A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: incommunicado

OF DEWY MOUNTAINS AND BUMPY RIDES

snow 1 °C

I always looked for jobs which allowed me to travel. And the lucky that I am (touché) I have managed to be in jobs that allows me to travel.
Before I stepped into motherhood I had a job which allowed me to travel extensively across North East and the icing on the cake were the cosmetics and personal care goods I was dealing with.
And nine years later (in between taking a break to raise a child, two more jobs) I have again landed in a job where the travel bug in me is back.
So as the head of North East in my current job, my first stop is Mokokchung in Nagaland.
As I started packing, I looked up the weather forecast in Yahoo and it reflected 10 degs as max and 2 degs as min temperature. Already in shivers, I pulled out the warmest and the heaviest jacket from the closet to begin with.
This would be my maiden visit to Mokokchung. Tickets done, hotel booked, I boarded the Shtabdi Express from Guwahati to Marinai. By Guwahati standards too, it was cold, dark and foggy and seemed the whole world was fast asleep as I stepped out of my home.
It took roughly six hours to reach Mariani, a small town in Jorhat district. To my dismay there were no cabs to Mokokchung at that time. As a stroke of good luck I met a family who were headed to Mokokchung and I paid them my share and hitch hiked with them.
The shared Sumo ride was a good one. The Sumo was dusty. I took the front seat with the driver. We passed by the lush green tea estates on the outer fringes of Jorhat and were finally in Nagaland. The driver halted and asked us to show our inner line permits at the check gate. As I walked towards the check point, I could hear Hotel California being played faintly. There were two cops in the counter. Both were busy playing Candy Crush while crooning to the famous Eagles number. Some things only happen in North East India!
And from then on I started my bumpiest ever road trip. I wonder if there were any roads to begin with. The road zig-zagged the craters. The winds got colder, houses prettier and fog thicker.
We took a pit stop midway at New Camp. The place was lined with a few tea stalls and tiny grocery shops. I bought a packet of biscuits and sipped the milkiest cup of tea. The stopover was for about ten minutes. It was already dark and the wind was hitting hard. We got into the car for the final leg of our ride.
I do not recall much of it as I snoozed right after. I don’t even know if I snored. I opened my eyes when the car took a sharp left turn and infront of me was Mokokchung. It looked like as if the stars had fallen on the hills. The hill was glittering like diamonds and it was the most amazing sight. I almost felt I was on a high and was hallucinating.
As we reached the town the car halted and asked everyone to take their respective luggagages.
“Is that it”, I asked the driver.
“Yes”, he said affirmatively.
“But you have to drop me to my hotel. If not the hotel then at least to the main town area”, I told him.
I called up the hotel to ask exactly where it was located. They directed me well.
I told the driver the address and said “I will pay you another hundred bucks extra. Take me to the hotel”.
““Madam, your hotel is a walking distance. Just keep walking straight, you will reach a police point. That is where your hotel is located”.
I believed him like a fool and started walking,, lulling my heavy trolley bag and the laptop bag on my shoulders.
I kept walking to the police point and there was no signs of my hotel. It was getting colder and the streets were empty. It felt like midnight. I just looked up my watch to see the time. I was just 5:50 p.m.
I asked a passer by about the hotel and he pointed towards the right and said “keep walking that side”.
“Can I get a taxi now?”, inquired.
“Ma’am, its too late. See.. even the shops are shutting down. You wont get a taxi now.”
I looked towards where the gentleman was pointing. The road was an uphill walk. With a heavy breath I begun my track. And I must tell you… it wasn’t the most amazing thing to experience on earth. After walking which seemed like ages, I reached the town hall. I called the hotel again and told them I was near Town Hall. They were surprized to hear that I had walked that much distance.
I kept walking further asking another man for directions (just to know whether I was on the right track or not) when I saw a Maruti Van approaching me. A girl stepped out from the co-driver seat and said, “I am from Whispering Winds. Did you call up asking for directions?”
I cannot fathom how grateful I will always be for their gesture.
I was starving like a pig. I had a very early grub. Slowly the chill was settling in my system. I could feel my bones freezing. Fingers became numb the moment I took them out of pockets to receive calls (whatever few calls I could manage to answer).
I asked at the reception to give me a room heater. I pulled the heater as close as I could manage to my bed. It was 8:45 pm when I decided to shut eye.
I could hear faintly, happy voices singing Ronan Keating, Extreme, Scorpions ballads as well as guitars strumming too.
Day one ended on a tired yet adventurous note.

