Archive for the ‘Shillong’ Category

Baia

June 1, 2014

street fashion shillong india
Baia, 24. Photographer. Likes hanging out at Cafe Shillong.

Photographed in Laitumkhrah, Shillong in January 2014.

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Adivasi Girl | Street Style Shillong

March 1, 2014

adivasi girl street style shillong
A 13 year old adivasi girl. Lives with her sister. From Baksa district, Assam.

Photographed in Laitumkhrah, Shillong.

Sunday Dressing | Street Style Shillong

February 28, 2014

street style shillong
Is quarter Khasi, quarter Assamese, and half Zeliangrong Naga. Currently doing her post grad in Environment and Sustainable Systems.

Wearing a grey cashmere vintage coat from Korea. Zara tee. Dotti skinny trousers. ASOS white heels. Mimco mohair purse.

Listening to Haim, Quadron, Feist, and Arctic Monkeys on repeat.

Photographed on a Sunday afternoon after her church service in Police Bazaar, Shillong.

Young Khasi Boy

February 26, 2014

Street style shillong india

David. About 3 years old. Likes to play with toy cars. Doesn’t mind being photographed. Favourite song: David is a monkey.

Photographed in Lachumiere, Shillong.

A Khasi Family

February 23, 2014

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Sunday Dressing // A Khasi family returning from church. 

Photographed in Laitumkhrah, Shillong in January 2014.

Laitumkhrah Street Style

August 22, 2013

laitumkhrah shillong

Just about three small cars wide, this street in Laitumkhrah is one of the busiest places in Shillong. Considerably empty during the holiday season and jammed rest of the year. (Shillong traffic ranks second in the country in terms of vehicles to population ratio. Isn’t that strange? I find it very strange.) On either side of this street, there are general stores, boutiques, a meat/vegetable market, a dying parking lot, seconds’ shops or box like structures that fit about 4 people at a time, small local restaurants/jadoh stalls(the best thing), cafes, ATMs, liquor stores, game parlours, a post office, back lanes where young people sit in their parked cars to talk, drink, smoke, eat.

When I try to think about it now, I am only able to picture the cafes, shops selling old clothes, jadoh stalls, and the back lanes.

I hung out in this area almost every day. These photos are from January 2011. Most shops were shut as shopkeepers were on the new year holiday break but some stay shut for longer than usual. In Errol’s words: Everyone is too fucking lazy here.

As a slow traveller with no intent of doing anything in particular, you could spend all your days here; there is always something to do.

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laitumkhrah shillong

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laitumkhrah shillong

laitumkhrah shillong

Photos below show how the town people dressed on any given day(except Sundays). 

Old women in patterned sweaters. Young girls in Converse, skinnies, and Uggs. Big warm plaid shawls & Khasi bags on both young & poor. No saris. No kurta-pajamas.

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street style shillong

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street style shillong
Errol Morehead, in his 50s. Anglo-Indian. Ex-teacher, artist.

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Suzann, 17. Kemrik, 21.  Students.

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laitumkhrah shillong people fashion
Wanrieka Passah, 26. Pianist.

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Kid from ‘mainland’ India.

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Vicky Pamei, 28. Ex-flight attendant.

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street style shillong
Kid working at a tea shop.

street fashion shillong

Big bags | Shillong

July 31, 2013

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street style shillong india

Seen mostly on street vendors.

Photographed in Laitumkhrah, Shillong.

Women with Babies | Shillong

July 30, 2013

street style women shillong

street style shillong women

street style women shillong

A common way of carrying one’s baby. Seen amongst lower class and hippies. Not a common sight in ‘mainland’ India.

Photographed in Shillong in January 2011.

Sarahlee Nicholas

July 16, 2013

Likes Randy Crawford. Been listening to a lot of Asa. Is currently looking for Jim Tully’s Beggars of Life.

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“I was born and brought up in Shillong. Growing up as a child in Shillong was pretty adventurous. I remember my locality friends and I inventing our own games, going up to the mountains not so far away from the place we stayed at in search for crabs and tadpoles. As a child I was very notorious, I must say, not so girly too! I cared less about how I looked..was very well known for bullying all the kids in my locality!

Other than regular stuff I studied classical piano for 7 years. I’m a professional musician and a songwriter. I sing for the band 4th Element. I’ve been singing since I was ten, and have been with the band for 5 years now. I like all things original and I’m madly obsessed with ships and castles.

I like Shillong because it’s beautiful and has easy access to everything. Its people and its food make it very special. Although if given a choice to live in any other place, it’ll probably be Bombay, because I feel that’s where you can be who you are! “

 street style shillong india

Describe a day in your life here.
I wake up I eat if I have nothing to do I write. I write a lot actually if I don’t have rehearsals which are once or twice a week. I stay with my mom so I do some house chores like babysitting my niece…then listen to a lot of music & just laze around.

A secret you’re tired of keeping?
I’m secretly attracted to girls. (But I would never want it to come true.)


