The Road Through Nowhere – Meghalaya
In July 2014, during a month long assignment to parts of North East India for SaffronStays, I travelled to Meghalaya with the co-founder Tejas. It was a familiar place owing to the frequent childhood road trips with the family from our then home in Jorhat district of Assam to Shillong and Cherrapunjee in Meghalaya. I was travelling to the state after 13 years, however, and brimming with nostalgia. While I did not recall much from the childhood trips, driving through well trodden roads to Mawphlang, Nokhilakai Falls and Mawlynnong introduced me to local culture and way of life, and left me with a fresh perspective about the state.
I recently recalled my discoveries and experiences from the four-day long trip for a two page feature for Mint Lounge, published in the last week of February 2015.
You can read the full piece on Livemint.com here: The Road through Nowhere
Below is an excerpt:
“Two days later, we head out of Shillong to see the rest of the East Khasi Hills district. Our driver, Lung, is listening to a 1980s Bollywood track in his black and yellow taxi when we meet him. We are excited about our first day-trip, to Mawphlang, a small Khasi village about 25km away. We drive across the forest reserve area in Upper Shillong, but there is not much I can see through the pine trees and the thick layer of fog that seems to be floating below. About 200m past the impressive Eastern Air Command headquarters, we ignore the boards directing us to Cherrapunjee, saving that trip for the latter half of the day, and take the other road instead.
We drive past sleepy villages and patches of farm for half an hour. Men walk by with large bamboo baskets, full of fruits and vegetables, strapped around their heads and hanging down their backs. A detour down the valley takes us to a picture-postcard village. Tin-roofed houses lie scattered at the foot of a hill, and a vast green field is dotted with grazing sheep and horses. The scene is completed by maize fields, little children playing by a narrow stream and a sprawling farmhouse.
We walk by the maize fields, stealing glances at the children who giggle at us from the other end. We reach the stream, pull off our shoes and dip our feet in the cold water, slipping and laughing as we make our way across a rock path laid out for travellers.”