Village Beyond The Clouds
Unplanned trips are always the best, especially when a layoff is much needed. I have always loved traveling, and that’s one thing my heart truly desires. In the easternmost hills of Meghalaya lies a beautiful village, Nongjrong. A lesser-known pristine land hanging in the clouds was also rarely visited. A friend of ours suggested and took us there to partake in Shangri-la.
Around 2.30 in the morning, we decided to take a tour to Nongjrong for a spectacular sunrise view. And of the river, Umngot, that flows below the valley along the dense green mountains, making it a breathtaking magnificence. Places like them have their charm; people are kind-hearted, easy-going, and selfless, making them unique.
We arrived there by 6.30, and it was all murky, and we could hardly see the white lines along the road. But, not lucky enough to see the sunrise that morning as the weather was cloudy.
“‘Megh’ means clouds, and ‘Alaya’ means abode, abode the clouds. Meghalaya is mystical; it holds a serenity of its own. Secluded yet so unbarred. One village after another, wooden cottages and pine trees, what else can be more captivating for those who love exploring the mountains.“
An unforgettable Moment Of Pause
Beating along the road felt like entering a magical island in a far-far land. The four of us were enjoying the road with the windows open. And, for the first time, I felt the misty white clouds touching my cheeks, welcoming me to a promised land. Suddenly, a voice erupted from the back seat; ‘this is the real Meghalaya.’
‘Megh’ means clouds, and ‘Alaya’ means abode, abode the clouds. Meghalaya is mystical; it holds a serenity of its own. Secluded yet so unbarred. One village after another, wooden cottages and pine trees, what else can be more captivating for those who love exploring the mountains. Well, by the time we reached, it was 6.30 already. The moment I came out of the car, the breeze softly touched my skin, blew my hair in its direction, and all I could discern was life.
My friend already knew someone from the village who happened to become his close buddy. He greeted us with a warm cup of tea and a smile. A wooden stall above the grounds of the ridge, he owns the shop. He asked a boy helping him at the shop to guide us to his home. The boy showed us the way to his place, where we were supposed to catnap and freshen up. Later, I learned that he was his brother-in-law, a drummer by profession. While interacting with him, he invited us to his next show at Hard Rock Cafe in Guwahati.
I saw an old lady standing in front of the cottage, and she shook our hands before we entered. The lady was the shop owner’s mother, very loving and gentle. She offered me her clothes, a ‘Jaisen,’ their traditional dress, and a blouse. I draped myself with the clothes, and it felt as warm as their gestures and welcome. She didn’t know how to speak English, but I must tell, there was no communication gap. The language of love is precious and purer than a gem.
After resting for a few hours, I heard music coming out of the other room. I opened the door and saw my friends jamming with a ukulele and guitar. Music is the best medicine, as they all say. After the jamming session, we went to the edge of the village peak, lying just in the back. The view was spectacular, and we were all blown away by it.
Bob Dylan was constantly playing in the rear of my head and heart, ‘the answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.’ The howling winds were healing our souls’ abyss, the clouds of Meghalaya. We all endorsed the calmness in the wilderness of the wind. Life gives us a second chance, so we should always say yes to it.
At the base of the hillock, the clouds were a vast spread of a white sea floating endlessly over the handsome and pompous cliffs and the valley. On the horizon, especially, it will be a sight to behold.
” Bob Dylan was constantly playing in the rear of my head and heart, ‘the answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.’ The howling winds were healing our souls’ abyss, the clouds of Meghalaya.”
After taking some thoughtful pause, we headed back to the villages. They were all in their traditional dresses, the children’s cheeks all red, were sneaking and smiling at us. They must love to see new faces, and I couldn’t resist clicking a few pictures with them.
We roamed around the tiny village, passing hi and hellos to the villagers. By then, it was lunchtime already. Soup, steaming rice, chicken, and Jadoh(a popular dish among Khasi) waited for us. One should never leave Meghalaya without tasting their authentic dishes and everything representing their culture.
A Heartfelt Goodbye
It was almost time for us to head back. We started our back journey; the weather was the same as when we arrived—clouded and chilled. But, on our return journey, we could at least see children playing football in the fields, men enjoying their traditional tobacco, and women in the verandah drying their clothes.
Meghalaya always has something new to offer my mind, heart, and soul. The intangible possessions in life are incomparable. The big hoarding, malls take people today, and fresh seasonal arrivals, I say they are rather cheap.
“As you get older, you want less from the world; you want to experience it. ANy barriers to feeling emotions get dismantled. And ordinary things become beautifully poetic.” – Richard Linklater.
What’s expensive is experiences and living life out of its best—meeting new people and knowing nature at its best.