Somebody recently pointed out, “Why nothing about Shillong yet?”. Why yes. I had never considered writing about my hometown. Is it because I was way too familiar with the place? Or is it because I have grown largely disenchanted with it due to the mindless chopping of trees and the construction of apartment-like houses there? Unthinkable. But that’s how the Scotland of the East is quickly losing its green and flowers.
Besides, I didn’t want to write about the usual places to see — Laitkor Peak, Wards Lake, Hyderi Park, Golf Links, Elephant Falls, Umiam Lake – the tiny town of Shillong is more or less covered (Read: Sightseeing in Shillong)
And then I thought to myself, why not list my favourites? Ah, why not!
Shillong in November: That’s when the whole city turns pink in colour. It’s the Cherry Blossoms in full bloom at this time. The certain winter chill makes it just right for the flowers to bloom. The trees shed their leaves in October and then come the dainty, delicate flowers; they stay for a little more than a week and soon new leaves start coming. It’s a sight to behold……the romance of the wait through the year…..just how much i miss them all….sigh!
Ramakrishna Mission, Laitumukhrah: For most Bengalis in Shillong, going to the Ramakrishna Mission is a necessity. Since the time I can remember, I have been going there with elders in the family. No Durga Puja is complete without coming here; the birthday tithis of Ramakrishna, Sarada Ma and Swamiji bring thousands by the drove. An utterly simple and quiet place, with the garden full of flowers at all times of the year, RK Mission is another of my most favourite in shillong…..
Catholic Church, Don Bosco: The biggest Catholic Church in the whole of North-East, I have woken up with the church’s bells every morning in Shillong. Being so close to our house, would always go there to sit in its long winding stairs, meet friends, love it decked up for Christmas and Easters. And one more reason too. Its huge Jacaranda tree overlooking the main road. It flowers every April. I have loved it, still do; for ever i have passed it by smiling at it, singing to it, telling it just how very beautiful it is 🙂
Golf Links, early in the morning: That’s when you can catch the dew in the grasses. But what is even more heavenly is the stiffness in the air, the sharp morning sun, the general quiet around the place and miles and miles of greenery. Sit there hours, singing and strolling, singing and strolling.
Jacobs Ladder, St’Anthony’s College: Yes, that’s my favourite too!! And though it is no longer what it used to be (for the ones who left Shillong a long time ago, Jacob’s Ladder is now a motorable road!!), I still love ‘running down’ that road and climbing it puffing and panting.
Fruit Garden: By far my most favourite haunt in Shillong, I would go there every other week to buy saplings, seeds or to simply chat with the lady gardeners who had magic in their hands. This is the Horticulture department of Meghalaya in the hills of Risa Colony, near Dhankheti. Go there if you want to see black colour pansies, many different geraniums, lillies, fushias…my heart grows pensive whenever I think of all those flowers I left behind…
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills….