the road less traveled…

MARCH 2010:

Plan: To see all 8 North EASTERN STATES- explore fabrics: understand the weaves of North East India- collect weaves for the next MORA collection.

Plan that turned out to be: a lifetime of experiences in these 3 months… could hardly cover 4 states… faced flood politics… fought against biggest textile threat – synthetic which has replaced cotton completely… no cotton plantation… extreme poverty… life in a village as a villager… govt. Goons… and a whole journey of emotions all alone in North East India.

A few days back, I was asked- “WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A SINGLE FEMALE TRAVELER IN NORTH EAST INDIA”

I said, “Surrender”… “a complete acceptance of unadulterated affection and attention”… “A will power to ignore the read and heard”…”a rebellion to the usual takes your map, find your own way travelling”… “A strong sense to see whoever you meet, as your friend”… “TRUST”… “A challenging belief that nothing after this trip will remain the same for you”…

This led to a series of curious almost voyeuristic queries to bring out what goes into “an adventure” like this:

What about North East India?

It’s a strange world out there… nothing like someone like me, a North Indian turned Mumbaite would have seen… life itself is a hard reality… the pages on corruption, poverty, politics that you read suddenly become you and the people around you.

And amidst this lives an even bigger reality- the necessity to sustain, has cultivated a beautiful streak of talent (- art and culture) in almost every North East Indian I met.

For the first time, I could differentiate between the different “Chinkis- a rather ignorant and derogatory term it sounds like now” – 16 different main tribes of Nagas and many other sub tribes living not only in NAGALAND( yes, for the 100th time NAGALAND IS PART OF INDIA- at least politically!) but also Manipur, Assam And Arunachal; mizos, assamese, arunachalis, manipuris, tripuri, enterprising khasis, humble garos, best cooks- bodos, dimasas resident of the land of (strange- lacking direction) bomb blasts and 1000 cr scams, almost cinema like rivalry between 2 villages within NC hills who happen to be most skilful but lost weavers , majuli’s misings washed away by annual floods and many (many many) more!

Why did you take up a solo journey: When I was growing up, I was always encouraged to EXPLORE… whether it was something to do with a new hobby, or new book, film… or a new destination/ journey… so travel was something that I grew up with… only after I did vipassana I found myself comfortable with myself and feeling secure in my own company… and started travelling alone…

– I always made short trips on my own to places near Mumbai/ Delhi or the areas I was somewhat aware of… but the journey into North East India came as a surprise to me… I had always wanted to explore textiles and culture in there so this time I just took off right after I finished exhibiting MORA collection at KALA GHODA ARTS FESTIVAL… somewhere in my heart I knew it had to be north-east Indian textiles for Mora’s next collection. A random message on facebook got me 2 co- travellers who cud only stay with me on the trip for about 10 days of this life- changing journey I made…

And the journey started on 17th April 2010.

It was time to put together some serious research of this “UNKNOWN land”.

Mumbai had almost no information on North East India so I was pretty hopeful that Delhi, being the capital will surely give me some trivia on the region- but what followed was very different- NORTH EAST REGION in its diverse art and culture was almost missing from every data or information bank. It is as if it’s being kept at one arm distance- like a group of 7 stepsisters and 1 brother had to be kept away purposely from the rest of “mainland” happy joint family.

The visit to district officer in textile department ended up being an opportunity for the officer to “SEE” one more girl as a bride for his “most eligible” son and hundreds of photo copies on Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal… but NOTHING on North East India except occasional mention of the “MOST LOVED AND WANTED MUGA silk” and a sprinkle of features on the insurgencies…

I WAS SUDDENLY DOUBTFUL ABOUT WHAT I WAS GETTING INTO!

Where are those rich textiles, basketry, woodcraft, tribal dances, cuisines, flora, fauna, rich topography, etc that my friends who visited northeast India kept talking about. There has to be a missing link.

Daily trips to craft councils, offices, more people, and libraries left me more confused.