Posted by incommunicado 04:49 Archived in India Tagged me landscapes sunsets_and_sunrises mountains churches people night trekking backpacking hitchhiking business_travel Comments (0)

My North East

I feel absolutely thrilled and proud to be a part of this video as a content writer... hope you all like it...

Posted by incommunicado 21:56 Archived in India Tagged me landscapes waterfalls sunsets_and_sunrises mountains lakes bridges people children birds sky night boats trains trekking backpacking air_travel hitchhiking Comments (0)

Not a travel story this time... but a movie

Bahniman... the movie

It would not be wrong to say that as a mainstream commercial cinema, Bahniman is one of the few bilingual films to be made in Assamese.

Biswajeet Bora, the director, story and screenplay writer of the film, started his career on the editing tables and moved on to assist Jahnu Barua , a filmmaker who needs no introduction. His path to direction began with his first movie Ejak Junaakir Jilmil, which gained critical recognition in many international film festivals world over. Much later in the year 2015 he made his first Hindi movie, Aisa Yeh Jahan.

Talking about Bahniman, he says, the movie happened without prior notice. He wanted to make an Assamese movie, which would be totally a commercial cinema with the right dose of action, drama, giggle and thrills. A movie that would be visually appealing to all section of the masses.

The story unfolds with a plot of land being the prized booty. Viewers would feel the movie deals with land grabbing issues. But as it progresses, the spectators are pleasantly delighted to realize that there is a cat and mouse chase going on between the four central characters of the movie. The gangster, his confidant and a lady cop are all chasing main protagonist.

On asking him if there were reasons to make the film bilingual, he says, Guwahati is now no longer a small town with a handful of people. The city has grown into a cosmopolitan and is a diverse cluster with people from cross section of society. The target audience was not confined to just one section of the viewers.

The four central characters – Bahadur, Kanu Sharma, Preeti and Bikram (played by Jatin Bora, Yashpal Sharma, Rimi Hazarika and Ravi Janghu correspondingly) are introduced neatly one at a time as the story develops and progresses.

Bikram, the protagonist, is the calm and sober character. His underplay is a fair deal to the boisterous and energetic characters of the other three leads, toning it down evenly.

The film has its lighter moments in the form of dialogues. The characters do not try and attempt too hard to be funny. The humor is situational and is etched out by the characters effortlessly. Arun Hazarika as the assistant cop is definitely the show stopper when it comes to comic timings and it blends in smoothly without interrupting the flow of the story.

While speaking to the Director, I asked him why did he brought in or better outsource the DoP (Titu Jena) , action director (Koushal-Moshes) and the editor (Suresh Pai). And he aptly replied that he wanted to make a movie which would stand at par with movies made nationally. He also added he gave a free hand to his entire team to improvise during the making of the film. All he was looking for was to bring newness to the Assamese film industry.

And he has lived up to his words. The movie is glossy, fast paced and stylishly made.

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Posted by incommunicado 20:45 Archived in India Comments (0)

The Birthday (That Never Was)

“I don’t need a weepy goodbye”, he said, looking fixedly at me.

He took the last drag of the cigarette, threw it with a flick of his fingers and continued, “Goodbyes should be on a happy note…”; took a deep breath and added “ALWAYS”.

Even before I could say a word he got excited as he rubbed both his palms together and said, “Let’s make a plan!”

