Celebrations in the mountains

In Shillong, Taran and his family find that it is truly the season to be merry

Published - December 30, 2023 11:11 am IST

Slurp!” Mom looked up from her Shillong Aloo Muri. “I know you are enjoying your soup, but is it necessary to be so noisy?”

“Of course, soup vibes better when you slurp, Amma. It’s perfect on this cold winter evening,” replied Taran.

“Warm soup to warm our souls,” chimed in Appa.

“Wah, wah! Appa is getting poetic,” joked Taran.

“Well, Shillong does that to you. The smell of pine cones, the clear blue skies, a nip in the air and Christmas lights everywhere.”

The family was sitting at a little restaurant in Police Bazar, Shillong, after returning from the Elephant falls. Though most waterfalls dry up in the winter season, the Elephant Falls had a gentle flow, and was a visual treat with its three step falls. They were hungry, and happy to be indoors.

“This pukhlien has some very interesting flavours,” noted Appa, taking another bite.

“It’s looks like a kuli paniyaram,” said Taran.

“It is fermented, it is rice and it’s sweet!” said Appa. “So many dishes with the same basic ingredients.”

“I’m in food coma,” said Amma. “Let’s walk in the bazar for a bit.”

Decorations everywhere

The sun had just set and there were twinkling lights all around, as if the stars had descended and settled on the city. Snowflakes, reindeer, Christmas trees … Christmas décor in shimmering lights everywhere. They stopped at All Saints Church, which was also lit up. They peeked at the crib just outside. “Look at Mother Mary and baby Jesus. They look so cute, like us!” said Taran. “Amma, we should try getting a crib of our own next year. Not just a Christmas tree.”

Amma smiled. She could hear Christmas carols. “Let’s go see where the singing is coming from.” They walked a small distance and found a small group singing – “Silent Night, Holy Night! All is calm, all is bright…”

Amma whispered, “My favourite carol.” As she went closer, the singers beckoned her to join. Initially shy, amma looked at their friendly faces and joined them. Appa and Taran looked on and took photos. When Amma was done, she was misty-eyed. “Hasn’t this been the best Christmas?” she said.

“Amma! You sing so well, you must join the world-famous Shillong Chamber Choir,” said Taran giving her a hug. Amma beamed.

“I have a surprise that will make this Christmas even better! I have tickets to the Shillong Chamber Choir tomorrow,” shouted Appa.

“What!” Amma did a little jig in excitement.

“…And do you know what can top that?” added Taran. “Plum cake!”

“True! I know just the place for it: Reen’s bakery!”

“Let’s go and get some then!” said Amma.

“I thought you overate just an hour ago!” joked Taran.

“There is always room for cake!” said Amma. “Besides it is the season to be jolly.”

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.