Shillong: A Reminiscence: It has been almost a year that I have been writing this blog and I have never drifted apart from my usual theme. Recently I took a trip to Shillong which made me change my perspective towards life and my way of thinking. So, I thought it’s important for me to mention about this wonderful trip that I had with my best of friends.
After days of planning, discussions, rescheduling and calculating a modest budget, my friends and I planned to go on a road trip to Shillong. At first, everything was so uncertain as things didn’t go as planned. I took the initial planning very lightly as I was certain that everyone would eventually drop out. Things got serious when the tickets got confirmed. We eventually finalised with a group of seven people including me.
We began our journey from our hometown, Duliajan. The very prospect of spending time with my friends, without anyone to impede the mischief and the frolic that we would do, made me berserk with joy and madness. The people I planned to travel with, were a family to me. They are the people who understood and cared for me; After all, we shared a special bond which united us through the blissful quaint years of my school days.
This was not the first time we were visiting Shillong, so we were well acquainted with the place and made sure not to miss any of them.
This small trip was more than a vacation, was enough to revitalise our souls and bring back the charm in us. This was not the first time we were visiting Shillong, so we were well acquainted with the places and made sure not to miss the places we couldn’t visit last time.
SHILLONG: A REMINISCENCE (DAY ONE)
It was late in the evening. I with my friends boarded the train and bid goodbye to our families. The train was flagged off late as usual but that didn’t hamper our itinerary. We barely slept through the night as we were too excited laughing and mocking each other. I thought we would be facing a barrage of questions from our co-passengers due to the hustle we were creating late at night but nothing such happened.
We reached Guwahati by 7 am and united with one of our friends, who had also planned to join us on our trip. We were really grateful to him as he insisted that we visit his home and get refreshed and then get along with the journey so, we could finally begin our journey by 10 am. We were already aware how beautiful Shillong was but we were truly amazed by the scenic beauty as we ascended towards the hills that held this “otherworldly place”. The hills seemed like peaceful slumbering giants resting with thick blankets of green.
The lush greenery was serene and soothing; it was like God’s own creation as if He himself had come down and swished an ecosystem of His own accord. The roads twirled, along with the sides as we moved from hill to hill, straining our ears hard among the thick foliage to catch any stray foreign sounds. The afternoon sun was high above us as it shone down with might, providing us with a cool shade throughout the entire trip. The air was clear and sweet, like every breath filled us with unparalleled positivity, something I have never experienced before. The air was like a drug, the sun was warm and powerful which gave us a sense of euphoria; its beauty rare and unexampled.
It took approximately three hours to reach our destination. We freshened up within an hour in the hotel that we had booked and set off to Police bazaar which was hardly a mile away. Since it was the time of Christmas, it was really crowded so we had to jostle with the crowd and fight our way through.
Strolling through the streets made us feel the rich culture and heritage of the Khasis. We spent most of our time exploring the bazaar and trying out scrumptious delicacies. Wandering around independently is something that we had experienced less since we reside in a small town where opportunities are void. Walking around the streets of Police Bazaar independently made us realise how wonderful the experience can be. Grown-ups usually influence our decisions to make us go to the right path but this time we were completely independent. It was solely based on us how we make decisions, manage our time and be economic.
We continued our way to the Ward’s Lake. It is also known as Pollock’s Lake. The history behind the building of the lake is quite interesting. The lake was named after the then Commissioner of Assam, William Ward, as it was his sole idea to bring this place up, which was constructed by Colonel Hopkins during late 1894. Also, it so happened that a Khasi prisoner, who found the labour camp’s daily routine to be very monotonous was looking for respite which led him to take special effort to create and develop something magical which led to the further grooming of the lake and the surrounding garden. His contribution is remembered even today.
This place could be considered a perfect place for a poet’s muse. The waters of the lake were icy blue, the ripples were continuous throughout, ducks and ducklings were wading in the waters, completely oblivious to the surrounding spectators, cause they were only interested in gathering the tit-bits of food, fishing them out expertly.
The surroundings left me awestruck; the lake surrounded by well-maintained orchids and gardens, with a small café exactly at the centre of the garden made it an ideal place for spending quality time with friends and family. My friends and I sat on the garden and admired the place as it was so peaceful, with the cold breeze gently brushing our cheeks, the cold serene atmosphere made us feel revitalised. We spent most of the time strolling on the stone paved path and capturing these moments. After spending a few hours in the garden we made our way back to Police Bazaar. We could only talk about that beautiful and placid man-made lake, the simple scenery complemented by the soft and soothing orchids and exotic flower scents, firing my idiosyncratic mind.
