Our next station was Mawsmai Cave. On our way, we had lunch at a roadside restaurant. I would say if you visit the hillside, try out the local restaurants rather than fancy dine outs. Women control all the business here. But these places are generally bit crowded. Moon said, “So, next step Mawsmai cave. Would you like to enter that cave?” My masi immediately said, “No way. Don’t forget I had a knee replacement surgery. I can’t go anywhere.” Dad said, “Didi, don’t worry, I’ll try to find out a stick for you.” Mom said, “Hang your surgery, you don’t need to go there. Just wait outside.” And soon my whole family was into an argument whether we should get into the cave or not. And I, the silent member kept my mouth and ears shut and Spotify was playing ‘Breaking the Habit’ by Linkin Park. Soon we arrived at the cave side. It was pretty crowded. Some newly married couple came to enjoy their honeymoon with the whole family. Bengali tourists were shouting. Mom only said, “It also has changed a lot.”
As soon as we came to the ticker counter, one woman asked, “Bengali?” I nodded, “Yes.” Then in Bengali, she said, “Don’t go inside the cave. You might have to crawl for 150 meters constantly.” Upon hearing this maa, “I am backing out.” Dad said, “Fine. Then me and Raka (my nickname) will go.” Ma screamed, “None of you will go. What if you guys get trapped?” Dad said, “Nothing will happen. If you are that much scared then you stay outside.” I was looking at her. She was about to cry and there she goes. Her emotional blackmailing just had started. After clicking a few family photos, dad simply walked in the cave and I followed him before maa could stop me. As I was going deep into the cave, following dad’s footstep, I could hear her say, “Watch over your daughter. You will be in big trouble if she doesn’t come back unscratched.”
I have been to three caves to date. When I was little I visited Bora cave in Andhra Pradesh. Next, I visited a small limestone cave in Andaman. But Mawsmai cave actually gave me some chills. It is also a limestone cave full of moist and stagglemites. Dad was hurriedly walking. And I was viewing the inside. Nature is a great sculpture. Due to the lack of light and my poor camera I couldn’t take many pictures. There were many chambers. 26 years ago, this cave was inaccessible. This cave is located near the Bangladesh border. So illegal immigrants can easily cross the border by caves like. So the Government of India decided to light them up. After crossing a few small bridges over some little pools, there came the actual challenge. The 150 meters crawling.
Now, I am not a coward person. But sometimes I am afraid of getting stuck into narrow paths. Because I own a heavy body. Have you ever watched documentaries of lions or tigers? The mother constantly encourages her cubs. Like that, my father kept saying, “Crawl, you rascal. Just crawl. You will definitely lose some weights.” And there was me, remembering all the news, regarding trapped in a cave, constantly praying to God, “Please, make sure I am out.” I was never so afraid in my life. He commented, “Your mother could never have done this crawling.” I am telling you guys, you should have this experience once in a lifetime. Later when I came out, Dad took that photo. A few months later when I was telling this experience to one of my friends, I said, “Thank God, that cave didn’t have pythons. It would be really scary then.” He said, “Don’t you know, there are pythons in that cave. We know that.” I hope you can imagine the expression on my face.