The journey for me was a pleasant experience.

It began on the 6th of December when I rented a thunderbird 500 to ride almost 1500 kms across Assam and Arunahcal Pradesh. A 7 day adventure : on road and off road,from highways to tea estates; Mountains to hills, Lakes to the mighty Bhramaputra and cycle rickshaws to ferries.

The idea started with the need to explore the possibilities of creating an all inclusive circuit of the north east. The seven states that lie in the north –east of India or ‘The Seven Sisters’ as they are more popularly called, are a feast for the senses and a place of caution for the wary and slightly paranoid. Both theories were tested and mixed observations were incurred.

Day 1 Guwahati to Itangar :

It’s 5.30 in the morning and I’ve checked out of a slightly shady hotel located in a small lane near Guwahati station.Guwahati is the buzzing, expanding, and crowded metropolis of Assam that is the gateway to the north east. It’s worth visiting to get a sense of what progress and concretization can do to completely change and maybe scar the beauty of Assam’s plains. Though, it’s not without charm, and you can try out the Cholpuri- a pleasant river cruise on the Bhramaputra river, a visit to the Assam state museum, Manipuri delicacies at AM lane and visits to a number of ancient Hindu temples in the city ; giving it the moniker “The City of Temples”

The motorcycle I managed to hire was a lucky break, no one in Assam would rent out a motorcycle to a lone traveler for fear of repercussions should an accident of said traveller occur.In the past, the state of Assam and all the other sisters have seen insurgency – rise, peak, and somewhat succumb to political pressure, military presence and an awareness among the new generation . Though it (insurgency) still lurks in pockets of the region where the political situation possesses a strong undercurrent of chaos from lack of logic with regards to autonomy, government dissatisfaction and bouts of masochism.

My curiosity about the unrest grew and my questions were of the ‘worst case scenario’ nature – which led to some stories of how if you have a road accident and it’s not even your fault , your vehicle is taken away , a new vehicle may have to be purchased for the other party ( a local resident) and in some cases, you would be lucky to escape without being taken hostage.This was off-course told with shades of exaggeration and in such a fashion as to mess with a first time lone traveler, but nonetheless served to make me wonder what I was doing riding by myself on a bike, and into possibly, some of these situations for the next seven days. Ignorance is bliss they say and lets say, I was happy to be ignorant.

C’est la vie I said; as I filled fuel , hid my cash , put on my riding gear and rode into the sunrise.

The Bhramaputra also known as the Tsangpo – is a monster held in high affection by the people who live close to it. It floods almost every year and causes damage to everything in its way, but it also nourishes and creates a unique system of wetlands and forests through the state of Assam, apart from providing irrigation and transportation.

This becomes evident as you start to ride through the highways of Assam. On either side you see vast rice fields , betel nut farms and tea plantations tended to by the Assamese who live in bamboo and cane houses constructed mostly on stilts – a firm reminder that flooding is part of life.The abundance of water and fertile soil creates a lush green all around you, dotted with farm animals left to their own devices in the fields and pretty much anywhere they like to go. Nowhere else, I would imagine you would get a perfect view of the everyday life of a farmer tolling hard in the open fields just off the highway.Like every Indian region though the livestock also contributes to traffic in the form of moving or stationary obstacles that test how well you can ride, do your brakes work and are you truly awake. I’m not sure why these daredevils choose to lead such risky lives for our benefit.

The weather for the most part is cold – very cold- in the mornings but, as a sensation, if you put together the butter smooth highways, the wide open plains, the paddy fields, tea plantations and the villages together in one picture frame, you can’t ask for more in terms of simple beauty and awesome road travel.