The icing on the grand finale, the farewell of all these states of northeastern India we have written about in the last posts one by one, was as it have should be: something big.
Without knowing it beforehand, we arrived just on time for the celebration of the «Seed planting Festival» that only takes place once a year and is attended by groups representing many of the tribes of the Naga community, which, as you know, is divided into different states and even part of the Naga tribe is in Myanmar, the neighboring country.
Once a year the tribes, come together in this festival that each edition is held in different city, this time and as I said before without knowing anything about it, we arrived at the right place at the perfect time and we could enjoy this unforgettable cocktail of people, traditions, dances …. something worth living.
A beautiful farewell to all these states which have impacted us so much that we could not but devote to each one an entry on the blog; impossible for us to generalize about them as if they were just one area …. impossible.
Enormous cultural wealth in these lands.
The last one we crossed, Manipur, gave us little because we arrived so quick to the border and we just pedaled about 300 kms, very few to speak as if something known it was. Of course, it brought us a joy of cycling on the flat again.
How long without cycling so smooth!! just giving a slight push with the legs, feeling the inertia of rolling in which, even we forgot the weight hanging from the bike.
We want use this post to tell you words that came up from the meetings with people, those around the fire, or taking tea at a resting time during the hours of pedaling.
Words that for some reason were recorded inside us, and here we want to share with you all.
We have spent many nights welcomed in Catholic compounds where food, smiles, shower and bed NEVER, ever is missed for who pass through asking for shelter.
Father’s words at Urkhul school, we enjoyed more than the sweets we were having in that moment as dessert:
“To me, religion makes me a better person. I consider religious who tries to be a better human being every day, I do not say to be better than others, not even to get it, but that who tries it, and if the attempt fails, the next time he tries again. »
A simple boy, with humble and quiet life in Nagaland invited us to sleep at home with his family, that night we talked about the employment situation. We knew by others that this was so, but he explained it in great detail:
-The private work here is very low, people do not have money to start a business and less a company, we have always lived almost without using money, land gives us almost everything, we just have to work it.
If you want a job to get money, the only real option is to get a government job but … do you know how those jobs are acquired here?
We had already heard from good hand what he was goingto tell us, we pretend to be fool in this matter, expecting to listen it from another person, another one who had nothing to do with that one who had told us in several occasions what this boy confirmed us again :
-Those works are bought, yes literally: a job cost money.
-But, how do thay put a price to a job?- asked Aitor taking advantage of the pause.
-Well, easily.- he answered as he let out a kind of laughter clearly fraught with indignation – All depends on the money you will get apart of your salary, the «extra money». Yes, what I mean is that later, in the form of bribes you will get extra money there, (because here everything is bought, from the driver’s license until college degree and even in other areas of India your own wife). Once you’re on the job, others will come to buy your favors and in relation to what you are going to get there, the price calculation is done, if you pay it, youĺl get the job. Here’s how it works and this is true throughout India.
The Northeastern States have been rich in encounters, in special moments, in great meetings with people, in words… too many to bring all of them here right now…
The last one, to share with all of you, one simpathyc moment:
We were cycling together, almost at par (which does not happen usually, because each one of us has such a different rhythms that normaly we cycle few hundreds meters or even a km, apart from each other) when a little man with his bike joined us for a while.
We were in the flat state of Assam where many people move by bike, the road was empty because just that day had strikes, something common in these northeastern states, wich in many things has been forgotten by the great India.
We occupied the road, wide with the man cycle in the midst, me and Aitor on both sides. After asking the typical (where are you from?, where are you going?, why by bicycle …?) he told us that he was a poor man with a gesture of melancholyc acceptance:
-Poor? – Aitor told him -Are you sure?
– Yes – he replied little bit unsure.
– Let us see my friend… Do you have house? – I asked from the other side.
– Yes- he nodded as we continued pedaling.
– And what about a wife, do you have wife? – asked Aitor making him turn his head-
– Yes of course!!!!
– And childrens? Do you have children – it was my turn.
– I have got two children, a boy and a girl -the man said with a proud gesture.
– And do they go to the school? – I asked knowing the answer as there are public schools in all over India.
-Yes, at the village we have a school.
– And we see you have a beautifull bicycle – Aitor remarked with a smile -and look, it works very well!!.
He nodded his head and smiled.
The gesture, posture and even the look of the man were changing with each question, it was stretching, raising shoulders, chin, and even gripping the handlebars with more energy, which pushed us to continue with that.
– And it seems you’re in good health right ?, how old are you ?.
– 43- replied.
– So still you have a lot of years ahead to live- and to change things -said Aitor felicitating him.
The man’s eyes were opened seeing that so obvious.
– We saw poor people you know my friend, people who have nothing to eat nor to give to their children, people who live under a plastic on the street, who are sick and even left alone, you know ?. These are poor.
– Do you know what you are? – Aitor cut me from the other side- you are a lucky guy.
A few meters later came a diversion, with a smile, with another gesture and even advancing stronger pedaling, we saw him move along the dirt road that led him to his house.
We, with a slightly amused smile, continued the way…forward, as always.