Mawlynnong Village

Mawlynnong village drew a lot of attention when it was declared the cleanest village in Asia in 2003 and then the cleanest one in India in 2005 by a travel magazine. I always wondered if that was an exaggeration or a gimmick , until I was shown pictures by a neighbour who travelled to the place last November.



Despite my apprehensions of living in a fairly remote village  with limited access to medical facilities ( which is a concern since we travel with our toddler ) , with very few eating options ( dinners must mostly be pre booked and the two places that were serving food had only set meals to offer ) and long hours of no electric supply, we decided to spend three nights here in Mawlynnong.

One of the churches in the village

My initial feelings , when I entered the village , were shock and disappointment. It looked nothing like I had imagined it to be . There were mini vans and cars parked at the entrance , lots of tourists haggling with Khasi women who put up make-shift stalls outside their homes to sell articles made of bamboo and other trinkets and even though it looked clean , the true essence of the place did not sink in until the next morning. This is when I realized , most people just stop by the village for a couple of hours to get a picture clicked (for an Instagram update) on one of the tree houses or buy a few souvenirs.

Tree watch tower / tree house  – entry 20 INR
The church seen from on top


Notice the bamboo dustbin

Our home in the village ,Ibansara’s hut , a Khasi home made of bamboo with  basic amenities , was just right. This being a matrilineal society , the youngest daughter inherits property and her husband comes to live with her in her maternal home. So , for the next three days , our neighbours were Ibansara and her genial family.

The entry to the village

As the cars trundled away , the stalls packed up and the cacophony that filled the little lanes was replaced with the sounds of crickets and frogs , Mawlynnong revealed her beauty .  Under a canopy of stars , amidst the dance of fire flies and a drizzle , she lulled me to sleep.

My first morning walk in the village revealed why and how this village gets its fame . The villagers , armed with bamboo dustbins and brooms , are up and about , sweeping away a fallen leaf or flower . Cleaning the village is also part of the social work program in the local school I am told.


These dustbins are now sold as souvenirs , actual ones and also miniatures as well as key chains !

Just as a hurried visit does not let one soak in the essence of this place , one post definitely cannot do justice to the village and its people.

More on Mawlynnong to follow .




Que sera sera

It’s a song passed on from my granny to my mum ,  from mum to me and now to my daughter .

The voice of Doris Day has been familiar at home . Whether it was the sing song sessions at parties or the family picnic medleys , Que sera sera made every member pitch in . It was the first song I sung on stage at a parish gathering and it will always remain special to me .

My daughter loves it , it’s one of her favourites to sing  and may be some day she will pass it on . The message of the song then , will be as relevant as it is today , as it was decades ago .

What ever will be ,will be ,

The  future’s not ours to see ,

Que sera , sera .

Thank you Doris Day for giving us a gem . May you keep singing on the other side .



Listen ! With your ear phones off .

Listen .

Do you remember how we’d listen

despite  the distance

When we didn’t need as many words

and silence was understood ?

Listen , you might notice

my fears in fumbling words

and terror in trembling hands .

Listen, turn down that noise

and may be you will hear my silent

screams .





Crumbling mountains

“ Alone” , she announces .

Armed with the glue stick, she begins .

“ Can I help ?” , I ask .

“ Don’t interrupt”, her little voice is stern .

“ Your mountain is crumbling”, I tease.

She picks it up and chirps , “ It’s beauuuuutiful , mama . I made it .”

There she goes again ! So much to learn from my 22 month old.


( Thank you Lamzu for the art kit you put together , hugs )


Middle C , quivering thumb

It doesn’t sound right

Treble clef , hurried scale

Something’s off .

Bass clef , stern reminder

Needs to be tuned

Both hands fumbling

Starlight waltz blurred

The twinkle from her eyes

Waltzing down her cheeks

Needs to be tuned , yes ,

the tension in those strings,

the piano and her heart .