Assam in winter

There are lush green trees everywhere; betel nut trees, banana, Sal, coconut grow in abundant in addition to umpteen other varieties of bushes and trees in jungles. The climate is unpolluted and the place is famous for heaviest rainfalls in India. There are big ponds called beels in local Assamese language where so many kinds of birds many of them migratory live. There are bar-headed goose, pin tail duck, grey legged goose, mallards, white and grey pelican and northern lapwing. These birds stay here from October to February when there is bitter cold in their homelands and they live here in relative warmer climes. The most famous of the beels are Nimatighat and Kokilamukh though there are beels everywhere.

pelican.jpg Lapwing Mallard

Brahamputra river, called Luit by locals flows throughout the state’s length; it brings with it fertile soil and deposits it in the river beds. Every seed once thrown in the soil immediately germinates and grow before eyes. Many beautiful birds like pigeons: grey, reddish, white and mottled; green pigeons, songbird myanahs, bulbuls, crows live in the boughs of trees.

Mallet Ferry Wharf

Mallet Ferry Wharf! I visited the place. It is a ferry terminus and fish trawlers unloading port in Bombay. Whole area smells of fishes even from a distance. Hundreds of fish traders stand on the platform and fish baskets are conveyed to top from boats by ropes and mesh nets. There are mounds of fish of every kind. Every single inch is covered with sea  fish. There are porters towing it away on the carts. Water drips from the  baskets made of the bamboo carrying the fish. Trucks and tempos  are loaded with the fish for taking it to the different parts of the city. Every boat has a flag and while standing in the parking area these boats  bob up and down in the waters.

A very popular variety of fish called “Bombay Duck” also dries on the ropes in the boats. This fish is cooked both as  fresh or dried and does not have bones. The rows of hanging fish on the ropes look like buntings.
There were fisher women, very fat and strong. The boats which have emptied their catch were parked to one side. The fishermen on them were preparing the food: lentils, rice and of course fresh fish. Crows pecked at the fish filled in the baskets waiting to be put into the trucks. These seemed to have become bored by eating and eating in plenty. Seagulls caught the floating dead fish thrown out of the boats.

On the right side is the ferry wharf station from where ferries ply to Mora Bunder in Uran and Alibaug, and to Elephanta caves. People wait there on the benches. Most of them are inhabitants of fishing villages. There are shops selling refreshments in the waiting area. They come here on buses from Mumbai and take ferry for crossing the sea and to avoid the torturous road journey. The journey is thus reduced from many hours by the land route to an hour or so. In the earlier times, when British were here most of the work force belonged to people from Konkan Ghats and used the sea route for coming to Bombay. Still many people working at the docks belong to this area.