There are memories that reside within that stays with us for a lifetime. We never forget anything but they just fade away with the persistence of time. Even then few of the instances stay forever and find a place in the deepest corners within us. I tend to look back and go through the myriad of faded memories which had become moments of the past reminiscing in me sudden urge to capture them again like a distant dream.
I must had been around 8-9 years old, and those wooden bodied buses with an elongated nose at the front were still plying on the roads of Guwahati. In those days there were not too many commuters, and as a shy but a curious child I was hopping from one seat to another. Both mom and dad were seated at the front and finally I sat at one corner of the bus.
I don’t remember clearly but probably a young man in his early 20’s got into the bus in Bhorolu bus stand. He came and sat right next to me. I don’t remember his face at all but I guess he smiled at me, and said “Would you mind if I sit next to you?” I nodded in negative. “Thank you, I am Muslim and not many like our community, I hope you don’t have any problem.” I said a mild “no” as if I understood what he said and what he wanted to convey. Then he continued, “You know I have to protect my people and do something about it, you are a nice boy, if I am alive I will see you again.” Then he got down in the bus stop I don’t remember exactly where.
Almost two months of summer vacation was the most awaited period back in school days because that’s when we would pack our bags and visit Dimapur and Dhansiripar (my mother’s place). My school friends considered me as a Naga guy and they used to assume that I know martial arts, and I used to take a sense of pride in that. But the most exciting part of it was meeting my cousins and showing off my balling skills in the game of cricket. However, I was beaten black and blue in humiliation when I was hit for five sixes in an over by a village boy in one of the game that we played in Dhansiripar.
My cousins used to think that my father owns the railways, and they would ask me all the things related with it, such was the age of innocence.
I have had the fortune of meeting many people who turned out to be wonderful friends and with whom I have spent heartfelt times. However, at the same time I couldn’t keep up with most of them and they have moved on with their lives. One of such friends I remember is Samuel with whom I have spent couple of years together during school. He was the one who taught me the initial guitar chords with the song- ‘Hotel California’. I don’t hear from him anymore, and it has been years and years.
The person who influenced me to take up vegetarianism for seven years was Debarun, who according to me was too foolish to understand his own convictions. While searching for spirituality we almost became rigid in our thoughts and he an almost fanatic. But, yes at times I miss him and our conversations dearly because his intellect was unmatched with the other so called brilliant students. Although, last time we met was not so long ago as he suddenly appeared in my cafeteria and wanting me to bake a cake for his niece.
Some promises are never meant to be kept and they are lost with the passage of time. Some solace can be taken in the fact that two bodies meet so that they learn from one another, but then there are questions whose answers remain unanswered only to be swept away with time.
While at work, I was arranging some sheets and sizing them up with a paper cutter. Somehow the razor sharped blades of the cutter slid my palm, making a thin cut and blood dripping a bit from my palm, and upon seeing that she took my hand in hers and started sucking the blood while scolding me hysterically for not being careful.
While walking the alley near the office building, we hugged for the first time, and I sensed how badly she needed it, and how badly she was wanting for it as if a child drapes her arms around someone tightly.
I am taking one of the last taxis to M.G. Marg, it shall be one of the last evenings strolls to the busiest landmark of this hill station. As the sun and the clouds are pushing one another for a space in the heaven I sit quietly and sigh while the breeze gently touches me reminding me that all good things shall pass as well.
On our way to NJP railway station on the train, Megha asked me with both excitement and a look of nervousness, “Are we going to be alright?” I just smiled at her with a nod of assurance. We had never been to Gangtok before, and when she got an opportunity to work there we knew that it was a new lease of life for us. I often hear people saying that hills are only good enough for a vacation. For me, perhaps I can never express it in words how I feel in the hills.
Sikkim has got a pleasant weather all throughout the year, but towards the end of October it starts to get chillier and that’s when one knows the winter is quietly knocking at the door. I can’t get enough of winter ever, winter makes me alive, and the gloom of this season is only when I feel everything is alright. And that’s when we arrived in this panoramic hill station, and the best thing was not to stay here as a tourist but to by being as one of them for many months to come.
