« Hey Ela, David ! Wait a second… Today, it is Friday, market day. Please have a look. It is only once a week and you will have a good view of Khasi culture » said Hapret, owner of By The Way.
*It’s a weekly market and the day changes every week… better to ask when you get there.
Market + Traveller = Love
Discovering a city, a region, a population through the market is always a privileged moment. In Asia, it is one of the moments where people meet each other and exchange their harvest, products. It is especially a concentrated of culture put in the same place for a couple of hours (Have a look on the market in Shaxi). For us, fans of these moments full of life, it is the perfect opportunity to walk in the small streets, get lost stand after stand, and exchange thousands of smile with sellers. Is there any bigger pleasure than that while discovering other culture?
In Meghalaya state, in north east India, Khasi is the main minority. They installed themselves in this area long time ago and live under a matriarchal law… In the general context of India, what a paradox!
Discovering Khasi at the market
Without surprise, it is crowded. Vegetables and fruits stalls are close to each other. A lot of elderly women are seated at the entrance selling seasonal fruits. Today: grapes, mangos and local cherries. Some big green cherries with a strong sour taste are here for us… Wahou, impressive!
Stall after stall, we start to realize what are the products eaten here and we get hungry. Onions and garlic seem to be some staple products used a bit everywhere. It is also the season for pumpkins. Eggplants, tomatoes, potatoes, ladyfingers, etc…. are also everywhere… They look so fresh and tasty. Difficult for us to know if products are mostly organic on this market but they look nice.
The paradise of Betel Nut
But what is the top number 1 product for Khasi is Betel Nut. This nut is quite famous in the region and the product is even exported in the states around. The betel nut is a product which we could compare to cigarettes. Men and Women chew betel nut all day long. Considered as an excitant, it is finally enjoyed for the bitter taste… We also tried this one… well, no thank you… Not for us. Especially that it leaves a red mouth. For a red lipstick, we’ve already seen sexier!!
Curious by the dress code, Ela also took the opportunity to visit few small shops where materials are sold. These materials are used like sarees but in a different way. Materials look very simple but make woman chic. We even took a piece of material. Let’s now see how Ela will wear it.
We finally have been touched by the welcome, by the numerous smiles. Iarhun, a young 23 year old Khasi woman mother of a 3 year old boy, even guided us a bit around the market and found us a nice restaurant where to try the local cuisine. We have to admit that after 2 hours walking around in this beautiful place, there is a moment where we needed to taste the food.
What a cultural discovery! What a privilege to discover such a place untouched from exterior influences! What a chance to share this moment with the beloved one!