Those FIVE days

In thirty years, I have had several unforgettable, memorable and adventurous days and incidents. For some uncomprehending reason(s), I seem to fall into predicaments that are usually considered aberrant and unusual. It usually isn’t so bad but it’s definitely unforgettable. So this is what happened between 12th-16th January 2017!

My non-biological Bodo sibling, Angelo Daimari was tying the knot with one of my most awesome girlfriend, Christina Dzuvichu on the 14th of January 2017 at Dimapur, Nagaland. These two are more than just friends to me. They are my family. I was one of the four bridesmaid. I had never played that role before and was super stoked about the whole experience.

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Hopped on the flight to Guwahati from Bagdogra

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Took a train from Guwahati to Dimapur (because for some god-knows-what reason…there is no flight to Dimapur from Ghy!!!)

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Photo detail on my phone says this pic was taken at 1:50am! We reached Dimapur around 2 something am where two of our kind friends had come to pick us up at that ungodly hour!

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After three states in 24 hours and 4 hours of sleep, I headed to the bride’s house at the famous Signal Angami Village

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I was in tears when I saw this beautiful bride getting dolled up….Just kidding! Of late, I have turned stone cold and have lost the ability to feel emotional! However, I was a bit overwhelmed, I will admit that.

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The bridesmaids & the groomsmen. (Right to Left):Ruth (why you cover your face?) , Tia, Ameto, Vivi, Shreya, YC and moi!

BTW, all our beautiful dresses and even the bouquet was hand-made by the bride, Christina’s mother! (If I had 0.5% of such talent, I would invent strategies and dwell on thoughts of world domination!)

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Jello, moi and Christina after the ceremony at the Holy Cross Church, Dimapur

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At night, we had a small gathering at Christina’s place with good people, good food and that!!!!

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The bride and groom with Sikkim party!

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Formed DEADLY Sikkim-Naga bond with Wati over several jägerbombs at The Bully, which was a pretty cool place to hang at!

FUN TRIVIA: You know you’ve had a mad night when you check your snap story the following morning and realise you used Strawberry filter faces but called it watermelon!!!!! Not to forget, the amount of spelling errors and typos!

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The following warm winter morning, I woke up to make friends with this cutie (my friend’s niece), Jenty and the little guy on her lap, Milo. 

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I also received this beautiful Ao stole from YC’s mom, which I absolutely love and need right now because I have a sore throat and it’s perfect for the Gangtok winter!

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In the evening, we dropped in at Tia’s place for a short while where Deeki, Shreya and Solomon (not in pic) composed a party song which I shit you not….will break all single sales record ever! The choreography is groundbreakingly brilliant. For several reasons, I cannot post it here but how I wish you guys could see that awesome stuff!

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I know I haven’t done much in life but I know one thing for sure…I’ve made the right friends…friends that will stay forever!

That same night, we had a train back to NJP at 2 something am. Yes, we dragged our suitcase from one platform to the other in Dimapur, with clouded vision and unstable gait!

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At NJP, we reserved this car to take us home.

So there were two young guys who said they would take us. We were a little apprehensive about the two. Right from the way they spoke to the kind of clothes they were wearing and their attitude. However, we were tired, hungover, hungry and wanted to be non-judgemental. So we got in.

Ten minutes inside the car and I felt like as if the driver was tripping over the idea of auditioning for the fast and furious movies! He drove recklessly and at such speed, over taking cars and trucks at highways that an agnostic person like me actually turned to God and started praying!

We requested him to drive slow repeatedly but he just wouldn’t listen to us and we were afraid that might infuriate him even more. That would put us in even greater danger than we already were in! They stopped at 29th mile saying they were going to have lunch. We told them we’d eat at Melli so while we waited in the car the duo got lost for about 30-45 mins.

The minute they got back, we knew for sure they were trouble. Their eyes were bloodshot and their speech slurred. In whispers, we decided that we’d stop at Rangpo check-post and ask the cops to help us shift to another vehicle without these two creating much fuss!

However, by the time we reached Teesta, another realisation hit us! We were not going to make it till Rangpo. The crazy over-taking was one thing but the driver actually popped a pill into his mouth and we almost collided into the vehicle in front of us. He had his elbows steering the wheel! I swear I am not making this shit up!

Again, in whispers and in P language, using our Chacha Chaudary brains, we decided we’d make a de-tour at Melli and head to the check post there. Being the story teller, I invented a story about how I was supposed to pick up something that a certain uncle had dropped at the Melli check-post. So I asked the driver to take me to the check-post. He was reluctant but I managed to convince him. He said he wouldn’t go right up and would stop at the bridge. I agreed.

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So Chenyang and I walked in while Deeki narrated more fake tales about uncle and the package and stayed with the two in the car. We told the cops what had happened so they came with us to the vehicle. They asked both the boys to step out and they checked the vehicle first.