Photos from January 2011. Photographed near Beat house, Laitumkhrah, Shillong.

Annette

July 15, 2013

khasi woman shillong

Annette. In her 40s. Is a Khasi housewife, runs a kindergarten school, and is interested in fashion.

I took this photo back in January 2011 in Shillong. My host Mary took me to her father’s house. Annette is her half-sister. I wanted to photograph Annette in the attire she was in, but she felt those clothes were dirty, only meant to be worn indoors, and wanted to change into her finer clothes(jeans+booties). First she wore this. Then she changed again because her husband suggested she wore something else.

I imagined this photograph to have some sort of an old-world charm to it. A woman standing on the front lawn of her English home, wearing vintage clothes, awkwardly posing. This was close but not quite it.

Khasi People | Seng Kut Snem

July 15, 2013

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khasi man shillong street fashion

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khasi man shillong street fashion

Looking at the photos from this day I realized that I’ve mostly photographed people who fall socio-economically below the middle class. It’s fairly easy to point out the poorest. Their clothes don’t fit them perfectly(mostly loose) & are usually layered. The way some working women tie their turbans is slightly different than what I have seen before. Suit+tie+white scarf is a common formal-wear for males. You don’t find yuppies at a festival like this. Plenty of people wear plaid shawls; I tried not to photograph many because I’ve done it before. I  find it difficult not to photograph plaids.

My favourite photograph in this post(other than the first one) is of this man.

About this day: Seng Kut Snem is observed to mark the Seng Khasi Movement. This day is celebrated to mark the beginning of the renaissance and awakening of the Khasi community. Read more here.

Photos taken on November 23 2012 in Shillong, Meghalaya.

Women of Shillong | Police Bazaar

July 2, 2011

Photos from Iewduh and Police Bazaar…taken in January.

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street fashion shillong india

street fashion shillong india

street fashion shillong india

Kong(Khasi for sister) is a respectful term, and can be used for any woman irrespective of her age.
Although Mary, my host in Shillong, painted this picture(of a Kong) in my head, and I think the two ladies below get closest to that.

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kong khasi woman street fashion

This lady is also my host’s domestic help. She walks everyday from Polo Hills to Risa Colony and back. That’s roughly about…7kms. a day? She is in her 70s.

kong khasi woman street fashion

“Old-fashioned dresses worn by Khasi ladies of farming families comprise – the ka jympien, a body cloth wrapped round and fastened at the loins with a cloth belt that ends at the knees or just below it. Over this next-to-the-skin undercloth they wear the ka jainsem, sometimes made of muga silk, which hangs loosely from the shoulders down to the ankles and is not caught in at the waist. It has a built-in pocket for small personal articles and is kept in position by knotting at both shoulders.”

However, what most of the women are wearing here is a Jain-kyrshah – a checkered cotton cloth knotted over one shoulder; sort of an improvised apron.

khasi women

khasi women street fashion shillong

khasi women street fashion shillong

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Even in heaven people eat Kwai – a popular saying in Khasi. Kwai is paan made of betel leaf, areca nut, and lime. Everybody in Shillong eats it. It’s a part of their culture, and is addictive(in a good way I suppose). It’s available pretty much on every street, and in winters, you eat it with ginger; it makes you feel warm.

A Kwai addict is easy to identify – red lips!

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Kwai eating lady on the left.

khasi women

khasi women

“If she is young, she will be buxom and comely, with powerful calves that are admired as beauty.” Couldn’t have been more honest with the description.

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Below: a woman selling Khui(Khasi slang for cigarettes) and Kwai..in Police Bazaar.

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“When it gets bitterly cold in the hills, Khasi women wear long feet less stockings; in cases of the poorer families, ribbons or cloth wound around the legs like putties or gaiters.”

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Text in quotes + the scans are from the book Dwellers of the High Hills – The Khasis of Meghalaya.

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street fashion shillong

street fashion shillong

street fashion shillong

I am also considering blogging about houses of Shillong and the way the city looked in January. The houses here look so pretty and different.

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shillong street

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shillong city

shillong city

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Men of Shillong | Police Bazaar

June 21, 2011

I spent a lot of time in Police Bazaar during my stay in Shillong in January. First eight photos are from Iewduh market, rest are from PB.

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street fashion blog shillong india

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street fashion shillong india

Iewduh is the Khasi word for Big Market..also known as Bada Bazaar in Hindi. It’s the largest open street market in north-eastern India. Practically everything is available here – fruits, vegetables, fish to typical medicinal herbs and plants to traditional wood, bamboo handicrafts, and woolen handmade shawls + all the other regular stuff. 

On Sundays from 5 a.m. till the ‘good stock lasts’(usually till 11a.m.), this place holds a market for clothes. Peddlers pile up their stock of clothes on the side pavements and push carts.