Searching for a nest
For the initial five days, we stayed in NHPC guest house. As I was still recovering from a slipped disc I was taking it slowly. Working on my laptop during the day and giving some interview tips to the son of the cook who was preparing for the staff selection services. His father came to me with the request to guide his son when he heard us conversing in English, this language can be really funny on how it brings strangers together.
Be it a metropolitan or a hill station searching for a rented house is always going to be a difficult task. Megha’s colleague had a space to rent out, and we were quite relieved to know about this. So we went to check the place. We were not impressed. As much as I remember the room had a dark and cold feel to it with a typical north Indian appeal, and although the rooms were freshly painted and were big enough it still reminded me of the rented two room apartment in Indra Vihar in Delhi, and that annoying ‘Jai Mata Di’ tune of the calling bell.
Bheem uncle who happens to be the uncle of Megha’s elder brother’s friend and who works as a senior inspector with Sikkim police helped us in getting some information for the accommodation. When he came to know about a two room house to be let in Tadong he took us there. The place was sandwiched between other houses and the area felt more like a chawl. We went inside the so-called two room accommodation only to find that it was just one big hall like room separated by wooden partition panels. It was a dark and filthy room reflecting the underbelly of this beautiful state. Then my glances straightly fixed at the remnants of the Dettol soap kept near the bathroom. It was looking filthy.
Perhaps the person misunderstood with what kind of house we were looking for. We were gradually becoming anxious on these unexpected results with our searches. Bheem uncle then informed us that he has got a single room in his house which the tenant vacated a few days back but he was reluctant to give as he thought it would be too humble for us. However, we requested that if we could shift to that room until we are able to find a place. It was our bad luck that his other corner of the house which was a two room apartment was rented out just before we arrived in Sikkim.
Bheem uncle’s home
Cardio in those steps..
But bad luck can’t sustain for so long, and we just have to be persistent. Bheem uncle decided to take us to his home so that we can check it out before taking any decision. His house was situated in Rajgram which is down below Entel Maruti showroom, but one has to climb down some 150 odd concrete steps to reach the place. As our luck would have it we met a lady in her mid 50’s (Padma aunty) in Rajgram whose house was located some 60 steps above Bheem uncles house. She mentioned that their tenant just vacated and its ready to be occupied. When we came to know of it we decided to check the place immediately, and yes we loved the place at the first glance. That’s how we found our first nest together of starting to live-in together.
For the next 11 months, Padma aunty and Athop uncle were our landlords. I have stayed in several rented accommodations but this one was different. We never felt as tenants here but a part of their extended family. They even took us in their car and showed us around Gangtok. I was touched by their gesture of offering prayers in the Enchey monastery for us. But the best part was when they treated us in a very hip restaurant called The Square for lunch,
The winter was here and I could feel the days getting already shorter. The locality was anyway very quiet but after the dusk, there was an eerie melancholic silence which was very uncomfortable to the senses as we were only used to the chaos of the cities. But we soon got used to it.
In the initial days though we had trouble getting a sound sleep as we would wake up in the middle of the night only to hear some fading sounds of the footsteps supposedly coming from the stairs outside. We thought since the narrow passage of concrete steps passing right beside the balcony connects to the nearby hills and they would be one of those drunk lads who lost their way back home. However, we felt that the footsteps are subtle and it was more like a small kid trying to run through the steps. Probably it was our mind that was forming the mental images, but how it started roughly at around 3 am almost daily was confusing. The chilly winter nights anyway adds a scary glamour to the subject in question. After few uncomfortable nights, we decided to change our sleeping positions. As strange it gets, Interestingly that worked for us as after changing the position of the bed we never heard the noise again.
Then almost after a month, we were abruptly awakened at the same time from a different noise. We were not able to comprehend the sound but it seemed like it was the sound of a flute like an object but with a screech. It was too sharp for the ears and pierced through the night. Without any doubt, we were terrified, horrified and what not because I have never heard anything like that before in my entire life let alone hearing someone playing the flute like object during the devil’s hour.
Later in the morning we got to know from our landlord that a group of people called ‘ban jhakri’ visit each and every vicinity of Sikkim couple of times in a month and their job is to cast off the evil spirits that may be residing in the nooks and corners of the hills and gorges where human habitat is present. Nonetheless, it’s really scary to wake up to the sound of someone playing an instrument knowing what it is meant for.
