India is blessed with many rivers, the veins of the country where agriculture is the major occupation . sometimes the same life lines can take the form of a monster and flood the land around. The mass destruction of life, shelter and fields. It was in the year 1987,I completed my studies with a proud gold medal from a prestigious university. I became a civil engineer and started working in a construction company as a junior engineer. Days passed and I was bit depressed about the outcome of the degree, I was expecting to do something for the society with the skills I have earned. But I was drawing plans in a small company which never gave me credits for the work. I used to apply for various positions across the country and one day this offer letter excited me with the unique opportunity in offer.
It was a massive project to build a dam in the River Kosi in Supaul district of Bihar state of India. The kosi river is historic and sometimes very mischievous too, the mischief of the river can take hundreds of lives and sources of life. The dam was planned to control the floods and I was offered a lead role in the project. I heard a lot of suggestions discouraging me from opting it. But it was my ambition and I decided to move on.
Supaul is a very calm town, near the Indo-Nepal border with endless paddy fields and the proudly flowing Kosi river. Finding a place to live was the biggest challenge and one of the colleagues made the job simple and found a house for me. I found many pairs of eyes watching from the neighbourhood and I saw innocence and surprise in those eyes. It was the house of Bhola, a peasant and he was living with three children and his wife. His ancestors were experts in herbal medicine but he opted to work in the paddy fields even after having the precious knowledge of medicines.
The people in the village found god in me as I was part of a dream project which can change the course of their life. I was overwhelmed with the respect and love I was getting from the people and it gave me the enthusiasm to work further hard for the project. After few days of initial discussions and arrangements the works started. In two months of time the project gathered the pace and we started the earth works on the banks of the river
I never had to think about my food as my good neighbour took the responsibility of it himself and provided all my meals on time from his home kitchen. Bhola was not educated but he had the quest to educate his kids to the maximum possible. The kids were interested in the studies too, they wanted to make their father proud. I used to help the kids whenever I get free time from work. They used to come with specific questions from their text books.
That evening I was sitting with kids and a worker from the dam site came to inform about a destruction happened on the site. I had to check it to assess the seriousness of the destruction and decided to move immediately. The site inspection was not suggesting a critical condition and I opted to check in the morning and returned home. But the return journey had some surprises in waiting. I felt a peculiar pain on my lower leg and I saw something moving quickly. It was a snake bite, before I could say something I started to fall and darkness pulled its curtain over my tired eyes. ( to be continued…)