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8 SP capsules were found in his pocket. Some more underneath the car seat and more in the dashboard! 

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The driver (in black leather jacket) and his accomplice.

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All of us went to the thana at Melli and gave our statement about the entire thing. The cops were helpful and I know most of you believe that cops misuse their power over language. Trust me, the cops at Melli dealt with the situation very formally, without passing any unnecessary comments!

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So, the two were locked in; We had a good meal at a nice hotel in Melli bazar while the cops helped us get another car to take us home. 

But then again, as luck would have it, the minute we got into the vehicle, the driver got a call from his wife who in a panic stricken voice informed him that their child had suddenly fallen in. He said he had to rush back home and he would be able to drop us to the paari (Bengal Melli)

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Of all the trips we have made from Siliguri, Chenyang decided this was the best one to buy some coconuts and take home! Yes, we did the police rounds and Melli bazar round and Bengal Melli with our suitcases and three coconuts! Thanks Chenu…..NOT!

After almost an hour on the Melli highway, we finally managed to get another vehicle with two young boys (again!). This time we spoke to them first and after a heavy background interrogation, we realised they weren’t tripping.

We reached home around 9 something pm and when I told my dad about the whole thing, his response was, “The determination and ways with which you girls move around and fall into situations and fall out of situations, I am pretty sure, someday you girls will even conquer Mount Everest and while doing that, you will have another set of adventure again!”

Crashed into bed and as i replayed the last few days and events, I knew…..this was going to go into the list of unforgettable events.

 

 

SIKKIMIS: A PERFECT SIKKIMESE SOUVENIR

Okay, let’s get straight to the point…What is the perfect Sikkimese Souvenir you’d like to give someone (particularly, a Non-Sikkimese) so that the item becomes an irreplaceable Sikkimese memorabilia? Rich farts who can afford the expensive carpets and thangkas, please go away! I am not talking to you guys.

So, yeah that leaves the rest of us (the urban poor) who have a pretty comfortable and laid back life but have absolutely nothing to gift a friend/ a guest/ someone/ anyone a perfect Sikkimese Souvenir. We’ve spent years and money on Chinese products available at every Gift and curio shops because that’s the only thing available; But guess what? The awesome people at Echo Stream launched their in-house, original product last evening and it’s called SIKKIMIS- Yes, the Perfect Souvenir from Sikkim.

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SIKKIMIS: An idea that’s completely out of the box but wrapped perfectly in a box!

Currently, the only products available are Tee-shirts but the cool gang at Echo Stream will be coming up with more products that define/narrate/portray stories of Sikkim.

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What is Sikkimis?

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Ta Da!!!! These are the Seven Designs available, designed, crafted, created by some of these applause-worthy designers!

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Any Red Devils fans here?

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Sikkim can be summed up in Two Things: Red Panda & Tongba (Chaang)

 

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This one is my super favourite!!!! Stairs, Stairs and more Stairs, yup…thats Gangtok! Kinda reminds me of this Haruki Murakami fan art I’d seen online…..

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I even wore it as soon as I bought it!

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Welcome to Our Universe

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What’s our Favourite Word? AMBOOOOOO

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Okay, stop whining and complaining about the terrible pics already! I didn’t have a chance to take proper ones so had to take it from my phone and as you know all, I kinda suck at photography.

Those looking to pick these up, you can call the number on the photo and ask for your tee according to your size and the colour of your choice. Also, be “giving.” Pick it up for your frannnns who live away from home and thank me for the brilliant idea later! Oh yeah, they’re priced at Rs. 650/-

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The folks at Echo Stream

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10/10 for the packaging….no?

Loafing Around in Laos

To tell you the truth, I didn’t really have a plan or desire to visit Laos. I knew nothing much about Laos except that somewhere in the northern part of the country was a beautiful village called Luang Prabang. Lunag Prabang was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in the year 1995. That was all I knew about Laos and the fact that it was surrounded by Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar.

Since I’d already toured the surrounding countries, it felt only natural that I divert my route to Laos.

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From Siem Reap I took a flight to Vientiane. We stopped at Pakse for immigration and a connecting flight to the capital city.

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Pakse Airport is kind of like the Bagdogra Airport back home. (In terms of size and the look)

I think its easier to the eye and mind when I put down my tales in point. So that’s what I am going to do for my Laos story.

#10: IT’S CALLED LAO. THE “S”IS SILENT

Well actually Laos being a proper noun and all that Grammar jazz, it’s not a hard and fast rule that you silence the S; And I suppose tourists can get by with the S but me being me, I learnt to silence the S and from that moment on until now, I call it “Lao”

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The inner streets of Vientiane look like this. There are cafes and food kiosks at every bend and corner. Vientiane gets a fair number of tourists. Pic source: ooaworld.com

#09: I FINALLY LEARNT TO SWIM

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Watch me swim…..Watch me nae nae!

