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REDBRIDGE - The Writers and Poets Axis
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Places that Beckon and Beckon Not - IViews: 254
Jun 19, 2006 11:29 amPlaces that Beckon and Beckon Not - I#

Sandhyaa Suri

I went places...lived in some, passed through some...vivid, faded, vibrant and dull...
Srinagar...have to start with this...my hometown where I was born. Its a beautiful city (now a destroyed one!) that you can never ever forget if you visit it. I vividly recall the snow-capped mountains surrounding it, the lakes, the beautiful people, rosy-cheeked children and ducks on the paths, hot kava, gulab jamuns, amazing arts and handicrafts, saffron fields, autumn gold leafed trees paving the roads...barren and rich at the same time...
(For those who know India not the way I do, Srinagar is the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, India's nothern most state)
Dimapur...a small town where I grew up. My worst and best memories of childhood...sneaking out to the streets in the rain, smearing mustard oil on hands and legs and climbing mango trees, sitting atop eating raw mangoes with salt and red chilli powder...my mouth waters so...I remember the bazaar every Wednesday, packed with the freshest of vegetables and fruits, pineapples and fresh butter brought by Nana, picnics, swings,... :) It was a nice place for growing up, quaint, laid back, very into itself...the town had four main roads, several streets and there was a time when I was about twelve, I drew the entire map of the town on a sheet of paper...!
Kohima...thats some seventy two kms away from Dimapur, a hillstation town that I used to visit during Summer Break. I remember the route ever so well..I hated going by bus...I get sick. Its been seventeen years now...We'd be out of Dimapur and the plains would continue through Mile Three to Mile Nine and then the hills would begin...Kokidalang, Medziphema (through greenest hills I have ever seen in my life and a stream running alongside) Medziphema is where Nana had his farm; there would be a stop over, loads of pampering with the most amazing Nepali food ever...(my mom's a Nepali by the way!), then would be a couple more quaint villages till Zubza from where the road would climb till a certain turn and you would get your first glimpse of Kohima. My cousins home was atop the highest hill there, so on we would climb and see rows of cottages lined up...my best time was evenings...the chill would set in and I'd sit on the porch, watch twilight come and the town would light up...like I was in the sky and the stars were below...amazing! I remember picnic hampers, treks to the hills, visit to the World War II cemetry where soldiers as young as thirteen were buried...the museum, the Zoo...as a child all these things were as much a part of my life as were the leeches we used to dread...daliahs and crysanthemums splashed across the garden...sweetest smelling roses...
Shillong...went there just for two days...music, hills floating in clouds, green shrubs and beautiful orchids, rain...yes, rain, lots of rain...

to be continued..

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