27th Dec 2011
Episode 4 – Cold & Dry
The trek was amazing and its reminiscence continued to the next day, in our minds and the legs. :-) Yes, the 3000 steps running that steep was sure to bring back some muscle catches like everyone in the resort had warned. But I must say that the nostalgia in the mind was far more superior than the pain; the sense of having achieved something was far more vaster than the body ache which is temporary and physical unlike the former.
So the next day was intentionally arranged to relax and view the so called tourist spots around Cherrapunji. Mr Rayen handed us a map with 10 places and I had one to add from some guide book – David Scott memorial. A day’s trip around the village costs Rs 1600 for taxi. We started at 9:30 AM after having some Aloo Parathan's.
Our first stop was the rock pillar. On the way we stopped for some view of the Bangaldesh plains. The rock pillar resembles a basket hence it is called devils basket. We had some parks and gardens in the list which we just dropped. If I would ask him what can we see there, he would just smile and tell – “nothing sir, plants and flowers….but all dry now.” In fact he took us to a waterfall that was an almost invisible string of water flowing.
So we hurried to the Mawsmai caves which are a worth. The caves are well maintained and has some adventurous walk through it. There are other caves which are not lit and if one may want to explore them, one is allowed to do so.
At the village of Mawsmai we had the David Scott memorial. After a little search, we found the memorial. David Scott was a British administrator and a few trekking trails are named after him.
The Nohkalikai falls is a beautiful one and is the tallest in India (1100 feet or 335 metres).
Ramakrsihna mission anthropology museum was a pleasant surprise as this gave us a lots of information on the culture in the seven states of north east. Here, we met a relative of ours, whom Preethi had seen at a wedding. Apparently the groom was Preethi’s cousin and the bride was the lady’s.
Don Bosco church had a nice crib presented at the front yard. The church was empty except for one nun praying and hence it made the place more picturesque.
At Sohra market, I requested the driver to get me some Khasi movies. I was hoping for an offbeat movie on the villagers and the Khasi lifestyle but the movies were all romantic or typical masala movies and over that had no subtitles. So I had to drop the idea.
We desired Maggie for lunch as the vegetarian food here is not that great. But unfortunately no hotel had Maggie. One of the shops at the Nohkalikai falls had an argument between mother and daughter as they debated about cooking it and finally the mother won by replying to us with a no. We bought some more oranges at the market and also had some cakes and biscuits at a small bakery. The lady who owned the place was nice enough to give us some biscuits to try for free. We also stopped at Mawshamok for some quick tea and cakes before returning to the resort.
Back in the resort, Preethi felt feverish and she decided to rest while I decided to walk up to the restaurant for some Maggie. Nothing ever can go wrong with a Maggie.
Having had my Maggie, I took a walk to the Laitkynsew and Nongwar villages that seemed very active. A church was busy serving food as part of continued Christmas celebration; others were busy working at home and kids smiled and requested for a photo.
The houses here are small and have a basement to store firewood. A small vegetable garden and few flowering plants make up the front yard. It was an amazing walk.
As it began to get darker, around 5PM, I was debating whether or not to return. For some unknown reason one begins to fear darkness in an unfamiliar place. But as I walked the streets of Laitkynsew with its friendly inhabitants smiling, I felt comfortable with the early darkness of Cherrapunji.
At resort, another surprise awaited me. A few boys from the village were performing. Their entertainment comprised of an English, Hindi and a Khasi song with music played on a guitar and some dance with nice glittering costumes.
My rice and Dal tasted better and according to me, it is the best they can cook there for vegetarians. One must admire the fact that they try to learn and cook these dishes from across the country in spite of their cuisine being so different.
Next morning we were to leave this beautiful village and its quietness as we travel across more chaotic places to reach a land similarly serene because of its special inhabitants.