During our initial planning, we agreed to not carry laptops so that we don’t remain occupied by it. We wanted to spend time without the influence of any social media, look what the real world had to offer and we were managing well. At least it changed my rotten perception.
After we returned to the hotel, we freshened up and sat in a partial circle, with snacks debating about our lives and hard times. Sharing what we had in our minds made us grow pretty close which helped us catch up with the remaining months. It was wonderful. We were actually living the moment. Confessing and letting things off the chest and sharing with such supportive people was something that I will forever remember. The discussions went for several hours until we felt the need to retire to beds because we had another hectic day and we had to start really early if we wanted to move according to our schedule.
SHILLONG: A REMINISCENCE (DAY TWO)
We got up pretty late and planned to visit the Shillong peak. I later argued that we had already visited the Shillong peak, so we needed to visit some other place. So, we browsed through the internet for some other tourist spot and during our search, we stumbled across pictures of the Grand Canyon Laitlum.
We were amazed by the photographs that were posted online. One look, and it was all it took to change all of our minds. So, everyone readily agreed to go on to the Canyon. We hired two taxis and started our journey. We were pretty excited because we have heard of The Grand Canyon and it had always been on my bucket list to visit one.
It took around fifty-five minutes to reach the Canyon. I had never experienced such an exotic view. I may have visited Ladakh, Sikkim but this spectacular view was something unique and indescribable. It really was The Creator’s abode. I am doing complete injustice by describing this piece of natural beauty.
It would be my suggestion to all of my viewers to actually got there and take a look at it. Nestled perfectly above the sea of clouds, the eagles with their supreme sight trying to pick out a prey from the valley beneath them and the hills, like tiny stumps that were inches above the never-ending sheets of cloud, floating. We all stood in awe at the amazing view. The valley below had a thin paved out path, which was barely visible but still so distinct from the rest of the mundane topography. Maybe it was a thin stream that had eventually dried up. The light cool breeze was blowing that further intensified the surrounding.
Our half-hearted snacks in Laitlum did not settle our hunger so we returned back before dawn to the busy market for our afternoon lunch. The strong aroma of the dishes that were served made us dig into the food and it was totally worth the money spent on it. We also tried out Jadoh with tungtap and blood sausage which is the staple food all over Meghalaya. Now, this “Blood sausage” had a weird taste to it and as the name suggests, the sausage is prepared with blood and then it is dried by using a filler. It was soft and it did not taste like what the real sausages tasted like. But still, we gorged ourselves till our final limit, as much as we could push. Later on, we could hardly walk as we made it back to our rooms, falling on our freshly made beds into a blissful sleep.
SHILLONG: A REMINISCENCE (DAY THREE)
It was the last day in Shillong for us. We checked out off the hotel and started off our journey back to Guwahati by 11 pm. On our way back I tried my best to reflect the countable days that we spent here in Shillong. I have noticed one thing throughout this journey. I have been to a lot of places with my family, but the energy and enthusiasm that you get travelling with your school friends is beyond comparison.
At first, I assumed that it would be hard for me to acclimatise to the environment, but I didn’t even feel the need to take my daily meds (my hypertension meds). It was worth everything-the people, the atmosphere, the food, everything had a charm of its own. It seemed to me like I had come half a world away. My mind was fresh with every single instance playing it like a smooth melodic harp. This is my own elastic love.
“A euphoric escape with the best people ever.” ~ Ritom Sonowal
“Great scenic beauty + Great friends = Best Memory” ~ Rohan Mech
“This trip brought us closer. What a remarkable experience!” ~ Mihin Payang
” Shillong was one of the best trips I had in my life. It was utterly magical. ” ~ Arunav Rajkhowa
“Shillong was unexpected and unplanned. It will one of those trips which will be remembered forever. I will definitely tell my offsprings about it.” ~ Debanuj Phukan
“Even though Shillong was beautiful but it’s the people we travel with and this trip strengthened our bond to an unbreakable state.” ~ Ankur Das
Also, consider reading one such amazing experiences of a lifetime!