The Assam of my childhood

Since the last ten years, I visit this beautifully rustic wilderness called Assam, like a tourist. Every summer and early winter, I come home to dwell in the unhurried life that I ever so miss. There is something about the simplicity of this place that makes me want to believe the world never changed since I was five, like time discreetly froze here while nobody seemed to notice.

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I’ll be honest. Living in a tea garden in Assam seemed like the most normal of things for the longest time, until I went away to live in parts of the country that held no resemblance to my childhood normalcy. It is then that I realised how lucky I had been; so lucky to have grown up surrounded by long stretches of forests, frequent visits by wild elephants and monkeys, and the comfort of never being detached from nature.

It’s true that once in Assam, the sight of green never leaves you and a tea garden appears even before another ends. But somehow, it never gets too monotonous to not allure you.

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Every day, the sun follows a stricter, more punctual routine here – rising at 4 am sharp and setting behind the lush green fields before 6 in the evening. Most often, it won’t matter what month it is or what season of the year as rain beats down on the tinned roofs and sets a winter-like chill. It isn’t odd to notice people wrapped in shawls in the summer of July, though most have already learnt to brave the testing weather. I, for one, never miss a chance of pulling on my father’s old, over sized woolens and sitting in the meshed veranda with a hot cup of chai, the howling wind and pouring rain for company.

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Here, days go by when the whole town makes do with an “internet cut” and people have a quirky habit of always putting the phone on loudspeaker, inviting you to unwillingly eavesdrop on the entire conversation. When cycling around every evening, I perhaps delight in the serenity of Assam a little less than I do in the sight of its smiling, ever-pleasant people.

I am always at a loss for words when the same locals ask me what Mumbai is like. I usually never know how to summarise the tales of know-how and extravaganza that they wish to hear. I sincerely try to convey to them that for many people out there, this quiet life is a dream.

I wonder how so many people would never know what living like this in Assam (or anywhere close to nature for that matter) truly feels like. And as much as I would want to be protective of the ease that this place and life here holds, I wish for them, that they never miss it.

 

Want to spend a few days in the tea gardens?Fly with Jet Airways or Indigo to Dibrugarh from Mumbai or Delhi. I recommend you book yourself on the Aromas of Tea trip by Green Pastures which includes accommodation in a tea bungalow.
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