BY JUANITA KAKOTY
This June, my husband was visiting Guwahati after two years. And he was clear that he would like to see more of the city than my relatives, unlike his earlier two visits when Guwahati just meant my relatives’ houses. So I did the smart thing. I went home in May, escaping the Delhi heat and immersing myself in the rains and the sweet smell of the rain touched earth. I spent as much time as possible with my lovely parents, lounging in the verandah with a book in my hands and gloriously staring away at the rains. Oh the rains! After all that Delhi heat! I ate veggies from my dad’s garden to my heart’s delight and felt as fresh as I could with all that organic food and the rains. There were friends to catch up with, good old friends with whom I had a great time. Then came my husband in June, delighted to see all that rain. He came for just seven days – nothing if one wants to travel around these parts of the country. So it meant no trips to upper Assam or Shillong or Cherapunjee for us. He decided to be the perfect tourist in Guwahati. And I, happy to let my mom take care of my daughter, accompanied this tourist. Here are a few pictures from those days of ‘touristing’!
By a stroke of luck, we happened to visit Kamakhya just as it was gearing up for the Ambubachi mela – the festival that celebrates the menstruation period of Goddess Kamakhya. The ‘yoni’ of the Goddess is supposed to be located here. Hence, for these seven days in June though the temple stays closed, yet devotees from all over the world come here to receive energy. As my aunt Emi Pehi mentioned the other day, the little pond in the temple premises turn blood red during this time and devotees dip themselves there to take in the energy.
A walk through the trees. I remember visiting this place while in school with my dear friend Tahin, whose father Ratna Ojah was the director of Kalakhetra at that time and it was he who shaped up this wonderful project. Uncle had given us (Tahin’s friends) a tour of Kalakhetra even before it was opened to public. How privileged we felt!
I also took the husband to the Guwahati Zoo. When we were young, we were told that sanctuaries are natural and zoos are often man made. This Guwahati Zoo is the only natural zoo in India, we were told while in school. Now I don’t know how true that is, but the zoo is indeed lovely, and I have always loved it, with its huge trees and plants besides of course the animals.
The hubby caught a friendly Hippopotamus.
I captured a few pelicans right at the mouth of the zoo. Thereafter, I was too caught up with the sights of nature and the animals to click any more pictures. We saw a few white tigers, and two royal Bengal tigers. We also saw how meat come for them in buckets; the caretaker throws them into the cages and releases the doors for tigers to come in for the food. I was struck by how one tiger came at a time, picked up one piece of meat and left for the next tiger to come and pick its share. They were disciplined and not fighting for food!