The heart of Gangtok is its people and even though I am a stranger I never felt out of place here. Perhaps it might also be because I look like one of them. As a matter of fact, people always initiate a conversation in Nepali with me, when I politely tell them that I don’t speak the language they get confused whether I am not a local.
On weekends the M.G Marg is significantly congested with tourists and locals alike. But it’s quite different from the other crowded places of India as it’s not chaotic or noisy. Although exceptions are there in the form of those typical tourists who flock from the nearby states.
In M.G. Marg my favorite two things to do is to hog and to sit on the bench with Megha to admire the smartly dressed and beautiful people walking by. For the first one, The taste of Tibet serves really nice momos, and they have various stuffings ranging from chicken to beef, besides momo I love their thukpa (I am salivating as I write this). M.G. Marg has only Khan uncle‘s which serve good tandoori dishes.
However, I like Thakali for their authentic Nepali thali and a good range of cocktail drinks but it still can’t beat the Newari thali we had in Singsor bridge. There is a snack corner which serves healthy smoothies with waffles. Coffee shop serves good pizza (it’s big!!) and spaghetti, they keep beers too! Densberg and Hit which is brewed in Sikkim and the former is owned by Danny Denzongpa and it tastes really great. Although I like Densberg better if you are with friends with some couple of mugs to gulp down, it really sets the tone of the conversation. Hit is another brand of beer gets to your head really fast and it can really give you a bad hangover. Mu kimchi is a Korean restaurant that serves delicious kimbap, bibimbap and other delicacies. Once you go there you can’t help but visit this place on numerous other occasions. I found the aesthetics and taste of the cuisines quite similar to the tribal community. I forgot to mention their mouth watering sushi!
Towards Tibet road which is adjacent to the M.G.Marg Cafe Live and Loud is located. After many months, we finally thought of giving this place a try and it became one of our favorite places in Gangtok. I remember how dead drunk I was after sloshing down several drinks in our first visit. We never visited Thungdel though but of course, there is always the next time and I would visit when I am there again.
But Sikkim is not about restaurants and cafes but it’s people. It’s about the innocence and honesty that is ingrained and imbibed in the culture here. In the next blog travel with me in Maruti 800 to the nooks and corners of Sikkim when one of my favorite people come all the way to Gangtok in his legendary car. And also how our stay in Gangtok became all the more exciting with Sudarshana joining us in Gangtok all the way from Delhi.
Excerpts from the next chapter of Sikkim memoir…
Our stay in Gangtok was more special as it gave us an opportunity to host our friends and family. Himadri, was the first one to give this opportunity to us, and he came all the way from Guwahati in his Maruti 800 (a small family car from yesteryear) and it was in his small but very sturdy car that we mapped almost all the parts of Sikkim. The irony is that when you are living that mesmerizing moment you don’t even realize it that the moment is passing by and what is left is a just distant dream of memories.
So we packed our bags, took out some cash, and got some food supplies and we three headed towards the interiors of Sikkim. Our first stoppage was Jorethang, it easily became one of my least favorite places in Sikkim as it’s a valley of a commercial hub with its developing congested buildings. Nonetheless, all the districts of Sikkim have a similar look in the form of its nicely paved pedestrians way and wide alleys for the people to take a stroll. But it was very humid there and I didn’t see much people from the hills living there but mostly the people migrated from neighboring states in search of a livelihood. (…to be contd)
Besides my work as a soft skills trainer and motivational speaker, I also work as a life coach for one of the emotional wellness platform in India. One of the most pressing concerns that people who are in the age group 18-30 happen to be facing is the habit of watching porn and over masturbation. More than 90% of the population from this age group would belong to the people who are in their late teens or early adulthood. And 60% of the clients who get connected with me their concerns would be related to porn and masturbation.
With the growing numbers, it is but important to talk about it out more in the open, and also understand some underlying concerns that had surfaced in the process.
First things first, addicted to porn and masturbation is just like any other addiction and the only difference that surrounds or I should say are the myths and confusions that come with it. Myths surrounding it can be as weird as someone believing that masturbating daily might increase their height or may give them an improved jawline. These two instances might seem to be very funny but it also points out towards the lack of education regarding this topic.
Although it is very normal and natural to explore and have curiosity related to sex during teenage years or in the early twenty’s, however, when one is indulging in it without any control and starts to feel disoriented then it’s an alarm.
