Shillong Jottings…

Kinnow replaces oranges in Shillong
Normally, the winter months see Shillong flooded with mandarin oranges grown in the southern slopes of the Khasi Hills. Now the shops all stock more Kinnow than oranges. The Kinnow, which is a faux orange imported from Northern India, has flooded Shillong markets and ousted the poor orange which is anyway more expensive than the Kinnow. But are we happy that the mandarin orange – our state fruit if we were to all vote for it – has now been replaced by the Kinnow, which sells at Rs 10 apiece?
The Kinnow is a high-yielding mandarin hybrid cultivated extensively in North India. It is a hybrid of two citrus cultivars – ‘King’ (Citrus nobilis) and ‘Willow Leaf’ (Citrus × deliciosa) – first developed by Howard B Frost at the University of California Citrus Experiment Station. After evaluation, the Kinnow was released as a new citrus hybrid for commercial cultivation in 1935. It came to India some twenty years ago and has now effectively replaced the orange.
This is always the problem with hybridised crops and fruits. They oust the indigenous variety. We can only hope that farmers here do not start planting the Kinnow considering the Khasi mandarin is what Meghalaya used to be famous for but which now yields so little fruit.

Calendar conundrum
The Government of Meghalaya calendar 2021, published by DIPR, went on sale on February 9. The price was fixed at Rs 20 for a single-page and Rs 80 for the multi-page calendar. The calendars were a big hit it seemed since an SJ team member had to return empty handed from the DIPR office the next day. They had sold the last piece or so they said. It was time to head towards Raj Bhavan area where the calendars were being sold. On enquiry, it was found that the single-page calendar was priced Rs 50 and above while the multi-page version was priced at Rs 150 or above, depending on your bargaining skills. The next stop was Khyndai Lad but there was no change in the SJ team member’s luck or the price.

The seller was adamant.
An argument on the actual price of the calendars fixed by the DIPR yielded no result.
Other vendors joined in.The discussions ended in a couple of minutes. Within that time, two persons had bought the multi-page calendars after a half-hearted attempt at price negotiation.Four days have passed since that incident. The SJ team member is now waiting for a free 2021 calendar.

Buses to the rescue
It’s over ten days now that local taxis have remained off the roads and plan to stay that way until their demands are met. But of late, buses have taken over the city roads. Even conductors seem ever-jolly for the buses are jam packed with people.
A conductor of one of the (Government-owned) SPTS buses was frivolous as he romped about shouting: “Mawblei Mawblei Mawblei…” He hadn’t anything to worry about as any Tom, Dick and Harry boarded the bus. What choice did they have, right?
While a section of the people are still fuming about the taxi strike, some are making peace with the fact that the buses will at least get them closer to their destinations if not directly to them.

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