The night before my Nagaland expedition had begun, there was a bittersweet feeling of both excitement and anxiety. The issues of my health, the certain decisions I took and the conflicts inside me were still ruling over my thoughts. I slept after venting things out to a friend which did ease my heart. It’s these friends and these people who make your life a little more easy than easier.
I slept well that night, and woke up with a realization that my reality was going to be finally better than my dreams. I took no time to wake up and get ready. Meeting my two equally over enthusiastic friends Jayati and Devika at the airport we started our day long journey to Nagaland.
We had to catch a flight from Ahmedabad to Kolkata, then, after a short one hour hault in Kolkata, go to Guwahati. In the middle of hopping flights I bought a book for myself. I realized then how I don’t treat myself often, how I don’t lavishly spend on what I enjoy doing. Without a second thought, I paid for that book and did a good 10 second happy dance for owning it. My journey was now sorted. The time flew because of this book by Arundhati Roy called ‘The Ministry of Utmost Happiness’, I was immersed in the stories of Hazrat Sarmad Shaheed and Old Delhi. Guwahati came in no time and as we landed we got ourselves a bus ticket to Paltan bazaar, from where we would catch a train for Dimapur, our final destination for the day.
Being a people’s person my encounters started from the bus itself! I was seated beside this guy that surely looked local, he started a conversation and I learnt from Mr. Roy (forgot his first name as the names in northeast are very tricky) about Hornbill, the cultures of northeast and his life in Ranchi where he worked with an NGO. The 15 minute friendship still puts a smile on my face as I recall him wave me goodbye, knowing we won’t ever meet again.
Tha bazaar was a rush, we reached platform no. 6 of the Guwahati railways station and entered our train. As we entered the general coach, we found lots of people and a weird smell hovering around the bogey, we searched for our seats and learnt that a group of 6 men had occupied it. After a pretty long debate and confusions we managed to sit between them silently. They found us intimidating and we found them strange! Soon the beauty of the journey eased the tension between us too. A family of 3 came to our coach and we learnt that they were also attending the Hornbill festival! The next 2 hours flew by talking about the fantasies of northeast, the thrill of the Hornbill and the youth-y spirit of travelling.
The train journeys are a treat to your heart. You allow the wind to play with your hair which then sends shivers down your spine, you observe the sun playing with your eyes and you see the scenes changing outside. Closing my eyes and taking in the evening sun, i felt light. The white flocks of birds and the frequent lakes were responsible for my shouting once in a while. Someone soon commenting that I was very chirpy! I smiled on that thought and continued my daydreaming.
It was 4:30 PM now and the sun was already setting, the mood in the train also took a turn. The once strangers to each other about 3 hours ago were now sharing chai and laughters with each other. In the middle of all these laughters I heard a guy sing next to the door all alone. He was not aware about how loud and amazing he was. I went close to the door, sat beside him and started humming to his tunes. We did not talk about anything, we were just humming together and watching the dusk sky turn dark and the soothing winds turn cold. I was just there then, not really thinking but feeling.