It's still in the wee hours of the morning, around 5 AM and the engine screeches to a halt at the Guwahati junction. People rushing out, running in all directions to get in or outta the train. After the bizarre ride of the night, I'm glad to get off the coach. Not too hopeful about the city and the ride ahead, I'm jiggered to find out that my ride is gonna be pleasant and the city not as stagnant as its counterparts. The city is spic-and-span with well-laid roads and flyovers taking you to the mystical mountains surrounding it. It's still 5:30 and squeezed between the car door and my mom I am revelling at the moment- soaking in the beauty of the morning and the sights the journey has to offer; completely oblivious to the fact that there are 10 other not-so-pleasant travellers with me.
As we quickly exit the city, the serpentine roads with sharp hairpin turns and S-turns await us. But all of it is incognizant of the sights the terrain had to offer. It all seems like a fairytale- the misty silhouettes of the dense forest on the ascent,the smoke coming off the tiny huts made from the skin of the tree; the pond outside the hut and children trying to catch fish with their fishing rods; and of course,the ever-enchanting cyan sky with squishy clouds making you want to just go play with it. My mom sleeps halfway through and I try to sleep, but the sights are just too pleasant to give a miss. I just cannot shut my eyes for a minute. Mum asks me to sleep and I tell her "How can I really sleep with all the beautiful things that are to be appreciated and enjoyed?"-failing to convince me, she returns to her slumber. It's around 7:30 and children walking towards their schools start appearing. I saw this duo, probably brothers, and wondered what kinda fun n adventure these guys might come across every day while going to their school, discovering new paths and climbing different slopes to reach their school and probably finding amazement in all the beautiful bounty that nature has to offer. Like watching the 'komerabi'- the passage of sunlight thru leaves, or simply get fascinated by the assorted bug and carry it with them in their bottle;or simply witness the magic of mornings-the sun beaming on the flora and creating different shades every few hours; or just discovering something enticing like an abandoned house-the endless possibilities I thought of! I quickly realized how lucky these kids were to be living in this part and how different my childhood experience of going to school was than theirs.
Around 30 kms from Shillong, the roads were in a poor condition giving us a grand bumpy ride and jolting awake all those asleep! Once again, my mind gets busy appreciating the nature, unmindful of the road. Lining the road on one side are the glorious mountains and the other is the plains which house the locals in tiny little hutches essentially with a pond for fishes and little yard to grow their organic food ( take me bacckk already!) Makes me feel like they're wiser than the rest of us! I mean how cool is it to grow your own food, cook it and eat it! I remember trying to grow carrots in my garden as a kid and getting really happy seeing the carrot grow- however small it was or for that matter the spinach that my dad used to grow- so fresh and tasty!
It's 12kms from Shillong and the great Umiam lake greets us and surely it's a welcoming sight. The Pine and Birch trees adorn the surrounding. A resort on the edge of the lake- how painting perfect material! It's a huge lake and as my driver informs me later, that it supplies electricity and water to entire Shillong!
It's 8:30-9:00-ish and we arrive at our destination-Shillong Mumma's mission accomplished of a vomit-free ride, mine to just being there, and dad's time to finally go search for tea!