People Called Shillong – Book Review



Capital of Meghalaya, located in North East, Beautiful, Loads of Rains, Fashionable & of course Music. These are few, actually the only attributes I am aware of, of Shillong. When I received the PDF of the book “People Called Shillong – 50 stories from the Khasi Hills”, I was excited for 2 reasons – this was my 1st opportunity to read a soon-to-be-released book & I was not aware of or had never read anything about Shillong.

I usually read while I am travelling & some times you will find me waiting at the side of the road or seated on stairs, to finish the chapter I have started. Short stories like in this book help in that case, as you can gobble them up quickly. People Called Shillong (PCS) is the 3rd offering by The People Place Project which plans to introduce cities of India through its people & stories. Curated by Nisha Nair-Gupta, it’s a book with 50 short stories talking about the history, culture, tribes, etc of the “Scotland Of The East – Shillong”.

The illustrations will definitely catch your attention. Simple, clean yet very expressive. The author’s are a group of individuals who have bonded with the city at various levels – few are born there, few spent few years & few just visited. Thanks to the different author’s you get to experience different writing style & varied POV (Point-Of-View) cause of the period of the time spent. Being a foodie, Conversations around a Phunga has to be fav amongst all.

“Preserving any culture starts with the food. And what better way to bring people together that with food?”

This story emphasis on the diversity of food & food habits in NE. For an outsider, they all appear the same & going by the preconceived notion – its primarily Non-Veg. But this story makes me wanna visit Shillong, be part of the food walk & taste the amazing Veg food it has to offer. Tea – an integral part of the morning rituals of most Indians. When anyone says tea, Darjeeling is probably the 1st name that pop’s in our minds. The story “An Awakening” talks about identifying the potential of Shillong & producing tea, which is being exported internationally. This city has produced some of the most amazing band for our country. “A relationship with Music” emphasises on the importance of music in its culture & how it’s working towards getting the people together. Few other stories showcase Women being the authority, getting re-married, running the business, etc. This for me talks about progressive nature of the city.

PCS has stories that present’s you their history, culture & their regular day-to-day life. With stories being passed on from generations turning into belief’s, their political history, current scenario & the unawareness the rest of the India has towards this city & vice-versa about the place – all this & more is addressed in this book.

The language is simple making the book a nice & easy read. Looking forward to the complete book.

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