Tag Archives: experience

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?

Together with the Nature

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Watching the sun setting down in the sand dunes where you can’t find a singly being in vicinity is one indefinable experience. I can best describe the feelings of the individuals in this picture as Pure.There is no desire of anything or qualms in life. The only want is to watch that very sun rising once again.

Picture taken at Thar desert, Jaisalmer, 2013.

Season of bad haircuts..errr…

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I am sure there are many women and men out there who grow hair hoping to get a nice celebrity like haircut that will make them stand out in the crowd as they flip their hair. I am not shy to accept I was following it since last 5-6 months. I had even researched  on trendy haircuts of 2013. Collected the pictures of celebrities with matching face shapes, height, body type, hair type etc. My excitement was on zenith when I used to think about the time I’ll finally go to the salon and get a desired haircut. So, the time came.

I was so impatient to get a haircut that I didn’t even wait for the weekend or to gather thoughts on pinning down the final haircut I would want to have but a faint image of a cool haircut. So last Friday evening I took an appointment with my hairdresser. I was his last appointment at 7.30 pm, he was all ready to go home but waited just for me. Sweet. Inadvertently I took the seat while he started the procedure. So when he asked me how do I want him to cut my hair, I gave him a long list of this and that, even showed some pics of my friends on Facebook. He gave me those thoughtful looks and analyzed and gave an honest opinion on what will ‘not’ suit me. Finally as usual I shrugged and said cut what you like. And like a person I am who believes in all goodness of this world I left it on him because I trusted him while I was torpidly going through the magazines. In between he did ask me if I wanted my hair only one inch short, I always knew I was weak in maths and said no even shorter. While he was all done giving it a last touch and drying my hair.. Ouch !!! It became too short than what I wanted with every strand dancing in different direction I was a mirror image to an Ostrich. As I was getting all paranoid he tried all fancy stuff to settle down my hair and it looked wowy with all that special effects.

After two days when I took a hair wash..yoohoo the Ostrich is back ..like it never left just ducked its head in the sand. But you know what put me at ease when 3-4 people I know also got a bad haircut. Wicked :-). I believe it’s a season of bad haircuts. Good thing is hair grows. So will have to wait for a month to get a normal look until then thanks for inventing bobby pins and hairbands.

Bite out of Spite

Do you like to pat dogs you come across on streets. I do, till today evening.

Following my usual routine I was rushing to my gym. My gym is just 5 minutes walk from my home so I was walking leisurely appreciating my well maintained neighborhood.  As I ambled engrossed in my thoughts, I saw him. Like everyday he was searching something in the bush, waging his tail, sticking his tongue out. What are you supposed to do to see a cute little dog like that? Pat right !! And that’s what I did. So, he slowly came to me with immense love in his eyes and I welcomed it too.  As I brushed my hand on his head and walked past him, bummer!! he caught my bum!! I screamed as I realized that he bit me. I kicked him to save myself and he groped my leg. Suddenly instead of cute innocence in his eyes I saw rage. I don’t know what for. As the owner heard my scream he came running and caught him. But it took me a while to digest that I was bitten by that cute looking animal. I got beguiled by his looks.

I was terrified walking back home the same way. Like the dog lover I am, still clueless of what made that dog bit me. What was he thinking, he sees me everyday so I was an innocuous stranger. Whatsoever. I came back and disclosed the news to my mother hoping to receive some sympathy but instead she yelled at me alleging me of being a blind dog lover. She accused me that I annoy dogs with my patting and so he bit me.

Well, I don’t think I am a compulsive dog lover, it just happens but I’ll try to understand that moods of my lovers to avoid any bites.

Another paradigm for travel

Since I’m traveling for next 6 days, I came across a quote which articulate my thoughts associated with this holiday. 

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” – Terry Pratchett

Timing is Everything

“A stone thrown at the right time is better than gold given at the wrong time”

Lesson learnt today – Time is precious, once gone never comes back.

Having said that it applies to both good and bad situations. Lets talk about the bad phases. Why is that sometimes we just miss the timing to react on a bad situation? Like it happens with me a lot of times when something inappropriate happens, sometimes my mind just holds me back to respond. And I am left burnt as to why I did not say anything at that very moment when I am not even at fault. I don’t know what is it that holds me back at such situations may be the thought that my response may cause some ruckus. But whatever that bitter feeling of not reacting on time keeps eating me from within. And if at all I decide to take my stand later on it’s not worth it as the damage has already been done and any delayed reaction will not repair it.

Some incidents happens in life to teach us something important. And it’s on us how we take it (and that is Lesson #2).

This importance of time is even applicable to situations when sometimes we have to take certain pivotal decisions of life but we somehow dissuade from it. Later we regret of not taking any call on those at that time. I think we all have faced such moments in our life whether it’s taking up a life changing job offer or a business decision or even expressing your love to someone. But once that very moment is gone it never comes back.

So, important message of life to me today – React on right time rather than burning yourself.

Does serendipity really happen?

Does serendipity really happens?

When I first watched this flick I actually wondered if finding a soulmate could be just an accident (as in a happy one). By the way I really liked the flick and spent futile hours fantasizing on if I can ever bump into a person like that in a departmental store and end up eating an ice-cream in a cafe, who would turn out to be my soulmate !! This looks all mushy and enchanting, is it not. But in reality if I ever come across an eligible guy like that in a store I will for once ignore the cupid bells ringing somewhere in the air, not because I’d be shopping rampantly (which woman observes men while shopping?) but it is too awkward to show interest in any random guy. These days it’s difficult to trust people whom you meet daily, a stranger is out of question.

In the movie, both the characters-Jonathan and Sara get stuck with the fate of finding the contact numbers written on a 5$ bill and a book – Love in the Time of Cholera. We cannot expect this much drama in real life. I am just trying to figure out how far it can go if I consider the proposition of serendipity. So, for instance I welcome the probability of some sparks happening between us and end up eating a dessert somewhere, then what? Is it an end. If, we exchange contact numbers, I am not somebody who contacts a stranger but if he tries to contact me, I think my mind will be filled with all sorts of doubts and pre-conceptions about the guy. What if he is a jerk or a rapist for that matter. Let say going by my instincts I accept to go out and spent a day with him. My experience and observations from others’ experiences says that initially you like everything about the person, even certain things you hate are ‘adorable’. After spending a day, I can definitely say I’ll be locked in a charade of who takes the next step first. Most of the times the romantic aspirations sublimes at this stage as this charade stretches a bit too far, thus losing interests. But in case if one of the partners is smart it may go forth and end up in a relationship (not marriage).

If we go by the movie Jonathan and Sara actually end up getting married. Not that easy practically. In reality you have to be really wide awake before getting married if you do not want a divorce later on. Back to the story, if I and that imaginable departmental store guy ever go into a relationship, after spending initial months we will get exposed to each other’s bad sides and gradually those ‘adorable’ characteristics will soon be pain in the ass. Subsequently, we will look for the reasons for not spending time with each other. And consequently we’ll repent of shopping at that departmental store and swear not to shop from there ever. It’s not difficult to guess what happens next to this relation, it dies. I am not being pessimist about this whole romantic serendipity concept, well the whole scene could be otherwise as well but has a 0.05% probability.

After all this happens what I’ll do and where I’ll be? Well I think I would still be shopping at that store (if they have good collection!) but this time i’ll make sure the cupids don’t ring the bells at all. And I’ll be just happy watching and fantasizing about serendipity concept on the big screen with nachos and popcorns.