I visited Shillong, which is the capital of Mehgalaya, two months ago. In fact, it was a side-visit to kill time, but it was indeed time well-spent. It was a Sunday afternoon when I reached the main city centre; the striking feature of the place was exuberance of well-dressed young guys and gals; it looked some kind of a dating feast, but, all I can remember, the day was that of Rakshabandhan; however, in Meghalaya, unlike in Gujarat, people don’t suffix names with “bhai” and “behan”; so, it must have been a dating feast only — at least I thought so and immediately bought a deo without realizing I have grown passed that age. Nevertheless, the beauty of Shilong is not limited to its pretty girls; the place itself is pretty pretty.
The day being Sunday, all tourist attractions were closed, and I didn’t have time and energy to visit the off-city places, so I just started wandering in the city on-foot and soon realized it was a decision well made. On the way, I also ended up meeting some tech-savvy, young Bengali students, who had been wandering with the help of GPS for more than a week then, so they became my natural companions — anyways I have a liking for the tech-savvy youth. Our mutual goal was to reach the Golf Course from the Raj Bhavan, which was some 4-5 KMs distance. To be very frank, after some time, I felt out of place with them: first, they were taller than me; secondly, they were not sharing their GPS with me; thirdly, they were speaking an alien language ; and fourthly, I think, they were also making fun of me in their alien language. Nevertheless, I persisted and tried ignoring them for the beauty of the place; and, voila, it worked.
Shillong is an extremely beautiful place. The distances are small and scenic, therefore, most people traverse them walking. I didn’t intrude into the neighbourhoods, but, from a distance, the houses looked cozy and cute, well-knit into the whole with an identity; and the big houses like those of the Chief Justice and the Chief Secretary were alluring. The pathways were decorated with plantation, and the litter was conspicuos by its absence. The Golf Course is at a depression to the Raj Bhavan, so most of the distance traversed was downhill, and therefore, the view was clear and penetrative, giving an impression of dominance over the landscape; and thus the feeling was kingsize — many a times I just felt like jumping and roaring into the slopes like a tiger, but the GPS brought back sanity. However, as soon as I reached the Golf Course, I did run a lap but more elegantly like a stud — by then I had obviously forgotten about the deo, but, I think, the elegant run did impress some virgin mares.
Finally, after some running and sauntering on the Golf Course and some chit-chat on Aurobindo, we returned to the city centre — this time in a Taxi — exchanged pleaseantries and moved on. Movement is the key; the pretty halts are sexy, but the eagerness to run together brings people/things/places close, with or without deos.
©2014 Ankur Mutreja
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