Thursday 31 January 2013

Bike trip to Cherrapunjee, 31/1/2013

Cherrapunjee, also called Sohra, a town to the west of this one, is allegedly the rainiest place on earth. It’s also certainly the wettest desert on earth, a place where the denuded topsoil retains neither the rain it receives nor lets much but scrub grass grow. The limestone hills around are riddled with caves and carved with waterfalls, and my assistant and I took the day off work to go on a visit. Both of us had been to these places before more than once, but there’s a fundamentally different experience in going somewhere by motorcycle than there is by car. A biker will immediately know what I’m talking about. For others, well, never mind - for today. I’ll educate you some other time on that.

 So, here’s the photo feature of the trip. We’re planning a further and longer trip in the near future.

The bikes and the riders:

My bike: Royal Enfield Desert Storm

My assistant (and fellow rider)

Your travelogue guide and motorcycle gangster-in-chief

His bike (left and below): Bajaj Avenger

On the road

Mawkdok :

A photo feature specially on a trip to Mawkdok is here. Mawkdok happens to be on the way to Cherrapunjee. 

Mawkdok Gorge

We kept running into this particular tourist family in Cherrapunjee too

Nohkalikai Falls:

This is about five kilometres on the other side of Cherrapunjee. Cherrapunjee itself isn't worth the pixels it's photographed on, so I did not bother.

The dogawful steps down to the viewing point

And talking of dogs...

She was extremely friendly. Came and rubbed herself all over me as soon as I dismounted.

And lest we forget: The cock of the walk

Mawsmai Cave:

This is about eleven kilometres from Nohkalikai, six kilometres beyond Cherrapunjee in another direction. Limestone carved in interesting patterns by rainwater. In the rainy season the interior drips.


Not for claustrophobic or fat people

Note the stalagmites

A natural chimney near the cave exit

Above and below: exit

The way home:

The undulating treeless plateau around Cherrapunjee, where it's always freezing even in bright sunshine

In the rainy season this, too, is a waterfall.
 May your tyres always kiss the road with the flame of the passion of the ride.

- Bill.

Copyright B Purkayastha 2013


Wednesday 30 January 2013

And There Was Silence

They came for me, one night
When the darkness was heavy outside
And I was in my lover’s arms;
They came for me with their guns,
They pulled me out of my lover’s arms.
She screamed, but not very long
And there was silence.

I did not know what they were about
When they dragged me with them
I did not know why
I got no answer to my questions.
Not then, not later.
All I got was abuse,
And there was silence.

But they asked me questions
Who I knew, and why I read
Subversive literature; why I was
An enemy of the nation.
Questions to which I had no answer
Except for silence.

And so they took me out one night
Far into the forest, and they shot me there
By the side of a muddy track
One night, while it was raining.
Just a shot in the night
And there was silence.

And they put a gun in my hand
While I lay on my back
With the rain in my face.
They took photographs, plenty of photographs
Of me, with a gun in my cold dead hand
And there was silence.
And the media cheered, saying
A terrorist, Maoist, enemy of the state
Had been eliminated. A minister posed for cameras
With medal for the man who shot me.
Somewhere, my lover wept. Unknown, forgotten
And there was silence.

Years passed. New terrorists
Were found and killed.
Another day, another night
Just a shot in the night
And lovers crying in the night
And there was silence.

Copyright B Purkayastha 2013