The Morning Besides Ganges
To quench my hitherto unsatiated thirst to see the nature’s wonder of Valley of Flowers, I was on my way to Govindghat, the base camp for further track up to Ghangaria and then to Valley of Flowers. I stayed over night at Forest Rest House, Muni-Ki-Reti just outside Rishikesh. This rest house ensconced among the thick trees of Haldu overlooking the banks of river Ganges had great locational advantage. Over night, I could hear the sounds, both of gushing water of Ganges and of the continuous tip-tip of rain water falling over the wood and tin roof of this very old forest rest house.
In the morning as I stepped out, I was wonder struck by the beauty of Mother Nature right in front of me. The banks of river ganges were brimming with high energy water flowing towards Haridwar. It being the Monsoon, the river was in full spate. The churnings in water could be noticed due to obstructions caused by few big boulders in the river stream. The minute droplets of water created by the impact, had enveloped the water surface and were creating a scene as if clouds had descended to kiss the feet of mother Ganges. The scenery near water was no less impressive. As the water had spread beyond the normal limits of the banks, the otherwise distant trees and their branches were almost touching the feet of overflowing Ganges. It was a pure morning bliss. I too bowed down to say, Namami Gange.
Ganges Near Rishikesh
To add majesty and piety to scene, the Kanwariyas travelling through the road besides the river, were hailing Lord Shiva through clarion calls of ‘ Bol Bumm-Bol Bumm’. They come from far off places to take water from Ganges and offer it to the Shiv-Linga in their respective temples. The entire environment was really charged up with freshness of morning and by the religious fervor of Kanwariyas. To me, it was the perfect start for the trip to valley.
The Story started in early hours of the famous pilgrimage town of Rishikesh situated on the banks of the non polluted Ganges. One wild Boar wandering rather aimlessly from the nearby Raja Ji National Park sneaked into the Jal Sansthan building of the town. The Pump Station here provided the water supply to the whole city and was critical for the urban life. With a wild boar sitting pretty there, the staff was in no mood to go nearby and run the pumps etc. The info on the wild boar was broken first to forest department who is supposed to know the most about them. Our knowledge about wild boar is limited to the famous story of wild boar and the tiger narrated by Jim Corbett during the school time. The early morning risers in the holy city soon got to know about the non functional water pumping due to a wild boar and few of them gathered outside the pump as well. The boar seeing the crowds and listening the noises had started behaving restlessly and was trying to come out of by now closed door. The walls of the campus too were not strong enough though for this snouted restless animal.
The news of a wild boar soon reached the Valmikis of the Basti also who traditionally have been dealing with domesticated pigs. Though there is no comparison between pigs and a wild boar the community has the skill to chase down the pigs and celebrate with the high fat meat feast often. The Indian entrepreneurial skill combined with old age barter system practiced in India led to an offer by the Valmikis that they would do the free service to catch the boar in lieu of freedom to consume the prey itself. The offer though practical went against all the norms of the forest department and the Ranger as a true subordinate tried to rope in the higher officers who wanted to get rid of the boar but without their name or consent being quoted or dragged in this risky barter. The safer option was now kicked in by inviting the professional shooters of the nearby Raja Ji national park who could use tranquilizer gunshots to sedate the animal and then shift the boar into Jungle. The professionals reached there in next 2 hours riding a jeep and loaded with paraphernalia. They looked as if they meant the business. After doing a recce of the situation and doing some rounds they started with their task amidst public roar. The 6 shots that followed afterwards led to an entirely new situation. The shots though in majority hit the boar could not sedate him enough and in fact spoiled the mood of the wily boar further. The real reason of this was that the sedatives like medicines of many hospitals were all expired and could not therefore leave an impact. The boar started to push its snout aka thoothan with more ferocity and started to damage the fragile as the economy wall of the jal sansthan. There was now a risk of this boar escaping the premises and entering the civil area of the town and creating a scene truly much to the embarrassment of the forest department. The situation was getting out of hand virtually.
The proud Valmikis watching this drama standing aside were requested upon to do something without the barter condition. The Valmikis now sensing the situation decided to do the community service at the charge of Rs 2500 only but all in cash. No bill or voucher attached. The department was red faced enough to bargain or wait and said therefore yes. They gave clearance to catch him alive at the best and dead at worst. The Valmikis amidst the cheer of the crowd accepted the challenge.
They got few blankets and few pieces of chords from the town and climbed over a a 10 feet Varandah wall overlooking the trapped boar. Nobody knew what was going to happen till all of sudden one of the team member using a blanket as a flying magic carpet fell upon the boar with a loud sound. The other team members followed soon with sound of thud…thud… The public and the department watched with a baited breath and with folded hands in the prayers. The sound had aroused more curiosity than was before with public reaching for all vantage points to be the eye witness of this encounter. The team landing on the ground was on the job immediately and just tied down the feet of the boars with Japanese clock work precision and in less than a minute had overpowered the boar !!! The experience counts !! It was neatly tied up with chords and now the blanket too was retrieved. The boar was lying down on the ground with all legs and its snout neatly tied. Everybody out there clapped and heaved a sigh a relief including the department. The boar with its now bleeding snout and tied up legs was packed of in the rickety jeep which fled towards the Raja ji National Park to release the catch as quickly as possible. The worst fear was the park authorities declaring like doctors that the patient aka boar was brought dead !! But the wily boar was after all a boar right in the tradition of Corbett’s favourite. As soon as first few chords were released it freed easily from the clutches of the department and jumped like a deer into the jungle. It disappeared soon. Everybody heaved a sigh of relief !!!! The department though poorer by rs 2500 was a happy lot as the mission got accomplished. The people of Rishikesh too were relived at the prospect of ultra subsidized water running in their taps again. The jal sansthan too was relieved a lot as the weaknesses of the commissioned walls were just about to be exposed rather piggishly before the wily Valmikis saved the day for them !
( The story is based on the real life narration in sep 14 to author by a forest officer who was posted there in the town at the time of incidence in 2012)