The Passages of Time | Milaap

The Passages of Time

I was born and had grown up in the capital of Manipur, Imphal. As a child, I really didn’t go anywhere much because I used to get car sick very easily. I've been away from home doing my studies for at least 7 years with the occasional winter/ summer break, which was spent sleeping at home. My co-fellows, they’ve mostly gone to locations they are not familiar with, whereas I choose to go back to my hometown. I wanted the chance to work at home, to familiarise myself with the people and work for them. There was also the added convenience of me knowing the language.
Going back home after almost two years without the summer/winter breaks, there were so many changes. There were increased vehicles on the road. There were constructions everywhere, from new houses to shops to new cafes. This one weekend, my friends and I decided to go somewhere near instead of just sitting at home. We drove an hour or two to a dam which had been recently constructed.
This other side of the city on the way to the villages doesn't seem to have changed a bit. The endless green fields with the green mountains. Time seems to stand still on this side of the world.

Although of course, there was evidence of the changing times on this side as well.

As we started to reach the mountains, the feeling of just being a small part of the big universe just engulfs you. The mountains unmoving and rooted in their place, looking over us, imploring us to appreciate the beauty and the might of nature in all its glory.

The people themselves on this side of the world does not seem to have changed either, at least on the outside.

Because even though they seem to be living normal lives now, their whole village was submerged and they had to leave their lands and relocate to higher grounds and make new homes and create a whole new village for themselves.

The dam has created what seems to a beautiful and scenic lake, where people can come and enjoy the view. The truth, however, lies at the bottom of the lake where ghost villages lie waiting for their tenants.

The villagers, however, have tried to create a positive thing from such a travesty, they have set up an “Ecotourism Park” but as the water level goes up they will have to shift again further up. Although it is considered an ecotourism, there are many visitors who bring their own foods and cook nearby, leaving litter all over. The villagers have set up shops nearby the lake to sell packaged foods like chips and soft drinks. One can’t really tell without the years and efforts of research the effects of the dam but it doesn’t really paint a pretty picture for the people and also the effects of the dam on the ecosystem. Some three or four years back, when the valley had not yet been submerged there was a river which ran through the villages. We had gone for a small picnic where we met some fisherman, they had told us that in the river there were no more fishes native to the place. It had been invaded by other common species which had been artificially introduced by the people who had built the dam and the fishes had swum upstream. To see such drastic effects on the ecosystem before even the completion of the project speaks volumes on the after effects.

As we drive away from the lake I can’t help but notice the trees which are growing strong and tall like a soldier in formation while the trees that were submerged looked like they were sticking out their hands waiting for someone to save them.