Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Shillong Jottings


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A man’s passion adds to city’s pride
Anyone walking down the G.S. Road in Police Bazar today cannot but stop, sigh and stare at the riot of colours from the Petunias planted in pots along the footpath. Guess who’s the brain behind this beautification plan? It’s none other than Team Jiva with their distinguishing feature — the green T-shirts with Jiva emblazoned on them and their mover and shaker team leader — Jiwat Vaswani of Jiva Nongpoh, City Hut Dhaba and Jiva Sohra fame. Jiva is also maintaining the traffic roundabout at Police Bazar. Today the place is a well-maintained garden with Team Jiva watering and caring for the flowers every single day.
But that is not the only socially useful work that Team Jiva is engaged in. For over two years now, they have been cleaning Police Bazar, Jail Road and different areas of the city and the suburbs. They are also the key players in Operation Clean-up, which is a group dedicating itself to cleaning rivers. For the time being Operation Clean-up is concentrating on the River Umkaliar and are determined to succeed in their mission. Every Saturday in 2019, Operation Clean-Up has been on their feet to rid the river of garbage. Jiwat Vaswani is always present to pep up the entire team.
Speaking to the Shillong Jottings team Jiwat Vaswani says, “We have only one life to live; we have to give our all to the place of our birth – Shillong, which we proudly claim and lets bring a smile to all those who can appreciate the beauty of nature. My only request to all passersby is ‘Please don’t spit on the flowers and the flower pots and please don’t pluck the flowers; they hurt.”
Team Jiva has also planted several trees around the JN Stadium Grounds. He and his team look after the trees, watering them and feeding them with manure.
“It is rare indeed to find such a committed soul in a city where people don’t care where they throw their garbage and don’t care if the city is filthy,” said a shop owner in Police Bazar. Working closely with team Jiva is the Shillong Municipal Board led by Martina Lyttan. This level of commitment can only invite other equally passionate souls to pool in their efforts to turn Police Bazar into a beauty spot of Shillong.

The New Normal: What is normal?
Of late, hardly a day goes by without seeing at least a dozen people on the city roads without masks. Some have even taken a liking to not wearing it. This respite we have from COVID-19, especially in our state, is cherished, no doubt, but how about not lowering our guard. In doing so, we ensure that us and others around are safe too.
In recent times, some of the states have gone back to the dark days when a bulk of positive cases used to be reported on a daily basis. In some metros word about another spate of lockdowns is on the cards.
In at least two localities, the SJ team heard a number of people who shudder over the rumours of a second lockdown. Not only were those days tumultuous and depressing for many but they also delivered an economic shock that many have not yet got over from. Every person says they hope we don’t have to go through another lockdown.
However, it is not just lockdowns that we need to worry about. It is the daily routine of abiding by the protocols/measures that have been constituted to ward off the infection that tells on our nerves.
Although cases have seen a decline in the state, eternal vigilance and COVID-appropriate behaviour is the need of the hour and wearing masks is one of them.
So, look for a mask the next time you leave your homes and let’s learn to make them an inseparable part of our daily lives. Ladies usually keep extra masks in their handbags so there’s no question of forgetting them at home. Men might like to emulate that example.

We are ready… But for what?
Hai Tayyar Hum (We are ready) — the three words that have left Shillongites with a question mark. The boards and hoardings across the state capital are seen displaying the three words along with ‘releasing soon’. But this is not something new. A few years ago, similar hoardings with a message ‘Hila na paoge’ were put up across the city. It later turned out to be a marketing stratagem by Black Tiger Cement, a Guwahati-based corporate. So, is ‘Hai tayyar hum’ another marketing gimmick or is something actually in the air? Only time will unfold. But the question is ‘Hai Tayyar Hum’ for what? The 11-hour power cuts?

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