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?

The Siem Reap Story

I reached Siem Reap on the 27th of October 2015. It’s evident why I decided to skip the capital Phnom Penh and head to the northwestern city of Cambodia. Yes, Siem Reap because…..it’s the gateway to the Angkor region.

For those not familiar with the map and location

Cambodia is right next to Thailand. I flew from Don Mueang International Airport, Bangkok to Siem Reap International Airport.

 

A 3 day pass to the Angkor temples will cost you $40

A 3 day pass to the Angkor temples will cost you $40

 

The entrance surrounded by a moat leads to the Angkor Wat gates

The entrance surrounded by a moat leads to the Angkor Wat gates

Angkor when translated means city or the capital city and Wat can be translated into a temple/pagoda.  The sensible thing to do while visiting the Angkor temples is to take a guide with you. There are many available at the entrance itself. Our guide was a man who had been working for seven years at the Angkor temples. His name was Chhoum Sokha. A convivial and informative man, he even held out an umbrella for me to protect myself from the sun. Oh yeah, Cambodian sun is ruthless! Make sure you carry a sun screen (SPF 30-50…. but that didn’t help me either). I now have non uniformed tan lines!!!!

The kind Mr. Sokha

The kind Mr. Sokha

An interesting thing that Sokha told us about the Angkor Wat was that the temple wasn’t built by slaves or labourers but the people actually volunteered to build this massive structure for the King. Approximately it took 380,000 men and 40,000 elephants to build the temple. He also said the moat had crocodiles to keep the enemy off during attack. “Free security,” he chuckled.

There are five gates at the entrance of the Angkor Wat. Since it was initially a Hindu temple, the caste system existed. Therefore, the gate in the middle was used by the King and the royal family. The one on the right by the aristocratic class while the left gate was used by the common people. The gates on the extreme left and right were the entry point for the animals. (Elephants and horses). The bridge that leads to the gate has the structure of Naga, a snake like creature with 7 heads and one body.

Okay, enough with the details. Picture Time!!!!

One of the gates at the entrance

One of the gates at the entrance

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Guess what this is?

Guess what this is?

Well, I don’t really know If it’s the truth but when you’re a tourist and a local guide is giving you a kind of surreptitious detail, you don’t question the guide! You nod your head in agreement and believe what he says. So Sokha told us that towards the end of the Khmer Rouge reign, the infamous Cambodian dictator, Pol Pot hid in the Angkor Wat. Back then, the temple was in the middle of  dense forests and trees. So these tiny crater like depressions that you can see all around the Angkor Wat region is the remnant of the bullets fired and bombs dropped by the “Vietnamese” army (read American).

There are four libraries in the Angkor Wat meant for the four sections of the caste

There are four libraries in the Angkor Wat meant for the four sections of the Hindu caste

 

If I'd existed during the Khmer rule you'd have probably found me sitting outside one of the libraries like this

If I’d existed during the Khmer rule you’d have probably found me sitting outside one of the libraries like this

This stairway leads up to the main temple.

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This almost 90 degrees stairway leads you to the main temple

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Okay those wondering why I wasn’t dressed like a tourist need to know that if you are visiting the Angkor Wat, you cannot step inside the main temple in shorts or sleeveless tops. Hence the pants and tee shirt!

 

And yes, I took a power nap after climbing those stairs that took me to Heaven

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A rainbow around the sun is a good omen….according to me!!!!

 

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The view from top

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Thank you random crepuscular rays for falling on me at the right time!

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Of course, when you are a Wong Kai Wai fan and you are visiting Angkor Wat/Thom, you have to give that man a tribute by making your own slo mo video with Yumeji’s theme!

 

 

The entrance at the Ta Prohm temple

After the Angkor Wat, our tuk tuk driver, Ton took us to the Ta Prohm temple. Yes, yes, the one where they shot the Lara Croft (Tomb Raider) film with Angelina Jolie. This temple was built by Jayavarman VII as a place for worship as well as education. Hence the Ta Prohm is a monastery as well as a University.  