Yes, yes, I’d somehow managed to exist for 29 years without swimming. But then, Laos happened. The hot and humid weather and the lovely pool at the hotel made me shed all my inhibitions. Seeking courage and confidence, I let the laws of physics apply naturally and Voila!!!! I was swimming.

#08: THE RIVERFRONT

The susurrus of the Mekong is like music to the ears as tourists stroll by the river side. There are cafes, karaoke bars, mini marts, hotels, bars, food kiosks etc all lined up at the river side. I walked along for a while checking out restaurants, tasting street food and just letting myself besmirch in that warm night breeze by the Mekong.

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Shadows speak louder than Image :/

#07: THE NIGHT MARKET

Like most night markets, the night market at Vientiane is something you have to experience if you are there. Clothes, food, souvenirs, gadgets are all available at the stalls. There is so much to choose from and most stalls accept American dollars so if you haven’t changed your currency then worry not! Another thing, please use Google Translate as much as possible. It really helps.

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pic source: rebeccaandtheworld.com

#06: BLUE LAGOON AT VANG VIENG

Most tourists who visit Laos, make sure that they visit the Blue Lagoon at Vang Vieng. It’s about 4 hours drive from the capital, Vientiane. The area is a popular tourist spot. You’ll find many tourists enjoying the sun and the turquoise waters of the blue lagoon. Though the road that leads to the Blue Lagoon are rough and the drive is slow, it’s still worth visiting because the yellow fields and the green surrounding hills make it a pretty sight.

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Blue skies, green hills and yellow fields

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The entry fee at the Blue Lagoon is 10,000 Kip.

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The Blue Lagoon has water slides, swings and trees.

#05 SEA FOOD

I am not a sea food fan. I used to have pet fish back in college and because of that, I could never really enjoy eating one. However in Laos, somehow I was convinced to try the salmon (because the waiter told me that the Mekong fish tastes better than anything I might have ever tasted….) so I gave it a try.

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This fillet topped with white wine dream sauce was delish!

#04: BEER LAO

There’s this thing that happens almost by default. When I am in the South East Asian countries, I end up drinking a lot of beer.(My lips couldn’t stay away from Saigon Bia when I was in Vietnam). Perhaps it’s the weather or a sub conscious action (because everybody around is drinking beer) but not scotch, not wine, it’s always the beer. Beer Lao is available in bottles and pint and even in draft. The draft beer is called Bia Sot which translates to fresh beer.

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pic source: khiri.com

#03: BUDDHA PARK

About 25 kms away from Vientiane is the Buddha Park. It is also known as Xieng Khuan . The Mekong river lies next to it. The park has over 200 statues of Gods, Goddesses, animals, demons, angels etc from both Hinduism as well as Buddhism. I chose to go to the park in the evening to avoid the crowd and that was a good idea. The beautiful sunset at the Mekong with mythological structures and statues around made it a good evening stroll.

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It’s actually quite difficult to get the sleeping Buddha in one photo

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This round structure has three levels representing hell, earth and heaven. The entrance is from the mouth.

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The view of the park from heaven (the top)

#03 SEND POSTCARDS FROM THE AIRPORT

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The Wattay International Airport isn’t very big but make sure you visit the postal office at the ground floor. Pic source: spotonlaos.com

See, I haven’t travelled much, therefore I don’t know how many airports have this thing. At the Laos International airport (Wattay International Airport) along side the souvenir shops, they have a postal section. One can pick up postcards and write down a message and send it right away. I thought that was a very good idea and therefore without wasting any time, that’s what I did.

#02 SOUVENIRS

Of course, I never forget to pick up a touristy tee shirt while on foreign shores. I haven’t taken pictures of the ones that I picked and I gave some away to my cousins and friends. There are so many available at the night market and even at the souvenir shops at the airport. If not a tee shirt then fridge magnets and shot glasses are available too. Yup, I’ve got them all!

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Pic source: giannafairtrade.files.wordpress.com

#01: PLAN ANOTHER TRIP TO LAOS

As I mentioned in the beginning of the post, Laos was never really in the vacation plan. Therefore with only 4 days in hand, I couldn’t travel up to the beautiful Luang Prabang. I haven’t lost hope though. I know for a fact that I will be heading to Thailand for my next unplanned break and when I do that, I shall fly to Luang Prabang. Thank the Lord God above for countries that share borders. Luang Prabang is less than 2 hours from Bangkok (flight) so yes, that’s where I will be heading to when I get to Laos next and it’ll definitely be a planned trip.

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Luang Prabang. Pic source: exploringtourism.com

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Luang Prabang, I shall see you soon. Pic sourec: static.lightfoottravel.com