Manas, this is where I lost my heart as I did in childhood village house where I spent my days playing with my elder brother smearing our bodies with clay, having gala moments with the local rustic countrymen and lastly, if not the least, being pampered by my parents in my childhood days. Manas is just like that where dusk of evenings gathered as soon as the days ended in the villages of the Assamese, Bodo tribes. The owls call near the entrance of the Bansbari range the way they used to do that on the roof of the rice-storage room in our house. The first beams of mellow sun-rays flood the Fatemabad tea estate the way it did in courtyard of our house through the branches of the trees. In the middle of the rainy seasons heavy rains downpours through the dark sky in the deep forests along the fringe areas of Bhutan the same way it does in the mango and jack-fruit plantations of our house.
This rainy season I could manage to visit Manas twice; once during the onset of the monsoon and once during its end. The Manas turns almost inaccessible and formidable to the visitors from outside. It is not so easy to get a permission from the Forest Department for the entry, to collect information regarding the condition of the roads, to find a Gipsy to get there into the forest during this period. Still, I got a fair chance to visit Manas once again this time. This visit, to say the truth, is not only to see through the eyes of a researcher, not a visit by an analyst either. It was a visit by a common man who wants to feel the wild in the wilderness and to explore the Manas with curious eyes. I have an yearning not only for the bio diversity of the Manas, but also for its landscapes, for its unparalleled ecosystems, for the rivers and rivulets coming down from the hills of Bhutan, for the different tribes of people who live near fringe areas in scattered manner and their simple and effortless lifestiles centered around the forest, for the political turnarounds and the adversities arising out of that I want to fully grasp all of these. And when I think of Manas I draw its picture in my mind with all of these and Its landscape is close to my soul. So, I am in no hurry to narrate all my feelings concerning this land at a time. My love for Manas has just began...
A slag at Mathanguri FRH campus, Bhutan border.