Monday, January 02, 2006
Travelogue Part 1 - Time Warp
Time started to whiz past from the moment I landed in Guwahati. Every time I glanced at my watch I wondered how fast the minutes were disappearing. Even the winter sun was in a hurry to go down making it so difficult for me to stick to my plan of reaching Shillong before sunset and making good use of the remaining bit of light. The cab driver tried his best to help me. Like everything else he too was in a hurry – he wanted us to reach Shillong in time, dead or alive. But as fate would have it, when we reached the gloomy and sleepy town of Shillong, negotiating the many perilous bends and turns in a road that seemed to go straight up to heaven, it was already dark.
Determined to make amends for the lost time, I roused myself early next morning from the shady hotel room, and plunged straight into the chilly foggy morning outside. Reached the bus station before everybody else and booked a ticket to the mystical town of Cherrapunjee – the wettest place on planet earth with an average annual rainfall of 12000mm. Situated in the northeastern state of Meghalaya, India, Cherrapunjee is not half as crowded and popular as the capital city of Meghalaya, Shillong. Consequently it is a traveler’s delight especially in the month of December when it rains less and most people find it too cold to travel in Meghalaya.
Sometime later I was in a rickety bus, speeding to different nooks and corners in the mountains of Meghalaya. Every corner had a spectacular view and a very unpronounceable name in the Khasi language. I went to the dark and dank Mawsynram cave, the enchanting Nah Ko Likai falls, and numerous viewpoints, lakes and gardens. When I looked at them through binoculars, the villages in the hills of Meghalaya, appeared to be scattered randomly, with no motorable roads connecting them. They were blissful islands of human habitation, isolated and so aloof.
The beautiful people of Meghalaya like to spend their lives smiling at each other, chewing betel leaves. To them the world seems to be speeding away from one place to another, in a perpetual hurry. They merely look on and wonder why all this haste. I too had to leave the next day. So they smiled at me and said ‘Khublei’ (Khasi for ‘God Bless’).
From top - Nah Ko Likai falls, Mawsynram cave, A lake in Shillong