name – Asian Paradise flycatcher. For two days, Angel bird would come, groom and hop about for hours while hiding among the branches. Though it has never visited our lemon tree again, but its majestic look was permanently etched on my mind, will remain there till the last breath.
That wasn’t the beginning of the end for visitors. Among others, the Tits were also enrolled in the list.
In another incident; it was rather very early morning when I was woken up by birds chirping. As I opened the window a crack, I saw two Red-vented Bulbuls alighting on a branch. Two were already there – settled on nearby branch. House Sparrows consider our lemon tree as their own, their recreational area. So they were trying to scare away the new visitors. Despite their boisterous chirpings, they were unable to budge the Bulbuls.
After the flight of the Bulbuls, the lemon tree has become the dominion of Sparrows again. Not for long, though. The Bulbuls have kept returning to our lemon tree since last few days.
Needless to say, this chapter will pass. Nothing stays same forever. Someday we all are going to make our exit – at destined time. Our lemon tree. The sparrows. The Bulbuls. Money. Friends. Happiness. Grief. You. And me. However, I’m enjoying every bit of it while it last. I’ll cherish our lemon tree while I still can and I’ll miss her when she’ll be not around. By the way, who can tell whose numbers will be up first?
I know it’s been quite long since I shared anything on wordpress.
The fact of the matter is that I have committed a great folly. Maybe folly is the wrong choice of word; fate can be more apt as we become powerless in the face of destiny.
Well, in one of my jungle trips with my friends, I misstepped on a slippery log of wood and fell down, landing at the bottom of the river with all my photographic equipments. I tried to rise above the water almost immediately, but in all this sudden chaotic happening (I don’t know why our mind tend to shut out our thinking capability in such instance) I lose my grip on camera and it was dropped again. I fished them out instantly. But the damages had already been done. I knew it was gone – forever.
It wasn’t a single deed that day, which poked my agonized mind; in addition I botched my spin cast reel which was gifted to me by my sister and the mobile phone I purchased with my three months salary.
It really hurts even more to relive those moments. However, I am a tad reassured that my mobile phone is functioning well.
Next I went to a mechanic with my finger crossed that he might be able to help me out. My heart broke again when he told me that he cannot mend the camera and it has to be sent somewhere else. I really don’t know now whether it can be mended at all.
The hours of separation are one thing, and then there is a question if I will be able to afford another one. Maybe in a year or maybe not.
It’s easy for someone who’s not going through it to say, ‘Oh, well just hang in there,’ but what else can you say to them besides your weary smile.
If emotion is all part of life and life is dictated by fate, then I think it’s okay to curse and cry and be angry and frustrated at fate – it help us to overcome all the hurdles and laugh at your fate.
Until my camera is being fixed, please enjoy the mobile photo upload of Ziro valley.
“If adventure has a final and all-embracing motive, it is surely this: we go out because it is our nature to go out, to climb mountains, and to paddle rivers, to fly to the planets and plunge into the depths of the oceans… When man ceases to do these things, he is no longer man.” — Wilfrid Noyce
a late night shower restored all the greenness in plant
the slope of a hill fully blanketed with natural colors
couldn’t stop myself from taking a picture of wildflowers
here’s another one
cooked our rice in beer cans
meantime, friends fishing with bare hands in rivulet
a friend preparing to cook our catch in a bamboo
roasted bacon – to test the strength our jawbones…