Published: May 1st 2008April 22nd 2008
Shillong has quite a few betting shops - and the betting is on the result of lots of arrows being fired at a target.
Jay and I made our way to the obscure location on the outskirts of Shillong, and observed the daily shooting. The shoot starts in the late afternoon, and there's "on-course" betting so, as an Australian of course, I felt obliged to place a bet.
Basically hundreds of arrows are fired into a target in a period of 4 minutes and those that stick are counted. The bet is on the last one or two digits of the final count. I bet on 2 -but lost as the result was 1. The whole thing is supervised by government officials and is a revenue raising operation. One of the on-course bookies admitted to me that he was a policeman - I assumed off-duty..but who can tell?
One of my fellow punters who was helpful in explaining it all (and telling me that now it was a "dry" event, but once lots of drinking took place) eventually confided that in fact he was a surrendered Khasi separatist guerilla...so we had a good conversation about social issues. He also confided that
he had to be careful with his life because his former comrades weren't too pleased with him!
There are more photos below