Saturday, May 28, 2011

The people and culture of Meghalaya

I have lived in Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya for 4 years. And it was a beautiful city to live in . Its a hill station and a traveller's paradise, especially for one who wants to have a special tryst with mother nature.

Shillong Pictures

Shillong Photos

The population of Meghalaya mainly comprises of three tribes - Khasi, Jaintia and garo and belong to Proto Austroloid Monkhmer race.

A large percentage of the population of Shillong belongs to the Khasi tribe. They mainly inhabit the eastern part of Meghalaya in the khasi and jaintia hills. 


The traditional female dress, better known as "jainsem" is a two pieces of material pinned at the shoulder and a "tapmohkhlieh" or shawl, giving the body a cylindrical shape. On ceremonial occasions, a crown of silver or gold is worn on the head. A spike or peak is fixed to the back of the crown, corresponding to the feathers worn by menfolk.

The khasi traditional male dress, known as "Jymphong" is a longish sleeveless coat without collar , fastened by throngs in front. But they have turned to the western attire in a big way - trousers and blazer/shirt. Jymphong is worn with dhoti only on ceremonial occasions, usually along with an ornamental waist band.

Social Structure:

The main difference of Khasis which sets them apart from other tribes is that in Khasis the descendents are recognised from Mother and not from Father (Matrilineal Society). This is the unique feature of Khasi Tribe. The children inherit the mother's title and property. According to Khasi Laws the Marriage is purely a Civil Contract. Arrangd marriages do occur but not in a preferred form. Young men and women are given freedom to choose their mates. According to Law, a woman cannot be forced into marriage; she owns the children and properties. A woman may end the marriage at her will with no objection from her husband. The youngest daughter is the custodian of the family property.


Khasis follow a matrilineal system of inheritance. In the Khasi society, it is only the youngest daughter or 'Ka Khadduh'; who is eligible to inherit the ancestral property.

If 'Ka Khadduh' dies without any daughter surviving her, her next elder sister inherits the ancestral property, and after her, the youngest daughter of that sister. Failing all daughters and their female issues, the property goes back to the mother';s sister, mother';s sister';s daughter and so on.

The Ka Khadduh';s property is actually the ancestral property and so if she wants to dispose it off, she must obtain consent and approval of the uncles and brothers.

Among the War-Khasis, however property passes to the children, male or female, in equal shares but among the War-Jaintias, only the female children get the inheritance.


The Khasis are now mostly Christians. But before that, they believed in a Supreme Being, The Creator - U Blei Nongthaw and under Him, there were several deities of water and of mountains and also of other natural objects. The Khasi believe in a creator god (U Blei Nong-thaw) who is considered feminine in gender (Ka lei Synshar). She is invoked when sacrifices are offered and during times of trouble. The propitiation of good and evil spirits is also part of this system, as is the worship of ancestors. The following major spirits are worshiped: Ulei Muluk (god of the state); Ulei Umtang (god of drinking water and cooking water); Ulei Longspah (god of wealth); and O Ryngkew or U Basa Shnong (tutelary deity of the village).


Khasi usually take two meals a day, one in the early morning and the other in the evening. They are nonvegetarians, eating pork, beef, and chicken, as well as the flesh of many wild animals. They are said to enjoy a curry made from a particular kind of green frog. Dried fish with rice is a staple of the Khasi diet. When rice is not available, millet or Job's tears (the seeds of the grass Coix lacryma-jobi) is used instead. The inner bark of the wild sago palm is dried and made into a sweet, reddish flour and mixed with rice or eaten in the form of cakes. Milk and milk products are not used, a trait common among peoples of Mongoloid descent. This no doubt reflects the high incidence of lactose malabsorption (the inability of the body to use milk) that is found among peoples of this ethnic background. Beer made from rice or millet is widely consumed by the Khasi, as well as being used for ritual purposes. Some clans among the Khasi have specific food taboos originating, most likely, from totemic considerations.


