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Captain Nero In Dirang

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Day 31: Dirang, Arunachal Pradesh :

We are staying at Pemaling hotel, built on the top of a hill. We can see the whole valley from here. I like this place a lot, with its red roofs, the framed historical photographs, the colourful flowers. :

I stare at the books in the cupboard. Picking one, I go to the garden and find myself a chair. Ruskin Bond’s “Rain in the Mountains” will be my companion. Some chapter names – “Once upon a Mountain Time”, “Sounds I like to hear”, “How far is the River”, make me smile. These names are my current state of mind. :

Maybe to let us know that we took the right decision, the weather gods decide to give us the best weather today. The mist is playing its own games high in the mountains, the clouds are a good grey, and there is a delicious nip in the air. :

Dirang Arunachal As I flip the pages, my heart is full. The river’s roar is misleading. In May the monsoons haven’t still come and the volume is not even half of what it will be after the monsoons. And yet the river roars, as if to tell the whole valley who the boss really is. There are a hundred birds chirping in the trees, and I wish I could recognize them by their sounds. As if to tease me a little, a little black bird flies to the top of a pine tree. Maybe it feels that from this vantage point where it’s completely visible, I will be able to figure out what bird he is. When I can’t, it looks at me indignantly and sends out a volley of shrill sounds to make its displeasure crystal clear. I apologize to my new friend silently and swear to find out who he is. :

The next 5-6 days, will be about this little hamlet in Arunachal, about reading about birds here, about messaging my mom every time I see a new flower or plant and asking her which one it is. About staring at some of the portraits in our resort and imagining the stories behind them. About going on walks with Manushi, Sivaji and Mounika, and seeing them live in the moment. And reading Dickens, Ruskin, in this adorable garden, at the river banks, or some meadow. :

A young staff boy comes towards me. He asks me if I want some lemon tea. I smile at him, and look down at the beautiful valley again.

Things to do in Arunachal Pradesh

North east India places

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Neeraj Narayanan

Neeraj Narayanan, a.k.a Captain Nero, is the founder of OHOT. In the summer of 2013, he quit his corporate job and went backpacking around the world. In a year full of (mis)adventures, he ended up being chased by a bear in a Croatian forest, being held at gunpoint by a mafia gang lord in Turkey, running with the bulls in Spain, and dancing in the clubs of Spain and Italy. A year later, he started leading group trips for people.

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