Almost six years back – I had visited and recorded my visit in North Tripura Hills which provided my soul with detoxification from urban anxiety and business pressure. I was six years younger in term of duration and it reminds me now of the shortness of youth and individual life itself.
But there is something called Life which lives on. I experienced this last night when after a long time I looked at a clear night sky here – above the Hills and overhead and I was reminded of my boyhood – the sky was not the Calcutta night sky but something animate. The stars were not lambda, mu, black hole, Chandrasekhar Limit but unlimited, vast and mysterious.
In the morning, I had fished and swam in a pond which is the Walden Pond for me. This grand fortune owes its existence to my host – a government hospital doctor and a friend here who has invited me to spend few days here. He is one of those rarities in Contemporary Emergent India who likes to have a reflective life, likes to keep pets ( 2 cats, two goats, one indoor dog, 2 birds, 3 stray dogs). Many of his patients gift him fresh vegetables from their home. He is loved and everyone knows him and it is impossible to go travel in his bike with every minute someone greeting him and asking who is the pillion rider. I call his life the life of a British country Lord who is a doctor as well. An MD, he could have easily left this place for greener pastures but he stays here, not because he have to but he must for his soul. He chats with me and patients call and he rushes away and comes after half an hour. Patients call anytime – 3 am is not unusual and he is present. I find what a community actually is. Last evening, 3 friends came, one an excellent cook and prepared dinner and except salt and spices, food mile of everything was less than 5 miles.
Few hours back, we had an experience which again either a Thoreau or a British country gentleman can have.
As these proceedings were going on – two middle aged men running hither and thither and making sounds when a catch is missed and the wicket-keeper shouts, there were sounds made by us when we failed to bring a fish off the water or some fish running away at the last moment, they came with food and water and tea and participated in the great campaign.
Then as we were packing up, they had a swim and I also joined and had a very satsifying and soul-cleansing swim.
In next 30 mins, I am leaving for the afternoon campaign which will be followed by a walk in starry nights.
Monsoon is coming. Pre-monsoon rains making the area lush green and shining. The Hills are darker and when we fish in our pond, we hear birds singing and children playing.
These are permanent perks of a quiet Life as our good doctor has chosen. With Internet, one can filter in the world here minus many of the undesirables. I mean, there remains a possibility.
To all the lovers of quiet and reflective life : do not follow the tourist brochure. Do not follow rather. Look for something which you might not have asked for thinking too inconsequential. To all my Bengali readers (Poetry is by definition untranslatable, even for a wordsmith), my favourite four lines of her greatest poet and wordsmith (because he tried to translate some of his own poems in English)
যা পেয়েছি তাও থাক / যা পাইনি তাও
তুচ্ছ বলে যা চাইনি / তাই মোরে দাও
Acknowledgements : This travel acknowledges the following individuals and institutions in addition to Lord Doctor pictured and mentioned in the post
- My wife (mistress of the moonlight and the Lakshmi and Annapurna of Wordsmith Establishment in Calcutta and Silchar – Ms. Chandrani Bhattacharjee for her indulgence, patience and understanding.
- Government of Tripura for maintaining the environment and also for maintaining very nice roadways
- Government of India – Indian Railways for operating the recently commissioned Silchar Agartala Passenger Train service that runs on time with very clean compartments
- Every being – living and non-living of North Tripura Hills