Mawlynnong – A Model Village for “Swachh Bharat” Revolution

It was a pitch-dark night, I could only sense the jungle around me. It was the monsoon of 2014 when I first visited Mawlynnong, a tiny village in Meghalaya. Huts with thatched roofs were the only sign of establishment that could be spotted. I wished there were more street lights.

I was looking for a woman named Carol, whom I contacted on the phone for accommodation which she advertised on the internet with the name of “Bamboo Huts”. I doubted the whole arrangement since she neither noted my name nor demanded an advance, just confirmed the dates. On probing with locals, I was pointed to the Bamboo Huts and saw a man standing, looked like he was waiting for me.

“Hi, I am looking for Carol. I made a booking with her.” I said. I didn’t know if it was a right pitch because I didn’t have any confirmation to show.

“I don’t know any Carol”, he said sternly.

He looked pissed. I was puzzled.

“Do you have any availability?”, I asked sheepishly.

“No.” again a stern reply.

The clock already struck midnight. With the population of only 500, I wasn’t sure if I’ll find a guest house other than this.

“My name is Henry. Carol is my agent. I am angry because she did not communicate with me for this booking”, he said.

“Oh, I see. I called her twice to confirm. That’s very irresponsible on her part.” I said sympathetically.

Soon, he got warm and assured me there is an available hut and offered me dinner, which was music to my ears because I was starving from my 6 hours drive from Guwahati. The night couldn’t have been more eventful than this, and soon, I retired to bed.

Next morning, my eyes opened to another world. At around 7 a.m., it was drizzling and a bit foggy. The local women were already out cleaning the streets of the village. Suddenly, the reality hit me, another reason for me to visit this village was because of its identity of being the cleanest village in Asia. I looked around with the inspecting look, and noticed conical bamboo bins all along the street. The cleaning exercise is repeated on the evening. I was impressed and greatly surprised. Impressed, with the natural beauty of the village and surprised, by the natural consciousness of the people to make it clean.

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Living deep in the jungle, in a world still to be permeated by modern technology, the people of Mawlynnong have naturally come to understand the importance of keeping their surroundings clean and garbage proof. Two years after the trip, when I now reflect as a city dweller, I fail to understand why we despite all that we know haven’t come to the same conclusion? Isn’t it something which should come naturally to us?

The Comeback

It’s been a long, long time. Can’t tell how much I missed blogging. I was taking some time off to give a push to travel writing and starting my very own travel venture (details of which I will be sharing soon!).

A lot has happened all this while. Moving my base from New Delhi to Singapore is the most significant one. I hope the move increases my exploring journeys in South East Asia (fingers crossed!). Singapore is an amazing city and precisely a reason for my comeback. I want to resume my everyday writing that will focus on living in Singapore. So, watch out for all the interesting posts on food, people, places, travel, shopping and much more.

Can’t wait to begin and hear from you guys!



How often do you get attached to something inconsequential, something as insignificant as a torn old boarding pass.

I discovered a 2 month old boarding pass to Auckland in my bag and since then it’s been serving me as a bookmark to the current book I am reading – Among the believers – an Islamic Journey by V S Naipaul. I don’t know what joy this boarding pass gives me, I can easily choose a nice glossy bookmark from the collection I have but no..this is special. May be this reminds me of my first holiday with my husband.

I was on my way back home at the same time on the same train with same book and same boarding pass. The train was packed; I could feel the person at my back breathing on me. Nobody expected, they could fall in so much crowd, but the driver proved us wrong. With one sudden short jerk everybody toppled and there goes my boarding pass. It took me a minute to realize that I had lost it. I was looking at the floor so anxiously people thought I lost something expensive. And started searching too! I gave up after much hunt. But every now and then my eyes would roll down to see the glimpse of it. Alas, I thought it was better to let it go. As I was ready to get down at my station, an old woman lifted her foot and voila!!, there it was. Indiana Jones wouldn’ have been that happier. Quickly I picked it up, got down and comfortably placed it on page number 398.IMAG2494

Marriage – the state-of-the-art – Affair

And when you start thinking you are lonely, you are not lonely at all.

Hello peeps, I have been away for quite a long. Well various reasons…got married, traveling and in the process writing got sidelined. Hoping this post becomes a new beginning and never stops.

