One gloomy August morning I sat alone at my workplace watching grey clouds take over the sky while my inbox kept getting flooded with emails after emails, and thought to myself what am I really going to gain by working so hard. Financial independence ensured that I could buy all the materialistic things I ever wanted to but then again it also ensured I didn’t get time to do things I really enjoy doing. Like read, travel, doodle, photography…And then I realised I still had money in the bank and e-commerce at my disposal. Half an hour later my bank account was lighter than it had ever been BUT I had a return ticket to Shillong in my inbox!
For the uninitiated, I work with a growing startup which ensures that I am left with barely any time to ‘chill’. So my Shillong trip too began with a daze with me sending out emails alongside packing woolens and my ‘hippie’ clothes at 11 in the night. Four hours of sleep later, I was off to Guwahati on a jet plane. Seven hours and two flights later, a tired and haggard me reached Guwahati.
Shillong is about a three hour drive away from Guwahati. Thanks to the first ever NH7 Weekender and the shoot of Rock On 2 all the hotels in the city were booked months in advance. We managed to get accommodation at the stunning Royal Heritage Tripura Castle. A heritage property situated atop a steep road lined with trees on either side, wild mountain flowers and rooms replete with wooden flooring and a fireplace took me back to my childhood spent devouring Enid Blyton’s and Ruskin Bond’s works.
The venue for Weekender was right in the middle of nowhere, literally! After a good two hour drive from the city through winding mist ridden roads with trees on either side and clouds that were begging to enter the car window, we reached the Bhoirymbong. On arrival, we were given the coolest wristbands meant to weather every calamity- our pass to the Happiest Music Festival. Giant pinwheels, sky banners with smileys and a larger than life installation greeted us at the massive venue.
Tokens were bought to fuel our appetite to keep grooving to the fusion of music genres as the crowd went stage hopping. From swaying to the reggae beats of Reggae Rajahs and The Wailers to learning Kannada to sing along to Raghu Dixit’s tunes, watching Monica Dogra transform in a freestyle performance and of course moving to Dualist Inquiry’s rhythm Day 1 had it all. Some pretty interesting food and artefact stalls at the venue too to keep everyone’s spirits up. Buckets of Breezer helped in keeping the spirits high as well, literally.
The rain played a ten minute bummer on Day 1, so we were well prepared with our bright orange ponchos on Day 2. We realised that the Aluminium mugs make cooler souvenirs than the plastic buckets. Too bad everyone else realised that too and soon the bar was out of stock for the mugs.
The lineup on Day 2 was more fun (personally speaking) than Day 1. Whether it was headbanging to Pangea’s music,dancing like there’s no tomorrow to Nucleya’s beats, getting immersed in Kailasa’s music and watching the crowd go crazy when Megadeth came on stage, the second day of the festival left us wanting for more.
And just like that, the happiest music festival successfully completed its first ever edition in the north east. The next day was spent exploring the city, walking by the beautiful alleys leading to the popular Shillong cafe. The Irish coffee served with a shot of Glenfiddich is a must have. Situated atop a hill, you could spend all afternoon there admiring nature while you hear the sound of choirs wafting by.
Bidding adieu to the beauty that is Shillong was difficult. It was done with a #notetoself to be back- this time to explore places around Shillong- the Living Roots, the Mawsmai caves, Cherrapunji…there’s so much to see!