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  • Writer's pictureJoel Koechlin

Day 10 – Mawlynnong to Shillong via Lyngkyrdem and Laitlingkot (Meghalaya)


Today, after leaving the “cleanest village in Asia”, our riding took us to another village called Lyngkyrdem — much less scenic in many respects, but at least it’s people are not suffering of megalomania — where these tribal live and practice that ancestral archery social game that I would compare to throwing darts in a British pub. The archers use these small 3 feet long bows with short and relatively inoffensive arrows, to shoot at a tiny target made of rolled straw, kept hanging from the ceiling. And they bet money on the shots. Trouble is, I had not been briefed properly and I thought these bows were hunting bows — of course I was sort of surprised at the size, but you know, different places different technologies (!)  — and when I was given the bow, I naturally stretched it in my western archer way down to my  chin till it abruptly snapped into two pieces! Just imagine the severe embarrassment I felt, when I saw the face of the poor fellow from which I had borrowed it… Clearly, that was not a good start.


Let Kalki do the talking:

“When we were discussing this trip in the North East, my dad was day dreaming about other things as usual, until Neeraj (our Director) mentioned archery, and his ears perked up like a dog hearing a whistle. Papa has been a pretty good archer, my childhood is full of memories where I would paint different kinds of target for him, colourful rainbows, squiggly snails and smiley faces which would have arrows through them in a matter of minutes as he pulled back, aimed and hit the targets. So today competing in archery with him was more like let me humour him and try to balance the arrow on and not shoot my own foot. We had five arrows each, the first two we both missed the target, the target being a tiny little blob of hay in the distance. Unfortunately though, something strange happened with the second round. The bull’s-eye got right in the way of my arrow, and lo and behold the arrow was stuck in the middle of the piddly hay target. It was pretty much impossible for papa to hit the same target as it was dangling off the wall slightly skewed to one side. The next three arrows skipped through the air past the target and into the wall behind. I beat my dad at archery. Oops.

And then we played a match of football with the local kids and my team won that too. I’m sure I’m going to pay dearly for winning twice today. Let’s see…”


Football in the mist



The muddy “Himalayans” taking a break


In Lingkyrdem village


In Lingkyrdem village

After which we rode back to Shillong, with a brief stop at this crowded cross-road village called Laitlingkot which has built itself a reputation for porc products. And so, you got everywhere these stalls displaying pig heads, pig feet, pig tails and other parts private to the pig that I will not name, all very neatly aligned. As we came by, our wretched Director, Neeraj, attempted to make us eat pig blood pudding in front of the camera, but we both failed miserably to fulfill his request, too much revolted by the graphics of the environment, brrrr…

One word of advice I am sending here, to my pig friends who might be following this blog, please carefully avoid this area if you don’t want to end up as exhibit in spare parts form.


Alethea demonstrates the use of the local tribal straw raincoat


(to be continued…)

Watch our Travel Show on FOX life TV channel coming up in August and you will know how Kalki’s old geezer of a dad fared in the next challenge : off-road, 4-wheel-drive-racing…


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