Trees grow out of the ruins

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I got tired AF by the end of the day!

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The Exit


 

Landmine victims play traditional Khmer musical instruments at almost every tourist spot.

The Preah Khan temple was built in the 12th century by Jayavarman VII to honour his father. Preah Khan when translated means Royal Sword.

The Tourist attire!

You can pick souvenirs and paintings at the entrance and exit of almost every temple

When I was about 14, my dream was to become an archaeologist #fact

  The site is maintained by the World Monuments Fund and like Ta Prohm, this temple too has natural vegetation growing in and out of the ruins.

The sunlight falls directly on the stupa and I am not making this shit up but the Tourist Police at the temple site asked me to pose like that! He also asked for $5 😹😹😹

  

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Rule # 1 for tourists who are also writers: Always carry a notebook and pen.

Do you want to get bitten by ants? Because that’s how you get bitten by ants!

When you exit the Preah Khan temple, this beautiful water body makes you want to stop and stare

So, I did some staring #deep #intense #yolo #swag

I am always looking into deep dark corners in historical sites but I have never been lucky enough to find/experience anything interesting….yet!

Next we headed to the Neak Pean. This temple is an artificial lake with a circular island in the centre. It was originally designed for medical purposes. It was believed that the water would balance the elements and heal people from their illness and diseases. In other words, the hospital/clinic of the Khmer Empire.  

 

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This beautiful path in the middle of the water is a reason good enough to visit the Neak Pean

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Conversation with random kids in 3…2…1

As I passed by these kids who were skinny dipping, one of them called out to me, “Hey Lady?” I responded with a “Yes? Hi.” He then asked me “Which country are you from?” “India,” I replied. Unflinchingly, he asked me, “Do you have money of your country?” and unfortunately I wasn’t carrying any Indian rupees so I told him that I didn’t have any money from my country. “All right then,” that’s what he said and swam away.

This is something I noticed about the Cambodian people. Most of them speak almost perfect English. They don’t use monosyllabic and disyllabic sentences but proper and complete sentences. This helped me get by easily because like I always tell my friends, “Communication is an important ingredient when travelling to a foreign place.” Also I take this opportunity to thank Google Translate for helping me in countries where people don’t speak much of English.

 

Our next destination was the Ta Som temple. Like Preah Khan and Ta Prohm, this temple has roots jutting out of the ruins. The site is beautiful and the carvings and intricate designs on the wall make you want to stop and think (and over think and over imagine).

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The entry at Ta Som

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The entrance at East Mebon

It was a super busy and super tiring day as I made my way to one temple after the other. That’s the sucky part when you have less time and so much to see. East Mebon was next on my list.

This beautiful temple like the others is a must visit. The stairway at the entrance (though not many steps) is strangely a difficult climb. I observed that many tourists were struggling to climb the flight of stairs. (I was one of them). The temple area is quite massive. I walked all around, up another flight of stairs, bowing down and kowtowing to the Gods and Goddesses (I am supposedly an agnostic but I do contradictory things like this on regular basis).


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After the tour of the temples, our tuk tuk driver drove us 16 ams away from Siem Reap to the Tonle Sap Lake. This lake connects to the large river,  the Tonle Sap river, which joins the Mekong river. This lake lies in the lower Mekong basin.

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The floating village at Tonle Sap. Pic source: cazloyd.com

A lot of tourists flock to this lake and take a boat ride towards the river through the floating village. It was a slow and hot afternoon so I decided to do just that. The boat boy who took me around was a 17 year old kid called Phanat. He seemed gregarious which was a good thing for me. He told me that he lived in the boat itself (He had a small room at the back with an attached toilet). I offered him a cigarette and we talked a lot about life and Cambodia and India as we cruised through the lake and through the floating village. Phanat told me that more than 700 families live in the village and most of them get into the profession of boat tour guides.

