Life Along the River
On the morning of 14th as we woke up with the first glow of dawn in our see through net domes, we found ourselves surrounded on all sides by a small crowd of local fishermen. Our first thought was that this is how animals in the zoo must be feeling when we humans look at them in cages. Gragually we talking with some of them who could speak Hindi and English. Monu’s knowledge came in handy at many a difficult situations.
We quickly packed up our belongings and moved about a kilometer in our boats to a point where Hassan met us with a welcome drink of tea.
We left our boats in the care of our new guide Babloo da and as planned, and proceeded for our immigration adventure. The road journey from the river to the Indian border post in a goods trolley, pulled by a tractor, on a track that could be called a ‘road’ only sometimes, made us realize for the first time that in spite of all the ups and downs of the river bed, traveling by boats was still a great comfort. We drove through village paths with overhanging bamboo, ready to lash your face if you didn’t bow down well in time. At one place a particularly enterprising thorny branch of Jujube tree, took the loosely worn jacket of Monu, right off his back.
At the end of this journey after a marathon phone call session in various directions and very understanding officers on both sides of the border a set of strong iron doors cracked open and we stepped into India. A few hours later and after filling a number of forms and emptying a lot of tea cups, we made our official exit from India with stamps on our passports and smiles on our faces. Apal got a lot of thumping on his back for having pulled off something that was not easy, to say the least.
In the bargain we had our boats in Bangladesh but we had entered by road; a win-win situation for us. The rest of formalities on Bangladesh side were cake-walk and were always accompanied by rounds of tea, biscuits and fresh fruits. At the local police station while the formalities were being completed, Andee and Apal talked to the waiting journalists about our adventure. Finally in the evening, loaded with gasoline for the boats and a good load of firewood bought locally, we returned to our boats to set up camp and prepared for our adventure into Bangladesh, tomorrow.