Friday, July 10, 2015

Crossing the Bramhaputra River in Assam

If you travel to the north-eastern states (you must at some time) then it is likely that you would be crossing the Brahmaputrariver at least once. This is an experience in itself. In some areas getting your car on the boat is relatively easy when the car is being driven from the raised dock platform onto the boat. However in some other cases, as we found out, it is a much more interesting maneuver.
These ferries are actually motorized country boats which have just enough space for a car to be parked on it  with the front and the rear touching the edges of the boat. It demands tremendous driving skill to get the car  climb on to the boat and stop it at the right moment to make sure it does not topple over the other side.
This picture was taken while we were travelling to Roing (in Arunachal Pradesh) from Dibrugarh (in Assam).
When we reached Sadiya ghat, and I saw the “ferry” that we would be taking to cross the river, I told myself that there was no way the car was going to get into that trap. There was furthermore surprise/shock waiting for me in the form of the ‘apparatus’ that was to be used to get the car onto the boat. It was mere 2 pieces of planks, each just wide enough to hold the wheels of the car!
So basically our driver Bittu had to carefully drive the car up through those two rickety planks – into the boat and stop just on time when the front wheels touch the edge of the boat !!
I looked at Bittu. But he seemed completely unperturbed by the task. A guy from  Assam, he must had done this hundreds of times. Still….
Bittu positioned the car on the river bank facing the boat, and someone from the boat set the two planks aligning between the wheels of the car and the boat.  That was it… everything was set.
Bittu drove the car carefully and the front wheels climbed on the pieces of wood. There was a little bit of hesitation (or maybe it was my imagination) and the car climbed on the boat in one motion and the front wheels stopped grasping the final inches available on the deck of the boat!
Bittu stuck two pieces of bricks under the wheels to stop the car from slipping from this precarious position.  He looked up and smiled at us.

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