Encounters With Locals – In a Sacred Grove in Meghalaya

 

Meghalaya has sacred groves, small pockets of protected forest, hundreds of years old which are owned and protected by individual communities. They believe that they are the abode of deities and to enter with bad intentions or to remove anything from these groves will result in, at the very least, bad karma. Needless to say, with such protection, the natural biodiversity they contain is quite special. They have also been the place of ritual sacrifices in the past.

My guide was a local Khasi lad who was fun, well informed and, I discovered, studying for BA in Khasi Literature. This is a language I had only discovered a couple of days before and was intrigued as to whether his studies contained researching for stories not yet penned and still in the realms of folklore. More on this but their alphabet and so written text is a relatively recent addition.

As always, I realised there was so much more to discover than time allowed for, but we touched on several topics, enough to leave me intrigued and I was impressed by his knowledge, humour and passion for his culture and the state. Similarly, he was intrigued by my length of stay and passion for India.

As we strolled back to the car however, he asked, “So, how old are you?” I did point out, with a laugh, that it isn’t considered polite to ask a woman her age but then joked about being quite old, confident in that I usually pass for 3-5 years younger than I am. He wasn’t to be fobbed off however, and pressed for figures and so I conceded, “I’m 49,” I told him.

He literally stopped in his tracks, looked at me aghast and declared, “No!! But you look SO much older!”

There went his tip!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meghalaya has sacred groves, small pockets of protected forest, hundreds of years old which are owned and protected by individual communities. They believe that they are the abode of deities and to enter with bad intentions or to remove anything from these groves will result in, at the very least, bad karma. Needless to say, with such protection, the natural biodiversity they contain is quite special. They have also been the place of ritual sacrifices in the past.

My guide was a local Khasi lad who was fun, well informed and, I discovered, studying for BA in Khasi Literature. This is a language I had only discovered a couple of days before and was intrigued as to whether his studies contained researching for stories not yet penned and still in the realms of folklore. More on this but their alphabet and so written text is a relatively recent addition.

As always, I realised there was so much more to discover than time allowed for, but we touched on several topics, enough to leave me intrigued and I was impressed by his knowledge, humour and passion for his culture and the state. Similarly, he was intrigued by my length of stay and passion for India.

As we strolled back to the car however, he asked, “So, how old are you?” I did point out, with a laugh, that it isn’t considered polite to ask a woman her age but then joked about being quite old, confident in that I usually pass for 3-5 years younger than I am. He wasn’t to be fobbed off however, and pressed for figures and so I conceded, “I’m 49,” I told him.

He literally stopped in his tracks, looked at me aghast and declared, “No!! But you look SO much older!”

There went his tip! ūüėČ

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