Friday, 15 July 2016

Sonoka Hamlet



                                           
 

I left the others behind while they stood there discussing the condition of the road. The rocky hillock had a blanket of thick vegetation. A large rock rested precariously against a much smaller one threatening to roll down a bald spot. The uneven path beckoned with an eerie silence. From where it took a bend I could see a natural gateway of two boulders. There were tales of rocks hurling down all of a sudden. Or stories of cruising in air like missiles. We were in the Mayong region of Assam, famous for tales of black magic. And Sonoka is a village, tucked away that is accessible through a narrow dirt track ridden with pebbles and stones. The village opened out to the silvery wrinkled sheet of the Brahmaputra on  one side. And on the other side a bow shaped hillock stretched out, shielding it from an outsider's gaze.  


                                       



Last evening a friend had suggested Sonoka, a picturesque village here boasting of the perfect sunset. Amidst all the boisterousness of a school reunion, we decided to explore it on our way back. Walking through the gap between the two rocks now, I found a narrow dirt track snaking parallel to the silently flowing Brahmaputra. A lone egret watched from the periphery of an ancient forest. The room waiter last night had sworn that the people here no longer practiced the ancient art of black magic. Such spectacles were last seen almost sixty years ago. But there were whispers of sorcery.

                           





If I hadn't been listening to stories, I would have found the nook perfect to spread a mat and watch the river endlessly or tread into the forest that held back from a distance. The silence was deafening. It was hard to believe that a city was growing helter-skelter, spilling over from its limits just forty kilometers away. The others had caught up with me by now. Just as I got into the first car, two men on bicycles appeared on either sides of the car. I had not noticed them before. One of them discouraged us vehemently from going ahead citing a dangerous ditch. The other stopped by my side and whispered not to listen to him saying no one trusted him in the village ahead. A scene from a comic book flashed. Two tiny creatures perched on either shoulders. One with a halo over its head and the other with a pitchfork.

                                           



Unheeding we drove down the dirt track confident of reaching that elusive Sonoka. Suddenly the cars  almost bumped into each other. A wide deep ditch yawned from where we had halted. Heads with confused voices poked out of windows. It was going to be a while for the seven vehicles to reverse and turn around on the narrow lane. The sun was fast slipping into the waters. The cyclist who had cautioned us, stuck around to guide us through. I looked at the path on the other side of the ditch. Far away in the distance was the faint promise of a homestead of Sonoka. And a cyclist rode on without once turning back.


                           




This post was written for TWTFOW#5



                

11 comments:

  1. That is a lovely image of Brahmaputra. I gather you are meandering on magical lands in search of sunrises and sunsets. What I love about these posts is the streak of mystery and anticipation dangling in the air.

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    1. The river always fascinates me with its changing moods and how it chooses to reveal itself. I was lucky this time to be traveling a bit here and there :) Thank you for your encouraging words as always!

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  2. Eerie!
    Fascinating!

    Arvind Passey
    www.passey.info

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  3. Your words and descriptions are as pretty as the pictures you take Ilashkee. This sounds like a wonderful place, although I think I am too spooked to ever try going there. ;)

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    1. Thanks Radhika for being there! But it is the tales that is the USP of the place which is otherwise idyllic.

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  4. Your posts on nature make for compelling reading.

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  5. You did justice to the mighty Brahmaputra, love your captures.

    xoxo - C
    Style.. A Pastiche! Styleapastiche.com

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  6. Nice read. There are many places along the banks of the mighty brahmaputra river where one can watch the sunset and sit quietly in the dark. Unfortuantely with each passing day our exploding population ensures that the man made noises pollute the soothing sounds of the river.

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Your words keep me going :)