“What plan”?, I asked him. I let my thoughts pass by, swallowing all that I had to say about goodbyes, weepy or otherwise.

He stood up, took out his phone from the right hand side of his denims and got restless as he began unlocking the screen. He looked quite lost and mumbled something as he opened the calendar on his phone.

I said nothing. I almost snatched his phone and fed in my birth date, setting as a reminder with the most annoying alarm tone.

He scratched his head and said, “I don’t remember birthdays”, and we both smiled.

We sat in silence for a while on the rickety bamboo bench gazing on to the pine trees. Soon it would be dusk. It’d get cold and a thick layer of fog would surround us.

“But I will remember yours”, he said and removed the reminder in no time.

I looked at him, questioningly now as I raised both my eyebrows.

“It’s on 7th Feb da” he said.

He rather looked cute…. No he looked cuter.

It was our last evening together. One on one. We still had thirty six hours at our disposal but that would be spent travelling.

I felt a heavy lump inside my throat.

Things had just got better. We were in sync.

He stood up, took out the camera from his black sling bag and walked towards the main stage. My favourite artist Prateek Kuhad had just taken control on the center stage and the crowd began to gather and swell. My eyes followed his footsteps as long as I could and after a while he got lost amidst the swarm of people.

I sat alone, still gazing on to the pine trees. I don’t know how many minutes I sat there all by myself. As I turned my head to my right to take a good glimpse of Prateek Kuhad, I saw him at a distance, taking pictures of me.

He came walking towards me, put the camera inside the bag and handed it to me.

“Sit!, I told him.

“Wait a minute”, he said, as he pulled out something from his back. Well… it was a bamboo hollow filled with Apong.

“Cheers!”, he said, as he took a sip and handed the Apong to me.

“Let’s make a plan”, he said yet one more time.

So we got back to where we had started.

I smiled at him and asked the same question as I sipped the Apong, “What plan?”

“Let me check the air fares from your place to mine”. He wasted no time and started looking up the air fares.

“Man it’s cheap if we book it right away!” he exclaimed as I kept sipping the Apong.

“So… 7th is a Sunday and your Saturdays are off days too. Take the early morning flight on Saturday and I will receive you at the airport and we will drive down straight to Auroville. Your birthday will be in Auroville with me. I want to make it special!”

He took my phone and set reminders this time!

It sounded special and it felt nice.

“Four months huh?”, I questioned him teasingly.

“It’s only four months da! If we could have waited for five years, four months should not be a big thing”.

“Yes!” I exclaimed and gave him the tightest hug.

For the rest of the evening we happily let ourselves get drowned in music, Apong and the fog, holding hands all the while.

The next thirty six hours passed too soon travelling and finally the moment came I dreaded the most. The time to bid adieu. It wasn’t a weepy goodbye at all. For we knew we’d be seeing each other soon… it was just a matter of four months.

The next four months were no easy. I felt I was getting clingy and he seemed to go inside his shell. We spoke on and off. But he said he was in his own zone and preferred keeping quiet.

It took a while to gather myself and get used to my life the way it was and the way it is.

And finally the day arrived.
My phone beeped with the reminder on time! I looked at the screen and smiled at myself. We made plans and the plans remained plans! I don’t know whether I was happy or not. But I smiled and recalled that last evening.

I prefer quiet and noiseless birthdays.
I never expected him to call or wish me. In the six years (yes it is now six years) I have known him he never has wished me once!

And then he called. Whoa! He called! Yes he did!

“Happy birthday girl!”, he said. I know he was smiling. I could make out from his voice.
“Thank you!” I replied.
“See, I told you I’d remember your birthday. And in the last six years that I have known you this is the first time I am wishing you!”
We both laughed at the same time and I said, “Yes! And I will remember this for the rest of my life!”
We spoke for a long time.