Vishal, my colleague and a dear friend from my media days flooded my contact book with some really wonderful people… he made my circle of friends even before I started the journey… he created my support system sitting in Mumbai… he was like a master magician writing the course of my trip with a few clicks on his phone book.

Through him, I met a few designers from North East India who had migrated to New Delhi in search of greener pastures, and got some handy information on the weaving communities there but nothing really solid except few pages filled with numbers of absolute strangers who at that point were just names/ numbers but became my lifeline and now friends.

The places I visited in NORTH EAST INDIA: NAGALAND(districts: Kohima, Phek, Mon, Mokukchung, Dimapur, Wokha), Manipur (Ukhrul), Assam (Majuli, Kokrajhar, Haflong, Dhubri, Jorhat, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Tejpur, Dhemaji, Sualkuchi, Sibsagar, Diphu), Meghalaya (Garo, Khasi and Jaintia hills)

I had never decided to travel into northeast India all alone but now m glad I got an opportunity to… Because it is one of those places where you cannot be in a group meeting another group of “north eastern people”… you have to be ONE with them… among them… by travelling alone… I became them… and I was naga, mizo, bodo, kachari, dimasa, mising, ahom at the same time… I lived in their houses, ate their food, wore the things that were given as presents to me out of love by them… I WAS THEM!

Almost everyone right from Mumbai to the end of my 3 month-long trip at every level… tried to tell me to come back from this “unsafe territory”… “Why ritika? why would you choose an unearthly place like that?” “are you mad?” ” is nagaland in india?” “do you need visas?”“those chinkis” “insurgency” “terrorism” “bomb blasts” “head hunters” “rat/ dog eaters” “jungli log” “adivasi” “primitive” “wild” “unsafe” “NO WAY!”“Please make her understand… what is wrong with her” seemed to be the only words I would hear from everywhere! It was almost like a rebuke! But something told me… “what could be so bad? is it really that bad?” I didn’t know at that time when I started the journey that the people who were strangers to me then could be/ will be my friends now…

They opened their life to me and I was taken in… completely… I would have felt none of this if I was in a group… and now northeast India for me is a region where I really LIVED and TRAVELED ALL BY MYSELF.

– What was behind the choice of destination/s: the sole objective of this journey when I started was to explore art, culture and specifically textiles from the north-east but I don’t really know when it became a fight to bring back cotton in north-east India, reviving some of the most unusual but lost traditions, going door to door to the villagers to make them more aware about cotton, begging in front of bank managers to give loans to the small but enthusiastic entrepreneurs from the villages who aim to make their world bigger (wider) than it is… learning 4 different languages which started as a necessity and then became fun activity when people would always be pleasantly surprised to hear me talking in their language… and picking words and understanding their conversations…, turning non vegetarian when I found myself living on boiled daal and rice for 2 months…, from a kadak chai person I became a “laal cha” person… coming face to face with corruption and politics was another very important thing I faced… there were a few govt. officials who wanted commissions out of everything.. I had just one thing to say to them… “I m working for your people… and you make money out of your people… and exploit them… and that divides us in a big way.. I cannot for the life of me work with anyone like you”…

So I did not have to really make a choice of destination… they just happened to me… whenever there was somebody willing to take me into their lives!

– Was this your first time/ what were the inhibitions if any.- it wasn’t the first time that I was travelling alone like this but yes it turned out be the longest I travelled alone… and into a territory completely unknown to many within north-east India as well.. I travelled to some really remote places and even had an exciting meeting with a guy who has been in the naga rebel group (NAME WITHHELD) for the last 32 years, came across a fake encounter and a “good for nothing bomb blast”… there were no inhibitions as such but the fear among people around me about north-east India being a “terrorist region” was beginning to shake me… but I met some really amazing people on the way who only told me… “There is nothing wrong with north-east India… you be nice to people and see how people are going to love you” and that is exactly how it happened…

I WALKED INTO THE WILD KNOWING NOTHING AND NO ONE!

