For team PPP, exploring Shillong was a welcome change. Wandering the roads, talking to the people, finding out their stories and history of a city we know nothing about.While looking for stories everywhere around, we ourselves also evolved in terms of say perspective and experience.
Priyanka from team PPP says that this story- finding process has made her break out of her shell, pushed her to go ahead and talk to people which she otherwise does not do. It has made her more confident and helped her in learning how to start conversations with people. Talking about the city she says ‘Its an unexplored paradise and somewhere it should be left like that because only then will people themselves visit in curiosity and discover the beauty that lies here. ‘
Arjun says the process of researching for Shillong brought out certain hidden elements. Talking about his interests he says, “it was wonderful covering the stories of people from outside North-East who are now settled in shillong- stories of the Chinese communities, the Punjabis settled here and more such communities. I also experienced that people do genuinely open up to you and tell you their stories if you approach them in the right way.” He further reveals that during the story finding process, he saw the city in a different light- the city’s cultural history, political history of Shillong and Meghalaya as such. Talking about the city he says, “Shillong is like the micro-cosm of the North-East, people from all over NE and India are settled here living in harmony. Shillong is much more than the serenity and natural beauty, the culture and the tradition- its beyond everything that people say about it.
Alethea says that she had never written professionally before PCS and this was her first time. Writing in a third person format was also something new to her and it was while writing that she got the hang of it. She mentions how she got to talk to new people because even though she is a Shillongite, she never really moved out of the group of people she already knew. Since she belongs from Shillong, this whole process holds a sentimental value in her heart. She further mentions how she learnt a lot about the Khasi traditions- traditions which they followed because they were passed down from generations to generations but never really knew their significance. Lastly talking about Shillong she says ‘ Its like an onion; from the outside you think you know everything but its only when you peel it and dig deeper that you realize, it has several new details and layers yet to be discovered.’
Mayborn says he was super thrilled when he was selected. He took this as an opportunity to look at society in a new way, an opportunity to get to know the tales of people, their stories. This was his first project, the first time that he was writing for an audience outside Shillong., an opportunity for him to get a wider feedback about his writing. He learnt how to interact with people through the story finding process. He further mentions ‘ I developed a new perspective towards life and saw how the untold stories of commoners contribute to the society, moreover how crucial they are.’ He goes on to narrate how nervous he was to interview a famous artist ‘Lamphang Syiemlieh’ but once he got talking he realized that artists are also people just like him and us. Lastly talking about the city he says that Shillong is a beautiful city and its very beauty lies in the huge diversity, the fact that people can follow any religion and follow any path of faith that they wish to.
A little conversation with the authors revealed beautiful vistas and voices that make Shillong. This, however, is merely a glimpse. We hope the book- People Called Shillong shares many such windows to discover this beautiful city. Keep reading the space for updates on the book that will have interesting stories written by these and more such amazing people.