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Phanat told me I could bask in the sun while he filled me with storiesof the Tonle Sap

 

Phanat’s friends were all boat guys and they had tourists on their boat as well so we headed to the middle of the river and over some beers and snacks (which were being sold on other boats passing by) we enjoyed a sunset. The boat boys connected their four boats and we all had a small party right there in the middle of the river. It was something that I hadn’t planned on doing but it happened anyway and I have no complaints

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Phanat (extreme left) with Anni (A Japanese tourist) and the other boat boys

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Anni and me watching the sunset

Pic Source: Google

 

Apart from the temple and lakes, I liked the Pub Street in Siem Reap. Souvenir shops, massage parlours, restaurants, fruit/food/ice cream kiosks line up the street. It’s strangely refreshing to walk around pub street. The tourists swarm up every nook and corner and you can find interesting gifts to pick up for friends at home.

I wanted to extend my stay at Siem Reap but unfortunately I had my itinerary set so I left Siem Reap on the 30th October and took a flight to Laos.

What struck me about Siem Reap was the warmth and hospitality of the people. It was so overwhelming especially the tuk tuk driver, Ton who provided us with cold water every time we finished a temple tour and wet tissues to wipe our sweat off. His gentle tone and his decency defined the Cambodian culture for me. If anyone reading this blog ever decides to visit Siem Reap, I hope you find someone like Ton to take you around; Those who want Ton, I have put his contact details so that you can reach him if you ever decide to go to Siem Reap.

Pin Ton

+85592649906

+855963979965

pinton.bayon@gmail.com

When Cambodian people show you their gratitude, they join both their palms together and say, “O Kun Cheran” which translates to “Thank you very much.”

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Ton dropped me off at the airport and he said, “O Kun and I wish you good luck for everything in life.”

O Kun Cheran Siem Reap. I will be back someday.

Mast Manipur

 

Pardon my acerbity, the truth is, no one really plans a vacation to Manipur!!! Manipur- A “troubled” state in the Northeast region of India where the underground militants have convulsed the state of affairs and the state of mind of the people…. Nope! No one wants to go there for a holiday!

We would have never decided on “going away” to Manipur either, had our friend, Ms. Kiki Namgyal not enrolled herself into the prestigious institute, RIMS! (Regional Institute of Medical Sciences). This year, she completed her M.Phil. Degree in Psychology, so the rest of us, decided we’d take a break from our monotonous life and accompany Kiks as she’d make one last trip to collect her degree and documents. Yes, that is why, we decided to go to Manipur. The national news channels were showing images of Manipur burning, as people protested in the streets for the Inner Line Permit and just a week ago, a student had been killed in the clash. Yup, that is exactly when we decided to go to Manipur. In hindsight, crazy but one of the best decisions we’ve ever made!

 

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Took the Indian Railways on the 17th up till Guwahati! I love my friends but I am not taking the train to any city in India….again!!!!!

 

Our Happy Faces….the min we landed at Imphal Airport. (we took a flight from Guwahati to Imphal)

Our Happy Faces….the min we landed at Imphal Airport. (we took a flight from Guwahati to Imphal)

 

DAY 01: Kiki Namgyal, blest with her affable nature, in two years, had managed to make some really good friends in Manipur (who would later become BFFs with us as well). So as we landed at the Imphal airport, the guys came to pick us up. With introductions made and awkward but necessary conversations, we headed to the famous “OK Hotel” for lunch.

Ok Hotel. Pic: tripadvisor

Ok Hotel. Pic: tripadvisor

OK Hotel is a very popular hotel in Manipur. They serve meals for 70 bucks! Yes, you go there, sit down; you don’t need to place an order. The moment you place your ass on the chair, the staff gets you a mountain of rice on a plate with vegetables, pickles and chicken curry! And you know what? If you are absolutely ravenous, you can go for 2nd-3rd-4th, how-much-ever-the-hell-you-want helping and you won’t be charged extra! Yes, all for 70 bucks! “Just Imagine!!!!” (Kareena Kapoor from Jab we Met tone).