I also remember the day when as a teenager I was curious about porn too. During those days porn was not easily accessible and one had to rent VCD’s and for those who didn’t have the luxury of a CD player had to rent it too from the numerous CD library shops that mushroomed back then. I was in 11th standard. But as a normal phase, it passed by me too.
But looking at the way this passing menace has gripped not only the teenagers but the youngsters who are in their late twenty’s or early thirty’s and rather than relying upon any real relationship they are solely depended on the ‘mental harem’ to gratify their senses is something very worrisome.
It is also important to understand that porn and masturbation is also like a medium of escape (the easiest accesible escape) when things are stressful in life. As self-gratification gives a temporary sense of relief or to false sense of coping up with life stress so one would often find people indulging in these habits as a source of coping mechanism.
Does it help? The answer is absolutely not!
The habit of porn and heavy indulgence in masturbation creates a state of mental and emotional agitation and if not controlled then it can affect one’s physical health too. The most common question that I encounter from youngsters is “I want to stop this habit but I can’t control myself”. The question is who else will come and control it for you? The indulgence has so much increased that increasingly high number of those who are addicted to this habit has shown some kind of perversion or the other.
For many, what started as an innocent curiosity have become a dangerous indulgence which results in frustration and being reduced to just a slave of your mind.
The indulgence has so much increased that increasingly high number of those who are addicted to this habit has shown some kind of perversion or the other and don’t treat women any more than just an object of gratification. It is also important to note that both the genders have been impacted by these negative elements.
For those who are really looking to get out of this habit needs to make a decision to stop the habit once and look at life from a different perspective. Don’t try to control, if you want to stop this habit in one go it’s going to relapse with a higher force. It’s important to understand that the habit which took years to form would need your patience and time to deal with. You gradually need to cultivate the positive habits and work on them day in day out.
For those who want to start then can make a weekly plan to start with. Start with a simple goal as in how many numbers you can reduce your habit of masturbation, say for example if you were masturbating 7 to 10 times in a week, try to reduce it by 2-3 times in the first week and gradually bring to masturbating two to three times a week which is healthy for both your mental and physical growth. Try to understand the science behind it, I would advise those who are reading it to go through the relation between testosterone hormone and masturbation. For those who are in fitness and have some serious goals, they need to be all the more disciplined.
For both the indulgence in porn and masturbation, you can make a log table and record the number of times you indulged yourself in the habit. In this manner, you can bring more accountability to control the habits.
The most important thing to do is to get busy with productive work in your life. If you have to indulge in something then indulge yourself in improving your life by updating and upgrading yourself by gaining knowledge and by improving your health. Because when you are too busy improving yourself and grow there won’t be any spare time for you to be able to waste it.
The goal is to reduce the masturbation and stop watching porn once and for all. One moment of distraction can go a long way to impact your goal in life in a big way. You always have the power to choose, and let not the complaint of your stressful life be an excuse to indulge in the negative habits of life.
If readers want to ask me anything then I would request them to leave me a message or comment. You can also let me know if you want me to cover any particular topic.
When you sleep the whole day and are not able to push yourself out of the bed when you repeat the words that “I know but I don’t want to but I can’t, when you give yourself one million ways of ifs and buts then understand that you have been bitten by the bug of procrastination.
Often when I hear people questioning that “I want to be rich but I don’t know HOW”, “I want to get fit but don’t know HOW”, “I want to start reading books, but I end up watching TV”, “I want to stop worrying but I get more insecure”…so tell me what should I do and HOW should I stop all the worries and achieve whatever I wish.
Youngsters also frequently ask sounding frustrated about the habit of over masturbation and watching porn. “I want to stop this habit as it is ruining my peace and energy, but the problem is I can’t”.
“I plan to study but when I sit and open my books I start to day dream and get distracted by million things and by the time I realize I end up already wasting my time”.
Wish all the day, and so you wish but nothing is going to happen. You are not procrastinating but actually, you are in the “habit of procrastination”.
Don’t you really know HOW to? Tell me your schedule and I will tell you whether you are building your life to become rich or its just a mental speculation of hollow aspiration.
Tell me about your calorie intake, and I will tell you whether you really want to get fit or just ruminating on failure to stick to a diet and exercise?
