The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

book - 'Naga Path', by Ursula Graham Bower, published John Murray 1950

caption: Chapter twenty-two. The Coming of War
caption: Laisong
medium: books
location: Laisong
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
text: (161) Where lay the taste of Laisong, its special flavour; what brought us back, aching for it, after ten days away ? There was the square bungalow, with its sagging thatch and its latticed railings; the infinite grey and brown tones of its matting walls and woodwork; the morning light wanting steely and sharp through the shutter cracks; the hills behind, with the pale, clear colours altering on them, on grass and wood and forest, as the sun climbed across the Jenam valley. There was the jungle which merged into the camp, creeping up in a green tide till cut and driven back to another temporary boundary; the men's bare, copper backs lifting to the rhythm of the cut, as they worked in line across the slope. There was the garden, a small, fenced patch; ridged brown beds dotted with clumps of dull green, with blossom-dotted beanstacks, peas loud with insects; where the men came in at that slack hour just before dusk, to stand and appraise, and patronize the gardener, white cloths and black heads passing between the rows. There were the clouds of swallows which swooped and swept, like midges, above the village; diving to their nests in the morung gables; flickering over in rapid flight, flashing by at ground-level, or hardly visible in the high, soft, tinted evening sky. There were the rock outcrops below the bungalow, where one could sit and look over the whole great bowl of the Jenam; the river little and bright, the patch of Rangalang's field, the sheen of the big pool where Namkia and I fished, the complexities of the gorge through which the river wound, doubling back on itself again and again between the interlocking spurs.
text: (162) But chiefly it was an atmosphere. A barrier lay between us and the outer world. One could, by walking over the hill to Asalu, pass it; for there below was the railway, the shriek and clatter of trains and the stink of travel. Here, behind the Barail, was an ageless calm. The smoke of evening drifted out of the morungs; the last few stragglers came trudging up the path; the last sun left Nenglo, on the farther hill, and the short twilight gathered the village in.