Creative Non-Fiction

Green reminders

Today, I visited Pungro Community Health Centre where I worked briefly 8 years back. Pungro is the last town in the Myanmar border, en route to Mount Saramati which is the highest peak in Nagaland. As we were about to leave, the nurse who has been there all these years pointed to a lucky bamboo plant in the nurses duty room and said, ‘This is your plant, and we have been keeping it in your memory’. That plant was with me from my undergraduate days in Imphal, Manipur around 15 years back. I had forgotten about it.

I planted trees and flowers in the health centre compound but all had died except for the fencing shrub, or so I thought. After returning to Kiphire this evening, I called the nurse and told her, ‘Please keep it alive. The plant had been with me from my college days. I will send some precious tree saplings. Kindly plant them in the health centre compound’. I have maple and fig in mind.

Pungro is close to my heart. My family knows that very well. In 2010, I completed my studies and came home with much zeal to work in a most remote area in Nagaland. To the surprise of my family and department officers, I chose to go to Pungro. I immediately fell in love with the place. My officer who visited the place for the first time today agrees that the area is nice.

There was another green reminder I saw today on the way to Pungro. On my first trip to the place, I was excited but also anxious. I didn’t know anyone and had heard stories that it is not a good place (which turned out to be all lies). On this first journey, I was filled with anxiety and uncertainty. Then I saw yellow flowers adorning the roadside and I said in my heart, ‘In this anxious and uncertain time, you brought me peace and comfort’. I saw those flowers today again which brought me memories of the first trip.

There are still unresolved feelings with regard to my short length of stay at the place. I went there with much enthusiasm and was received well by the people. I am still glad that those who were there then have kept memory of me although as government employees, people come and go. I hope that they will keep the plant alive for me. I hope that the tree saplings which I will be sending will take root and not die on me again. And I hope that one day, a new door will open for my association with Pungro.

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