For 46-year-old Bingur Bora, the events of the last few weeks have been like a bad dream. Enjoying a rather content life in his native village in North Assam, Bingur’s only concerns revolved around his large family that he had to provide for, his 50 acres of land, and the daily ups and downs of his peasant life.
But today he’s amazed at the 360 degree turn life has taken for the moment. For Bingur finds himself sitting on a bed at the General Hospital in Kochi with his one leg bandaged all over, with no one who can speak his language and no relatives whom he can call for help.
It all began with the raging flash floods that erupted along the Brahmaputra river in June this year. The destruction left hundreds dead and about six million displaced. Among the hundreds of acres of agricultural land that was destroyed and left bare by the floods was that of Bingur. “There was nothing left. Everything was destroyed. All my crops, even my house was lost,” says Bingur.
The rout of his land meant that there was no question of a harvest this time around and no source of income till December. It was while he was pondering over this grim situation that a friend suggested that he could work in Kerala. The prospect appeared promising because Bingur’s two children were already employed in Aluva, that he pronounces as ‘Oluva’.
“They told me that I would get Rs 2000 per week here. Staying away also meant one less mouth to feed at home. I also thought it would be just a matter of few months and I could be back home by December for the next harvest and in the meantime I would also be able to see mychildren,” says Bingur.
As per the advice of his friends, on August 7, Bingur set out for Aluva via the Dibugarh-Kanyakumari Express. But as luck would have it, he did not get a reserved ticket and ended up in a crowded general compartment.
“The whole place was cramped. I was not even able to step out and get food for myself. At last when I finally reached the station, starved and exhausted, suddenly in the commotion, someone pushed me from the back and I fell down onto the platform. When I woke up I was sitting on a hospital bed. All my belongings were gone and one of my legs was limp,” he says.
As per the records at the General Hospital, Bingur (named as ‘Bijesh’ in the hospital records) had fractured and displaced his ankle, and a surgery had to be done. But back home, no one knows anything about his condition, not even his sons staying in Aluva. Now with no money to go back and struggling to make sense of the local lingo, Bingur finds himself lost in an alien city.
Add to it he isn’t literate and knows nothing about using a mobile phone. “I don’t know what made me come here. Nobody knows I’m here. Somehow I need to reach back home,” says Bingur in despair.