Tuesday, July 9, 2013

North-East India Trip - The Beginnings

I cannot assure you that this piece will be as entertaining as this one here, by Chinmay Deshpande.
For one thing, we had no ravages of nature to deal with. For another, ours was not a group of strangers but a collection of guys so thoroughly knowledgeable about each other that we are beginning to run out of things to bicker about!

The conception of this trip can be traced to the first weeks of January, 2013. I was revising my primary school mathematics and I figured that 5 times 5000 gives me enough money to plan a trip, which could be, simultaneously, exotic and cheap. Of course, this was pre Rupee superannuation days. And the search for someplace exotic led me to, via Sri Lanka, Oman and wildly, even the USA (in a Saudi Air flight with a 16 hour stop over in Jeddah, with only a meager borrowing of 30% of the above amount from the most gracious parents), to North-East India.

The challenge was, of course, to rope in the people. Some dude in Bangalore was more interested in going to a place which he could describe as 'snarled or stalled in complete confusion'. But four others did sign-up and we decided to make the plans.

Historically, we, as a group of friends, have a poor track record in planning trips. The most common roadblock we have always had in our plans, when we were in Goa, would be that we would often have no vehicle to do the damned trip until about 5 minutes before it would be too late to set off. Naturally, when embarking for a trip as ambitious sounding as this one, the odds were against us.

Under constraints of a tight schedule, we chalked up a rough list of places we might want to see. We peppered each other with place names and ideas and struck some down, praised some and unanimously approved others. We planned an ambitious trek in Nagaland, fully aware that it might have to be scrapped if we didn't get the Inner Line Permit. We planned to go to some awesome caves in Meghalaya only to discover that its entrance is a pool and we have to swim to get in (which is a problem because some of us cannot swim). We booked train tickets but changed to flight after the trip was reduced to 10 days from 2 weeks.
But, surprisingly, something with a semblance to a plan did materialise. We did fix up 3 days in Arunachal Pradesh and 3 days in Meghalaya. We hoped that Nagaland would happen and we would get our permits from Shillong.

With that hope in mind, I boarded the flight in Pune at 5:50 in the morning. The rather long route to Guwahati from Pune via Chennai and Kolkata allowed me to check the progress of the monsoon (as I say to myself, often with a chuckle).

As I changed aircrafts in Kolkata amidst heavy rain and saw heavy clouds for hundreds of miles in every direction enroute to Guwahati, I wasn't exactly buoyed. But I was happy that, finally, after nearly 6 months of planning, amidst nothingness, I was going to someplace exciting.

No comments:

Post a Comment