A typical pile contains mixed items of clothes- shirts, jeans, coats, etc…and sells for anything between sheepoh(10) Rupees to sanspoh(500) Rupees. Irrespective of prices being dirt cheap..bargaining is normal.

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Police Bazaar is a major hub for all sorts of activities and is packed with street side stalls of food, jewelry, shoes, clothes..to small basement malls and arcades and restaurants and hotels.

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Skinnies with Converse is one of the most common sights in Shillong..although seen less on men and more on women. There are 2 exclusive Converse stores in Shillong and it feels like every person in Shillong owns at least a pair of them. 

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Shillong, other than being known as the fashion capital of India(along with Kohima?), is also known as the rock capital of India. About 90% of the people I met, knew how to play at least one musical instrument really well. However the tag ‘rock capital’ is not quite correct as they’re inspired by music of all kind – from Eminem to Poison to Dave Weckl to Bach, and they do make a lot of music other than rock.

Also, Bollywood is their last source of inspiration for anything but they do like the regular cheesy Bollywood films.

For most, the influences vary from Korean pop stars(RainShinee) to Japanese films(Crows Zero) to the regular mainstream American sitcoms and music videos. If anybody can think of anything else, please add.

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A knife maker above wearing Puma sweatshirt and a watch seller below.

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I loosely connect the way this watch seller is wearing his watches, to this style that has been on the runway here at Jean-Charles de Castelbajac SS 11 show.
Although, multiple time pieces around the wrist is nothing new for fashion bloggers, and this style falls in the same category as the multiple belts – serving no real practical purpose…but still..interesting to document.

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street style shillong india

Next up : some of the most common men’s hairstyles in Shillong.

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men's fashion shillong india

Small Town Women & English Braids

June 17, 2011

street fashion shillong

street fashion shillong

Photos taken in January…in Police Bazaar, Shillong.

Nobody wears pyjamas with shoes anymore.

May 31, 2011

..particularly in reference to black leather shoes..loafers in this case. It’s common to find old men in small cities wearing them with white pyjamas, but very rare in big urban cities…and very rarely would be seen on young men anywhere.

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street fashion india
Man on the street. Photographed in Janurary at Bosco square, Laitumkhrah, Shillong.

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Dheeman Agarwala. Jacket: Govinda Mehta. Black tee: H&M, Pyjamas: local darzi, Loafers: Red Tape.
Location: Versova, Bombay. Photographed in April for my street style story for Bungalow 8.

A rare sight

May 26, 2011

An oversized coat, scarf over a woolen cap, shirt over a sweater, blue lungi over pants, oversized bag, and red gloves – worn out of necessity and privation.

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street fashion

Although, the rare sight is not the clothing, but spotting a beggar in Shillong. Very rarely you’d find one on the streets.

Locals say they are less in number because of the cold, elevation of the city(about 1600metres), and absence of rail connectivity. “It’s a good thing that there are no trains else they’d bring more of them. No beggar would want to sit in a bus, or take a cab, just to come all the way to this height to beg!”

Photo taken at the entrance of the Fire Brigade Ground, on one of the days of a 20 day long fair affair, sometime in January.

P.S. Text in quotes is the view of two Shillong locals…and not a general consensus.

Laundry Girl

May 26, 2011

kids street fashion shillong india

kids street fashion india

kids street fashion india

..waiting on the roadside with a bucket, a bundle of clothes, and some detergent. Photo taken in January..in Risa Colony, Shillong.

Polka dots & Peter Pan Collar

May 22, 2011

Polka dots & Peter Pan collar have been bloggers’ staples for the longest time. The collar keeps coming back on the runway, on the carpets, and on the wish list of men who are obsessed with polka dots. Meanwhile the dots have been everywhere from houses, to music videos, to insects….

Below, they can be seen together on a fashion blogger from Singapore; on a fashion blogger from Europe; in the Summer Collection of a London based fashion label-Dahlia; on an 18 year old art student from Wales, here.

peter pan + polka

polka+peter pan

dahlia londondahlia london

However, the point of all that I mentioned so far is that during my stay in Shillong this January, I photographed a girl wearing something similar….

kids street fashion india

kids street fashion india

..and I find it amazing how different people, from different classes of societies, from different countries, geographically and socially oblivious of the other, end up dressing the same.

The girl above works at a tea shop in Laitumkhrah, Shillong.

Torn

April 30, 2011

ekta rajani

ekta rajani fashion editor grazia india

Ekta Rajani. Senior Fashion Editor, Graziaendorsing my visiting card..wearing head band & floral brooch from H&M, top from Forever 21, belt – a vintage sash from some flea market, silver chain from Accessorize, and gold chain from Chanel.
—–

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street fashion blog

A young drifter in Police Bazaar, Shillong…a little hesitant to talk, wearing his father’s shawl as a head wrap, and other old hand-me-downs, acquired from people he couldn’t seem to recall.

Adventures In Solitude

April 25, 2011

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balloons

balloons

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