Family holdings

Four of us were dawdling in Mawlai. When I’m with nieces then every few steps seems to be an Instagrammable opportunity. Our progress down the lane towards our Clan Bus was very slow. While they Instasnapped their stream of consciousness, I began to push my camera through every closed gate I could see to take photos of the houses behind them.

These were really picturesque houses. many built in the old style with slanted corrugated metal roofs. Meghalaya builds against the monsoon. After all, Shillong is only 61 kilometers from Mawsynram, which is the wettest place on earth. Mawsynram gets 11.8 meters of rain a year. Shillong gets 3.3 meters of rain a year, which is substantially larger than what Mumbai gets. So I wasn’t surprised to see the pitched roofs.

I was also not surprised to see the verandahs. These were placed where you could drip off excess water if you got drenched in rain before reaching your house. Also, it would be great to sit on one of these verandahs with a steaming cup of chai watching the rain. The houses were very similar to the style that I’d seen in Kerala, which is another place which gets heavy monsoon rains.

As we were busy photographing the houses and exclaiming over the well-maintained garden each had, a lady who’d been tending the garden came out to talk to us (you can see her in the featured photo). After asking us the usual questions (where were we from, what were we doing there, was this our first trip to Shillong) she started telling us about the houses. It turned out that she and her sisters owned three of them. The others were owned by other grand-daughters of her grandmother. Halfway through this description it dawned on me that among the Khasis property is held by women, and passes from mother to daughter. When I threw a question about her brothers into the conversation, it sank without a ripple. She wished the best of luck to the nieces as we left.

Author: I. J. Khanewala

I travel on work. When that gets too tiring then I relax by travelling for holidays. The holidays are pretty hectic, so I need to unwind by getting back home. But that means work.

14 thoughts on “Family holdings”

      1. Yes. I would always prefer the desert, but it’s hard on the farmers when it’s less. In China that year it rained for 4 months with two sunny days. On those days, all the businesses closed and people went home and washed their bedding.

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  1. First of all, I have exactly the same cap as the featured photo 😉 , obviously bought in Shillong!
    I love those houses in Shillong and we call them as “Assam-Type” as opposed to the concrete buildings. I find them so fairy-taleish! These houses will soon be gone altogether. In the locality I stay, 80% of these houses have been replaced by 4-5 storied concrete buildings. During my childhood, ours used to be the only concrete house in the neighbourhood.
    This post of yours has given me an idea that I should write about them too. So yes, I am stealing your idea and will write about it some time 😛

    Like

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