(contd from previous page)
give us accommodation, due to rush of people in panic, we travelled by motor launch for 7 days. The launch will ply during day time only, as if it travels in the night, the launch will get stuck up in the sand. Daily early morning we will bathe in the river and have our coffee and food in the boat. During day time we were enjoying the discourses made by a Tamil Graduate (Mr. Subramanian Pathar) our colleague. We stayed at Mandalay for a month where our office was working. We were staying in the first floor of a building from which we could see the temple of Lord Buddha (Payya) situated in a hillock. There were steps to reach the foot of the temple. We used to visit the temple during Sundays and enjoy the calm and silent surroundings, a fit environment for offering prayers to God. There was also a big golden temple of Buddha, named Sule Pagoda. It was a grand sight to look at the shining golden cover on the sloping roof of the temple. This used to dazzle during mid-day sun.
Next, we had to move to Manyara, as the enemies were approaching nearby. We had to stay here for a month. On Tamil New Year’s day we arranged for a good meal with sweets. When we were about to finish our meals a siren sounded which means the enemies were coming. So all of us hurried up and took shelter in a neem tree forest nearby. The trees were so close, that we could not see the sun on mid-day. After about 2 hours, we returned. Our office was functioning in a school. On 28th April, we were asked to go back to India.
From Manyara we went in a launch to Kalewa. Then we went to Kalemyo. From there, we had to walk. We started walking every day early morning about 7 to 8 miles and halted at a camp specially built where we took coffee, prepared our meals and had it.
Next: Burma to India – one long walk: Pg 3