On an unlikely and unplanned Sunday in April, I found myself in Longding, a district in eastern Arunachal Pradesh. I was standing on the land of a district whose name I hadn’t heard of previously.
Longding (the town) was essentially the middle point from where a number of hamlets and villages diverged. Hence my short stay here was focussed on travelling out and exploring the places nearby.
I didn’t get a chance to interact with the locals but on this particular Sunday, I spent an hour or more in the centre point of this town. And since it was about 11AM, I probably bore witness to the busiest hour of the day.
After catching the tail end of the Sunday Mass in the church, the crowd dispersed slowly towards their individual homes in small, diminishing groups. While the scene in the market was rather different.
The people of this distant village were friendly and more surprisingly, the youth carried a suave sense of fashion. No two girls trimmed the same haircut, the boys preferred ethnic jewellery and androgynous fashion was in vogue. I knew I should’ve got a haircut there!
The shops were pulling down their shutters for the day and entertained last minute customers reluctantly. The wine shop was scehduled to close at 12 noon as well and I was quite amused to see it open so early in the day. Both—the grocery and liquor shop—ran side-by -side.
But for me, Longding will always be that place where the rough, bumpy roads led me to the most fashionable youth I have ever seen.
Have you been to Arunachal Pradesh yet?