People who know me call me “rani jhansi” because its funny but m scared of nothing… absolutely nothing… and its my wish to die in the mountains… which I admit quite proudly 😛 So I wasn’t scared at al… was just very excited if not anxious about this “unknown” and the more people said… “don’t do it”… the more I wanted to do it!!

– what is the first thing that struck you being a single woman traveler- people perceptions/ making your way through strange places/ fear, excitement

First thing that struck me as an INDIAN woman travelling alone was that people are just not used to seeing Indians travelling with their backpacks… moving around with a map… asking for directions… enquiring about places… so if your hindi is not superbly good you are invariably taken as a foreigner! But this could go for any guy as well… but for girls it IS very strange!

Second reaction that you get from people is: why would you want to risk your life like this? Or doesn’t your family mind you travelling like this? What about your husband?? How can he let you travel all alone?? Are you here for business? Are you from an organization?? “Very brave of you… we have never travelled like this and look at this girl from Mumbai… travelling in our region… telling us facts about our place”

Northeast was an amazing exploration made better and easier by the people who love to share their lives and stories… I made the most number of friends during the time I travelled from one place to another… either behind a bike, or in a rickshaw, or walking, or during (a 19hr) long journey in the bus, or trains, wingers, sumos… it would start with a simple question like “where you from” and would end with exchanging numbers to joining each on the journey ahead… the latter being more common in my case… my favourite word being “chalo”… they would say so and so place is nice and I must go there and they live close by and can take me there and I would say… “chaalo”!! and that is how I saw most of what I saw…

I am officially my Naga friends’ “FIRST HINDU INDIAN FRIEND”… they were surprised to see this non- conservative version of a Hindu girl! and refused to believe I was a married woman! 🙂

Akok Jamir, my Ao Naga friend from Mokukchung, Nagaland, who hates to call himself either Naga or Indian! he’s just himself!

Kilang and Archi, my first FRIENDS in North East India!

Aiytree, my Dimasa madness. we laughed all day, almost hysterically. people always wondered if we knew each other for ages, but we got to spend only 5 days together, and many more thinking about each other or laughing even more hysterically on the phone… Aiytree, you know how much i love you. she is one person who is helping me revive Dimasa weaves on cotton purely because of our friendship!

I was in a strange state where I trusted everyone… and noone cheated me…!

– What is your advice to women who want to travel alone? YOU DO NOT ALWAYS NEED TO LOOK YOUR BEST BUT FEEL YOUR BEST. Carry basic stuff like a knife, torch, pepper spray etc to ensure you have something to figure your way out of a situation, though women are really very safe and at times much respected in North East India. Remember if you don’t get a good vibe from someone… possibility is that IT IS NOT RIGHT… don’t knowingly put yourself in trouble. Avoid night journeys. DON”T EVER HITCH HIKE WHEN YOU ARE TRAVELING ALONE… army trucks are a strict NO NO… always look for local women for support and while travelling try to get along with a group/ family… it feels safe when you go out for food/ breaks during travel especially at night…

Always keep extra cash hidden somewhere for a rainy day…

It’s safer to stay with a family than in hotels/ guest houses etc. and it’s nice to help the people in those houses because in most cases they don’t take money from you…

– Travelling alone – What is good about it, what is bad about it…

Bad: sometimes you crave to share what you are experiencing… you feel overwhelmed with the things around you and all you have is you… those days when you come back to a hut by Brahmaputra after hugging and crying for a stranger… you feel something’s changing… and that’s when you want to hug someone you love and just cry… all over again!!

Sometimes when you see those thousands of fireflies in the dark… from as close to your hair to as far as you can see… and you are transported to another reality… a fairy tale kind of moment… where for 45 minutes you hear nothing but the wheels of a rickshaw and see nothing but the fireflies peeping through the foliage of trees that’s escorting your way…You suddenly feel like a princess… and in that proud moment you want to cry out to someone you love and say… I saw the most beautiful thing!!!

