Holding my backpack tight, taking care of my pockets, listening to giggling chit-chat and gazing at the picturesque view from the broken window, here I am seated in the center of the overloaded Sumo car going towards Markasa from Shillong. Already halfway through my journey in the shared cab, I hadn’t spoken a word, until the most talkative person in the car discovered me.
Now I’m in the limelight.
All the passengers were following the law of conservation of energy throughout the journey, due to which everyone was shuffling their seats and out of nowhere, a funny man from the backseat of the car came and sat next to me, and addressed the elephant in the cab with this question:
“You tell me, where do you get your rice from?”
“Hmmm. Grocery store.”
“I mean, where is the rice that you eat grown?”
“I don’t know. Rice fields in Bengal, UP or Karnataka maybe?”
“What if West Bengal dies?”
“We will import from other places.”
“Suppose all the states and grocery stores run out of rice, then what?”
*completely confused about what to say*
“Worried? We all have our own paddy fields in Meghalaya and we will never drain out of rice. You should also grow rice.”
“Noted. Thanks for enlightening, will definitely harvest a rice field after the vacation!”
Oh, Tum dhauka hai. where dhauka is a khasi word that translates to tourist. Fusure, the funny guy’s interrogation varied from cast, religion, food preferences – vegetarian or non-vegetarian which eventually pointed to the differences between Delhi and Meghalaya, one of them being ‘Meghalaya me toh gunda hone se bhi Kuch nahi hota, apke dilli me to hota hoga.’. Adding to this, he appreciated the fact that Meghalaya and Assam are the best as they do not require ILP(Inner Line Permit) for tourists and treat everyone the same, he also enquired whether an ILP is required in Delhi and when I told him that it is open for all tourists from all around the world, he said, “Par humara Meghalaya kafi sundar hai na apke Dilli se” and when I nodded my head in agreement there was moment of pride in his glittering eyes. And teaching Delhi’s meaning and pronunciation was the most notorious part of all, and ultimately he settled with the fact that it’s a place where different things happen daily.
After telling him my bucket list, he offered me the cheapest tour package which was once Rs. 500 and later reduced to Rs. 200(“khaneka, ghumaneka, rehena – sabka mera”) despite my naive bargain skills. His sense of engaging made us all laugh in the noisiest cab ever.
The origin of his bad name is credited to his parents who didn’t give it a thought, or so as he claimed. Everyone in the north-eastern region looks so young and so does this guy who looks in his 20s. His take on my thoughts were, ‘arey baba, humko to bachcha hi bana diya..‘. A vivid Raja Babu(Bollywood movie) fan trickled his illiteracy by claiming that he can read(Hindi, English and Khasi) but can not write and soon he started regretting his youth where he dropped out of grade 4 due to lack of money and started helping his parents in fields. As he remembered the old times when roads were not there he used to leave at 3 in the morning for Shillong and reach at 12 noon, which was a mere walk for him through the hills.
Some hillarious one-liners by Fusure meanwhile:
His take on Jio tower – Ab toh mere phone me Modi ka photo hai. I was clueless but later he showed a funny meme that circulates on the internet.
Ab to sab UC browser me hi mil jaata hai jo bhi dhundna ho.
Aaj mein upar, Zamana hai neeche – a song that was playing in the sumo and his conclusion that it is justifying the fact that we’re going uphill and downhill most of the time like the song says.
He was amazed at seeing me travelling alone, and called me a hero, followed by a handshake. He also conveyed, ‘please don’t take any offense of what I’ve said. Always remember, life is all about making fun of yourself and others.’. I met this incredibly simple and entertaining person. So the moral of the story would be to prefer a public transport, talk to strangers and add a memory to your journey and trust me, you can have the best simple talks with the strangers like this.
PS: I don’t know whether he was drunk or not but he entertained all of us throughout the journey.
About the author
The Travellist are a group of travel bloggers who have travelled throughout India. The have shared some of their experiences with Discover Northeast.
You can check their website thetravellist.in for more blogs on Northeast India and also on various other parts of the country.