It's so green here. The monsoon isn't here yet, officially, but from the drive into the city from the airport, you wouldn't know it. Everything is green, in way that I have only seen in Kerala. The air is cool, crisp, clean, and smells of growing vegetation.
If it wasn't for the never-ending stream of hoardings, this would be a magical ride. my profession has much to answer for.
As we get into the city proper, the temperature goes up several degrees. And vehicle engines and horns make their presence felt. Roads are being widened and resurfaced, in preparation for the monsoon, my cousin tells me. Ah. Municipalities everywhere are alike.
Ingrid, my cousin, drops me off at the office of the travel agent who has arranged for my stay in Haflong. She has to go to the station to get a lost train ticket replaced. I stay for a while, printing out time tables, doing a bit of quick research on the area, and chatting with the staff. I also make a quick business pitch to the owner, about Pinstorm. He seems interested.
Pinstorm. Egad. I forgot. I turn on my phone, and there are three messages from the office. I call, and chat with the team about an assignment in progress.
I collect the fax that confirms my Circuit House booking in Haflong, and set off for my Ingrid's house. She isn't back yet, so I make the acquaintance of her two little boys, the maid, and the family's cat.
It is only four in the evening, but the sky is beginning to darken. Ah yes. That's why the "Garden Time" (one hour ahead of IST), that the folks here sensibly run their lives by.
Squadrons of mosquitos descend. I lather myself in Odomos before stepping out for a smoke, and to play with the kittens, while the boys, and their tutor, finish off their homework. They join me later, and tell me about school, and sports, and friends, and ask me when they could come visit.
By the time I head back to Guwahati station, it is somewhere between six and seven, and the rest of India is getting its sunsets at conventional times, but it's dark here already.
Ingrid is still in the booking office building, joined now by Prafulla, her husband. She has been shunted from counter to counter, but can't leave - she has to make a work-related trip to Calcutta tomorrow. There, amidst a bevvy of Buddhist monks and flocks of businessmen, we attempt to catch up on the last ten or so years before it's time for my train.