Sunkoshi Express – a personal monologue
Seldom do you get time to receive a proper detox from this new world of communication in the form of email, cell phone, social media platforms and also random people coming out to meet you at any time of the day at “their convenience”?
A trip down the Sunkoshi, last week, had me entirely juiced up for planning out new ventures, planning directions andendeavors to come. It was a short and sweet five days trip, but the memories and impact of the trip will remain a lifetime.
Belonging to the “90s-kids” faculty and growing up on an urban setting, it’s seldom an opportunity for an individual suchas myself to experience a tiny slice of river Bedouin lifestyle (in this case, a lifestyle of a Maa:jhi: – Fishermen in Local Nepali Dialect). According to a local story that landed to my hearing was that, in yesteryears, people around the major river belts used to walk upstream along the banks of the rivers, for days and months, carrying food supplies, shelter, and makeshift boats/wooden canoe, and then boat downstream whilst fishing in busy confluxes. Camping around the sandy beaches of these confluxes for days and laying their fishing nets was part of earning a handsome trade amount upon returning to the major bazaars of the regions.
Today, multi-day rafting and multi-day fishing expeditions have been following the same river trails and practices of the past river Bedouins-the “Maa:jhi:s”. The difference – modernization has kicked-in, in terms of hospitality; weather-proof tents have taken the place of a mere sheet of plastic. Days of food supplies have taken the form of imported canned food along with fresh vegetables maintained in an ice-box. Cooking around a bonfire (except for BBQ) has been replaced by a gas cylinder and cooking stoves. Water collected from natural springs and spouts are treated with purifying agents before cooking and drinking. Rest amenities – Taking a shower; head to the river bank with a bar of soap and a sachet of shampoo. Changing clothes is either inside your individual tents or a towel wrap. One can only dream about the comfort and luxury of your “throne” back home in your private bathroom. Addressing to your nature’s call is all inside a makeshift 2x2ft tent with approx. 15×15 inch hole on the ground. This “recreational” toilet tent is set up 30ft away from our sleeping tents, kitchen and also from the river, keeping in mind the rules of not polluting the nature.
The entire team is divided and assigned a certain task of the camp – be it helping in the kitchen, setting up the camp or packing up the tents, collecting twigs and logs (found in plenty on the shores) for the bonfire, doing the dishes and even if not assigned, an individual’s mindset develops to being proactive and lend a hand in anything possible.
The excitement of waves and the rapids conquered while rafting was entirely a different sense of achievement. After
completing every rapid, if the raft did not capsize, the feeling of being safe onboard was on an entirely unmatched level. Probably the sense of surviving the thundering rapid was like the lyrics of the song “I WILL SURVIVE!!!” by Gloria Gaynor. Honestly, upon returning back from the trip, a sense of realization and self-actualization kicked my conscience. First and foremost, my daily needs and comfort were totally stripped away, which in turn had me survive on what was available around. No demands what-so-ever; I adapted to live with absolutely minimal resources and what was offered to me. Secondly, I grew a confidence in being able to sit down if tired, on to whatever spot was within my sight – be it grass, sand, concrete, tarmac etc. A small, carry-able boulder could serve as a make-shift stool to sit on if the ground is wet. Nothing that great to applaud about, but the realization and ignoring the fact of luxury was a big achievement for myself.
The five days of our river express has definitely brought some positive insights within me and will be reflecting the same,around. I am totally up for any other river trips or any other adventure expeditions, thrown at me.