Stop giving yourself the excuses of “not being able to” anymore. If you desire something then it has to be backed up by your efforts and perseverance. And probably that’s the reason behind the success rate of people with talent without motivation or perseverance is lesser than people with average talent and with a high level of perseverance and motivation.
Procrastination is an extension of chronic thought of ‘if’s’ and ‘but’s’. “What if this and what if that? I know everything but I don’t want to”… First of all, there’s a huge difference between knowing and doing. Everybody knows what’s the right thing to do, and it doesn’t matter at all and makes no difference if you are not converting your knowing into actions. If you are not doing anything about your ‘knowing’, then it is as good as a big zero-0.
So how do you stop procrastinating?
If you are expecting to read a trick or some quick fix tips, stop reading and leave the blog right away.
I see that you are still here and really want to get over this habit. So, let me tell you the secret of stopping to procrastinate, and that secret is to START!
Stop being caged in your own myriad of thoughts and START. Whether you are a teenager, whether you are a youngster in your early 20’s struggling with your career, whether you are someone who is struggling with your relationship, whether you want to control your financial situation, whether you are disappointed with your health status and the way you look…Take a decision to START, take a decision to start the ignition, take a decision to stop worrying, and START to take actions.
Each day, every day start taking a decision that will enhance your life, that will enhance your health and habits. You might ask me, where do I start? Start from anywhere, your life can be compared to a messy closet and when you think about rearranging it, it might give you anxiety but the point here is not to look at the closet and worry but starting to arrange it. And you can start from any section. Once you start it would just be about your effort and patience.
Change would come with you or without you, time would pass by with you or without you, and life will move on with you or without you. You need to be the one to decide whether you keep resisting it or embrace it and make it meaningful for yourself.
The kind of life you want is right in this moment happening, don’t complain when you are in a toxic relationship, don’t complain when you don’t like the way you are, don’t complain of being sick and tired of the job that you are in, don’t complain about your habits that you are putting you down. Because you yourself have been deciding to be in this state, to be with the person who treats you like a garbage, to be
Because you yourself have been deciding to be in this state, to be with the person who treats you like a garbage, to be in a job which doesn’t give you any fulfillment, to be in a self created shell. So stop complaining and DECIDE to break the pattern. If you are not happy do something about it or SHUT UP!
Take a decision to change, then plan to implement those changes, begin and repeat it each day, every day!
You can’t be motivated all the time or all the day. You cannot always have your peak time when you feel. Because when you are going up you shall come down too.
Then what’s the point of this question? Why not live life as it comes and as it shows?
Yes, you can but the question is can you afford to? Can you afford to live life without asking yourself what you really want and going after it?
Motivation is basically a mindset or temperament that arouses an organism to act forward to the desired goal, and it depends on how strong your purpose of going after it.
In fact, your purpose of going after your goal has to be bigger than you, bigger than yourself. A goal which can be bigger than yourself can only be that goal which strives to work for the betterment of the others. Simply put, how achieving of that goal can help someone better?
Motivation is directly related to inspiration, and when you are looking for inspiration they are everywhere, only thing is you have to keep your eyes and ears open and have a heart which believes in acceptance.
When you are down and out- few questions to ponder upon are-
Why are you doing what are you doing?
Why is it important for you to achieve this/these goals?
Because when you are down and out these questions shall act as a compass and directs you. At the end of the day, it is pointless in expecting someone else will come and raise you up. No, that’s not going to happen. So have the clarity of what you want to achieve and most importantly -Why you want to achieve? And don’t worry about motivation, because if you are inspired you shall find the motivation within you!
In my interaction with various people in training, and one to one counselling sessions I commonly encounter these two questions- what is the purpose of life, and their inability to accept themselves.
The nature of these two questions seem to be unrelated. But at the same time if one cannot accept oneself there is lesser possibility of growth of an individual, leave alone the discovery of one’s Purpose of life.
Many a times people find it difficult to accept themselves because they don’t like the way they look, they don’t like the way people judge them, they don’t like the way they think, and they don’t like the way their life is in comparison to others.
The stratum of comparisons have reached the level where the individuals know that they are comparing their life with others but still they can’t help but end up doing the same. We have reached the point of learned helplessness to the extreme levels where we derive pleasure in comparing, complaining and contemplating without doing anything about it.
