“Happiness is not something readymade. It comes from your own actions.” ― Dalai Lama XIV
This statement comes true because in course of life your condition is the mirror of your action. So as a human being (lively human being) we always want happiness in every part of our life.
For me, happiness comes when I change my usual place of living & profession i.e. travelling. Because travelling teaches you about your surroundings. It also tests your ability to cope with change & challenges.
Once I heard from one of my colleague about Daringbadi & especially the sprawling jungles & yes the SNOW fall. It confused me that how comes snow falls in Odisha, which is near to warm Bay of Bengal. Then I started googling it. The pictures I discovered were mind-blowing. It is just alike of Darjeeling & Dehradun (may be most heavens in India’s start with “D”).The place is gifted with unbounded mountains, never ending tall pine trees. Its elevation 915m of above sea level makes this place ‘the coldest place of Odisha’.
Then I discussed with my roommates to have a trip to ‘The Kashmir of Odisha ‘. But the 1st thing came to our mind was it’s a Maoist area & recently there was a religious riot happened between Hindus & Christians. But after some research we got to know for there is no problem to go. We had planned to visit nearby beautiful places i.e. Putudi, Balaskumpa, chakapada, Phulbani city & yes of course the mighty Kalinga ghati.
It was our summer vacation for 4 long months. So we, Deepak, Abinash and me 3 roommates started fixing a suitable date to set off. The date was 9th June 2014, we started our journey from Deepak’s house i.e. Nayagada. I have gone to Nayagada many times. It is one of the green districts of Odisha, having huge jungles and potential to be the front runner of Eco-tourism of Eastern India. Thanks to unavailability of minerals, this district has no industries that are why it has a rich bio-diversity.
Our planned route was from Nayagada via Daspalla through part of Boudh district and then by-passing Phulbani city centre at Tikkabali we would go to Daringbadi.
It was 5:30 AM Moring in 9th June, 2014. Due to continue rain for last 2 days, the weather was bit of cold. Cold from outside &we were hot i.e. excited by our 1st long bike trip of 180km.Then 1st time I encountered the beautiful and lined like soldiers formation when receiving the general jungles of Daspalla sanctuary. Thanks to NHAI the NH-224 was awesome condition and mostly lonely. As a guy from industrial cluster of Angul, I always like natural beauties like dense jungles and lakes. I was enlightened seeing this beauty of Odisha.
Lined jungles of Daspalla
The statement about Kashmir came to my mind “If there is any heaven on earth, it is here and here”. This part of Odisha is just like other interior places i.e. villages, people gossiping at bonfire in morning, farmers still uses the old style bullock cart and ploughing in their field with steers(bullocks) & most important clean and fresh air. The air was so fresh and healthy that I think I can gives life to a dead body .This environment is precious for city people .The ahead of the road was KUNARIA dam of Daspalla.
Here was the place the disastrous part of our journey started. Near the dam suddenly our rear wheel’s air was empty. At that time, I felt disheartened because of this interruption enjoyment. But just after a second, thought lets went to nearby garage and had a puncture it. Thankfully after pushing the dead bike for 1 km there was a village garage that treated our tube like cycle tube and had a cycle type puncture. After 1 hour, our bike was ready and it was 8am, we felt hungry. There was a snacks shop making hot dishes like BARA and other thing. Actually the taste was awesome and made of pure local things especially its pure milk flavoured tea.
After solving our 1st problem, we again resumed our journey. Thinking like to get every fruit, you have to give a test; we thought it was one and of course last one.
But we went wrong after travelling for 10kms, just 1 km from bypass of Daringbad; at Banigocha we got our second disaster. Due to cycle style puncture, that puncture was fell and tyre again leaked. Thinking of near to destination, we again did the same cycle style puncture treatment, because it was the only option. Here also with disaster I got knowledge of daily life of people in this part of Odisha. They are the innocent people whom can be motive for good and bad purpose, hats why it’s easy for politicians to engage them for their notorious interest like riots. The shopkeeper, where we repaired our puncture was listening to Radio program of Odia Ramayan with Cuttack Channel. At there I felt the necessity of public tele-casting like All India Radio (which was seems useless for us).
Again with full confidence in mind, we friends set off our journey like to conquer the lands from Maoist for Govt. of Odisha. But to decimation of this confidence, it took little time. This time (till now 3rd time) our tyre went for around 3kms.My missionary attitude almost died at that time and 3 of us started thinking like other PIOUS Indian that, might be we started our journey in wrong time (that astrology concept of graha-chakra).This time Deepak decided to change our tyre and would got a new one because it was enough. Phulbani city was just 10 kms from that place. After dislocating our wheel from bike’s body Deepak and I went to a good bike repair centre in city and we left Abinash at that unknown village with our bike. Fortunately we got lift from a good guy from Puri, as getting a bus also alien like thing in 12 o’clock. When we changed that tyre, we saw that tyre was of low quality. Deepak starting cursing his maternal uncle for this tyre. After this we went to that unknown village with a bus. On the way, we two were worried about Abinash as he is the one innocent guy between us, who can be conned easily by the villager. But our prejudiced thinking was wrong as the villagers are more innocent than our fellow.
