From Tawang it was a long way back to Guwahati. My first trip major trip in India was nearing an end. Within a few days I’d be back in front of a desk and staring blankly at a screen. The mountains had gotten its grip on me. There is something about these lofty mountains that I’d end up taking multiple trips back to the Himalayas over the course of time.
The way back wasn’t particularly interesting. The bus stopped at the Arunachal-Assam border and spend the night there till the border was opened. With no sleep, I was missing the mountains and the plains weren’t helping. I spent the time talking to the army posted at the border and with the locals at a tea stall which was open throughout the night.
Once back in Tezpur, I switched buses to Guwahati. And by noon I was in Guwahati. The city and streets were buzzing in the afternoon sun and it was blazingly hot for north-east standards. I was still wearing a sweater which made the locals ask me if I was crazy.
After reaching the capital city, Guwahati, I spent a few hours, walked around the streets then caught a bus to Paltan Bazaar, the heart and soul of Guwahati, to look for some Assam tea. Assam is the largest tea growing region in the world. Now that is really something and I wanted some souvenirs to take home with me to remind me of the enchanting North East I had just experienced. There are different varieties of tea available to buy and various stores along the streets. And these were readily available at some very cheap prices too. Some bargaining can help you get you the price even lower.
My plan for the day was to spend the night with a few friends back at the IIT Guwahati Campus across the Brahmaputra River on the other side of the city. So I waited around till late afternoon until I got a direct bus to the campus. The campus was so beautiful and I was wonderstruck with the natural beauty of the area surrounding it.
The lovely hills in the backdrop, a serene lake, lots of greenery, palm trees; this was what awaited me that day. I thoroughly enjoyed the walk in the campus after reaching there.
The next day, I had a flight to New Delhi. Aboard the flight, sitting beside the window, memories of the mountains flashed back in front of my eyes. Everything seemed surreal. I had just finished my first successful trip to the Himalayas. I looked out of the window next to me to catch a last glimpse of the mountains. Within a short distance stood the third tallest mountain in the world, Mount Kanchenjunga, poking through the clouds. At 30000 feet the sight was to behold. I gazed at its enormity and was mesmerised. 80 kms west to it stood the tallest mountain on Earth, Mount Everest. From here began my obsession with the Everest. It was as though it was drawing me. This was the icing on the cake.
“The mountains are calling, and I must go.” – John Muir