Snuggled beneath the greens and blues is Chandubi, a cozy stillness defined by a countryside impression and accepted by folks who felt its majestic charm. Being accurate, it is one escape from the rowdy city Guwahati.
Not defined by the wild grumble of the vehicles but by the boisterous yet placid sound of the waterfalls, not by the yells of people on streets but by the chirps of the seasonal birds, not of spicy oil dipped foods but of pure traditionally potpourri prepared delicacies, not by selfish mindsets but by a welcoming attitude toward people- of known and visitors.
What enthralled me toward the Chandubi Jungle camp is “Jungle Camp.” I remember hearing about this place during my graduation days. A decade back or two, the place was progressively swinging. Now, it has become another weekend escapade for the city dwellers.
Regular feed about people checking in at this place would pop up. And that’s how my inquisitiveness toddled to adore this beauty.
What life looks like without technology
As I reach home late evening, an inquiry to reconnoiter their location knocked my text box. Added, an interaction day to celebrate with locale and the indigenous Rabha Hajong inhabitants residing there.
Can I say no?
People say the road via rani is least taken due to fear of wild elephant late night. Hence, a nod to the road via Mirza. I reached late. It was around 20:30 hrs. The phone signals were dead. Electricity too went out. After the initial conversation and allocating me a room, officials and workers in the guest house declared that the team had already reached the other end and I ought to cross the lake to join them.
A heavy shower had subsided. Another dark and cloudy night concealed the neighborhood. As I waited for the boatman to clear the logged water that had filled up his boat, a faint rhythm of flute traveled from the other end. Something soothing and unstained. He asked me to wait as it may be someone from the group who has returned.
I stood there, with a quickened heart rate, cursing my lazy gait. I could barely see the boat or the sailor; but the keenly composed tune engulfed me its aria, making me difficult to break free from its spell until it hit the thickly covered tall grasses.
Some barely distinct people walked toward me to convey that I spend my night at the lodge as there is suspicion of wild elephants invading the village.
A dinner to remember
My energy and strength ran to the drain after the three hours ride. I could barely move my limbs. Seeing the white- sheet- covered- bed was happiness, delighted yelled when the 4-inch AC glared at me from the corner of the room. And soon, I fall asleep, only to wake up at the knock on the door.
I picked my ceramic plate and approached toward the covered utensils. All of my favorites awaited to welcome me. There was pork cooked with elephant apple, fried dal, chickpeas chutney, pumpkin stir-fried, mashed potato, and another cuisine which they didn’t tell and that tasted magic.
Another adventure filled day
Waking up early is indeed a mammoth task, especially for a forever sleep-deprived person like me. And snoozing the alarm has become a skill that I can add in my resume, without even looking at the phone.
But I woke up to surprise my alarm that next morning. The lodge looked deserted. The only living beings that opened eyes are the birds and the insects. I took the pathway that leads to the lake.
Mornings here are brimmed with liveliness. The world seems young and beautiful. Maybe, even the city looks beautiful in my darkest nightmares. How unfortunate of me to have not witnessed its majestic uncluttered mess.
The late morning had much to grab- a retreat for my deserted corner and a compassion for my anhedonia. Few 10kms from the jungle camp was a waterfall called Soloka Dare. As the jeep flange pass the narrow mucky lanes, Kaushik (Owner of the jungle camp) narrated few legendary tales from the village and that the village is inhabited by Christian locales mostly.
We parked the car at the untouched edges of a paddy field nearby. The sound of the waterfall accustomed us to meet the “much appraised” splendor of the village. And there she is, cascading in her own dramatic way with movements rarely noticed. Sometimes fiercely, at times graciously.
One might ditch his lover and surrender ages admiring her elegance, at times, taking her animosity. Decades passed since she has been gushing tirelessly, enticing her onlookers to want her more, in their wildest fancy. She is one such charm.
Sumptuous lunch at the other end of the lake
It was late afternoon. The boatman sailed us to the other end for lunch. It was one of those feasts one would pick up in every food gossips and discussions.
Chandubi is that one place “Where the grass is greener, Light is brighter, When friends surround, The nights become wonder.”
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