Meghalaya musings

Petrol/diesel at just Re 1 per litre!’ Wait don’t rush in with a can or a drum. It is Re 1 less than the market rate. The board is a gimmick to lure you to the bunk.

Fresh vegetables, milk, meat etc are common. But have you heard of ‘fresh cement’? Well, it is sold here. Welcome to Meghalaya, the tiny state tucked away in the north east corner of the country. Also known as ‘Scotland of the East,’ this ‘abode of clouds’ — that’s what Meghalaya means — is full of greenery and hillocks and well-attired tribesmen. But what I savoured more was the abundant supply of fresh air. With no industry to pollute the atmosphere, the air is oxygen-rich. I greedily inhaled as much oxygen into my system as possible while I moved around. 

And during my week-long hopping from one tourist spot to another, I did neither buy petrol at Re 1 less than the market price nor fresh cement, but I spotted a swarga yatra rath which is their equivalent of a hearse. Is the journey to heaven assured then? My sojourn was too short lived there to find out.

I almost met “Excuse me Tailor.” Or to be exact, I saw the board of a tailoring shop. Tailors are notorious for giving all sorts of excuses for the delayed stitching. Here, it was different. But I was not sure if this particular tailor was excusing his customers in advance for having come to him or openly proclaiming that they have to be ready to hear all sorts of excuses from him for missing delivery deadlines. If only my tour manager had allowed me, I would have met the tailor to get a clarification. There were other deadlines to be met for him. By the way, have you heard of the tailor who said: “Everything is ready sir, except cutting and stitching?”

Back home, it is boarding and lodging for the tourist. It should be board and lodge, say some grammarians. But in this other Scotland, which does not follow Queen’s English, it is “fooding and lodging” for the traveller. And what is cooking in the restaurant? It is “rooti.” Well, it is actually roti. In vegetarian hotels, which are rare, the menu, as proclaimed on the boards outside, is “rice, tea and coffee.”

There are medicos here, too, but they are not medical students as we know them but medical shops and one such medico called itself “Well Health Medicos.” I spotted one ‘Chikitsa Clinic’, too. So, you can get the prescription at the Chikitsa Clinic and buy the prescribed medicines at ‘Well Health Medicos.’

Armed with umbrellas we drove into Cherrapunji, but nature did not oblige us. The collapsible canopy remained dry. Blame it on El Nino?

P.S.: At Kaziranga, we spotted a Kingfisher which enquired about Vijay Mallya and a rhino which said our politicians’ skin was thicker than its.

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