On the way to Phulbani
After that we went to Phulbani city to have a lunch as it was 1pm.We were running 5 hours behind our planning. But what can be done to disasters. We had a good lunch in a local restrurant.We thought to see PUTUDI, the nearby waterfall. But the locals advised us not to go because there might be no water in summer. Then we set off for our prime objective Daringbadi.
There was no network of my android to view Google map, so we asked localities road to daringbadi. After a good lunch, again confidence was started building for grabbing land from Maoist.
Then through one of the most interior parts of Odisha i.e. RAIKIA block, which is a tribal dominate area we travelled. The importance of public services like block offices could felt by seeing the long queue at offices. Thick jungle was surrounded by everywhere. We were travelling though the tunnels of trees. Seeing this I just forgotten myself again.
I want to write something about that marvellous bike. It was hero Honda passion, which is around 12 years old. Recently Deepak’s uncle on the name of surviving decreased it engines fuel injection quantity, hats why the pickup of the bike was at awesome condition that with 3 persons it can’t cross a small hikes. To overcome this problem we just let this bike to reach the top of ghati with one person and other two r walking. And when we reached the top of the ghati, to save oil I was pushing the bike little further and jumped over it so that the bike will run with the help of gravity (wow wow).
With this incidents, we felt too tired. Suddenly like there is no end to misery our fuel was went out. This was 20kms from Daringbadi. I can remember the place MUNDANAJU.20kms pushing the bike was not a big problem, the problem was the road was high peaks with lots of zigzag peaks. Without any solution and as night was coming, we decided to push the bike till got a local fuel shop. On asking locals they said it was 1 kms ahead there was a fuel shop. And we just pushed the bike with some luggage for 3 kms.1st TIME we just pushed at around 120 kgs machine over 3 Ghatis with our physical power, which was so tiring that our muscles answered it with too much pains. As the ambassadors of positveness, we did it with full potential. I was not worried because it’s said IF FRIENDS ARE WITH YOU, YOU CAN OVERCOME SEAS. Pushing through peaks, we reached the plain areas. Then we decided to have some water from nearby house. The houses were built with proper planning & might be assisted by Missionary institutes for Christians. We thought to get the fuel from SIMONABADI, which is a small bazaar 10kms from it. So seeing an auto-rickshaw I just take 100/- from Abinash and a bottle and jumped to the auto. The auto driver was driving like he WAS the F1 racer and I was sitting on FERRARI. After sometime I reached the local fuel shop and had the oil.
You may think Dark Age is over and golden time is comming. I also thought at that time.BUT…………
A village road in Daringbadi
For returning back to my friend, I got help from a giant truck which was going to pick some construction material from lower area of mountains.1st time in my life, I sat on a so expensive vehicle(50 lakhs) though might be its a truck. The driver was a good guy from Cuttack and helper was local. We were discussing about stuff like Narendra Modi (who became our next PM), Maoist problems and some local incidents. The truck was so modern that it changed my concept about trucks. While climbing down to mountain what I saw, was terrified me. I saw my friends were going in the direction of Daringbadi (though I said to stick to the initial place at any cost).I was disintegrated from inside as I was alone and having nothing with me (I left my mobile and wallet with them).I said the driver about it. He said me to be relaxed as Daringbadi is a small place for search operation. He helped me to switch to another truck which was going in the direction of Daringbadi. I was cursing both of my roommates from inside. I thought of God to help me so that I wouldn’t do any bad things in future (obviously a human do when in problem).I was looking at the coming vehicles with Eagle’s eye. And searching my friends face between them. For 30mins everything was vein. As the time was passing and dark was coming, the chance and hope was decimating. And I felt lost and disheartened. Then the truck driver stopped at a place to pick-up some honey for his family. But my full concentration was on road.
Suddenly I saw a bike was coming seemed like our bike with same colour t-shirt that Deepak wears from near distant. As it came nearer I thought it might be the same false warning. But when it reached very nearer felted like I got a seat IIM (feeling only).Yes that was my friend Deepak. I think in my whole engineering career, his face gave me the happiest feeling in my face. I shouted very aggressively at him ‘STOP STOP’, like half died soldier shouted at the rescue party. The first word came to him was”m**f***** r**”.I could easily see from his face about his condition. He was more worried than me. Listening to my language he didn’t respond anything. He was with another guy. He was alien to me and that guy was narrating whole situation to me. I was amazed firstly that who was this guy and why was he narrating to me.
The situation was that the place where Deepak and Abinash were drinking water ,was a place of entrust-worthy people(I think they are more trust-worthy).So they decided to leave this place instead of my advice to stick to that place. So while asking for lift on side of road, that guy came and helped them to get fuel. And they thought I might be at Siminiguda (that bazaar) and they would get me at there. Listening to these, first I thought it was the stupidest idea .But putting my foot in there shoes realised that what they had done, was valid for human nature. And I thought due to that local guy this whole situation is created, but making all my concepts wrong, that guy helped very much in our further trip. He was Rahul bhai from Baliguda, 50kms from Daringbadi.
