took my breath away

this post is written for BLOGESHWAR 4 and ANUBHOOTI

Ravi had come on a weeklong tour to Meghalaya with his mom and dad.

“Driver ji! Where are you taking us now?”

“Elephant falls”

“I am sure it’s not a very tall or huge fall!”

“No, it’s neither tall nor huge but it’s quite popular. It’s just outside the city so a lot many flock in there. It’s shaped like an elephant. You will love it am sure.”

“Yeah! Fine! Let’s see. What after that? Where else?”

“Maybe the Duwan Sing Syiem viewpoint. It’s on the road to Cherrapunji.”

“Cherrapunji! I want to go there as well and cover it whole. Today why not somewhere else? We can stop at the viewpoint tomorrow while we go to Cherrapunji. Take us to Shillong peak instead after we see the falls.”

“Cherrapunji. There is nothing sir. You have just a couple of falls and a cave.”

“I don’t care and they are not just ordinary couple of falls. They are one amongst the tallest in India and Cherrapunji is world-famous.”

“Yes sir, it is but it doesn’t rain much there.”

“I am not going to see the rain. I just want to go there to get a feel of the place.”

By this time our Mahindra had reached Elephant falls. I was very curious. This would be the first fall I would see in my life. I was excited and a chill ran down my spine as I got down the car. It was very cold and why not it was Christmas today.

“Oh! This is amazing for sure but it doesn’t look like an elephant from any angle.”

“Son! Read the board. It’s written it used to look like an elephant not anymore. Let’s go down the stairs to see the entire fall.”

“Terribly beautiful. It’s a cascade fall and it must be no more than 30m tall. Hey mom! Don’t enter the pool. Now I guess you need to look at the sign board. It’s clearly written it’s dangerous. You can slip and fall.”

That was the first fall I saw in my life and it was surely amazing and it was like the first drop of human blood a tiger tastes. I wanted more.

“Ravi! Look at this hat. Should I buy it?”

“Dad! Come on. Let’s move out. We have to go to Shillong peak. I can’t wait”

On our way to the peak.

“Are you sure you want to go to Cherrapunji. I am sure the falls there wouldn’t be as amazing as you think. It’s not monsoon. One of them must be dry and the other having just a trail of water and can’t be viewed from near.”

“Driver ji. Yes, I will go there, even if it’s just a trickle.”

We reached Shillong peak. As we climbed the mountain I could see terraced farms growing potato and other vegetables. It looked lovely but my camera battery was dying out so I couldn’t afford to take pics there. Save the last for the best I said to myself. Finally we reached the peak.

“Oh fuck! What chilling cold. It must be sub-zero for sure”

We climbed an observation tower

“Mom! Look down. Oh lovely. This is the whole of Shillong you can see. This is my first bird’s eye view mom and also the highest I have been so far. It’s fantastic.”

“Hey Ravi! Did u feel something?”


“The tower is shaking.”

“Oh yes! It’s shaking. Hey it’s an earthquake. My first earthquake. Mom this is too much. So much in one day. ”

It was Christmas so we hurried to Shillong cathedral for evening prayers and not before long it was the next day.

“Ravi, where is the driver? Call him. He didn’t look too excited to take us to Cherrapunji. Such aversion he has.”

“Mom, I have called him. He is coming. He has to. We are paying him.”

Gulping down green tea and hot momos on a cold December morning and seeing the city of Shillong beautifully decorated for Christmas. What a sight it was. I was at the right place at the right time.

“Sir, this is the viewpoint I was talking about yesterday. But be quick sir, we have to go quite far away from here and return in time before its dark.”

“Mom! This is a canyon and yet another first for me. This is amazing dad. See the roads above from here and the entire valley. Oh! It’s amazing. I am falling short of breath. It’s taking my breath away.”

“Hey! Don’t say that.”

“Ok mom! It was just a metaphor.”

Moving ahead to Cherrapunji on the narrow road with brown rolling hills and deep forested valleys on one side and sun-burnt plains on the other we reached Cherrapunji but our driver told us first we will visit Mawsmai and then Cherrapunji.

“Hey dad! Look at those dry falls. It’s the Mawsmai falls.”

“You even get fun seeing dry falls?”

“Yeah! Why not? Imagine how much of water would flow in monsoon. It must be a beauty then.”

