Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Shillong Jottings


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Respect for the dead; not for the living

Recently while visiting a patient admitted in Shillong Civil Hospital, Male General Ward, a visitor noticed that the patient sleeping opposite her relative was fully covered from head to toe with a shawl.

The visitor asked why the patient was covered. To her astonishment, she was told that, it was a dead body, which had been lying there since 3 am. The visitor was shocked and terrified. Some patients who were sleeping near the dead person had to stand outside and wait for the concerned people to remove the body from there.

The visitor reached the hospital at 8:30 am, which meant the dead body had been lying there for almost 5 hours. She asked why the hospital did not take the dead body to the morgue where relatives can then come to claim the body. She got no answer.

Leaving a dead body in the ward for so long is a terrifying prospect for other patients and their visitors.

The body was finally taken away from the ward at around 3 pm, twelve hours after the person had died. The poor patients were appalled at the way the system works but have no voice.

The only respectful thing done to the body was covering it with a shawl from head to toe.

 Taxis a dying breed?

Are the local taxis in the city facing threat of extinction? After the successful launch of the SPTS bus service, the government is now going ahead with the maxi cab services in various routes of the city and outskirts.

Naturally the local cabbies feel threatened. Their earnings are dipping like the winter thermometer. This ia a classic example of how fortunes change. The local taxis were once the king of the roads and lorded it over passengers.

Today they have learnt some humility but many still take unsuspecting tourists for a joyride. A taxi driver recently asked a passenger whether the government is aiming to kill their livelihoods?

The passenger replied that taxis have always decided the routes. Now it’s the passengers who will say where they want to go. Elderly persons for instance may need to be dropped at their doorsteps, the passenger explained.

The cab driver listened in humble deference. The public will take nonsense up to a point. Beyond that they find their own way of settling scores, the passenger told the taxi driver. Well said!

 Making a kill selling quilts

The sudden onset of winter in Meghalaya saw brisk business in the quilt and blanket stores at Khyndailad market.

The roadside vendors are selling Chinese quilts, fleece, blankets and warm clothes like hot cakes. This is the time of year when they make a killing by selling their stuff at four times above the actual prices.

A resident of the town bought a light Chinese blanket for Rs 300 when the actual price is not more than Rs100. Shillong like other state capitals is flooded with Chinese goods; most of them very affordable for the common man.

But there are huge price differences between one city and another. In Fancy Bazaar Guwahati the same blankets are sold at wholesale rates, thereby bringing the price down. Is that because Guwahati is not yet cold or never as cold as Shillong? The good old days of the quilt maker brilliantly executed by people from Bihar is a thing of the past. It is patronized only by the conventional lot.

Many prefer the easy way out of buying cheap, warm blankets. Early winter also means a hole in the already leaking pockets, what with having to pay for warmth. “Its never an easy option for the aam aadmi” remarked a wit.


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