TODAY -

Travel at U-Factor

Kamal Baruah *



It filled with curiosity, my daughter immediately checked U-Factor at Wikipedia. In Mathematics, Factors are the numbers multiply to get another number. In Meghalaya, U is the gender called masculine, Ka is feminine and...

A weekend more than ever regarded as a time for leisure and also brings surprising level of happiness. After a late breakfast we set to move on the steering wheel at U-Turn Chandmari Flyover. Defunct road condition caused chaos on busy Guwahati roads.

The curving lane shortly arrived at four laning Jorabat-Umiam roads NH-40. It’s a beautiful Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Annuity Project under National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). The delay time in Toll Plaza got annoyed us that ended up with slowing down traffic. But the windy roads in the foothills around the valley made people love to drive again.

The names behind the most of the hills and vales of Meghalaya have a story. Interestingly the Meghalayan Age is the youngest stage in history that runs from 4200 years ago to the present after Egypt, Greece, Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley and the Yangtze River Valley.

Meghalaya has its own folklore and folktale. Their possession envied by neighbours Guwahati but bringing Shillong pride. The city figured on the Britain’s imperial banners and was previously part of Assam until 1972. Both the cities are separated within two hours of drive.

It has been connected by one of the best driving roads and Assamese fall on the new craze for holidaying there. Being Sunday, the roadside shops were closed and its people looked of being slow. However at Jiva, tourist just can’t miss its a la carte menu and we moved further after a light lunch.

The Khasi pine forest of hills welcomed us to go extra miles. The trees are tall as mountains. It might desire to grow as tall as possible to overtake adjoining trees and reach stronger sunlight – a basic instinct for survival in thick jungle but Khasi people are mostly of short stature, with some exceptions.

As Robert Frost is one of my favourite poets, my travel goes similar with “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”. The woods are lovely, lofty and ever green but I have promises to drive, and miles to go before I reach the destination.

We were exploring places through Google maps. My spouse kept observing the U prefix name of places which I did not observe earlier. We passed through Byrnihat, Umtru, Umling, Nongpoh, Umjarasi, Umdihar, Umsamlem, Umran, Umsning, Umlaren, Umbang, Umsaw, Um kru kru, Umroi, Umsarang and so on. It filled with curiosity, my daughter immediately checked U-Factor at Wikipedia.

In Mathematics, Factors are the numbers multiply to get another number. In Meghalaya, U is the gender called masculine, Ka is feminine and some rivers started with that prefix too. Khasis are of the impression that nice, small creatures and things are feminine while big, ugly are masculine. Isn’t it amazing that we knew something.

We slowed down and passed through a narrow road adjacent to a lake. A vast and scenic reservoir had greeted us. It is the Bara Pani or the Big Water of 220 sq km Lake, a part of a first reservoir-storage Hydel Power Project in North-East in the early 1960. It is famous for water sports and adventure. There are kayaking, water cycling, boating and scooting.

Also tourists enjoy riding row boats, paddle boats, sailing boats. U-Driving on cruise boats on speed water was a fun frolic recreation. Beside there is a walking lane at Lum Nehru Park adjoining to the lake.

The soft glowing light was coming from the sky when the sun was hiding below the horizon and we looked out on the beautiful twilight causing reflection of its rays from the atmosphere. We returned to Orchid Lake Resort hoping to have light refreshment. The resort run by the Meghalaya Tourism Department and often occupied by visitors.

Dining is a delight for food lovers and we also expected some delicious dishes. But sumptuous meals are not always favourable for seekers. After an hour of waiting we could able to have only a few plates of stir-fried noodles as the dining hall Blue Vanda ordered with dinner rush.

Sooner we got busy twirling, turning and cutting U-shaped noodles with fork and spoon. We were actually no stomach hunger that day but its mouth hunger – a desire for taste. Those were not enough food. And finally we made last U-turn at U-prefix Umiam Lake, searching for another dinner on the way home.


* Kamal Baruah wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is a former Air Warrior and currently working for SBI. He can be reached at kamal(DOT)baruah(AT)yahoo(DOT)com
This article was posted on 10th April , 2019 .


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