Runner-Up is "Land of Clouds" written by Avni Singh.
My first ever walk in woods happened about a year ago in an absolutely wonderful place called Mawlyngbna. It lies in Meghalaya, a state in the north-eastern part of India.
One day, we set out for a walk through the forest. The path was rough with wild plants. My heart was lost in the beauty of the place, the chirping of the crickets, and the sunlight shining through the foliage of the tall trees. The path wasn’t made for tourism, or else it would have had many shops all along. Instead, it had plants with thorns welcoming us to the mystic world beyond.
It was quite enjoyable walking down the narrow, winding path. Soon we reached a clearing in the middle of the woods and beheld an extraordinary sight. There was a huge waterfall that led to a much tinier one under which we could sit and have the most wonderful head massage.
Something more amazing was coming up the next day. The next day, we set out for a trek along the Umseiniong River. As we were walking through the meadows to reach the river, we walked right into a storm cloud! We could not see anything 10 feet beyond us.
We knew that the word Meghalaya means 'the land of clouds', but we never knew that we would actually experience being inside one. We then walked through tall, itchy, grass, and arrived at the river. We started our river trek by jumping from a 10-meter high rock into the river. It had rained a few hours earlier, and the water was unimaginably cold. We were speechless for a few moments until our bodies adjusted to the water temperature.
Not many rivers offer such a trekking opportunity. This one does. We crossed the deeper parts of the river by dog paddling and walked through the shallow parts. We spotted beautiful birds and insects. We saw lizards and frogs sunbathing on the rocks. The river was not the same all through.
Every spot had something different to offer. In some places, it was impossible to walk or swim. The guides had to tie a rope along the rocks on the banks to cross the river. The river had some extraordinary natural water slides. We just slid through them yelling happily at the prospect of falling into deep water.
It’s an experience no water park can give!
In the Age category 8 - 11 years, Avni's essay was chosen as runner-up. Avni's essay was one of the shorter ones, but this shows that even shorter essays can convey a powerful message to the readers.
In this essay "Land of Clouds" Avni shares his holiday adventures in the green forests of Mawlyngbna, a unique and offbeat travel destinations in the Meghalaya state of India. Located near the north-eastern border to Bangladesh, this remote place in the Meghalaya Hills of India is often described as especially scenic or magic. Avni's description of this peaceful oasis in the middle of the forest let us astonished. The essay was chosen as Avni so vividly described the magic of nature in a place that not many have travelled to. Exploring our natural environment can indeed be more exciting than spending fun time in a water park as she so aptly remarks!
Well done, Avni! Thank you very much for your wonderful story "Land of Clouds"! Congratulations!
Avni attends The Indian Academy in Uttar Pradesh/India.
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