A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about trekking


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)

RANTS – Because I have to get it out of my system

Chapter II

I do not see any traces of myself in all that you do. It’s completely alright. I do understand what limitations are. Unlike my own self – when I went out of my way to tell the world what it is like to be a part of you; no matter how short-lived it was. As long as it lasted it was the most beautiful phase of my life.
I found me. I was nervous at first. I hardly remembered a time in the recent past when I was “me”. It took a while to let that feeling sink in. And I slowly and steadily I began to enjoy my existence. I had forgotten what it was to be like me.

And did I ever thank you for that? No? Seriously? I didn’t?

It took us such a long time to make this moment happen. And I think the whole Universe transpired to allow us this fleeting togetherness … it was very much needed.

I stumbled upon something very interesting yesterday and it goes like this – “there will always be a reason why you meet people. Either you need them to change your life or you are the one that will change theirs.” – Author Unknown.

We both have been through hell and high waters in our own separate lives. You have known it all and so do I. There have been times when we were not even in talking terms. I laugh now. That was such a childish thing to do. Now when I look back, yes, it did hurt me when we were not communicating at all. I missed you badly. It took a while but gradually I got over it. It wasn’t easy. But I managed to accept the fact we’d never talk again, leave seeing each other, that seemed next to impossible.

I clearly remember the message you sent me after a hiatus… was it after a year and half?
“Happy Diwali Nans”
That was the first message I read the next morning after Diwali. I checked the message and the sender's name twice to be sure it was you.
I felt vulnerable as I replied you back “A very Happy Diwali to you too”; and after all these years I still feel that way when it comes to you.

So we were back talking. Our conversations were short. Basic. Sometimes there were long intervals of silences.

But as of now I fear this silence. It’s my insecurity? Yes it is!

I took me a long time to put back together a very damaged me… from a very agonizing relationship. It still scares me every time I think about it. Think those damages were yet to heal when we met after five long years of wait.
And as those five days after five years of wait, were nearing an end I secretly whispered a prayer to God, “Dear God, please don’t make the Monk stone cold once we part ways and return to our own respective lives”.

Posted by incommunicado 07:49 Archived in India Tagged me sunsets_and_sunrises people night trekking Comments (0)

The Land of Country Music, Guitarists and Football Lovers

Chapter I - On the way home

I don’t know when I fell asleep. The screeching brakes of the car woke me up. My left arm felt numb. I don’t know how long I had held on to the handle right up there on the left side of the car hood. I had held I quite tightly, blame the roads – the zig-zags and the death traps…
As I opened my eyes all I could see was dense fog. The driver was maneuvering the curves slowly and for the first time we spoke.
I looked into him and asked, “Where are we”?
“About to reach Umium Lake”, he replied.
I sat up straight, stretched my arms, rotated my head in clock and anti-clock wise direction and looked at the watch. It was close to 01:45 hours. The Baul music was still ear-piercing. Not that I am saying this with disregard. I was wondering how could I have dozed off with such loud music blaring from the car stereo and my earphones glued to my ears still playing rock classics!
I had been travelling close to twenty hours now. I’d home in another three hours. The nearer I was reaching home the urge to get out of this travel schedule, to cozy up in my own bed in my ultra faded and over worn tees soared… and I knew I’d not move an inch for the next day. I’d hibernate for a day.
My mind is always full of thoughts. I did not hear what the driver was telling me. Its only when he nudged me I looked at him and asked, “What”?
“”Why don’t you go back to sleep”? , he said.
I looked behind me. The two women with an acutely irksome nasal voice were finally asleep. The two men travelling with them were asleep too snoring away. They were my co-travellers since 18:00 hours. And I must tell you they made my journey quite horrifying. Firstly they reached the taxi stand late; secondly they spent about forty five minutes in the railway station trying to get a refund for a missed train; thirdly they had nauseating body odor and fourthly in that terrible nasal tone of theirs they were singing songs!
I looked at the driver and said, “They all are finally shut” and we both laughed cheekily!
“No, I am not sleeping. It gets quite monotonous for the driver to keep steering when everyone shuts eye, especially the one sitting in front. This is what I do when I drive. So let me be awake”, as I told him checking my phone for yet one more time if there were any notifications.
And we got talking, about his life and mine, until one point I felt I almost hallucinated… sleep was coming back and my eye lids felt heavy.

Posted by incommunicado 07:04 Archived in India Tagged me landscapes sunsets_and_sunrises mountains churches skylines people trees night trekking backpacking hitchhiking business_travel Comments (0)


