Skip to main content

Oai Shillong

In class four at the Maria Montessori School in Fire Brigade, Mustafa and Razia were newly enrolled. They had just come from Canada. It was my only co-ed school before I moved to a convent. The teacher asked us if anyone knew what a cow shed was. Mustafa promptly replied “Indira’s house has a cow shed.” He probably thought I looked like a milkman’s daughter (nothing wrong with that in retrospect). But I pounced on Mustafa the moment the teacher went out of the class.  I am guessing I enjoyed this fight as my sister recollects me sitting on top of Mustafa and giving him some sound punches. Of course it ended with the teacher’s “shhhhh” entering the room. The year was probably 1978.

For a few days on end, I have been wondering about Mustafa and his sister Razia and that it would be so good to find them. And more than that, I am constantly wavering between the past and the present, to the point where I am pre-occupied and feel like an anti social. I have not read Anjum Hassan’s book, but if you were to ask me what I feel right now, it is “lunatic in my head”.

For a few weeks now, Facebook has taken over my life in a way it has never done before. I am constantly turning to the page on Shillong – it takes me to every nook and corner of the town I grew up in – Donbosco Square, Police Bazar, Ward’s Lake, Kalsang restaurant...to name a few. I get a whiff of the smell of momos, the taste of channa wala, ghoogni... The page screams home.

And in those moments of walking down memory lane, the world gets small on me. It is like running into a life I had left and miss so much. Nostalgia is a good word right now.

Unlocking every memory and sharing it with friends who grew up the same time and at the same place is such a happy exercise. For who would forget Enter The Dragon and the beginning of the Bruce Lee mania that swept our little home town. Bruce Lee shoes flooded the market. My brother recalled waiting three hours in the queue to get a ticket. Those days the black markerters had a field day with every new release of movies but for those who could not afford their prices, standing long hours for a ticket was worth it, especially when it concerned the cult of the time. Shillong’s cinema halls – Kelvin, Anjali, Dreamland, Singhania, Bijou – each had a certain uniqueness and linked to a particular genre. I watched Grease, Saturday Night Fever in Kelvin – movies that were not only commercially so successful but had the power to remain etched somewhere in memory, even after eons. Of course, there were plenty, plenty others but I cannot think of more offhand.

But this is not what our hometown is known for. Our schools were the best – from the teachers to the environment to the extracurricular activities to the myriad friends. In all this, there was randomness with strangers too. We exchanged stories with people in cabs and buses, lanes and bylanes. There are so many more bits to fill up on but that would take a book to complete.

To Shillong Era 1960-1990, keep the memories and the laughter alive. It means our bodies might be somewhere but our minds and mouth are still in Shillong. I wanted to write a funny post but I guess old age is catching up and I am wearing my heart on my sleeve. I love this group, it makes me feel unconditionally accepted even by people who I have not met because we are all part of Shillong.  Holy cow, I can trash the TV now but not Facebook J

Comments

Very well written n expressed! I thought I was a mad Shillong lover.... I m glad I m in good company Indira.... Welcome to madness, welcome to Shillong. Looking forward to meet like minded people......U...
Would love to be here again!

Popular posts from this blog

A Mad Man Or A Boor

What does one do when one encounters a mad dog? Or what does one do when one encounters a man with pre-fixed notions about everything in life, most specifically of women who live alone and give him some importance? The two are equivalent to me and basic intelligence says avoid the paths they tread like plague. But I chose to tackle them head on. I almost got rabbies. The mad man said [sic] " You sound like a very desperate person. A single and frustrated woman who is looking for anyone to leave a comment on your blog so much so that you wouldn't even spare a spammer ." Spammer being, the first comment on the previous post is apparently a spam, an advert for T-shirts. Bummer! I thought it was a handsome Spaniard or Latino, so I had replied "Hi Rodrigo", hoping to take the conversation forward offline. Anyway! All this the mad man found out. I didnt. Sure, I dig comments because I love the spontaneity and intelligence of my friends. And I didn't invite the ma

O-B-A-M-A

Two million people at the National Mall in Washington alone. The world watched too as Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. So did I. I rudely cut roomie's soap operas and switched to CNN to witness history being created. Some day I may live to tell the tale of how Barack, the much touted Afro-American President of the United States, stumbled with his swearing-in oath. I was a bit disappointed as I watched the man who had run the most successful of election campaigns, the man who Americans were pinning their hopes on, take his oath. Clearly, he was under too much of a pressure to be the best. So before Chief Justice John Roberts could complete the first sentence, there was Obama abruptly breaking out into his first names... " I Barack Hussein Obama.." and then waited for the judge to complete the sentence.. The next line was even taxing. He stopped short after two words... " That I will excute ..." and then Justice Roberts cont

The Churn

11 am: There I was bang on time at work, perhaps, in a long time. The occasion: a meeting called by the top boss and compulsory attendance required. I am, as always, out of the loop. Reason being there is always so much happening in my life that I am always behind everything. That does not mean I fail to deliver! And unlike some people who are truly into perception management (will delve on it later) and are such repository for all 'inside news', office gossip and politics least interest me. I mean, who cares if someone is quitting for some place else or is having an affair with so and so, or is being transferred unless that person happens to be someone I am generally fond of. Maybe then I would have been privy to some of the classified information ahem... So, was I in for shock today? The meeting was sombre and had a full house attendance. And then our top boss spilled the beans. Three of the men at the helm were either quitting or were assuming other responsibilities and a n