Winter is at its peak. The chilly winds and misty mornings also reminds me of the picnic season. The month of December is the picnic month in Assam. Buses and Tata sumos with picnic parties with loud speakers are a common sight in Assam during this period. This change in weather often reminds me of an incident that occurred some time back during my training period.
It was in late December. Almost everyone had already gone for a picnic or had planned for one. We too wanted as much as others to go for a picnic as the picnic season was going to end. Soon a picnic was arranged by our barrack super. The picnic was to be authorised by our training authority. If we were given permission, we would get the office bus, a cook and utensils. Our barrack super applied for permission. He was denied outright. The training authority was not going to take any risk by allowing the picnic as the training SP often addressed us as hooligans. The authority was not at all ready to let loose the hooligans. Our group took this as humiliation and a challenge. We vowed to go at any cost. The day was fixed on a Sunday as it was a holiday and it was also the last day of December. At first every one cheered at the plan.. But slowly one by one almost everyone backed out from the plan.But we five sticked with the plan. Nirmal recently bought one Santro Xing car. We planned to go in his car. Picnic spot was around 40 kms from our training center called Hatisila. It is a beautiful picnic spot on the bank of river Brahmaputra. Among us there was Botu. Botu was a heavy drinker. Others were medium drinkers or they didnot exceed the limits. Menu consisted of only two items, whiskey and chicken. The chicken was to be fried on the river bank. Whiskey was procured a day before the picnic. Chicken , firewood, utensils were to be collected on the way to picnic.
The day arrived quickly. It was a fogy morning and was very cold. Winter was at its peak. At around 10 AM we started for the picnic. We collected some utensils and firewood. Three kgs of dressed chicken was also picked up from the saatmile market. We soon headed towards Hatisila our picnic spot. Cold wind gushed inside the car as Nirmal pressed the acceletor. He was enjoying the drive so were we. We soon reached the spot. The sun was now visible and the fog slowly disappeared. It was going to be a very pleasant day. The water of river Brahmaputra appeared very calm. We walked through the white sand . In winter the water level becomes very low. Small sand Islands appears in between the course of the river. We finally selected a spot away from other picnic parties. We wanted full enjoyment. Dablu immediately set up his make shift kitchen and set the pieces of wood to burn. Dablu is an excellent cook . He specialize in pork and chicken. The only condition is that he should get all the cooking ingredients ready. Nirmal and Botu started playing with each other. Rajiv just enjoyed the scenery. It was a nice picnic spot with loads of natural beauty.
In the mean time breakfast was ready and we started our picnic with boiled eggs and bread. To quench his thirst Botu opened a bottle of whiskey. " CHEERS" said Botu and emptied his peg slowly. We too started with wine and snacks . Dablu started frying chicken. Soon Botu, as usual was loosing his balance.The chicken was ready in time and it was very tasty. We all enjoyed the food and patted Dablu for the chicken though cubes of sand were present in the chicken. We thought of exploring the sand island. Botu spotted a wooden boat tied to the bank. Dablu immediately ran towards it and started scanning the boat for any possible defects . After finding it OK he waved at us. Immediately Botu got up and ran in the direction of the boat. We too followed him. It was a heavy boat . We had to push it very hard to put it on the water. After the boat floated , Dablu jumped on it. He had a piece of bamboo to steer the boat. We too boarded the boat. Botu started dancing. Dablu pushed his bamboo deep and the boat moved forward. Soon we were spotted by other picnic groups. Dablu and Botu sang and waved at the ladies present in other groups. I thought we are soon going to pick up a fight with other groups. I warned Dablu and Botu to shut their mouths otherwise we would soon pick up a fight . They realised it some time later and concentrated on singing only. We soon noticed that our boat was not moving. We were struck in the sand. We all tried to push the bamboo but it was also struck in the sand. We decided to abandon the boat . Dablu slowly moved out and showed us a way to the bank. Except Botu all followed him to the river bank. We instantly became a laughing stock. People from other picnic groups were screaming at us. They waved at us. Botu was still not able to get out of the boat. He tried to jump but directly fell on the mud. We ran towards him and pull him out from the dirty mud. The crowd cheered as Botu was pulled out. Botu cheered too. He was covered with green algae type mud from head to toe. Nirmal splashed one bucket of water on Botu. Rajiv too emptied 3 to 4 mugs of water on Botu. Botu suddenly started to shiever in cold. I looked at the watch, it was 3.30 pm. I said we should leave now otherwise he would catch a cold. I won't take this monkey in my car , protested Nirmal. He was actually right as the interior of his new car would require instant servicing. After intense debate Nirmal offered his car hood. We wrapped Botu with the car hood. Nirmal allowed him to sit in the front seat while he drove the car. Everything went on well for some time. Suddenly Botu had an urge to go to Kamakazi Disco and bar. Kamakazi is a floating disco bar on the river Brahmaputra. We told him to shut up .But he would not listen. He tried to open the door as we passed by the disco. Nirmal had enough and stopped the car near the disco. Botu limped from the car. We saw him entering the disco. We then headed to our barrack. Upon reaching barrack we found the inmates a bit jealous and offended. They felt left out as we enjoyed the whole day.
Lalit asked, where is Botu? Lalit was the captain of the barrack. We narated the whole story to him and other inmates of the barrack. But they were not buying our story. They were in the opinion that we may have done something to him .
The actual thing was that some of our fellow inmates were left out from the picnic. They actually became very jealous of us and so they questioned us. Barrack captain declared that if Botu did not return by 1200 at night he would inform the matter to the authority. We said he will return in an hour or two. We had our dinner at around 9 pm. Till then Botu did not return. We were slowly getting worried. At around 1200 at night someone entered our room. We could figure out in the darkness that it was Botu. Immediately the boys pounced upon him. He was slapped,punched and kicked by the inmates. I heaved a sigh of relief and went to sleep. As i woke up next day i saw Botu fast asleep on the floor.