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Off the Grid in Nagaland

Flashback to 2020


Riki Phukon

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Reflecting on events from November 2020.


I drove out into the middle of a forest on a mountain in Nagaland. Without telling anyone where I was going. The cherry on top of the cake- that place had very poor phone connectivity, and the trail was very muddy.

Lirmen, Nagaland

On one fine November morning, at about 1050 hrs, I made an impromptu decision to go and traverse the beaten road to this mountain that I can see from my home. It looks beautiful at night when the peaks light up.

So I phoned my cousin, always do for going on such adventures. I roughly charted the course on a copy, packed the essentials, a water bottle, RC, insurance and my license. By 1200 hrs, we blasted off.

An old wooden bridge.

We traversed through tea gardens, jungles, muddy and sandy terrain, crossed old wooden bridges made over a dry river bed. We carefully negotiated the steep inclines while also praying that we don't fall off the edge. We encountered only three souls while on the trail.

We explored the villages in the vicinity after making it to the top.

It went dark on the return journey. We were low on fuel, and worst of all, civilization was 30km away and home 40km. I started to panic, and my over-thinking brain came up with some grim scenarios, like my corpse rotting under a tree.

Following our intuition nearly got us lost during the descent as we took a road that leads deeper into the mountains. Thank god we checked the map.

The view of the mountains from my hometown.

We carefully drove through the pitch dark forest, revving the engine frequently to keep the big cats from preying on us. I was wearing shorts, and the cold almost froze my balls.

A week later, there was news of some insurgent activity of NSCN in the mountains. That was a very dumb thing I did and I conclude that making it home in one piece was sheer providence.

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