250 KM away from Guwahati and almost 100 KM from Shillong lies Umrangso. An industrial town that survived the various phases of time, even Corona. The town of Umrangso is a border area town between Assam and Meghalaya. The name translates to “red colored water” in Khasi. So I don’t have to tell you that there is khasi population in there. The other major community living are Dimasa, Karbi, Nepali, Hmar, Beite, Kuki, Assamese and Bengali. That’s all for introduction I guess. The rest you can scroll through Google. Oh, and it has a hydro electric power corporation named NEEPCO and a cement factory named Dalmia cement which used to be Vinay Cements before being sold to Dalmia.
This article is an ode to all the guys who stayed back in Umrangso and actually did something for the community. Growing up I used to see our seniors passing out and going to cities like Shillong, Guwahati, Bangalore and Delhi for further studies. They would find a job there and would never return to Umrangso. And why would they? Most of them were living in NEEPCO quarters which their parents had to leave when they retire from their job. You love Umrangso but you don’t love it so much that you would actually visit it again. You would just blabber on your social media channels, “oh wow what a place it was, really wish to go there” but you don’t mean it in real. May be you have a dark history that you don’t want to revisit? Or your love for Umrangso was unreal.
So who stayed back? The Denizens stayed back to look after the town when every other guy left looking for a better life in a city. Why ‘Denizens’? Because that was the name that brought all of these guys under one banner when they played football. These guys who stayed back couldn’t score a good job in any of the cities. And these are the same guys who used to be the troublemakers. They were the kind of guys your parents would warn against. These were the guys who owned the playgrounds and were always standing in the scorching sun to catch the ball. These were the guys who would smoke and drink in Durga Puja and get into fights. Growing up as a kid you would be scarred of them. These were the guys, teachers would give least importance to. These are the guys who stayed back.
I remember teachers mentioning studious guys as nation builders. They would say, so and so will make the society better. But what really happened is these studious folks got a good job and went on to live their new found lives. They never looked back at Umrangso. If the studious guys won’t work for their old town, then who will? Worry not, we have the Denizens.
While the promising and studious guys were shifting to their new 3BHK in Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai, the Denizens were cleaning the golf ground under the banner of Equinox Musical Society. The Denizens would drive “Clean Your Town” program and make sure the market place is clean and have a dustbin in place. These guys made sure that villagers had something to eat in Lockdown by collecting money and distributing them to the needy. I hope you get what I mean.
The students who were frowned upon became the guarding of the town. They opened a musical school in the town making sure the interested folks get a chance to rock and roll. They even created a big stage and brought big speakers to Umrangso and called it Rock For Peace. They honored the concert in the names of their friends who departed. I am sure none of the studious guys did this for their long lost dead friends.
There is even a guy who opened a school for his community’s kids who cannot afford school. This guy was my class mate. Now these are the guys who stayed back.
I did not take any names in this article. But I know they would know when they read it. It’s not a criticism to anyone. It’s a respect to all the guys who stayed back. Thank you for all that you do. You guys matter to the society.
Finally an ode to the guy who fuelled it all.