Why accepting your ‘self’ is necessary and pivotal?
When you accept yourself as you are positive change starts to take place. Accepting yourself includes accepting your thoughts, individuality, your behaviour and your situations and circumstances. Unless you recognize the concerns you cannot start working towards any change or improving the circumstances. You can’t shoot arrows in the dark and expect to hit the target. It is better to have clarity on the foes we are fighting.
“But what about my circumstances?”
“What if even after trying I go empty handed?”
Do one thing today, strike out all your “ifs” and “buts” from your vocabulary. Those are powerless and do you no good. We have set our standards for being ugly and beautiful, and being successful and a loser. But who is defining the standards and against whom or what do we compare with to set the standards?
Not accepting or inability to accept is like saying, that you have discovered a cancer in your body but you don’t want to do anything about it, but you are too stressed because of it. Does it make any sense?
You have heard it million times, and I would repeat it again that no human is alike, everyone has a distinct set of DNA and cell structure, and therefore it is nonsensical to compare yourself with anyone. Another point to understand is we are here to contribute and help others to reach their goals and in turn nurture ourselves to achieve ours. It’s a powerful act of interdependence. And unless you discover your gifts how can you contribute to the humanity. Remember the world is waiting for you!
The problem here is the resistance to change, and thinking that when your circumstances will change then you will be happy, when people treat you right then you shall be happier. But how is that even possible when you are not ready to change your thought patterns?
But, it’s so difficult to start!
When you are ailing and decide to visit a doctor do you complain that you have to take out time, fix an appointment and visit the doctor? Probably not. Of course it may be too taxing to go because of the health condition, but you do go. So it starts with a step and that may or may not be difficult.
We get overwhelmed by the mountainous problems that we see in front of us. But look at the problem like this, unless you start with a step how can you even think about scaling the mountain. So go one step at a time, and one day at a time. Don’t worry and stress about the whole problem in hand, slice it down and take one piece at a time.
Effective people don’t find their passion first, they first find out their interests, and on the way there will be many trials and errors, and you shall fail many times. When you take initiative you shall find few things where you are good at, and few areas where you are average at, and yet some where you will find its out of your interest areas.
Then keep on experimenting with your interests, keep doing that until you find your uniqueness there. Don’t loose heart if the results doesn’t show up.You don’t expect a seed to grow into a sapling then start giving you fruits immediately after planting it in the soil. It takes time, it needs proper nurture and care. And when its time, it shall give you the fruit. You got my point!
One of the powerful affirmation that I came across and I constantly recommend to the people i meet is- “I AM ENOUGH!”
That’s powerful enough to change your circumstances by giving you a different paradigm.
With that affirmation, don’t wait for the circumstances to change for you to make a start, start anyway. When you undertake the journey, things will unfold itself just like when you read a book the story will only be revealed while turning the pages.
So, start by recognizing your reality and your individuality, and accept it and approve of it. There is no need to resist what you discover, you only have to work on your gifts and contribute back to the nature.
Do share your view on the comments below.
(The featured image was clicked near MG Road in Gangtok by the author)
The number of times I have traveled to Haflong last year would be more than thrice the number of times I have visited the place before till now. And the reason behind the frequent travels was the second edition of Judima festival.
Interestingly, I went to Haflong to attend the maiden edition of Judima festival as a tourist and an outsider. And when the team behind the fest decided to go for the second edition, I got an opportunity to be a part of the organizing team.
Unlike the two days of first edition of Judima festival which was held in the month of January last year, the second edition of Judima fest was a three day long affair which ensured more coverage, more activities and music, and much larger crowd than what I witnessed in the first edition. And even in the midst of nonchalant protests by a meager section of people to ban the fest, the festival pulled a large number of crowd from both local and tourists alike.
The Chief Minister of the state was to inaugurate the fest but he couldn’t make it due to some last minute exigency. However, a few ministers from his cabinet graced the inaugural event of the festival.
Nonetheless, our cities and for that matter any part of the country even being the remotest of the regions can get a face-lift if an important leader makes their visit. And Haflong being the only hill station of Assam got its fair share of makeover too.
I just wonder how it would have been if the CM’s cancellation of visit would have been announced even few days prior, say at least three days in advance- no need to guess, the roads and beautification would have been left incomplete in the middle.