When after shaking your hand with a strange bank manager, you are told something even more strange—“don’t worry she (weaving entrepreneur in majuli) will get her desired loan… your responsibility is now my responsibility” and she actually gets that loan… you want to jump up high and give a high five to someone you love… and say “we have done it”…

My majuli family

When I was sick of having boiled daal and rice and could have it no more and decided to give my meals a miss… this old assamese lady from dhubri… woke up in the middle of the night to prepare meal for me- milk, paneer, chapatti, sugar and biscuits… when she made food “just for me- because she didn’t much care for roti”… I missed my mom…

neelima didi who acted my mother in a strange place…

good: you observe and absorb more when you are on your own and there is no one to talk to… you learn more because you are completely at the mercy of the locals… you pick languages out of necessity… you understand the politics and general living conditions of people much better… but most importantly … YOU MAKE FRIENDS… the kind of friends you never find in cities… in no time… you seem to SHARE a lot and in the simplest way possible…

and that’s what makes this whole journey so meaningful… a few numbers on your contact book come back with you as friends… and you suddenly feel richer… happier… more content with life… because you SURVIVED!!! And you LIVED… really LIVED those days of your life!


her tickling laughter still rings in my head…

P.S. did I just forget to even mention about the “rich textiles, basketry, woodcraft, tribal dances, cuisines, flora, fauna, rich topography, etc”… well… those are more stories… and i wish to tell them all…

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67 Responses to the road less traveled…

  1. Vimmy Singh says:

    This is intriguing Ritika..It makes a lovely read and it is obvious that the experience is going to be eternally etched on your soul.In many ways ,I think it is a little difficult to make people actually get a sense of what you have experienced but you have been very successful in achieving that! I would call you a feminist,a designer,a social worker,a beautifully evolving writer,a potential model (I know …the weight thing can be taken care of),a traveller, a very emotional and sensitive person…all rolled into one! Little did I know that the chubby girl of DPS in the small township of Faridkot will grow into you..indeed it is a metamorphoses of sorts . Love you for being you! As you travel further and farther..I hope you find more of you…best wishes

  2. vishalag121@gmail.com says:

    this took me into an emotional trip …now, i feel all the more what i missed out on when i couldn’t join you in the journey..

    I love being praised, all the more on public forums…quite greedy i am that way 🙂
    thank you for your nice words..

    hope those who read this really go into what the left arm of the country is made of..

    • what a lovely thing to say Vishal, “hope those who read this really go into what the left arm of the country is made of..”… because that is exactly what i hope/ wish to do. North east india is not about the insurgency, terrorism etc etc that you read, its about people and experiences… and they are so much more important than anything else we read. if people feel encouraged to take up a journey there after reading this blog, i will be really happy! 🙂

      n Vishal, i can never thank you enough FOR BEING THERE when i was losing hope!
      still, THANK YOU VISHAL! you haven’t missed any of these experiences, you have lived these experiences having grown up in Guwahati. i m going back there in November, join me!

  3. arunima says:

    I really enjoyed reading this ritika…look forward to reading many more…

    • thank you chechi. i just need to talk… talk… talk… there’s just so much to share! and the blogs with their grammatical/ spelling errors are a proof, i am just rambling! will get better some day! and write like you do! 🙂

  4. Dolly shetty says:

    rittika pls get that sari u are wearin and the lady in green too has a good green sari i lovedddddddddd them and ur blog i wish i was away from all responsibilities of a bahu a wife a mother i wud have definately joined u i wish to live a life like u once before i touch the grave amen
    ur blogs inspire me a lot
    bye
    tc

  5. ma’am, this chubby girl from a small village called kotkapura traveling every morning and afternoon towards and back from Faridkot, would have been just that same girl… if it wasn’t for you… you had given me a direction! a peep into better way of living by inculcating a habit of reading in me. i owe so much to you… and i won’t even know how to thank you ever! you are very kind and encouraging as always… saying all those nice things (blush blush!) but really ma’am when you will meet me i’ll still be that girl from school totally enamoured by her FAVOURITE FAVOURITE teacher… i looked for you for so many years… there has to be a reason to it! 🙂 THANK YOU so very much Ma’am! really!

