It’s not often that I find myself at the train station early in the morning, in the middle of a working week. But after hearing so much about the loot from friends and colleagues, I knew that I would eventually wind up on a train bound for Dimapur, sooner than later. So there I was on a Wednesday morning – sleepy-eyed and disoriented – getting on the Jan-Shatabdi Express, leaving for Dimapur. I took my seat across a sombre-looking gentleman, took out my copy of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice to give me company, and made myself comfortable for the four-hour journey.
Quickly replenishing my appetite, I took an auto and made my way to the famous Kachari Ruins. Once the palatial home of the Kachari Kings, this protected monument is open for tourists to get a taste of how royalty lived in the good old days. After having my fill of the historic site, I walked down to the Supermarket next to it.
The Supermarket really defines the word ‘super’ in every way. Enormous in size, this open market somewhat resembles a maze, with a whole mix of goodies – ranging from groceries, fresh fruits and vegetables to kitchen items, clothes and home décor items. What caught my eyes instantly were the big tumblers and buckets made out of what looked like old tyres. There were not only buckets, but kadhais etc., made of tyres; the saleswomen had their wares displayed on them.
A couple of elderly women called out to me with a smile on their paan-stained lips, asking me to try some dried fish, one of their bestselling food products. A woman was even selling snails and toads. But since I am not too adventurous when it comes to what I put in my mouth, I kept walking.
I finally came to the section I could indulge in – clothes. Rows and rows of second-hand/rejected foreign goods, there was everything from curtains to skirts, pants, shirts, tops and dirt-cheap pyjamas. After browsing for an hour or so, I bought a pair of stripped pyjamas. They looked comfortable enough! Just before leaving, I stopped by a woman who was selling hand-made wooden ornaments and show-pieces, and bought a pair of rustic-looking butterfly earrings for Rs 20.
And Some More!
I still had about two hours to go, before I had to be at the station to catch the evening train back to Guwahati. So I took another auto to the Hong Kong Market. This one looks very much like Shillong’s Police Bazaar, with shops offering a plethora of items to fulfill everybody’s shopping list. Whatever you might need or are looking for, chances are – they probably have it on sale. Pretty scarves and shawls, dainty shoes, retro bags and accessories, elegant jackets and woolens, chic formals, latest gadgets, colourful brollies and more – this market is quite definitely a shopaholic’s Eden.
I am somewhat of a shoe fanatic, and this market was like godsend. Shoes of all colours and designs, with a price tag that falls right under your budget, enticed me. I could not help myself from indulging in a pair of pretty black heels for around 300 bucks. I would have liked to get a woolen formal skirt too, but being low on cash, I promised the salesgirl that I’d come back for it next time!
Getting on the train, I thought of all those numerous nooks and corners that I still hadn’t discovered, and knew I would be back soon.
How to go: Pre-book the Jan-Shatabdi Express from Guwahati-Dimapur and back. Chair cars for the General Class (non A/C) come at Rs 145/- per head, for one way.
Note: Shop-keepers are friendly and eager, although you will need to haggle a bit to get full value for your money.
By Meeta Borah