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Honeymoon in the wilderness

Honeymoon in  the wilderness

Photo for representational purpose only. - File photo

Gouri Sen

ON my marriage to an IPS officer posted in Odisha, I was transported from the sophisticated city of Mumbai to a remote district called Kalahandi — apparently a hunter’s paradise. As if it were not enough that I was hitched to a policeman, to throw a ‘blooming flower’ into the backwaters of Odisha was just too much, bemoaned my relatives. Some opined that this was a marriage destined to fail, while others predicted my untimely end in the jaws of a beast.

Thus, with mixed feelings and conflicting emotions, I accompanied my husband, the new Superintendent of Police, to Bhawanipatna — the district headquarters. But to the utter discomfiture of all the prophets of doom, I promptly fell in love with the small, quaint and sleepy town, almost untouched by time. After the din and bustle of Mumbai, the lush meadows and the silent forest provided a welcome relief. The bungalow was small but artistically designed with a well-laid-out garden surrounded by the distant hills. There was no crowd, no queue, no bottlenecks. Eggs were dirt cheap and chickens could be had for a rupee each.

Some of the smaller subdivisions of the district had no electricity. The chowkidars of the inspection bungalows, where we halted at times, would light a petromax in the evening and deploy a man just outside the bedroom door to pull a huge wall-to-wall piece of cloth attached to the ceiling — this acted as a substitute for a fan.

Once, when my husband went to investigate a murder case, I accompanied him in a jeep to a place called Thumal Rampur, rich in its exquisite scenic beauty. There was not even an apology for a road — just a trail of boulders, rivulets and tiny nullahs. To cap it all, unbelievably, the information regarding the murder was brought by a pigeon, trained to act as a courier in such inaccessible areas.

But we loved the place and it was a tremendous thrill that we felt when we spotted a tiger lazily crossing the road to disappear into the rice fields. How majestically he walked away without being bothered in the least by the glaring headlights of our jeep!

Alas, our idyllic stay in the cradle of nature ended too soon when just after a year, my husband was transferred. Both of us left Kalahandi with a heavy heart, but often our sad moments make way for joy when we recollect the delightful memories of that year-long honeymoon.


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