OOOOOOOOOOOOO Fun Fact: The game of Polo originated in Manipur. They have a polo ground which adds a historic touch to the plain lands of Imphal. It’s not your fancy polo stadium with galleries and stables. Yet, it stands, still beautiful, poised archaically.

Yes, they did! Pic: e-pao.net

Yes, they did! Pic: e-pao.net

After lunch, we all picked up whatever necessary things we had to and headed towards Moirang. Moirang is about 45 kms south from Imphal. It has the biggest fresh water lake in the northeast region- The Loktak Lake. We took up two cottages at the Sendra Island. The cottages had cute rooms with an attic that had huge windows from where, it provided a picturesque view of the lake. It was beyond surreal to sit there, hear the winds sing, watch the water in the lake blow gentle ripples and have a company of really good people tell you stories, make you laugh, sing you songs and make you feel at “home.”

The faces of Shiny, Happy People

The faces of Shiny, Happy People

Real Girls know how to party in shorts and vest!

Real Girls know how to party in shorts and vest!

Happy Birthday Chenyang & Happy Birthday to all of us as well!

Happy Birthday Chenyang & Happy Birthday to all of us as well!

True friends celebrate birthdays like it's everybody's birthday!

True friends celebrate birthdays like it’s everybody’s birthday!

It also happened to be our friend, Chenyang’s birthday and our new friends somehow found out and had a cake ready! So at Sendra Island, Chenyang made a wish, cut her cake and we broke into a cake fight! When I look back now, it could have been everybody’s birthday that night, not just Chenyang’s. We were all so happy, buoyant with euphoria and in high spirits. Our parents definitely wouldn’t have been proud of us but Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg sure would have!

 

DAY 02: I woke up to the most beautiful image that morning. I’d slept in the attic so as soon as I opened my eyes, I saw the Loktak Lake, serene with his tiny floating islands and fish breeding areas. It had been just one day but I told myself, “Best.Fucking.Vacation”

Loktak Lake: Waking up to this view is a blessing. Pic: journeymart

Loktak Lake: Waking up to this view is a blessing. Pic: journeymart

We were fortunate to have Manipur’s famous photographer, Rashingam Ngoruh with us. We spent the entire morning acting like super models and posing for him. Here are some pictures that make us look like we belong on the cover of a magazine! (Shameless could be my middle name). Thank you Rashi!

The Girl with the Tara Tattoo by Rashingam Ngoruh

The Girl with the Tara Tattoo by Rashingam Ngoruh

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This Beauty and I have been friends for 23 years and thanks to Rashi, this picture defines love, friendship, youth and happiness!

This Beauty and I have been friends for 23 years and thanks to Rashi, this picture defines love, friendship, youth and happiness!

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I call this picture, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being"

I call this picture, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”

This one is "Lost in Translation" suggested by Nelson

This one is “Lost in Translation” suggested by Nelson

At noon, we returned to Imphal. There was no wasting time! We headed to the famous Cheraou Ching hill for a mini trek. The climb is exhausting but once you get to the top, the view is out of this world! Since it was dusk, the stars were clustered for a perfect backdrop and Imphal illuminated with such radiance that standing there, watching the lights made me feel so free! I felt liberated, detached, totally emancipated.

Imphal: Everything is Illuminated

Imphal: Everything is Illuminated

At Cheroau Ching

At Cheraou Ching

A lot of people may have climbed Cheraou Ching but how many have danced like Hrithik Roshan on the hill? No one? Okay then, Hishey and I will take the trophy for that! Thank You

A lot of people may have climbed Cheraou Ching but how many have danced like Hrithik Roshan on the hill? No one? Okay then, Hishey and I will take the trophy for that! Thank You

We returned to the hotel suite to party like rock stars!

