ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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My Khasi Home

The rain-soaked atmosphere of Mawlynnong in the Khasi Hills of Meghalaya, reputedly the cleanest village in Asia, is enlivened by the strength and independence of the women there.

Mishin Iawim did not get annoyed when I entered her kitchen that night without her permission. Mishin, a small-built, middle-aged Khasi woman, mother of Clusterwell Iawim and Ditarson Iawim, welcomed me with an innocent smile. She was wearing a faded pink-coloured cotton traditional dress—the Jainsemtied at the shoulders. In Meghalaya, the abode of clouds, this daughter of East Khasi Hills is not exactly living an easy, comfortable life. Her face reflects her hardships.

Mishin’s kitchen was small, with an L-shaped platform where utensils were kept perfectly arranged. The freshly ground meat masala added to the chicken curry sent off a fragrant aroma into the air, which was more than enough to remind me of the rumblings from my hungry stomach. Firewood was burning gently in a traditional chulha in a corner. Biton Khongsdam, Mishin’s husband, was squatting near the fire and cooking rice in an earthen pot. Everything was spic and span. I felt I had reached home at last. The only problem was that I could not communicate anything with Mishin as she knows only Khasi. But her sons helped us by translating her conversation into English. There were only five of us as guests that night.

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