I had successfully managed to not go to NH7 Weekender so I could save up for this musician I had freshly discovered- Eric Martin, who was going to perform in India in November. Eric Martin happens to be the vocalist of a well known band called Mr. Big and has this unique raspy voice that had me hooked for good. After a huge confusion between Guwahati and Shillong, given that the musician was performing in both the cities on consecutive days, I decided that I’d go watch him in the former and then go around exploring Shillong.
We were supposed to reach Guwahati by 11 am on the day that the concert was supposed to be. However, the train kept getting delayed after having started off late and reached Guwahati at around 9 pm. The concert was most certainly over by then. I was disheartened, certainly, but I looked forward to making it work the next day in Shillong.
We left for Shillong next morning, hunted for an inexpensive hotel and decided to split, for it was just one of my friends and I who wanted to watch Eric Martin eventually. I was on a really tight budget and didn’t want to spend on front-row tickets, yet, I wanted to be able to watch him up-close and possibly meet him. So I decided to try my luck and gave one of the organizers a call, explained my situation and convinced him to let me click pictures for them in return for free entry. To be on the safe side, the two of us reached the venue hours in advance and waited patiently for the organizers to turn up. I had no idea how the guy I had talked to looked like, his number stayed busy and I had no option but to wait outside the gate. Finally, one of the other organizers took notice that I had been hanging around for exceptionally long, asked me what was up with me and on hearing out my story, handed me an All Area Access volunteer card, almost frustrated.
I was beyond thrilled; all my patience had finally paid back and I was all set to have the night of my life. Flash forward to the performance, I remember standing right off the stage, the crowd held back by the cops behind me and sang along while Eric Martin performed some of my favourite songs. My hands shivered in the overwhelming winters of Meghalaya, but I kept clicking. And meanwhile, made friends with a cop on duty, who was also a huge fan. After the concert, he helped me get access to the backstage and meet Eric. I was overjoyed to have my CD of Mr. Big autographed by the singer himself. The adventures that night came to a halt after my friend and I were offered a ride back to our hotel by the cops in their Gypsy, for it was way too late to find public transport.Another incidence on the same trip happened on our last day in Shillong. We set off for Dawki, which is popular for its crystal clear river and a neighbouring village called Tamabil, situated on India-Bangaldesh border. We got off at Dawki, asked around a little and managed to take the contact number of a taxi driver before starting to walk towards the border. It was heart-warming to see the locals crossing the border freely and trucks from Bangladesh entering India without a check. Visitors, however, could not go beyond a certain mark some 150 meters off the border.