DAY 03: Not many people know that Manipur was one of the princely states of British India. Perhaps Manipur’s riveting history is one of the best-kept secrets of Northeast India.

On the 3rd day, we decided to tour the Kangla Palace complex. The palace is situated on the western and eastern side of the Imphal River. This was the traditional seat of the past Meitei rulers of Manipur.

Tours to historical places are so much fun with your friends who don't know much about the place but won't hesitate to give you their version of history! Thanks Gin and Kelvin for that! ;)

Tours to historical places are so much fun with your friends who don’t know much about the place but won’t hesitate to give you their version of history! Thanks Gin and Kelvin for that! 😉

If you ask me, this is the best group jumping photo for a Kamehameha attack photoshop pic!

If you ask me, this is the best group jumping photo for a Kamehameha attack photoshop pic!

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Pose like you own the world…..and passer-bys will think you are nuts!!!!

Pose like you own the world…..and passer-bys will think you are nuts!!!!

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The history of Manipur will surely awe you

The history of Manipur will surely awe you

After our tour, one of the hosts who is an entrepreneur and helps his family with the hotel business invited us for a lunch at one of his hotels. We were overwhelmed with their hospitality.

After lunch, we headed to Kangla Tombi (a river side picnic spot). Again, mentally, Wiz Khalifa was singing his song to us and like as if he was our guardian angel, we obliged. We did all the things that he tells us to do in his famous song.

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Such studs! very WOW! :P

Such studs! very WOW! 😛

One of our new friends in the group was someone who’d done Physics Honours. At Kangla Tombi, he explained Newton’s laws of motion with the help of the movement of the river water. It felt like poetry. I am just saying had the subject of Physics been taught like that to me in school, I would have been an engineer today! (And my Dad would have been so proud that I followed in his footsteps but sadly, I am only meant for poetry in motion, not motion alone!)

We returned to the hotel suite to party like rock stars!

DAY 04: We woke up super early because we were heading to Moreh. Moreh is the border town between Manipur and Myanmar (Burma). It is a commercial hub so a lot of traders move in and out, picking things at “whole sale” rate. Moreh is also known as India’s Gateway to South-East Asia.

Yusssss! Another phoren country to the list….Myanmar

Yusssss! Another phoren country to the list….Myanmar

Half body in Myanmar, Half Body in India

Half body in Myanmar, Half Body in India

IMG_5339We ate a sumptuous meal at a restaurant in the Tamu region (Burma side) and paid 95,000 Kyat! Well, when you convert it to Indian rupees, it’s 5000 plus but anyhow, it gave us some kind of cheap thrill and we enjoyed our moment with some chilled Myanmar beer.

We also visited a monastery that had beautiful golden pagodas and a huge complex. It was very hot but it was all worth it.

At a monastery in Myanmar

At a monastery in Myanmar

On our way back, at one of the many check-posts, an Indian army man made a lewd comment while he was checking our identity cards. He asked one of our male friends, where had he “found” such girls and he had an ugly smirk on his face! Without hesitating even for a second, Chenyang and I reminded him that he was a government official in a uniform and he should be the last person on earth, passing comments like that! I think we hit the nail because he apologized after we lectured him about the “maa-behen” significance in our country. It was crazy. He had a gun but Chenyang and I am crazier. Our mouths are like guns!

We returned to the hotel suite to party like rock stars!

DAY 05: Actually we were supposed to leave for Gangtok this day. However, our new friends requested we stay back for a couple of days more and it wasn’t difficult to convince us. We hadn’t even packed!

This guy, Nibis is one one of the sweetest people that I have ever met! He's not as Gangsta as he looks! LOL

This guy, Nibis is one one of the sweetest people that I have ever met! He’s not as Gangsta as he looks! LOL

So we relaxed, went to drink at a place called Blue Chilli and then got back to the hotel suite and partied like rock stars.

