Thursday, July 22, 2010

Shillong 1974

The Mysterious Snake.
Shillong, India, 1974
“Look, mummy, there are two snakes. Usually we see only one.” My daughter Lata pointed out. We all were surprised as our eyes fell on it
“Yeah, it is a real snake, while the other one is fake one encircling the neck of Lord Shiva.” I said in a subdued tone.
I called my mother inside. She was still with my other kid outside. They came in and I pointed my finger toward the unexpected snake encircling Lord shiva's neck as the other fake one. My mother was puzzled and could not believe her eyes.
“This is a very rare thing happening!” she responded.
That was the time we settled in Shillong where our house was being built. My mother was visiting us from Imphal after my father passed away. We drove to this temple of Shiva at north side of this hill town. Shillong, a beautiful place and is considered a visitor’s paradise. About 5000 ft above sea level covered with beautiful pine trees is is an enchanting hill resort and was once the capital of Assam during British regime. But when India became independent and Meghalaya became a separate state, Shillong became the capital of Meghalaya whereas Assam had to build a new capital at Dispur.
It was on one Sunday in the month of August, that we decided to go to the temple. I drove my car, while my mother and the three kids accompanied me. It was a trip every one enjoyed. My husband Rup was away most of the time as his works were mostly at remote areas of neighboring states.
This Shiva temple was built by the side of a stream running through the rock of different sizes. The girls loved to go to the water which was just knee deep and some places just up to the ankle. These pictures of 1974 brought me the old memories flashing back the time my kids were young and playful. I let them have fun playing in the water for sometime and when they had enough of it we entered the temple for prayer.
There we offered flowers and fruits. Lord Shiva’s statue is always decorated with a snake encircling his neck, usually protruding at the right side of the Lord Shiva’s head. It was always that way we saw whenever we visited the temple.
That day, seeing one more snake similar to the other side of Lord Shiva’s head was something unusual. We were dumb founded. We couldn’t believe what we saw. Well, it turned out to be a real snake. We quickly did our prayer and came away considering it was a blessing to us. But we were also a bit hesitant to stay longer.
These photographs were taken in 1974. My oldest daughter Lata is the one sitting down and while my second daughter Shobha seen standing. Below is the picture of me in 1974.