Then we two along with new guy returned to siminiguda, on the way we introduced with each other. We combine with Abinash at siniguda. Now our happiness is on peak and after spending some time , we resumed our journey to Daringbadi. I went with rahul bhai, Abinash & Deepak followed us. The road was pretty good, surrounded by massive jungle and that dark evening, chill air took all my anger. Rahul bhai was riding his apache(180) in 50/60kmph but in this extremely hilly road ,our Hero bike was the reason of our headache, Deepak drove in 1st gear around 2km.
Actually there is no network, no ATM, a bit fear of Maoist terror and moreover those people are unable to understand our language. Finally we reached in Daringbadi. Rahul bhai took us to a new hotel & we had our bath. I thought Rahul bhai may belong to Maoist or their informer, while I was busy with these thoughts, he came and we went to market leaving abinash in room. Both of us were thinking to drink a little, but co-incidentally rahul bhai asked us the same thing and we agreed. We bought a scotch whisky and some snacks.
The ATM was closed and we have not sufficient money, unfortunately rahul bhai paid and told us don’t worry, u will return it tomorrow. He took us to the best place in Daringbadi i.e. perfect for hang-out. The place was below the watch tower, less crowded(almost nil).The little cold air that was touching our tired body was creating the feeling like heaven and like the mother of jungle was asking not to drink but to enjoy the weather. But tired body told us to drink and sleep in such heaven. We started our peg slowly with talking about society and personal things (as every drunk groups do).The effect of alcohol was slowing affecting my feeling and the cool breeze multiplies this excitement to better end. I felt like KING of Jungle. We had this discussion on various topics especially Maoist and other social problems (like every drunk group usually does when they reaches extreme point and yap we discuss like social scientist, ha ha ha).After 1 hour our G.D. reached to end and resulted like everything is rolling around us. I thought to sleep at that place till Maoist came and would took me to jungle, but then I thought of my family and went to hotel. That night was the beautiful and everlasting moment of my life. We had a nice sleep with our angelic (girls) thoughts.
View from watch-tower
in next morning, it was like rebirth of my soul. I felt full energetic and excited to even I could went to relationship (which is the nightmare for me).It was freezing cold in morning. We went to roof-top of the hotel. OOOOO’O it was like I was floating among clouds. Then we prepared for exploring this untouched Maoist land. Our friend-cum-guide Rahul Bhai came and took us to interior part of Daringbadi. We went through coffee plantation maintained by Govt. of Odisha, daily market of Daringbadi. Like other every Indian market, daily market was mix of local indigenous people and migrated people. There was no sign of violence that took place in end of 2007.It is the politician and notorious people, who use these clean heart people to fight among themselves. We went to the watch-tower area again. View from there was like you are on roof-top of this jungle like palace that sprawls over lakhs of miles. At there Rahul Bhai told us about how Maoist operate in this area, what Govt is doing, what people response to it(just the brief idea).The conclusion I got that it was the general people, who caught between this idealistic Maoist and worrying Govt. The most suffering people are the indigenous people i.e. Kutia Kandhas, who have to choose between one-side. I saw some Kutia Kandhas in the roads, but didn’t dare to take photo as I thought they may respond it violently. Then we had a nice break-fast with bio-degradable utensils. Then went to hotel to take rest. We decided to have a feast in that coffee bagan. So around 12 o’clock we packed foods from a good local restaurant. This lunch included DESI chicken (rare for a city guy) and local sweet mangoes (mouth-watering as I think every time).The lunch was cheap and delicious. At 2pm, feast was finished and it’s time to leave this place.
Coffee plantation in Daringbadi
I was disheartened to leave this pure, pollution free place. But duty is prime. So have to leave this heaven. Daringbadi left a strong impression on my heart and mind. It was the actual place that I always dreamt to live in the whole world. Mostly the people sent a strong social message to me. That was amid any problem, without help of Govt and suppression of Maoist, we would protect this heaven till our last blood in our body. Though they considered as the backward people of this modern India, but according to me they are the most advanced people in term of thinking and culture. Girls were walking alone in miles and miles lonely road, in marriages men and women were dancing like counterparts. Position of women in their society is higher than our society. They think girl child is boon from God, not a burden like in our society.
While returning, we returned through mighty Kalinga valley. It is considered as one of the highest Ghati road in Odisha. It is the connection between Vijayanagaram and Ranchi highway. The valley road was under construction and not much wide, but enjoying view.
Last but not the list, we visited the most amazing park in Bhanjanagar Biju Pattnaik Children’s park. We did not know about the existence of such a beautiful park in this part of Odisha. I can say it is the most beautiful park, I have ever seen. I just suddenly felt respected for Govt. of Odisha for doing such a marvellous job.
AFTER that we returned to nayagada and went to Bhubaneswar for that usual work Class to bed, coaching centre to bed. But this two awesome days, changed my view about my MOTHERLAND and its people in positive manner.
By- Biswajit Sahu
( firstname.lastname@example.org )