A wise man once said “The destination isn’t as important as the journey”. Why do we travel? We travel to seek people, to seek ourselves and at times to seek escape from the mundane monotonousness of life and at times to find a peaceful shelter in a places unknown
What made me travel was perhaps all of them and yet furthermore. The temptation of exploring was always there in me like most of us. So I begin with one of my favorite solo expedition story
Music has always been a hiding place for me from all the chaos around me it had an ever soothing effect, which I assume many of you have also felt so with the news of Baccardi Weekender in the corner and finally some money in my account I settled for Shillong as my next destination. So without much hesitation the date for Shillong was booked.,20th October to 23rd October 2016 after all whose going to miss the chance of watching Steve Wilson Live in a concert.
So at rather late night I packed my bags to begin my journey and headed to the airport for my early flight. It’s funny how a single beacon to explore new places and people fills us up with a feeling inside to which even the wet weather tunes in, singing to our romantic heart. I finally reached the Kolkata Airport and the drizzle around provided me some sort of peace at the dawn of a beautiful spring day. Not having much companionship, I figured there are very many travelers headed to the same destination. So Since it was still a while for the boarding, I ended up with having a plethora of conversations with very many strangers , a banker, a PhD scholar, a retired teacher , a classical singer and even a band vocalist each adding to my memory their shares of musical encounters and choices.
I boarded my flight and waited eagerly to reach there but hey as people say live in the moment than wait for the future so while my co passenger beside me was listening to music I peeked in to grab a view ( I know that’s a bad habit I just couldn’t control) and thus began the inception of another happy encounter with my new found friend in Azam Hussan
We landed in Guwahati which is some 3 hours drive from Shillong. Me and Azam booked a shared taxi and waited for our fellow passengers, Prerit ( a Student from Pune) and Rishav ( a CA in a top firm from Delhi). So it began the landscapes, the hills and the cool comforting breeze whistling past the window as we got engrossed in conversation lead by John Denver (country roads take me home) And the Lumineers, compiled with some tasty food from the road side dhaba the journey was a total bliss.
On our way we encountered lots of beautiful soothing places one among which was the Umium Lake, the Largest man-made lake which was as breathtaking as any wonder of nature, then began the hotel searching of a few fanatics who were casual enough to not book beforehand but then again music knits people close and so shelter was found in a cramped hotel room with some more unknown who seemed more familiar and united by common love and fascination for music. Drinks flowed as the music rolled time stood still as strangers shared their life reels.
The essence of a place is incomplete without its local cuisine and what better way to relish that than roadside small food courts, not being much of an admirer of high end restaurants the locally prepared Green Vegetable Rice (yepp the rice had lots of veggies and no it wasn’t fried rice) and Pork curry aligned perfectly to my taste buds. And with my stomach full and heart content on the first day we rest. Experiencing the rising sun and that too alone on a hill station and walking the roads alone of the peaceful place gave me some kind of unexplainable joy. The sunset point as also provided an enchanting effect with the red rays of the sun reflecting in the crystal water of the lake.
Love is in the air well if your love is music it surely was; a total carnival with EDM , Metal. Rock , Prog and Pop setup with4 different platforms continuously playing one talent after the other and where everyone is familiar with alcohol and food stands setup it was the perfect place to be and best part you don’t need to know anyone because you know everyone through their music amidst the concert you even get to see small group of people sitting and playing their tunes who gleefully accept your company and share their tunes overall it was a musical trance of two days encompassing artists like Underground Authority , The Dewarist, Fossils , Vir Das and Allien Chutney to name a few and finally the man of the moment Steve Wilson .
The experience was beyond words and then came the experience of staying in camps. The bonfires and intermingled with the smokes got everyone high. The day of my return I was hung-over, not from alcohol but from this experience so many unknown faces had given me so many meaningful conversation so many memories and so many stories to share, Bangladesh Pune Delhi Bangalore Mumbai, from Extreme north to far south the interaction was widespread and it seemed like I lived a different live in these few days discovered new sides of me which I never knew existed. So As I made my return journey with Azam , Vaibhav and Aditya it was like we had known each other for so long such was the conversations we had and we never realized when we made it to the airport where we bid each other farewell hoping somewhere we get to meet again……