DAY 06: I love books and bookstores. Any new place that I go to, I try and visit bookstores there. The unconventional ones make me go weak on my knees and I spend hours going through books and deciding which one to add to my collection. At Imphal, I found a cute little bookstore and a coffee place called “Books & Coffee.” The bookstore is in the ground floor where you can find everything from fiction to non-fiction and even stationery. The café is upstairs which has a very Oriental touch to its interiors and there’s seating even in the balcony for smokers or people who like to enjoy a view while they read and sip coffee. The store is run by Beeshantam, who seemed like a genuinely nice person (over the 5 min conversation that I had with him.)

I am a terrible photographer but trust me, this place looks lovely in reality!

I am a terrible photographer but trust me, this place looks lovely in reality!

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We spent the rest of the day visiting our friend, Nelson, who runs a creative and fun magazine called “Horizon.” We also went to eat momos at this place run by a Nepalese woman from Sikkim and her Manipuri husband. Like I always say, You can take a Sikkimese out of Sikkim but you cannot take Sikkim out of a Sikkimese. In Manipur, during a peak summer season, we indulged over hot momos and soup and delicious thukpas.

Manipuris or Sikkimese….We all Love MOMOS!

Manipuris or Sikkimese….We all Love MOMOS!

At night, one of our friends, Nibis got us a typical Meitei dinner that his family had prepared for us and we ate like there was no tomorrow. Then, we partied like rock stars. (I am not sure if rock stars eat a lot before partying…. but you get what I am saying, right?)

DAY 07: Our last day at Manipur!

We had another typical Meitei lunch (fish rice) at a restaurant close to the Polo Ground. Then we headed to the Imphal Hotel for coffee where we spent a lazy afternoon sprawled on the comfortable couches and sipping mochas.

We also drove all over Imphal, from Cheraou Ching to Mantripukri and all over the city. The landscape with his hills all around and limpid water bodies totally brightened up our brain cells and I couldn’t stop going Saif Ali Khan at everything that passed us by. (WOW! WOW! WOW!)

This is the kind of landscape we were driving through. Pic: kanglaonline

This is the kind of landscape we were driving through. Pic: kanglaonline

Pic:kanglaonline

Pic:kanglaonline

 

At night, Rashingam cooked us beef, pork and chicken and got it to our hotel suite. We ate like we had been starving for a whole month. Rashingam is not only a great photographer but he’s a great cook as well! Thank you Rashi!!!!!

"So what we get drunk? So what we smoke weed? We're just having fun; We don't care who sees….." Ok Bye!

“So what we get drunk? So what we smoke weed? We’re just having fun; We don’t care who sees…..” Ok Bye!

Then we partied like rock stars….

 

DAY 08: I woke up with a heavy heart, knowing that the vacation was over. Around 10:30 the guys came to pick us up and drop us to the airport.

At the airport, we said our goodbyes and even though, our hearts were heavy, we were all smiling because our spirit was high! It was the end of a chapter in our lives but we felt no grief. We met some of the coolest people, with hearts so big; they could put the Sisters of Charity to shame! And may be, we knew that the separation was inevitable that’s why we enjoyed every moment that we spent with them!

Our We-Dont-Want-To-Go-Home Faces

Our We-Dont-Want-To-Go-Home Faces

Next time someone suggests you to take a trip to Manipur, pack your bags and go….It could be the best decision you’ve ever made!

Thank You:

Rashingam Ngoruh

Nelson Nameirakpam

Nibis Shamurailatpam

Ngahorning Kashung

Kelvin Tonsing

Diana Leivon

Daisy Leivon

Ashang (Guru)

Tony

Gin “Ginpulal” Misao

JB

Naoba Thangjam

NOTE: There are probably protests happening in certain districts or areas but we were fortunate enough because we did NOT encounter any agitated protestors and that one week in Imphal, I, personally didn’t see tyres burning, streets flooding, people protesting. (Lucky me, right?)