I followed my Lonely Planet guide book one morning and asked as many as 5 people for Kabu Village, which is 4-5km from Along. No one seemed to have heard of it until a man suggested it must be ‘Kazu’ not Kabu Village. After my quick tour around Along and a trip to Patum Bridge, I came back and asked how I might reach Kazu village. Local cabs occasionally traveled from Along, but the timings were unpredictable. The availability of taxis depended on the frequency of passengers and hence were erratic. I had to wait almost half an hour for other passengers, before I got a taxi, which charged me Rs.20 till Kazu.
A road passed though the peripheral of the village and a small, clear stream ran beside the village, which reminded me of a Japanese Village in the film ‘The Last Samurai’. The village is at the base of mountains near the Yomgo River, which ultimately meets the Siang River (Brahmaputra River).
Houses in Kazu village have a unique architectural style; they don’t have a separate kitchen in their homes, but big bulky houses made of bamboo and large leaves which resemble palms. The houses are usually 4-5 ft. above the ground, standing on many pillars. Under the house they keep wood and also use it as a storage area. Another strange thing I noticed about this village was building of a rice granary at the outskirts of the village. It goes on to show the sense and strong bond of living in a community.
At the village entrance, I found a group of villagers flattening bamboos, to be used as walls. They seemed curious at my intrusion, but soon they went back to their work. I was sure that the village must have been visited often as any place mentioned in Lonely Planet gets explored.
Deeper into the village, I found a boy busy mending his catapult; he didn’t even bother to look up as I passed him. The houses in Kazu Village reeked of local alcohol, since villagers make their own rice beer. I came across this old lady, basking in the sun and at the same time shooing away the hen that came to feed on rice grains which dried out in the sun. She shooed me when I went close to her with my camera. In the olden days people believed that being photographed takes away your soul, so they refrained from being photographed. I came across that resentment in her and could see it in her eyes. Old folks are still removed from the world, not by any barrier but by traditions and ignorance. I saw a couple of more old folks snoozing at the verandah, some just watching the activities from their porch. Nothing much seemed to be happening and this seems like an ideal place to retire.
I came across a small group of men folks cooking out in the open. The preparation was nothing grand. The menu consisted of a few local chicken and fish caught from the Yomgo River. At first I thought it was a funeral feast, but it turned out to be a humble wedding. The fish were cooked without any water inside a bamboo. One side of the bamboo is cut open. The fish is smeared with salt, spices and powdered chilly and wrapped around with plantain leaves. The opening of the bamboo is tightly closed with leaves and equally heated from all sides by turning the bamboo gently. The fish steam cooked in its own juices makes all the difference.
Another major attraction of Kazu village is the red hanging bridge over the Yomgo River. This bridge is only for men and not for vehicles. This vibrant bridge against the azure water made for an exceptionally good view as fishermen skillfully sailed their canoe in the river. Yomgo meets with another river to form Siang River which is also known as Brahmaputra. I spent an hour or so at the river watching the fishermen doing their craft and observing the villagers go about their work.
The frequency of the taxi plying there were unpredictable. So I started walking my way back when I heard a low drone of vehicles closing up. It turned out to be the same taxi I took that morning. What amazed me most about the village was how far it seem removed from the world even though the village was just walking distance from Along. I had never been to a place more remote and at the same time so easily accessible by black top.