Upon death, the body is kept for three days so that the loved ones can come and pay homage to the dead, after which it is buried ceremoniously.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Real Beauty Through My Eyes....

What is Beauty? According to Wikipedia, beauty is a characteristic of a person, animal, place, object, or idea that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure, meaning, or satisfaction.  

In my words, I describe beauty as that captivating feeling, the one that makes u look at the source of beauty with great awe;  it just infuses such a feel-good emotion, similar to the one while having our favorite chocolates!, but much greater in magnitude.

But real beauty is something that is persistent, that can keep the beholder captivated for a much longer time. And in my view, real beauty is a combination of looks and personality. Even with average features, a person can become very beautiful if he/she has the right attitude and personality to carry it!

In context of a woman, here is how I describe real beauty !

Your face so beautiful,
enchanted my soul ,
The twinkle in your eyes ,
the softness in your voice,
the confidence in your gait,
envied by many,

You were born to show the light,
to millions like you ,
rotting in the abyss of stubborn and useless traditions,

Yes, you were the daughter, the sister,
the wife, the mother,
Your tender touch, enriching many barren and dry lives !

But your most important identity was you, yourself !
You the person, with your strengths and weaknesses !

You made your own choices in life !
No you didn't want to rebel !
But career and love are sacred !
and u were the best judge of your own decisions !

A few thought u were reckless !
But deep inside, you were a child who needed to be pampered,
who needed to be loved, who needed to be assured that she is the most adorable !

Deep inside, you wished you were not the rebel,
you were made out to be,
you wished you didn't have to tire yourself with an attempt to live
your own life wishfully !

But you would rise above this tiredness very soon,
to continue inspiring many...
to continue enriching others lives...
and most importantly ,
To continue being the UN-ADULTERATED You, the BEAUTIFUL You....

My woman is strong yet sensitive,  tough yet caring, does have her own lows , but comes out strongly with flying colors, winning the world with her charm ! 

Someone has rightly said... 
“Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.”  

Want to know more about real beauty ? Discover it here...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I am so frustrated ! I didn't get the entry ticket and a chance to meet jerry !!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Lost in this world ....

Lost as I feel in this world ! I need a touch of love !
There u were standing amidst a crowd ! No my eyes didn't miss u !
But I can never beat that ever evading nature of yours....
You took less than a quarter second to vanish ..
Whether u lived in my mind or my heart or both, was still not clear...
But all I know is, I need you dear alien.....
For I don't find any love on this earth....

Sunday, January 30, 2011

My Favourite Love Story!

It happened when I was nine years of age. Since my father is in defense most of my childhood years were spent in  beautifully barricaded residential campuses. As I rewind back , I remember a huge construction project(probably for the construction of new quarters) being undertaken in our neighborhood. And the sight of construction workers carrying bricks, mortar and cement on their heads in the scorching summer, and ascending on the seemingly fragile wooden framework of ladders on half-constructed buildings was a rare sight for me, but not a happy one. I would always feel they could fall off the dangerous heights any time and that would make me sad.

But it always was a happy sight to see their lively kids, most of whom were in the age group of 4 to 10,  play under the street lights , from the first floor balcony of our apartment. I would always feel delighted to see their excitement and happiness . I never interfered with their play, but used to  silently observe and listen to their playful talks. I would always feel like joining them, but the fear of getting harsh scoldings from my parents was enough to stop me... !!! :(

I remember one day sneaking out of my house with my teddy bear , with the intention of having a playful time with the gang. As I went near them, I immediately realized that one of  them,   a very small girl  staring or rather greedily looking at my teddy bear with undivided attention. And within a minute, she started crying and demanding for it...!!!

I felt very bad for her but felt equally angry , as that teddy was one of my favorite toys, and more for the reason that it was gifted by my grandfather, who was no more. I would never part with it for anything in the world, including any number of chocolates , ice creams  or any other more expensive gifts, not even for the most beautiful barbie doll!.

