Three hours to Guwahati and the sickly humid air turns to a light breeze that can knock the hat that you donned to keep away he scorching sun and send it tumbling down a picturesque hill side.Shillong is thus, lovely in general and lovelier when a gleaming morning welcomes you by ruffling the colourful riot that is a perpetual feature in courtyards here.Shivering in the morning chill in midsummer, looking at the distant cloud-smudged mountains and listening to the rambling of little cherry-faced kids as they trot to school is try to assure you that living isn’t that tough an affair.
I had been to northeast long back, as a kid.Infact, to be honest, the part that I grew up in, belonged,atleast geographically, to the north eastern part of India,though it had nothing similar to it otherwise.And that is why, untill the time mainland and northeast divide became prominent, that is to say,people started bashing up my neighbors in the gigantic heartlands of India, I wasn’t much aware of the concept of north-east as a place;it was still a direction, just a direction.A small Bengali inhabited ramshackle hamlet that gradually swallowed more and more land and belched to form another smoky small town with pot-holed roads and some vague thing that was termed as,’culture’ which generally limited itself to some bengali cotton clad singing and dancing in the month of Baishakh.By the time I grew up there, the wave of left politics, language movement that subsided and the famed poets had lost their youth to time.In short, everything there went like stale ‘jhalmuri’.But let me tell you, nostalgia has strange ways.Now when I,not I, rather all of us,whose childhood belonged there, talk about the place, we fall in love with a place and untill the next morning when we turn sober, we are sure of returning to the place,atleast someday.
I pause here and look up.The habit of scribbling in a paper has left me long back and just one paragraph, my wrist have started to pain.I look at the clumsy penmanship.The line that started straight winded to form a curve by the time I reached the edge of the page. Years and habits do show up how ever hard we try to hard them.The smell of new copy and the smell of ink seeping into the pages transport me to my school days.A waiter comes to my table and places a cup of tea, “without milk,Ma’am”. The clouds are reflected in the swirling crimson coloured liquid.The patterns form and dissolve before my eyes. The warm tea spills from the cup as I lift it to my lips and leaves a blotch in the freshly written diary. The blotch widens.engulfing more and more whiteness into its yellow sheen,like reminescence brings more and more years to my mind.I poise the pen yet again.