Much later a night I sent him a message.
Me:“Thank you”
Monk:“For what?”
Me:“For remembering my birthday”
Monk:“I told you I would”
Me:“We were supposed to be together on this day Monk”
Monk“Yes, I know”
Me:“Maybe some other time”
Monk:“Maybe we are used to not seeing each other for five years!”
Me:“I miss you”
Monk:“I miss you sometimes”
Me:“I miss you mostly”
Monk:“I hate the distance”

Posted by incommunicado 19:53 Archived in India Tagged me landscapes sunsets_and_sunrises mountains people night backpacking hitchhiking Comments (0)

ON A BULLET YATRA

It took me four months to finally meet the person from the virtual world to the real and it was worth the wait. Meet Dhruv Dholakia, the man on a soulful journey, On A Bullet Yatra ; to be more precise and apt.
I started following his blog in Facebook when he had just begun this journey. The first story I read was about his experiences in Goa and that really intrigued me. Because I had just done a travelogue about Goa around the same time as well.
And today afternoon as we were eating a hearty meal of authentic Assamese food at Paradise we spoke for a long time. He looked on to his king sized plate filled with ten bowls of different kinds of food which would tease his taste buds and I briefed him to start with Khar which is alkaline and end with Tenga which is acidic. Before he could ask me “Why”?, I said, “We Assamese eat the Khar and end with Tenga to keep the Ph balance in our body intact!”.
The first thing which he has answered about a hundred of times is, “What triggered and inspired him to take up on this mammoth solo ride? Was it a much thought and detailed plan or was it just a flash of wisdom that struck him?”
He leaned back, flashed me a broad smile with a raised eyebrow and said, “I had been working as an investment banker for the last ten years. And I felt I was getting nowhere. I was becoming a very boring person. I was doing the same things day in and day out. And when I went out on weekends, I realized there were no interesting conversations. I was growing at a receded pace. So I decided to explore.”
So on the fine morning after Ganpati Visarjan, i.e 29th September, 2015 to be exact, he put the ignition of his 500 CC Royal Enfield on and there has been no looking back.
He has traversed from the Western Ghats to the Southern tip of India and now is in North East to explore the furthest Eastern point where the sun rises for the country. And he said, “This is perhaps the best leg of my journey.”
Assam is his twelfth state that he has stepped on. He has seventeen more states to traverse.
“I want to explore the twenty nine states in fourteen months’, he said, as he savored on his meal.
And he feels life is so peaceful here with zero pollution and no traffic as compared to Mumbai. I did not know whether to laugh out loud or have second thoughts. So I took it as a big compliment and thanked him wholeheartedly.
I told him as we finished our meal, he is doing an incredible job and it is so inspiring.
“What are your plans?”, I asked
“Plans?, he questioned me back.
“Yes, plans”, I said.
“Nothing as of now. When I started my journey I did not know what was in store for me. My mother was worried. I just asked her to pray for me, being the spiritual and religious woman that she is”.
He further continued, “The entire journey till now has been an assortment of experiences. With landscapes, weather, food, culture and language changing every hundred kilometers.Travelling across India is like time travel. Every place takes me to different era with its own highs & lows. Spanning from the very beginning of the mankind”.
I smiled and nodded my head in affirmation. He is so true. Being a traveler myself I know the joys of trotting and learning about life.
To travel is to live and learn. He spoke about Gautama Buddha, Swami Vivekananda, Mark Zuckerburg and Steve Jobs; to mention a few who travelled to find their true calling.
All I could do was nod my head in total agreement.
We shook hands firmly knowing well we will be meeting again as long as he is in North East. And I walked to back to my work as he rode on his Bullet and agreeing for sure….He Who Does Not Enjoy The Journey Can Never Reach His Destination.

The Blog link: https://www.facebook.com/Onabulletyatra/?fref=ts

Posted by incommunicado 18:41 Archived in India Tagged landscapes sunsets_and_sunrises mountains beaches bridges churches buildings people night boats backpacking Comments (0)

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