Recently on a friend’s wedding an unknown female came to me and my husband to introduce herself. Her first line was :” I’ve heard from the bride so much about you both and your romantic story”. My reply on that was good she heard it from the bride cause chances are it can sound as scary story also. And then it strikes me- romantic stories are always stories about people’s mistakes. It may have a happy ending but whatever we usually brand romantic is something that’s not easy coming. Usually due to how complicated people and their situations are.
No one calls it romantic when two people find each other, fall in love and get married without much drama and obstacles. But give it some tragic twist, few break-ups and skeletons in the closet, all spiced up by passion which only grows stronger if obstacles are involved -and here it is- a perfect romantic story. A story, which everyone wants in their life, forgetting that it will be accompanied by a lot of mistakes, probably few broken hearts, sometimes few lost friends, a lot of lost dignity and quite a handful of pain.
If you have found the right person all of it will not matter, but it’s time to stop expecting fairy tales and see them for what they really are - beautifully told stories of monsters. So, yes, i agree. My love story is a very romantic one. And I know many even more romantic, which not everyone would have been able to handle.
In previous blog post I’ve covered some of my Shillong and Guwahati impressions. Now’s the time to complete this yin yang of the trip and tell about it’s second part.
As the story goes, reaching Shillong, we settled at our army accommodation, which was a total blessing being one of the safest places and most well-maintained. We had entire huge place to ourselves which was no less of a resort with absolutely delicious home food being served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Here is where I need to mention fresh water fish in Shillong - if cooked right it is so good that you will want to switch entirely on a fish diet.
Being foodie, I could have gone on forever describing different food items, but it will be extremely unfair to Shillong’s nature and mythical hills. So, I’ll shorten it to - do try beef and smoked pork - make sure you ask local advise on less known places to buy it as you may end up finding much better food in small local joints, but if you do go to decent restaurants/cafes, then Shillong cafe is a good option.
Coming back to hills where my mind is forever dwelling, in and around Shillong you breathe northern air and local life. It’s so contrasting with Mumbai and rest of India that you almost feel you have crossed a border to another country.
Landscape evolves as you move morphing from hills into valleys into forests and back into hills and the most authentic and fascinating life you can see outside of main city and towards Cherrapunji.
Still one of the biggest highlights of our trip was spotting in a small valley below the mountain, surrounded by no civilization, one tiny hut and a small kid sleeping in the grass far from it, curling like a cat and being in such perfect harmony with nature that each of us wished we were that kid. That part of nature is not exploited by technology and manufacture, not spoiled by poisonous fumes and is a virgin nature in itself.
There are few relatively small villages spread across the area on a fair distance and you feel like each of them gives a new experience, has its character.
The moment you enter Cherrapunji, you immediately realize why area is named Meghalaya - which means “Abode of Clouds”. If you ever dreamed of walking on a cloud, your dreams will come true in Meghalaya.
The more you go inside the more you are submerged in clouds that color your way white and allow the sun to see you only once in a while.
This romantic scenery though is slightly less romantic for those with motion sickness as roads of Cherrapunji via hills will not have mercy on you.
One of the biggest tourist attractions - Living Root Bridge, in Mawlynnong as it always is, turned out to be less interesting as the way to it and from it.
Not mentioning countless breathtaking views we passed while going to Mawlynnong, the main adventure was awaiting us right after the bridge.
A place we found by accident or luck…though I m convinced it’s our wanderlust that brought us there.
We were told that after a root bridge going up the hill there is a place from where we can see Bangladesh. We needed to climb around 100-300 stairs up which was still equivalent of heart attack for me with my stairs phobia. So we went… but after a first milestone path was separating into two routes. We assumed that the one going higher is the one we need but halfway discovered we were wrong. By that time we found ourselves in the middle of a village. So we took a chance and asked locals is there a place from where we can see Bangladesh. And they have led us to this magical spot- a tree house hanging from hilltop, made entirely out of bamboo. It was their village’s private view point which they have never been having tourists at. So we appeared to be the lucky ones. This time curiosity didn’t have victims, but happy faces instead.
Inspired by idea of going where the road goes not only literally, our entire trip is filled with memories (some of which are too good to share online) which we would have never experienced if not giving in to the road trip spirit.
Below are some of amazing road views and rural life of Shillong to Cherrapunji, Cherrapunji, Bridge and Secret View Point. =>
So 5 of us girls decided we need an adventure. And a perfect place for it in India is North-East. Firstly, because it is completely unexplored and retained its northern authenticity. Yet, as we have found out later, economically quite well-sustained region. You will hardly see a lot of poverty. Even villages do have lovely houses and some arrangements around it, which residents of Mumbai slums would have considered a luxury.
We have started our trip from Guwahati as it had the most accessible airport, so in case you a planning a trip to North-East, Guwahati is your first stop.
What has completely stunned me about Guwahati is its climate and landscape. As a person who had Excellent in Geography class for single reason of being teacher’s favorite, my expectations towards parts of the world are quite flat - north, south, east and west each have a very specific climate and landscape which has no resemblance to one another.
Yet, somehow, Guwahati being a north eastern spot has no relevance neither to North, nor to East, and is a fusion of Southern landscapes.
White sand, blue water, exotic palm trees and other detailed attributes one can use to describe Goa, Mangalore, Ratnagiri or any South facing landscape, starting from Konkan area. The weather was also not aware it should be at least partly Northern and kept pouring heat on our overdressed selves (naturally as we were expecting freezing cold).
Great thing about Guwahati- Shillong route totally worth mentioning is its organic fruit stalls on the way. Giant (and i mean GIANT) bananas, papayas and out-of-the-world delicious pineapples. They were so good, juicy and sweet that me and my friend finished two of them in not more than 5 minutes. I believe the goodness of such organic food is main reason for Guwahati women to look like they have just come out of a parlor- that groomed and polished their skin and hair are.
So being finally settled with Guwahati landscape, imagine my shock when within a span of an hour it has drastically changed. South reallocated to extreme North with Syberia-like lanscapes and Scandinavian-looking sky. All shades of blue, pink and deep, cold green was our first introduction to Shillong.
The only things that remained intact were hills. They followed and surrounded us throughout the way, giving us panoramic views on lakes and valleys, villages and tribal spots.
This was just a beginning of our journey, but North-East has already surprised me. And we all know - women love surprises ;).
Photos of Guwahati-Shillong route below ->