a view into the sordid life i lead

Friday, March 10, 2006

northeast frontier territories next up

Jan 19, 2006
one thing that's a contstant while traveling in india is change. adaptability to the irritants and issues of the moment is a must. this is particularly true of travel in some of the less accessible areas of the country. earlier, my experience with burma, and the rather dramatic change in plans due to bootage from the gayuna cult brought made me aware of the need to be adaptable. now in nabadwip things are heading in the same direction it seems.

i should step back for a second and provide a bit of background. the reason for my travel to the northeast of india and to burma previously had a couple of different aspects to it. my story though changes on a regular basis so my story today may not be the one that you heard before or the one that you are likely to hear in a few days from now or when i next see you. i quit my job for want of a real challange and due to frustration with the management of the company's inability to recognize certain talents that people had. namely moi. the fact that i saw nothing more challenging or satisfying than the current position i held over the next 5 years (made doubly obvious by the fact that i was doing the same job i had 5 years previously). so i had to leave. the reason i gave for leaving was that i had an opportunity to go work with some non-profit agencies and ngos. this is only partially untrue. my intention was to go on the service tour with the cealo organization and get my hands dirty worknig with some burmese villagers, assisting with whatever they needed. that went wrong quick. i also put out feelers to aid-india, which is hooked up with several ngos around india. on a more ethereal front, the reason for specifically picking the burma zone was due to jonii's prognostications. her assessment of my astro-cartography was that a very prominently helpful line crossed through vancouver, seattle, phoenix, guadalahara, san juan, capetown, assam and northern korea. obviously the sine wave crosses a few other places, but not many. the vast majority of the line is in the ocean. maybe the other option is for me to be on a boat?! of the lot, the assam area, which includes the burmese sector, sounded most appealing for a number of reasons. it's remote, sounds slightly romantic, and not too many people think of it as an ideal place for the next phase of their life. in the vein of going against the grain, as i've tried to do all my life and ultimately get forced back towards the grain, i opted for the burma direction.

given events that have transpired to date, burma does not appear to be particularly welcoming towards me (re. ghosts, chucking from cults, and generally strange associations). but i'm the stubborn sort and need to have the nails really pounded into my skull to actually get a clue. so i'm thinking the ephemeral astro-cartographic track is probably has a right side and wrong side. i need to, obviously, be on the right side of the tracks, which would be the western side which puts me smack dab in assam, sikkim, arunachal pradesh, etc. so that's the plan now.

on january 18th i was introduced to the contact person that would give me access to the mystical north-east of india. this 70-ish gentleman, generally referred to as storyman, used to work in the indian border services in nagaland. storyman is retired and used to rent a room in the house behind sajal's. shortly after he moved in (storyman, that is) his window was pelted with stones by some passers by and the landlord pointed fingers at sajal. the landlord allegedly tried to convince storyman to lodge an official (i.e., police) case against sajal. storyman refused to believe that sajal was involved in the stoning, and somehow decided to approach sajal with the story. and that was the beginning of a friendship of sorts. the fact that sajal is a tantric and a jyotishi of sorts may have also contributed to storyman's wanting to make contact, since sajal's account randomly inserts the fact that storyman wanted to have his chart read. sajal says that when he read the chart he saw that this person should have 2 marriages. so he asked storyman if he was married. storyman said that he was. so sajal said that if he was married he must have 2 wives, or at least a concubine or a mistress. storyman said that that was not the case. sajal persisted that if the date was correct and the chart was correct, then there must be a second family someplace. the story finally came out that storyman had been married to a naga woman while living in nagaland. upon arriving in west bengal he married a local girl 30 years younger. he had basically abandoned his naga family, but was maintaining them remotely (he has 4 children in nagaland). his naga family is pretty well taken care of and the kids are working. sajal's theory is that storyman married the naga girl to protect himself from any potential insurgent activity.

storyman is a very gentle looking person. he's got a bit of a hunch, but it's apparent that he's a very disciplined or honorable person - he carries himself with great stature. he has incredibly tired eyes, which are immediately apparent. i initially thought it was due to alcohol, but i now think it's just age. storyman's english is quite good, but precise and slightly labored, as though he wants to pick the words carefully.

i was introduced to storyman since i had expressed interest in going to nagaland and the north-east. storyman said that he would contact his friend in kohima, who was an auto parts dealer, and send me word the next day. my plan was to leave on the 20th of january, since my indrail pass expires on the 25th.

jonii and i were wandering about on the 19th shortly after lunch, back to sajals, and ran into storyman. storyman asked whether i had gotten my train reservations. i said i was planning on doing that later in the afternoon. storyman quietly, and completely in passing, mentioned that he had spoken to his friend in kohima and had been informed that it would be better not to go before the 26th, which is india's republic day, and instead go after the 27th because "there may be some blasts". the conversation carried the same sense of caution you might get from someone informing you that it might get a bit cloudy over the next few days. i decided that it's probably best to heed the advice and stick around for the prescribed duration - until the 27th - so that we were not in the path of any blasts.

why storyman might know anything about blasts needs to be explained. storyman said that his motorparts friend (let's call him motorman) in kohima used to run a guest house a few years back, prior to the nagaland peace accords. he had a couple of lodgers that stayed with him for about a year. over the course of the year motorman started realizing that these lodgers were actually insurgent leaders. whether or not motorman is still in contact with these insurgents is unclear. motorman also used to work for all india radio as a driver many years ago. there's an enormous amount of conjecture surrounding sajal and his buddies. the godfather vibe that sajal exudes may or may not be real. but on the strangeness front we may as well surmise that somewhere there's an insurgent connection, which is giving us information that we should keep away for a few days.

so, plans change. the next step is to either head just to assam, bhutan and return, then head on to nagaland later on, OR head out on a jeep expedition with sajal to a few temples and places where he can prove the existence of ghosts to me and show me some tantric things.


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