Lesson 30: Rooted in Nature

The river was roaring like an angry cheetah. About a hundred feet below, the water was churning with force as it flowed over huge rocks.

Four of my family members who were with me when we started the trek had already crossed the river over the bridge to the other side.

The bridge I was struggling to cross to reach the village located close to Cherrapunji in Meghalaya, is made of living roots that have been entwined to form a network over the river.

These root bridges of the Khasi Hills showcase the ingenuity of the Khasi tribals. Realising the hurdles involved in building and maintaining bridges using conventional materials, the Khasi people decided to use the supple roots of the “Ficus elastic” tree, which were intertwined to form bridges that can hold several people at a time. It takes 15 to 20 years to build a bridge that can last for a very long time; some of the root bridges are said to be 150 years old!

Conquering all my fears, I finally just went on, and crossed the bridge.

Later at night I stood on a balcony, and realized how fortunate I was for having experienced the achievement of ancient tribals against raging and hostile nature. They did not destroy nature to build these bridges, instead they partnered with her to create these living wonders.

A) Discussion:

  1. Do you know where Meghalaya is? Do you know anything about the state?
  2. Do you know that Meghalaya is one of The Seven Sister States of India – Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh.
  3. What does it mean to “partner with Nature”? And how did the Khasi tribe do so?

B)   Vocabulary: Please make your own sentences using the following words:

  1. Churn – to stir, move or turn vigorously.
  2. Trek – a long, hard journey through mountains.
  3. Entwine – to wind something round and round.
  4. Showcase – to display something.
  5. Ingenuity – the quality of being clever, inventive, resourceful.
  6. Hurdle –   a frame to be jumped in a race, or a difficult test.
  7. Conventional – normal, not unusual.
  8. Supple –   to bend and stretch easily.

C) Fill in the blanks, choosing from the words below:
destruction, with, conquer, flowed

  1. The water _____ over the rocks.
  2. Let us work _____ nature, instead of against it.
  3. Creation, not _____ is the answer to many problems.
  4. In order to move forward in life, we must _____ our fears.