overcast 17 °C

How strange it seemed when I secretly wished this journey of mine should have never ended. I came back leaving a part of me there. My happy part!
It was not my maiden visit. I was in Ziro a few years ago when I had sales target to achieve. At that time I did not pay much attention to the place or the journey as my mind was occupied with so many things. But this time around things were different.
I was restless, my palms sweaty. I wanted the wheels of the train to get rolling as soon as possible. My friend sitting on the opposite berth was observing my uneasiness and finally asked me why was I not calm. I did not have an answer. Now when I think about it, I feel it’s because I wanted to get out of my home town badly, to be somewhere where I’d see only unknown faces, my phone would stop buzzing and also getting the 3g connectivity would be next to impossible.
And as we moved finally I felt better. The whole train was full of travelers like me, going to the Ziro Festival of Music. The excitement in every pair of eye was so evident. We all wanted to be there and set our souls free.
Sleep never seems easy inside a moving train. I woke up every time the train halted, be it at a station or in the middle of nowhere waiting for a clearance. As I peeped outside, it was almost dawn. There was a slight drizzle too. We were in Harmoti, which meant we would be in Naharlagun in about forty five minutes or so.
The train reached Naharlagun right on dot. As we got down from the train it started raining quite heavily. The ones who had not made their Inner Line Permits were in a queue to get the needful done. I saw many artists disembarking and wrapping their guitars, drums sets in huge sheets of plastics. I badly wanted a cup of tea, but to my utter disappointment there wasn’t a single tea stall in and around this quaint little station.
We took a taxi to the town which is about fifteen minutes from the station. Went straight to the Sumo Counter to book our seats. We did get the seats but the next Sumo to go to Ziro was a ten thirty, which meant we had close to two and half hours in hand. We put our backpack in the Sumo counter and walked around looking for a place to eat. The breakfast was the longest I had in my life! We had a lot of time at our disposal.
The Sumo started right on dot and soon we were ascending the hills. The road was curvy, rocky and the higher we went worse it became. The rains had made it slushier. The Subansiri River flowing below looked muddy with strong rapids. At a few places there were landslides too. It should have taken about three hours to reach Ziro, but the condition of the road, the slush and our driver getting down to help another Sumo driver whose car had a break down made the entire journey close to five and half hours.
Mr. Tam who was hosting us kept calling me to keep a track. At one point I felt I had completely lost it. I just wanted to get down from the Sumo and start walking.
But things did not take such a bad turn. We reached Ziro at three thirty in the afternoon and Mr. Tam came to receive us. As we hopped in his car, the first thing we asked him, “How far is your home from the Fest Site”?
“Oh! Don’t you people worry! It’s just a kilometer”!
That was perhaps the best thing we heard during this back breaking ride!
So there we were, in Hong Village. We followed Mr. Tam’s footsteps and finally reached his home. I was super thrilled to realize that I’d be staying the next three days in a stilt house made of bamboo and wood. It was small. But neat and clean. What could more one ask for? It was a typical Apatani home with a huge fire place in the middle of the living room, which they use it to warm water, smoke meat and keep the house warm.
Mr. Tam seemed more eager than us. He asked us to freshen up as quickly as we could so that he could drive us to the Fest Site. And like obedient children we exactly did as he told us.
There was a sense of euphoria in the site. The party was just about to begin and would get bigger and better. Once we were given our fest blue bands, we were inside. We looked around the stalls, checked the food and other stalls selling memorabilia.
The ZFM (Ziro Festival of Music) officially kicked off by seven and the first band Dayglocrazie was a bit disappointing. Not only me, I heard people standing close to me sipping their beers saying the kick off should have been with a peppy band, not with someone who was singing such mushy mushy songs. But after that Yesterdrive and later followed by Omak Komut Collective took matters in their able and responsible hands and they literally set the Fest on fire and the audience into frenzy.
And I knew this was the beginning of some serious tripping on good music.
The next two days that followed, we saw some of the finest and most talented people performing in front of us, from one in the afternoon till about ten at night.
MenWhoPause, Barmer Boys, Takar Nabam, Neel & The Lighbulbs, Tetseo Sisters, Run, It’s the Kid, North, Side Effect, Alisha Batth and my favourite Prateek Kuhad were the most awesomest (only if the dictionary permits me to use such a word!).
Disappointment came when on the third day of the fest (which was my high point) we saw a huge white chart paper with this written and I quote, “Dualist Inquiry CANCELLED  P.S. He could not make it because he was injured.”
I was a sore miffed. Felt like a rejected lover. But then there were too many things that made up for that one disappointment. I was around with friends with whom I could be me and feel good and secure. Then there where the newer set of friends, we talked, laughed, sipped Apong and clicked selfies, exchanged numbers, added each other in Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp too. We devoured on Apong (which is a local wine made from fermented rice and millet seeds). Out of all the Apongs the Apong made by the Adi tribe is the one to die for. Its sweet. It keeps you warm and gives you a happy high. The Adi Apong was served to us in slim bamboo hollows with bamboo leaves used as a cover.
The best thing about the ZFM was off course the music. But also it was about people I was with, the ones I connected after years that mattered a lot.
It’s a week now that I am back home. But I am still hung over. About everything that is Ziro. The green and golden paddy fields, the sunshine, the clear blue skies, the clouds, the rains, the fog, the slush, the long walks along the paddy fields and pine trees, the music, the happy and unknown faces, the familiar strangers. I came back home full of wonderful memories. I don’t know if I will go to Ziro again. Just feel that the excitement would not be as it was this time.
I told my host I can stay in Ziro for the rest of my life happily working in paddy fields, drinking Adi Apong, walking around not having a care about meeting deadlines and con calls!
Thank you Ziro Festival of Music, Ziro, Hong Village, Mr. Tam (my host) and most importantly Bobby Hano the organizer!
Its truly the “Journey of your Life”!

Posted by incommunicado 07:42 Archived in India Tagged me landscapes sunsets_and_sunrises mountains skylines people parties trees sky night trains trekking backpacking hitchhiking Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 14) Page [1] 2 3 » Next