Friday, July 19, 2024

Shillong Jottings


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The narrow roads and the traffic tango!
In a place where even ants would find it tough to navigate, Shillong’s Police Bazaar has emerged as the go-to spot for tourists seeking the perfect selfie backdrop. Yes, you guessed it right – the iconic “I Love Shillong” sign, where visitors express their love for the city, one selfie at a time.
However, behind the facade of picturesque selfie points establishing thy love for the city, the narrow roads continue to witness a daily showdown between cars and pedestrians. It’s a battle of wits, or rather, lack thereof.
As pedestrians assert their right to walk on nonexistent footpaths, car horns blare in protest, creating a symphony that is anything but pleasing to the ears. And who’s to blame for this spectacle? Well, could be the city planners’ lack of foresight.
The streets resemble a scene from a slapstick movie, with cars inching forward like hesitant caterpillars on a tightrope. Navigating these streets requires the agility of a ninja and the patience of a saint.

Where are the bookstores?
The hunt for a good book is akin to searching for a needle in a haystack, in Shillong as the bookstore numbers are dwindling and are as elusive as a unicorn sighting. God forbid if you are hit with a sudden urge to indulge in some literary therapy, but alas, the options are as scarce as a sunny day in the monsoon season.
With bookstores dwindling faster than hopes of finding a parking spot in rush hour, book lovers are left with fewer choices. Gone are the days of leisurely browsing through shelves brimming with variety; now, you’re lucky if you can even find a handful of titles to choose from.
And if by some stroke of luck you’re in search of a book on the North-east, well, you might as well be searching for the roads without potholes. One poor tourist was recently overheard lamenting his misfortune at a prime bookstore location, where the shelves were as barren as a desert when it came to literature about the region’s culture and politics.
In a sarcastic jab that was overheard by this Shillong Jottings member, he quipped, “Why bother stocking books about the North-East when you can just fill the shelves with the same old titles found in mainland India?”


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