Shillong Jottings…

Good old days

Winter and oranges are synonymous in Shillong. Fruit stalls look that much brighter with the ripe mandarins on display. People enjoy the fruit while sunning themselves during the sun-drenched day time. Doctors and dieticians recommend that seasonal fruits are a must more so because citrus fruits are rich in Vitamin C. But only, if we can afford them!
Last week, an octogenarian saw his grandson bring home four local oranges in a transparent plastic bag. The man had no clue about the price of oranges these days. “How much did you pay for these four oranges?”, the man asked looking at the fruits through his thick pair of lenses. Grandson replied rather nonchalantly “Twenty each!”. Making sure that he heard right, the elderly man asked, “Did you say twenty each?”. “Oh yes, I paid 80 rupees for all four”, the young man confirmed.
The grand-dad, perhaps as all grand dads are wont to, became nostalgic about the good old days of oranges in Shillong. In the olden days, he recalled, villagers would carry a big basket load of ripe luscious oranges hawking from door to door. The oranges, especially those from Sohra and foothills of Khasi Hills bordering Sylhet, would be full of their distinctive irresistible aroma, juicy and extraordinarily sweet, he fondly recalled. And the price? With a sense of pride he disclosed that one bhar or 32 oranges, would cost “san suka or shi tyngka piah”. The young man had no clue what the grandfather was taking about. His non-plussed look prompted the man to explain. “San suka” means one rupee and four annas (twenty five paise), and “shi tyngka piah” means a rupee and half. “For all of 32 oranges?” the grandson asked unbelievingly. The old man gave a triumphant smile and said “Not just that; the sellers would generously allow us to a fruit before the deal is struck”.
His walk down the memory lane sounded too surreal for the young man who left the room in complete disbelief. Those were the days…indeed!

Just beat it!
Loud music playing inside voguish vehicles plying in Shillong with loud booming speakers that can cause tremors are par for the course. We are witness to this and can only sigh. But apparently what’s taken over this small town now is individuals, carrying portable speakers, going about blasting hip-hop songs and romping with the beat. Last time the SJ team bumped into one such person, the aura around him was convivial. The man was joyous as ever and completely oblivious of attention he was getting. Many stared at him. But he kept jaywalking. Is there more than what meets the eye? Was it a one-off show? When was the last time you saw somebody blasting music and taking a nice stroll? We don’t endorse or complain. People are at liberty to find happiness in little things!

Beware! No retrofitting
Automotive enthusiasts beware of unlawful retrofitting of motor vehicle parts, especially oversized tyres or alloys and cranky exhausts, as you might now end up in jail. Yes, jail. We know enough about people’s fascination with vehicle modification in this city. But, if you are to take Shillong Traffic Police’s word for it, the practice may become a thing of the past and more and more vehicle owners could end up in prison. In a stern yet nimble fashion, the STP warned vehicle owners against modifying/altering motor vehicle parts. This warning was made public by the STP on their official Facebook page with a picture of an oversized car tyre. The STP warned that besides being a nuisance it even leads to accidents. Brandishing the punishment for violators — imprisonment up to six months and fine of up to Rs 5000 as per alteration, or both, the STP underlined some disadvantages too: Higher cost, reduced acceleration, weighted steering, low fuel efficiency, wrong speedometer reading and little driving comfort. So automotive enthusiasts, take a break and a chill pill.

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