The caves were cool too but I was expecting spiders, bats and cockroaches there but sadly there were none inside and I came out disheartened and now was the time to see the final fall, a few miles away from Cherrapunji.

“I am telling you sir, you have wasted the day. I could have shown you parks and lakes in Shillong. More tourists go there.”

“I get irritated seeing landscaped parks and lakes driver ji. I am not an ordinary tourist.”

We came to Cherrapunji but the fall we had to see was some miles away. The rocks were rich with coal I could see. It’s a state rich with resources and unparalleled beauty. I knew the fall I was about to see was the Nohkalikai and had a tragic story behind its name. I had seen the fall on Google and read about it many a times. It was a dream to see it. I reached the place and rushed to the viewpoint and the moment I saw three strings of water thundering down the huge rock down into a blue pool I was stunned. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life. I was feeling so much alive and full of breath.

“Ma! Look. What a beauty. How could I have missed it? The driver is such a bore. Imagine the fall in monsoon. It would be a monster I am sure.”

“And look at this poster. It’s falsely written it’s the fourth highest fall in the world when it’s just the fourth in India.”

“Who cares son? Just look at the fall. The water plunging down the water makes a faint roaring sound. I can hear it.”

“Yeah ma! I can hear it too. It’s taking my breath away. I will go down the stairs and get a closer look.”

“Hey no! It looks so dangerous. The canyon is do deep and the stairs near vertical. Don’t go!”

“No ma, I will be fine. Just a few steps down.”

I went down and down. I was feeling ecstatic. I was feeling drugged. My breaths became heavier. The stairs were of course dangerous. I lost my balance. I tried to recover. It was late. It was the last stair. It was a deep and thickly forested rocky canyon beyond and I slipped and down in the canyon some thousand feet deep. As I had been saying to my mom. It took my breath away.


11 responses to this post.

  1. Your post took my breath away Vivek 🙂 Cheers !!!
    lovely lovely pix and a good write up


  2. I have not been meghalaya but I have heard a lot.
    your post helped get a vicarious feel of the place.
    Thanks for sharing it. 🙂
    Keep blogging


  3. @tikuli: thanks tiks.. i just wanted to write it as a travelogue with some good pics n a little shock at the end.. wanted to promote north east.. its heaven..

    @md: u should go there brother.. its totally heaven.. thanks for reading..


  4. Posted by ank on 30/09/2010 at 10:16 pm

    i liked it a lot especially the way it ended surprised me!!
    m d pix are awesome..took me to some other world 🙂


  5. Posted by Anumita on 02/10/2010 at 5:42 pm

    i had decided that i will not read this post but socha padh leti hoon..
    Simply wud say…tumhara koi jawab nahi dost 🙂

    this post “took my breath away ” 😛


  6. @anumita: yeah, i know i write big posts.. but u see am helpless.. thanks for reading yaar.. glad that u liked it.. 🙂


  7. really a post that has potential to take breath away and picture are truely beautiful.


  8. The thought of it, is enough to take breath and life away! What I liked most about your post is the way you have described the beauty of the north-eastern states in an involving story! I have never been to Cherrapunji or Meghalaya, and I thank you for taking me there and almost killing me too! 😉


  9. @pratibha: thanks!

    @sourav: welcome man! thanks.. yeah! this was actually a travelogue mixed with some fiction.. u can say am promoting north-east.. thanks for the time to read my entry.. i know it was big.. 😛


  10. Hi Vivek, This was a nice overview of some of the beautiful spots of Meghalaya (except for the bit of swearing!!). Best time to go there is July to September – all the waterfalls are full and the clouds come down and make the scenes even more beautiful. Regarding the Elephant Falls, actually there is a huge rock downstream which looks like an elephant. The story I have been told is that the trunk part of the rock fell off during the last big earthquake some 100 years back. But it still looks like an elephant – check it out the next time you come. Keep writing and promoting North-East – one of the most beautiful places in India.


  11. @arpit: i had totally missed this one.. the swearing was to give it a feel of a fictitious story.. my love for meghalaya is, as such, unparalleled, the reason i chose to write on the state for a competition blog and the title was suggested by me 🙂
    thanks for the wonderful comment.. yeah, i had read that board beside the fall.. my next visit to meghalaya would surely be in the time bracket u mentioned.. i surely would, in all my capacity, make NEI as popular as it deserves.. stay fine..


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