Thanks to work, a small trip to Guangzhou came up. Having never been to China, this was an interesting little development. But this was a trip for me so something had to go wrong. I landed at the much larger than expected Baiyun Airport in the afternoon and was supposed to head straight to the office for a meeting that had begun earlier in the morning. Before I entered the meeting, however, I was supposed to change into my work clothes. I was on a very tight schedule.
Clouds are strange. We spend most of our lives underneath them, at their mercy for rain and shine. During the rare hours that we float above them, we cannot stop but marvel at the giant floating mountains of white and grey which we see but not touch.
Then there are the times when we are inside them. We become one with them. We can touch them. We can feel them in our breath and taste them on our tongues. We realise the vast nothingness that really is these clouds and yet alive and dancing all around us. Meghalaya not only lives up to its name, it forces one to see much more by hiding so much of it.
Coonoor is a picture postcard town not far from Bangalore. With its tea gardens, the Nilgiri Mountain Railways and the salubrious climate, it is the sort of place I could see myself settling at. Of course, I am not the first one to have thought of that. The British established a major retreat here. The Army has a large cantonment here. And the horticulture department takes full advantage of the climate to grow exotic trees.
We spent a few lovely, misty days in Coorg. This is the story.
When we first considered Myanmar for a vacation, the first thoughts that occurred in our heads were military rule, fear, poverty, rickety infrastructure and safety issues. For a country that had been joined at the hip with ours for more than a century, we were surprisingly clueless about what to expect and constantly expected the worst.
How wrong were we!
Myanmar was clean, well mannered, safe, beautiful, surprisingly diverse and inhabited by a gentle population that has suffered a lot for a long time.