I stood there for around five minutes waiting for the girl to stop crying , so that I could start playing with them..!!! But that never happened. And it was then that a boy approached me and said " mere pas sirf 1 Rs hai aur mujhko wo bhalu dukandar nahi dega.... Mujhe aapka bhalu chahiye"  that is "I have only 1 rs and the shopkeeper wont give me the bear that you have.. and I want that" ... I felt even more angry.... And I replied with a stern "no".

After which, he started sobbing and said .."main usse shadi karunga aur mere pas koi gift nahi hai usko dene k liye" (ie I want to marry her and I have nothing to gift her"

 I  melted at that point of time like a  chocolate in the  mouth. I  had always dreamt of a prince charming who would say that and do  what that boy was doing, to me even at that age....:)

  So , I decided to part with the teddy, helping them  have a happy end or rather a happy beginning !!!. Though It made me feel extremely sad , It also made me extremely happy that I helped a handsome prince charming win a beautiful princess!!! so what if they were just 6 years of age!!!!

They went hand in hand with the girl holding the teddy happily and slowly faded away into their tin den ( the unison of tin roofed houses where all the construction workers  were staying ) , unsure of their education and their health, but sure of the innocent love in their hearts for each other...!!!

Soon the project came to a completion and the tin houses vanished from the vicinity, and I was left missing my teddy miserably!!! But my little heart was so happy to witness a beautifully blossoming love story!!!

Guys if you have a similar story, in which you experienced a magical moment when you felt two strongly opposite emotions? Love/Hate? Elation/Sadness? Anger/Sympathy? The desire to move forward yet run away at the same time? Please share your stories on this link or as a comment to this post. Would love to hear them!!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

How It feels like to be helpless...

This happened almost about a week back!! On my way to a friends' place falls a mosque, a very old and large one. As I was walking along that particular road, I saw an old man, probably in his sixties holding a white cane in one of his hands and waving the other one in the air from time to time. The sight of white cane made me realize at once, that he is visually challenged and needs help to cross the road. The man was wearing very shabby and torn clothes and an off-white skull cap(trademark of muslim men) that had almost turned brown due to dust and dirt.

How helpless a human being can get?? is what I asked almighty that day. My heart moved by the sight, my eyes almost moist, but my mind still in a dilemma.... whether to help the man cross the road , or move ahead leaving him behind in a helpless state , like almost all the people on the road at that point of time. In this mind vs heart battle, my mind won over by convincing my heart that it wouldn't be a good thing to touch such a dirty and unhygienic person in front of so many people. But the most valid argument that it put across my heart was that you never know.... that man could be one of those classic perverts , famously shown in so many movies  and from my own experiences too, waiting to be touched by women and  young girls...

So I moved on, listening to my mind but after leaving the man a few steps behind a strange guilt caught hold me.. My heart said.. "What's wrong with you Pratibha...??  You are a person who believes so much in social equality and human emotions.. I can't believe you did this..." And I turned back........ I saw the man still standing at the same point, waving his hand , muttering a few unclear words. I started moving towards him to help him.

I finally decided to hold his hand and make him cross the road, despite the thing that I would surely get the strangest of looks from the crowd. But I moved at a steady pace. But just as I was a few inches away from him, I saw a able bodied beggar hold the man's hand and help him cross the road...!!!

I know I could not help him , But somehow I freed myself of the guilt which would otherwise have remained in me , for  I dont know how long.... !!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Bangalore Indiblogger #AkshayaPatra Meet

I attended the first bloggers meet in bangalore on the 9th of jan, 2011 , which was organized by indiblogger in collaboration with akshaya patra(ISCKON). And it was wonderful meeting such a huge plethora of talented people from all over the country.

