I landed at Dibrugarh and food was the first thing on my mind. It was 2.00 pm, I was in no mood to travel ahead without food. I would board a ferry along with the car and cross over the Brahmaputra River at Bogibeel. I was eventually going to Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh. The ferry crossing over the mighty Brahmaputra at Bogibeel could wait, food came first.
I ask the young driver where I could grab a quick lunch, adding, I am a vegetarian. He stopped at Sunfeast Inn not more than 10 minutes away from the Dibrugarh Airport. I look at the menu and ask for Assamese Thali! At least it would be different. I am the kind of person who can only tell you whether the food was good or not. Anything more is beyond my capacity. And I have to say the Thali was damn good, all vegetarian too. I paid 100 rupees for the meal, which was what I paid for a pre-mix tea on the flight! My stomach full, I was happy to continue with the journey.
It started raining on the way. We crossed tea gardens and paddy fields. The driver was new to me, so I resisted the temptation to ask him to stop every few seconds because I wanted to click pictures. The road was decent for a while but soon it turned into what roads are in India, full of potholes. There was actually no road at stretches, only potholes.
When we arrived at the banks of the Brahmaputra, I was forced to stay inside, it was raining that hard. The driver went out to figure which ferry we were boarding along with the car! It was still raining hard when we got on to the ferry. The driver asked me if I would like to get out of the car. I was out within a second. I ran to a cabin for shelter for it was till raining.
As the rain lessened and I came out on the deck. I stood quietly soaking in the rain, the mighty river, the tiny ferry with a car on it. The city life and its strife were already fading into nothingness. I knew I would sleep well later in the night, something I had not done for the past few days!
There was just one more passenger beside me. We started the small talk. His name is N. Singh, he did not elaborate any further. When I told him I was going to Pasighat he was surprised. He asked why and where was my family. That takes some explaining and I was in no mood to do any explaning. He is from Bihar but has lived in North East for 22 years! I ask him why the bridge is broken, he told me it was not broken, it was not yet complete.
And then I noticed it, there is a rainbow in the sky, actually a double rainbow! I ran to the car to get out the camera. The car was locked! However the driver noticed me and opened the car.
I forgot conversation, for I tried hard to make the rainbow look good in the pictures too! I hardly came anywhere near it. I take the rainbow as good omen for the trip! I so wanted the whole car with the rainbow but if I took one step more I would fall in the river!
Soon, much too quickly for my liking, I was on the other side of the Brahmaputra at Bogibeel. I was still in Assam. But Mingkeng Osik from Arunachal Pradesh greeted me warmly. I realized I was in safe hands. They told me Pasighat was still 3 hours away. It would be night when we reach! I was not bothered.
Mr. N. Singh also joined us in the car, he would get down at the 7 km mark! When we reached the spot, his office staff was there to welcome Mingkeng and me with the traditional scarf! All this when we just met on the ferry boat! There are no star hotels at Pasighat but I already met so many star people in a short span of time, right at the beginning of the journey.
I took the ferry again on my return journey. It was early in the morning. There was mist all around. Once again, much too quickly for my liking I found myself at the other side of Bogibeel! Even though I knew what to expect this time, the crossing was as magical as the first time!
And this is how cars get on the ferry!
— Mridula Dwivedi (@mridulablog) September 12, 2016
PS. I was invited by Nuyee Talong from Arunachal Pradesh Tourism to attend Solung Festival.