  6. dolly i am a wife, a bahu and will some day will be a mother… but TRAVEL will stay with me… this is one CONSTANT i have chosen and prioritized in my life. i hope it stays like that. Pray for me n pray for yourself.. you never know when life takes a turn and you will be moving around with those bags n maps too! n if somewhere i encourage someone to travel through these blogs… my purpose of writing is well taken care of! 🙂

    i think u like that green with those mising weaves… will make something pretty in that! hang in there! by Dec you should have it 🙂

  7. kaloskaiagathos says:

    🙂 one day we shall travel together..

  8. rinanshah says:

    it was wonderful..cud relate to da experiences as m from da north east too….nice…

  9. Kilang says:

    A journey carried along with much patients and endurance…in the mist of the grievances..experiencing jubilation…it no doubt was the pinnacle of an achievement of a lifetime and it would impart even to many in a way of great challenge.
    I hope that the lookout towards the Nagaland and North-east would be brought to the limelight in a rather positive manner… to me and who have been Vis-a-vis: ” You are one the Bright morning star, would choose to light the way…You are like a flower quickly fading Here today and gone tomorrow” You will be cherished in our dreams forever more……Thank You.

  10. Harish Gupta says:

    For the last Four years or so I have been travelling, practically in all the States of the North-East. Besides meeting exceptionally Good people, I have been able initiate across, in nearly all the States various Agro-Horticulture Businesses. There are so many opportunities here that I feel that in time to come this region shall be the Best for the Business region in India. I am always looking forward to partner with Local & aspiring Young People to work together for this Beautiful region.

  11. thanks a lot Kilang! you all are my dear dear friends now! “metermer” na? 🙂

  12. Harish, that sounds like a good idea. i had been hoping to meet someone regarding the cotton plantation issue in the north east india.

    glad you wrote to me. can you give me your e mail? i would like to send some questions to you!

    regards…
    ritika

  13. Samuel Ramdinthara says:

    It’s so interesting. I was completely shut out from this world while reading it. Iam looking forward to your next trip and reading your adventure again. Whoever had said that ‘women are weaker sex’ has to be more careful in voicing his opinion in future.

  14. vijay says:

    yah,,,i am southindian, being my self an explorer of places, recently i have visited NE.(Nagaland,assam,meghalaya, especiallly arunachal), i dont know why indian govt. does not keep an eye on norheastern places, i was really amazed after visiting arunachal,(dong valley,kibithu and walanag at an altitude of 11,ooo ft) the beauty,,its just unexplainable,,,,,,govt.spend crores and crores in developing, other tourist places(already well famoused), if they spend atleast 10% in to NORTHEAST tourism,,, it could have been another story………..anyway hope someday we will meet somewhere in the NE region….

    • i am looking forward to visit arunachal Vijay. also i don’t think this type of indifference is not only indian govt.’s fault. the state govt. are equally to be blamed for it. i have read/heard that 90% of the north east india’s annual budget is coming from the central govt. (that is over indulging to cover up the past indifference) but at the same time the state govt. are now taking advantage of this huge amount of money coming in and so don’t want to DO anything anymore. who gets exploited in this tussle… the common lot… the local people! i feel sad for them because they are ones who are really deprived in all of this.

      • vijay says:

        yah that is what i mean to say… i am equally blaming the state govt. too, will give u an example,,,, see there is a rail rout up to teensukia(Assam, arunachal border), if govt.want to prolong that rout, they still can do it, at least up to the plane areas of arunachal.

  15. Motorcycle-Pilgrim says:

    Keep it going………..North east people requires people like you….not folks like me who just pass by capturing the sights in the mind and call themeselves travelers :)….Discover the tribes of Arunachal……you may not want to come back……Good luck for the escape 🙂

  16. Motorcycle-Pilgrim says:

    yeah hard to pass by…..but easy to run……A runner, a survivor and drifter kinds of works together

  17. anup handique says:

    will b looking forward to hear from you somemore about NE. plz keep going ritika.