I know marriage is a change process as it brings a lot of changes in a person’s life. I am somebody who gets unsettle even if order of the things on my bedside table changes, you can imagine my apprehensions during the course of this life event.
However I feel much better now, finally getting used to of “Marriage” and I have deduced that it’s not such a bad thing. Demanding for sure but not evil.

I have a list of both good and bad changes that has happened to me. Let’s start with the bad ones.

  • No time No time No time. I get no time for myself for sure. But I figure as days will progress time will also find its own place.
  • Cooking. As in have to cook good food. No shortcuts. This is still something I am ready to learn since it is important for survival.
  • Lack of creativity. I have become such a duh. I used to think like an artist – reading and writing, now I can only think if an orange vase will look good on my green table!! This is something that bothers me again but I guess time will heal this too.
  • Act too good to be true. I am a good person but still a bitch. And now I have to act extra good to people even when I am in my worst mood. Can’t show my schizophrenic side that soon.

And the list will just go on with very annoying elements…

The good things of the package are though quite cherish able and therefore blur the above bad things.

  • Patience. It takes time but it comes. Well, it is important to run not only marriage but life…peacefully.
  • Forgiveness. I am still one of those grumpy cats but I am learning to forgive and forget. I was not born Jesus.
  • Less cribbing. You suddenly have to learn to appreciate things even if they don’t fall in your book of approvals. But that’s the way of life. Perhaps my book is not the only right book in this world.
  • Love. Unconditional love. It is easy to be cordial and maintain healthy relationships but maintaining unconditional love is difficult but it’s the most beautiful thing to experience. It gives me a high.

Marriage is a balance between good and not so good things. And I feel it takes quite a lot to maintain this balance. Phew!! I am still learning and hope not to regret from it.

What is wrong in Prostitution?

Who doesn’t desire to be rich. But would you prefer it at the cost of your dignity?

This thought is often discussed when a female does something immoral that is refuted by the society. My post is referring to a recent high profile prostitution racket busted in the southern India. This racket involved many established and aspiring film actresses and models and businessmen. The scandal has become the talk of the town not because prostitution is illegal in India or it was appalling for a close minded Indian society to read something like that. In fact, it is not the first time that a scandal of that sort has been exposed. The limelight of the scandal became a National Award Winner actress who showcased her talent on screen brilliantly at a very tender age. The actress, who is still young has admitted that she did it for money since nobody would hire her in the movies, she rather chose a dark alley to reach to her destination.

A lot of people have a different perspective on the whole situation. Most people said that it is sad to see the destiny of a National Award Winner but she could have done something else, why skin business! Sure, this was not the last option on the earth. Agreed.

While others and that includes mostly females, opined that while reading this story, it is repelling how the media is extending only the character of the actress in the malicious gossip and nothing on the high profile businessman found with her. I am sure she wasn’t making out alone! Nor she was forcing herself on him. This one sided limelight is not justified.

I agree with the second opinion, but more than that I want to know what is wrong with prostitution. If a female who tried every righteous act to earn money, but has failed to do so, uses her body to earn money, what is so catastrophically wrong with it? It’s her body anyway. Yes, it may not be morally right for some people, but to hell with them. I would agree with such upright people if they had supported her with monetary help. I am sure no female goes into such repelling business willingly, unless she has an insatiable sexual appetite, but when she is caught, it is only her who is called names. Have you heard people talking about why did the man do such thing. As if they were born with this right of ‘could not be questioned’. If a female chooses her body to be used in an unpleasant fashion, no matter how wrong it is, we must understand it is still her decision. The least you can do is to understand what got her into this and pull her out of this quagmire, rather than pushing her further.

Prostitution is a very sensitive topic. You may have totally contradictory views from me, but come to think of it who are we to decide what is right and wrong. Since, we have not dealt with those desperate times, we will not get what makes wrong things look right. It is not the time to judge when people will always be judged wrongly.

The Sailing Bee

Hello people,

My travelzandstories has now moved to ‘‘.  The aim is to reach much wider audience and give a better experience to readers. Don’t forget to subscribe !

Read the recent article on –  The Living Root Bridges of Meghalaya.  Would love to hear your thoughts on it.


P.S. The site is fairly new, some links might not work. I am still working on it.🙂

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