Sunday, February 25, 2024

Shillong Jottings

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Neros of Meghalaya

Last Saturday when some policemen were gunned down in East Garo Hills, the top brass of the Meghalaya Police along with top government officials were enjoying “Date at 8” (a complete laughter therapy drama) at the Soso Tham auditorium.

A senior police official confessed that he went to the (should have been A –grade certification) laughter therapy show and came to know about the assassination of the cops from the internet after they returned home. Some have even compared the situation to that of Rome during Nero’s rule.

The emperor was fiddling while Rome burnt. It is also learnt that the top police officials were not informed about the killing of their tribe or they would have abstained themselves from attending the show. Talking about the play many who attended as a family were rather embarrassed.

When there is certification for films than why not for these plays, said a visitor adding that the organizer must have at least warned the audience before hand about the contents of the show.

Abroad there is a rigorous system rating films and plays, but this particular play clearly for adults only. Many left half way through the show. Now the question is in this age of internet and mobile technology is how come the state police and government officials were not informed of a major militant attack? Many said if this is the response level of our cops then militancy is at our doorstep.

What a Secretariat!

Where in India would you find the Main Secretariat Building looking out straight into a concrete monster that is shabbily maintained but with a stylish name Ferndale.’

How this former trust land slipped into the hands of the wealthy developer is a mystery.

But the apartment building continues to mock and spit at those who sit in the Secretariat, the worst bazaar where wheeling-dealing takes place on a daily basis.

How else would individuals get their hands on all prime land belonging to the Government? The inhabitants of Ferndale apparently have no sense of aesthetics and cock a snook at the Secretariat and its inmates by hanging their underwear, pyjamas and petticoats on the balconies for all to see. What an insult indeed!

The apartment building is see-through so any one with binoculars can actually see what’s happening inside. Money can buy anything and everything here in the state. A time may come when someone might even offer to buy up the Secretariat and ask the Government to shift to New Shillong.

In Meghalaya, anything is possible if a person has money! These private apartments have actually made a mockery of the much touted Land Transfer Act which is now only a piece of paper with no teeth!

Shillong’s Red Fort?

The new entrance being constructed near the Shillong Cantonment Board JRG Hospital at Jhalupara is similar to that of the Red Fort in New Delhi.

This red brick walled entrance reminds one of the historic monument. Many curious tourists asked passersby if it is a replica of the Red Fort. Some said “no” and some “yes”.

Those who were adventurous went deep inside the road to find out if they could also see the ramparts of the Red Fort but only found a dirty roundish road strewn with garbage, thrown by the locality people and rubbish from commercial establishments.

They came back from the other side which is the Lord Mahavir Park and realized that the entrance was deceptive.

The arch with conical shaped stones are placed on the topmost portion of the red bricked wall. Both sides of the entrance are similarly fashioned and it is actually meant to be a tribute to the “Shillong Cantonment Board.” But those who cannot read these silvery words believe it to be some sort of tourist spot.

Motorcycle aficionado

While other legislators in the state dash around in SUVs with red beacons and blaring sirens to announce their arrival Saleng Sangma who was recently sworn in as minister still rides his Royal Enfield motorcycle.

If this Dalamgiri legislator sticks to this mode of transport he will be a role model for his colleagues. Thirty-two year old Saleng says humbly that despite having all the facilities as a minister, he will continue to move in his motorcycle which he has been using for the past fifteen years, now.

Saleng’s name can now be included in the list of those “simple living, high thinking” legislators from all over the world. In Poland, the assembly speaker goes to his office in a bicycle. It may sound weird to our pompous legislators.

But the problem is that we in the developing world are bigger spenders of public money than legislators in the developed western societies.

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