Tuesday, January 18, 2022
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Dhemaji Is A TINY Place in India But It Has Better Life Than Most Metros


By Pratyosh Gogoi

A friend recently asked me how life in hometown is. I was shot with a barrage of questions. Is there a CCD at your place? Domino’s? Where do you watch the latest releases? INOX hai? What about malls?

The answer to these questions was an innocuous, “No.” But then the questions just went on and on.

Where did you all hang out after school? Home.

Where did you guys chill? The playground.

What if someone wants to eat a pizza? Simple. Board the next bus to Guwahati.

After five long, tumultuous years in the capital, the life I used to lead back in my hometown doesn’t seem distant, but different. Within a few days, I will get back to my previous life sans WiFi and the Metro, albeit minute difficulties; but I still wonder how people I have met here would react to a life there.

So, why not show them what my place is actually like? Although let me tell you, the best views are the sunsets.

You need to be in Dhemaji to see how tiny the place is; provided you have spent your life growing up in a city. Shakespeare would have called it a hamlet with a post office.

Up until a few years back, connectivity through rail was a dream and the whole district would be cut off from the rest of the world during the monsoons due to broken embankments beside the Brahmaputra.

The Subansiri bridge on NH52 connects the district to the rest of the country.

The newly built railway station

What will strike you first when you enter the place is the abundance of free spaces and the green patches of paddy. In winters, it’s all yellow; as Raj would like it to be.

Freshly sown rice fields

The roads are finally coming up well- a statement I make without guaranteeing their longevity. I was full of pride when I could, on a recent visit to Mumbai, remark, “My hometown has better roads than Mumbai.”

You can go out on a long drive any time you want- without having to care for the traffic. The scenes will keep changing and so will the sky.

We could literally go anywhere we want to and watch a majestic sunrise or sunset. Sit down and capture the moment!

We didn’t need a mall to party. We could go to the bank of a river to have a ‘bhoj’ (feast) of our own. One would cook, dance, sing and even swim- without the loud music or ladies stomping you with their stilettoes.

We all know about concrete bridges but, it’s even more fun crossing the ones made out of bamboo. Try crossing a ‘xaku’ (pronounced ‘haa-ku’) in one try and you’ll be exhilarated akin to a session of paintball.

A small Xaku

While people lament congestion and lack of space in the city, we still have courtyards full of trees and fruits and flowers. Almost every household has a personal garden and ‘Tamul’ trees are a common sight.

For food, come have a pork steak at any of the homes there and you’ll get to know why Pizza Hut won’t function there.

Why don’t you come see the rest of it yourself? The road is always open.

And did I tell you, the sky looks amazing!


Image Credits: Pratyosh Gogoi

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