However, in spite of the absence of the CM, the fest started off well. A few ministers from his cabinet graced the inaugural function.
The first two days of the fest was really warmer than what normally the temperature would have been around this time of the year. The fest started with Dr Ronald Bathari’s singing of “We welcome you to Dima Hasao”, this welcome number from him was raw and refreshing at the same time, I guess that’s where the uniqueness of the place lies too.
They even have an interesting and very nicely made YouTube channel, click the link below:
Conventionally any given day the fest in this part of the world starts with a welcome speech, the speech by the guests and a customary vote of thanks. But what got my attention as always was the prayer offered to Barai-Sibarai (Goddess Shiva) by the elderly village head to mark the beginning of the festival. However, I felt the prayer recitation was not flawless unlike last time.
The showcase of ethnic cultural dance and music was initiated by 100 plus Dimasa drummers and dancers assembled together. It is indeed a sight to witness this synchrony live, and perhaps I now understand better why your feet starts to tap and your arms want to sway the moment you listen to Khram-Muri (Dimasa drum and flute).
There was a Judima tasting experience for the tourists, however, at the same time the second edition also ensured that no wine was being sold to any minors. It is a symbolic step as Judi in Dimasa community is intrinsic to the everyday use in offerings in rituals or offered to the guests at home as a gesture of respect.
Dancers and singers from various other tribes and communities added more charm and shades of various colors with their performance. The surrounding hillocks echoed their rhythm.
(Photo credits: Dr Chandan Sharma & Mr Bankim Phonglo)
Although the day was very sunny, the pleasant winter evenings compensated for all the complaints, and made the ambience ready for some scintillating time ahead. From Daniel Langthasa’s (Digital suicide’s front-man) satirical take on the current socio-political guitar solo to Koloma’s folk fusion kept everyone wanting for more. While the former presented some intelligent slapstick through his music and the latter performed some refreshing Thripra songs to listen to (it is their second performance in the fest).
Another fusion rock band from Guwahati by the name ,Celestial Way, performed Steppenwolf’s ‘Born to be Wild’ and indeed made the crowd go wild with the energy to warm up the night. And when it was time for the show stopper rock band from Dimapur- Dima Project to perform, I was waiting for them to play my favorite number ‘Lailangkha’. They reminded me of the rock bands from the 90’s. The last day of the event saw completely two opposite genres performing, one was Rain in Sahara- a hip-hop fusion band and the other was the veteran of Blues- Spreading Roots. And only one thing was common between them- their electrifying performance!
The festival was thronged by lads and damsels with their enchanting spirit and beauty, and it was an ocean of rainbow all the way. Spellbound!
The other attractions of Judima were the trekking events and heritage walk to the abandoned railway track (another unique tourist attraction which is yet to be utilized to the fullest by the tourism dept of DIMA HASAO).
Apart from the above itineraries, there were fun and thrill filled sport activities for young and old alike, like boating, zip-lining, burma-bridge, and wall climbing which was well supported Assam mountaineering association and Climbing circle group.
For trekking enthusiasts both the treks to Barail hill range, and Trek to the picturesque Samparadisa was successfully organized. It not only gave the nature loving tourists a taste of varied flora and fauna of the region but also introduced them to the typical Dimasa village and a peek into their daily lives.
Interestingly there was a section of people who were against the celebration of Judima festival as according to them this celebration is parallel to promoting consumption of liquor amongst the youths. And as I write this piece these handful of people are still wondering how to handle the progressive and inclusive nature of the present generation who are already tired of the hypocrisy and double faced political leaders.
Fortunately, their negative publicity could not deter the much awaited second edition of Judima fest which was celebrated in the right spirit without any untoward incident eventhough this place is known for its political and social disturbance in the past.
My mother urges me to work for the development of this community which has a foundation of rich culture, and I too empathize with her. Only thing that concerns me is the lacklustre attitude of the so called leaders who are busy reaping the public fund and ill informed people who are yet to understand the inclusive all round development of the region and the community.
With the belief that I will be able to contribute more to this lovely initiative taken by the Judima fest team and the beautiful people of Haflong, I am positive that things will change and Haflong will be visited more by the rest of the world.
Note: All the pictures are the property of the photographers, the featured image is also being clicked by Pappa Raozza Karigabxa