Staying at a tea estate run by a badass woman
We were all exhausted by the painstaking journey from Mon to Shiyong. The roads vanished after a point and we were left with deep slush and muck. The Scorpio we had hired couldn’t be trusted to make the journey, so we were picked up by an old, sturdy vehicle instead. This was the day we first had a glimpse of a gorgeous Naga sunset. We decided to stop, take a couple pictures and then hop on top of the vehicle in an attempt to make a grand entry into the tea estate. Soon as we touched the estate we were stunned by the sheer expanse. They looked like large waves of green bathed gently in the evening light.
Phejin Konyak who runs the homestay is a superwoman! She wrote a coffee table book on the last surviving head hunters of Nagaland. She spent 4 years in research where she trekked through mountains and forests to reach the remotest villages of Nagaland to talk and spend time with the headhunters. It needed a ton of time for people to become free and open up to her about this gruesome practice. So she kept at it until she had enough authentic material for her book. Now at 38, she lives by herself in a beautiful wooden cottage in the middle of a cascading tea estate. She spends her time gardening, cooking and writing her second book. A lot of villagers have questioned her single status and she couldn’t be less bothered. She is a fierce, independent woman who doesn’t give a damn. Living in a conservative village like that surrounded by traditional households can’t be easy! She’s brazen, super confident and an absolute star. Such an inspiration!
We spent our time at Shiyong taking long walks to the village, through tea estates and star gazing at night. We would lay a mat out and lie on it for hours counting stars as they whizzed past us.