  18. Hi Ritika, i love your experience in North East India. You are most welcome to my Homeland TRIPURA. I will be very much happy to help you to enjoy the peoples life and rich cultural heritage of the state. Thank you Ritika for your passion

    • next year is Tripura for sure. will be writing to you when i plan that out. thanks a lot Saphikhu! its amazing how you have stepped in to help me work in Tripura. see what i say about the north east… you all are so nice!

  19. mahesh agarwal says:

    hi ritika
    nice reading ur feelings for NE..i hope u come across many more such strange moments where ‘u trust everyone and none cheat u’!
    i m myself from basugaon(kokrajhar dist) but havent travelled in the NE but would love to travel 1 day(I hope to do it soon)..
    Gud luk for ur MORA venture and hope u ve the best to exhibit at the Kala Ghoda this time becoz u ll be showcasing the NE!

    • thats really kind of you Mahesh! and thanks a lot for your wishes. we are working very hard on putting the northeast things beautifully so they blend with the idea of a saree! Kokrajhar is another place i love… and Bodos are very good cooks!i spent some really happy days there! 🙂

  20. sudhagee says:

    Great post, Ritika. Looking forward to more.

  21. mahesh agarwal says:

    one more thing ritika- i liked ur idea of using natural material like cotton(sans synthetics)-this made me ponder if jute too could be used in weaving(since jute is available in abundance in assam) -so i just googled about it-didnt get much though-this one website has some pics-http://www.demotix.com/news/jute-weaving-assam

  22. mahesh, of course i am interested in jute… n stinging nettle as well… but from my experience in the north east, i saw that the tradition is almost dead. we are trying to revive this shawl made out of stinging nettle in Nagaland. hopefully our efforts will pay off. Thanks for sharing the link. i hope i do meet someone who still does jute weaving… it will be just amazing!! these are the hidden things in the north east that will keep bringing me back there… i m very optimistic about the organic yarn issue and i hope i m right about it! 🙂 keep your suggestions coming… they are extremely encouraging and helpful!

  23. Pingback: I discovered MORA today | Saree Dreams

  24. vidu says:

    Beautiful travelogue and warm images as well. You’re a brave soul. Good luck for such more roads less travelled!!

  25. sudha malik says:

    This is one of the most interesting blogs I have read.
    My hairdresser here in Delhi is a manipuri girl and I keep asking her about life in manipur,as I cant understand why they would leave and come and live in a pokey little hole in kotla,but i guess its economics.
    The sarees and the salwar/kameez one of your friends wore were GORGEOUS!What vibrant colours!
    I love natural fabrics with a passion.
    When I was young my dream was to travel.
    Its nice to read about your travels and the wonderful work you are doing in the NE with fabrics.
    hope to read more from you.

  26. sonal says:

    What a wonderful post! And what amazing sarees! Ritika, I’ve been planning a trip to the North East myself, for quite sometime now actually. And reading this has just made the resolve stronger. Thanks for sharing this amazing journey!

  27. Rashmi says:

    Amazing blog!Lovely Sarees!
    I have been looking for something like this for a long time. I love trditional hand loomed and handcrafted Indian textiles. A few years ago I went to the villages in Andhra Pradesh to find and learn about Kalamakari paintings, and to the Pochampalli weavers.
    Beautiful travelogue. I love to travel and do so with my three little girls who share my love for Indian culture and textiles.
    Let me know if you need a travel buddy or 4 🙂

  28. Rezma Mirakle says:

    Its good to know that you traveled across North-East India and liked it. I have been living in Delhi since past three and half years and get to know mixed opinions of people hear about North-eastern and many times known people look down on us. But everything apart North-east tourism should encouraged and people should understand and accept the far east people as equivalent to the rest of India.
    Also I really appreciate your motivation of travelling alone being a lady and that depicts 21st century Indian women.

