05 August, 2021

The Soil Beckons

The years in other cities have only strengthened my sense of belonging to my roots in Assam

Apoorva Salkade
The Soil Beckons
When the view from the aircraft window changes from the soft green of distant paddy fields to the deeper green of Kamrup’s forests, I know I’m home. As I step out of Guwahati’s Gopinath Bordoloi airport, the humid rain-scented air, like Proust’s madeleines, unlocks a flood of memories. The road from the airport into town goes past the flat where I rode my first tricycle, and the air force nursery school where I felt so lost on my first day. My father was in the army, and was on a home posting as garrison engineer of the Borjhar Air Force station, some 15 km from the edge of the Guwahati city. And though it’s been well over three decades, I remember, too, the drive to my grandfather’s sprawling house in Bharalumukh, on the Assam Trunk Road. We would drive past Nilachal Hill on which the Kamakhya Mandir is perched, and through my four-year-old eyes, everything would look larger than life. The Brahmaputra would seem like an ocean (it still does), the gardens like football fields and the nameplate bearing my paternal grandfather’s name...

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