A boy enjoying riding his bicycle on Golaghat-Furkating Road, near Tetelital.
By Mithu Das October 30, 2019
Riding a bicycle from Golaghat to Furkating can be pretty exciting, especially on Sunday afternoons in October. It can be pretty exciting because the roadway connecting the two places is a single roadway on which traffic move from both directions. There is no separate lane for bicyclists or pedestrians. Accidents are inevitable if one should not careful with their driving or biking.
It was the Sunday before last. I was spending most of the day at home, lying on the bed with my mobile phone! Then, in the afternoon, I suddenly felt a desire for cycling—cycling to Furkating. However, this was not the first time I had wanted to cycle to Furkating. In the past, I had made many cycle trips to this small town which is situated 6 km away from my hometown Golaghat. But that Sunday it was supposed to be special! At around 4 pm I readied myself and got my bicycle out of the house; then checking pressure of the tiers, I got on it and rode off.
It was a beautiful afternoon. The sky was clear blue and a soft wind was blowing from the north. As I started pedalling my bicycle, it had soon reached the main road—Golaghat–Furkating Road—from where I directly headed towards the south. Within few minutes I crossed the city limits on my bicycle and arrived at Tetelital, a 3-way junction, which is surrounded by local shops. It is a small place mainly known for the Power House. Late Mr Gunaram Khanikar, the famous herbal medicinal expert, used to live here. (Tetelital has got its name from tamarind tree. In Assamese, "teteli" stands for tamarind and "tal" for under the tree.)
From Tetelital the road to the east goes to Furkating. As soon as I followed it, an area of scenic beauty unfolds in front of me. Along both sides of the road lies green fields of rice crops. Nearby the fields, here and there, lies farmers' houses surrounded by tropical evergreen trees. The road goes straight to Furkating. It is a very busy road and traffic flows all the time from both directions. Needless to say, I had to be careful with my biking.
It took me twenty-three minutes to reach Furkating Satsang Vihar. Then, within another minute, I entered the main town which is located near the railway station. Furkating is one of the oldest railway stations in India. The metre gauge railway track was extended from Lumding to Tinsukia—via Furkating— by Assam Bengal Railway, a Company which was run by British India, in 1903. The British used this railway track to transport tea and oil from upper Assam to Chittagong. Now Furkating is a busy railway junction. Every day at least a dozen of trains—Passenger and Express alike—stop by the station.
I spent few minutes at the market buying some sweets. Then I went to my sister's house which is situated near Furkating College. My nephew and niece cheered up seeing me at their doorstep. I handed them the packet of the sweets. My sister made a hot cup of tea for me and I slowly began to sip it, chit-chatting with my niece and nephew. Meanwhile, it had got dark outside. I checked the time on my mobile phone—it was half past five—and I quickly finished the tea and ready to leave. My brother-in-law asked me to stay the night at their house. But I politely refused and promised to come back again some other day.
I bade adieu to them, mounted on my bicycle and rode off. After cycling through the market for a minute, I came near the railway station which was brightly lit by yellow lights. Then I went through the level crossing and quickly followed the main road to Golaghat. But as soon as I passed the furthest reach of the town, I found that the road ahead of me lay in darkness. There were no street lights on the road; and unfortunately, nor had my bicycle a headlight. The only light available on the road was the light flashing by speedy vehicles. I knew it was not a good idea to ride a bicycle at night without a headlight or—at least— a torch in hand. But I had no choice at that very moment. I tried to controll the pace of my bicycle, pedalling as slowly and comfortably as possible. Thankfully, after thirty minutes—without meeting with any accident— I reached Tetelital. From there it took me another 5 minutes to reach home.
In conclusion, I would like to mention that a lot of people—most of them are labourers—commute from Furkating to Golaghat on bicycles every day. Similarly, hawkers from Golaghat, with their goods loaded on bicycles, regularly visit Furkating and nearby places. By one account some hawkers frequently cycle to as far as Merapani on this route. The distance from Golaghat to Merapani is 28 km.
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