From technology bloggers, to poets, to bloggers who write satire,  it felt really special to be amidst a versatile crowd. The event was held at the multivision theatre , ISCKON , Bangalore. It was supposed to start at 12.30 pm, but somehow got delayed by almost an hour. I reached the temple premises around 12.45 pm but could only reach the theatre by 1.15, but it was a huge relief seeing the refreshments kept at the entrance of the theatre, as I was dead tired due to my journey from home at the peak of the day , when sun was directly above my head, or rather everyone's heads.. this is what they say about 12 in the noon right!!!

We entered the hall after logging in with our indiblogger id's at the laptops kept at the entrance, and immediately after that we could see our names on the two huge screens, behind the centerstage that said something like "Pratibha Mohanty entered 0 seconds back".. Wow it felt amazing to be welcomed that way..!!!

After each one of the 277 bloggers entered the hall, the event kick started with  the introductory speech from the indiblogger team. And that was followed by speeches by the founding fathers of the akshaya patra organization. They spoke at length about how the organization started, mid-day meal programs, and their target of feeding about 20,00,000 hungry children by 2020. It was very motivating to hear the story of the largest operational NGO in our country.

Next on the agenda was the program known as "60 Top Bloggers" wherein 60 bloggers amongst 277 people were picked to speak. And I was one of those 60. It was fun hearing other bloggers introduce themselves in their signature styles..And each of the 60 people received a photobook from akshaya patra..:)

After that came the most fun part of the event... We were all given chart papers and sketch pens and were asked to hang them at our backs by a single thread around our necks and we were supposed to write comments on others backs and allow comments on our backs too. The motive was to allow maximum interaction between fellow bloggers.

The day ended with we receiving a cool t-shirt which had the following tagline "INDIAN BY BIRTH BLOGGER BY CHOICE"

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

How I welcomed 2011...

Sorry for writing so late guys... I know I should have written this post 2 days back! But never mind!!! I am back to share the story with all u people out there who care to read my blogs!!! It felt amazing  spending new  year's eve with a bunch of female friends, and I can say it was the best new year's celebration for me over last three years taken together.  We ordered food from outside, gyrated to numbers like sheila ki jawani, and munni badnaam hui and likes, burst crackers at midnight , in short had a gala gala time.

It was a beautiful night full of lights in the sky and sparks inside the house(hehe please don't take this sentence in the wrong sense guys) . What I meant was there was so much melodrama going inside... this space is not enough for me to give a complete description.

There were intensely sweet talks on the phone obviously with their respective guys, there were catfights( 3 cats vs. 1 human ie me) and over what....???

Any guesses....??????

Well!! It was over the color of the nail paint that i was putting on my nails. You may be thinking I must be insane decorating my nails on that particular day when I was supposed to be  having just plain fun!!!

Well Poor me!!! I was the only daisy duck left among three donald ducks(jus kidding), trying to do something feminine... (again kidding). I just meant that the other gals decided to drink and I just opted out of the option. I totally am aware that drinking is no longer a male bastion, and I am not averse to girls drinking either. But that was a personal choice for me to opt out of it.

But those donald ducks din't take to the color of my nail paint lightly...!!! and all sort of accusations were hurled at me..
From trying to be someone whom I am not... To using a wrong color... To trying to woo someone .... and the list goes on!! And  Can you imagine all three pouncing on me for this stupid reason.

But what they possibly didn't know was I can defend my turf!!! like a true champion!!!(no giggles here guys, i am sure I am one when it comes to standing up for things I believe in doing.) If they can change from non-drinkers to drinkers... then why cant I Put the wildest color possible in imagination on my nails...!!! Its totally my call... And even if I am trying to woo somebody... that's none of anyone's business.

Atleast I don't chicken out of situations where I need to accept what I do. If ever in future I decide to drink, I wont hide it ever from people except my parents(coz they won't understand).

After defending my point successfully!!! the good times resumed and we continued having fun till the wee hours of 1st of jan which was again spent very beautifully....!!!!:)