  29. asanna says:

    Dear Ritika, You truly are a brave heart to travel the Northeast on your own, all the way from Mumbai. It’s a pity that most people in the rest of India are so ignorant about this beautiful part of the country. The place gets a mention in the media only when there’s something really bad happening, and not much attempt has been made to really understand the region, the various problems plaguing the people, the complexities of politics and ethnic issues, people’s aspirations, and of course the goodness of the place, the people and their culture. So here i am more than happy to find a good read, so beautifully written, with so much warmth and feel. I’m myself from the NE. Hope you would visit Tamenlong, my home district in Manipur, the next time you come traveling the region, and be more enriched…..:-) Thanks for bringing some light to the road less traveled and for the beautiful pictures u posted….. Asanna

  30. Jaya says:

    Ritika, its so beautifully written and you have the most amazing photo of Ena Aunty’s. She hates being clicked.. How did you manage? Your blog is so beautiful visually and your writing just makes me so nostalgic. People tend to take all that they have for granted to realize its worth only when they loose it… Good Luck with the travels in my absolute favorite part of the world.

    • jaya there is no way i cant get my aityree to pose for me.. we are soul sisters you see 🙂 i have to see you girl… i heard ur maibang chase story… want to see the pictures as well 🙂

  31. Sunita says:

    Hi Ritika,

    I love your posts and your collection. Its admirable that you have created and marketed something that people in India don’t know about or are totally ignorant of. I am looking forward to NE travel and also buying a few sarees from you.

    You are an inspiration!

    -Sunita

  32. Ritika you are simply amazing. Your blog is an accidental surprise for me. Thank to google to find such interesting blogs like yours.

  33. M.Neog says:

    I appreciate the way you explaing bout NE india journey …thank you realy much..do come again:)

  34. Karthik says:

    When I was studying in school, I used to neglect this part of India.The only thing I remember is that this region has recorded the highest rainfall in world.Now I realized how beautiful this place actually is.Nice explanation and beautiful photographs.Thanks for sharing.

  35. Daniel Mung says:

    m doing my Masters in Social Work at Nirmala Niketan, College of Social Work, Mumbai and m planing of starting a Backpacker or Live in NE experience which can be 2-3 mnths internship kinda thing using music, press, media, photography—–wat do u think about it ?

  36. Nilakshi Konwar says:

    this is indeed one of the most lovely thing ever written for North East:) Its pretty sad that rest of the country dont know much about us…the raw beauty of north east is still explored and feared…thank you again for your visit to north east..and i hope dis is just a begining of another jorney for you:) and pls do visit us again:P

  37. kanak7 says:

    Ritika…I was so curious about your interest in your north-eastern connection so I’m here reading every bit of your experience! So interesting! Glad to recognize some Haflong faces!!

  38. Chinmoy Handique says:

    Its awesome and mindblowing. Arunachal is another beautiful place to visit and I’m from Digboi, a famous place known for its oldest refinery in India, a few kms from tinsukia.

  39. Tampha says:

    Absolutely love your work & your blog – well written & straight from the heart! I was drawn to it thanks to a friend of mine who shared your facebook page – MORA by Ritika. I couldn’t resist reading your blog..especially when i saw Ujaala’s face in one of the photos..i met her a long time ago when i was in Mumbai! she’s def pure power house 🙂 while reading through it, i found myself asking if i knew you. hmm..that sounds weird i know :p Bestest wishes! 😀

  40. Phonglosa says:

    I am kind of homesick now after reading your blog. I still have not get enough of my place. Your blog corroborates the fact that NE people are the most misunderstood and stereotyped people in India. Come again to the NE India ( rather go again) !! I wish I’ll be able to retire back to my homeland some day !

  41. steve says:

    read ur blog the whole night. I am from orissa, but badly and heartly in love with northeast. I liked the line where u said : ‘ i trusted everyone and no one cheated me’. Trust me even, no on would cheat there. its a place i wud live my whole life, but we all hav life to live, cant make life a vacation. I am almost cryin….i fall for everyone who admires northeast n da people. However i go ther 3-4 times a year.

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