Rivers,swimming pools and the case of a mistaken identity

Nimesh announced last Friday eve , “kal Kawlchaw chalte hain.” and before I knew it I was doing an outrageous dance of joy(I’d been craving to visit Kawlchaw since I’d heard of it).

Kawlchaw is a small village, 40 kilometers from Saiha. Two rivers meet there, a swift and rumbling Koao joins the meandering Kaladan. The water levels had fallen considerably since Nimesh’s last visit (a video of which he had shared). On this trip the water in Kao didn’t even attempt to lap at my knees. Nonetheless, as every waterbody hungry soul who has lived in landlocked Delhi and had only a very sewaged Yamuna for sorry respite, I decided I had to take a dip in this stream like river. We sat for an hour or two in it, our backs resting on rocks letting the waters do its magic, kneading our flesh into a sleepy relaxed state.

Walking along the pebbled banks of the greater, calmer river we sun dried ourselves while trying to keep an eye on the kingfishers swooping down for fish. Suddenly there was a loud boom ….an explosion under the water. Dynamite! A group of boys were fishing. The dynamite would kill fish within a certain radius and then these fellas would swim fetch them. Hadn’t seen that before!

Another interesting sight infact one of the highlights of this visit were two swimming pools. One was in a valley and built by a man who apparently enjoys experimenting but it’s the other one that takes the cake icing, the baker and Monjinis. It was on the banks of the river Kaladan, inside a nursery ! Why would you need a swimming pool on the banks of a river? It would be an interesting question to ask, but then I’d just rather like to believe it was a dynamite fearing eccentric who commissioned it and takes an annual dip in it earplugs in place.


Through the journey to and fro Kawlchaw we stopped on occasions to watch some visiting Wagtails and giant spiders lying to rest in their roomy hammocks that spread across the roads. On our way back we also saw the body of a beautiful green and red snake. It was run over by some vehicle.

While I soaked in the larger feel of the ride cushioned by the thick green on the sides it was Nimesh’s eye that spotted all these creatures. By the time we sat down to watch kingfishers I was trying to do some spotting of my own. I sat on a rock close to a pool of water on the banks and watched the little frogs jump around and float. There were swarms of tadpoles and just outside the pool small white balls – Frog Eggs?My, wasn’t this my lucky day! There were clusters of these safely wedged between rocks and pebbles. I remembered seeing pictures as a kid of frog or fish egg. They were transparent I think. White (!?)I had never imagined. I called out to Nimesh and we examined them from a distance and clicked some pictures of the same to send to an acquaintance of Nimesh’s for identification. We did all the right things, shot macros of the eggs, placed a pen in some images for size reference etc. When suddenly Nimesh says they look so like thermocol balls no? I agreed and wondered what if they actually were? Shadows of doubt flickered in our eyes and Nimesh reached out and touched one of them! We all but fell down laughing!! The Kingfisher dropped its catch and the official in the pool too must have taken note of the shrieky helpless laughter …….They actually were thermocol balls. A hysterical me and a very embarrassed Nimesh were last seen in Kawlchaw scrambling onto their bikes and heading homeward.

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