This picture is from the most ill-planned and foolhardy trip to Tuting. But more about that some other time
When K and me walk around with our backpacks in Yingkiong, people often wonder what products we are selling. We know this because frequently people come up to us and ask us
“What product are you selling?”
Its not as if travelling salesmen are very common, but the rare ones bring the promise of unusual products from far away at a good bargain. In many ways, this ‘good bargain’ is just plain daylight robbery by these salesmen. But people here just lap it up. Transactions are conducted with great determination and resolve by the locals with constant assurances of ‘ho jayega’ to the salesmen. In truth, even after these ‘ho jayega’ bargains, the salesmen are the winners.
On the flip side though, it is probably a good bargain for the locals too who would ordinarily need to spend atleast a week’s travel to and fro to Dibrugarh to be even able to glimpse some of this stuff. K and me once met a determined bunch of Kashmiris with humongous sacks of blankets on their backs near Gelling, the last Indian village barely a half hour walk from the Sino Indian border. Some of the same bunch once joined us in our ‘palatial’ forest barracks in the village. They happily cooked raw papaya curry and played Kashmiri songs on their mobile. Surely, I thought this must be a colossal climb-down for these guys from the land of Rogan Josh and Gushtaba.
But they keep coming. And as long as they keep coming, we’ll have to keep answering that familiar question we hear so often on the streets.