Book Review – ‘People Called Shillong’

Many years back I had visited Shillong- the beautiful mesmerising capital city of Meghalaya. But like a routine tourist, I just visited the popular tourist places. It was a beautiful experience to stay at a hotel having the picturesque Umiam Lake as a backdrop. It was a pleasurable trip but that was all I did on the trip.

So when I received the PDF of the soon to be released book, ‘People called Shillong’ – 50 stories from the Khasi Hills, I was eager to review it primarily to know more about the city I visited and to read about the stories of its people.

About the book:

People Called Shillong is the third book by The People Place Project. They plan to introduce various cities through its people. Curated by Nisha Nair-Gupta, the book is an exhaustive collection of 50 short stories written by 15 Authors. Nisha Nair –Gupta mentions in the introduction of the book that of these 15 writers, eight are based in Shillong, three who have had a temporal but lasting relationship with the city and four who were visiting writers last winter.

The book includes stories of the tribal kings and their traditional movement, stories about its rich music and cuisine. Stories of its businesses and entrepreneurship and about the inspirational empowered women are a must read.

What I liked about the book:

I like the distinct style of sharing the personal journeys of the people of Shillong which also gives an insight into the culture and the journey of the city and how it has grown, changed over the years. I am glad The Peoples project chose to tell us these wonderful stories as the northeast region of our country has been ignored since ages.

The language in the book is lucid and a good read for anyone who likes to read about places and its people, history, culture and folklore stories. Every writer has their distinct style of narrating the story which makes this book an interesting read.

The illustrations in the book are very aesthetically done up sketches and complement the story very well.

My favourite from the 10 that I read is ‘An activist at heart’ – the story of Padma Shree Patricia Mukhim. The story is about her writing journey which began from writing letters to the Editors of The Shillong Times, covering the various socio-economic and political issues in Meghalaya to eventually becoming the Editor of the newspaper. The story of Patricia Mukhim is indeed very inspiring for all women writers.

Another story which I liked is a very interesting read ‘The Haunted Valley’. This story is about Boits- Dwarfish ghosts believed to be found living in the thick bamboos of the valley. It’s an interesting story of ghosts who are believed to be playful and disturb passer-bys by tickling them.

What could have been better:

Nothing much in terms of the stories but as I got to read only 10 stories out of the 50 that are written for this review so I was left wanting for more. Now I am looking forward to reading more about Shillong once the book is released.

To pre-book you can visit: People Called Shillong

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. The PDF of part of the book was sent to me for an honest review, but the views and opinions expressed here are unbiased and my own.

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