9/1/2010 to 9/15/2010 | India , Nagaland

Harvest Time in Shiyong

Back in Delhi I arranged a Nagaland permit for Tam, Kip, and I as well as another of Phejin’s friends, Jen, a pointless bit of bureaucratic nonsense that would thankfully be abolished in 2011.  I met up with my friends Tam and Kip on the excruciatingly long and inevitably delayed 2 day train to Assam, in the far northeast of India. We arrived in the early hours of the morning met up with the fourth member of our permit Jen, originally from England, and proceeded on to my friend Phejin’s village of Shiyong.

This would be my third visit to Shiyong, a small village in the northeastern most Mon district of the Indian state of Nagaland.  On this occasion the village was in the midst of their annual rice harvest.  We tried to help out a bit in the fields but it turned out our city slicker harvesting techniques did not meet the Naga standard of efficiency, and our “help” was more of a hindrance.  We were subsequently politely fired from volunteering in the fields.

One of the things I enjoy about Nagas is their love of meat, specifically pork and beef, items which are harder to come by in the rest of India as a result of the religious sensitivities of both Hindus and Muslims.  The Christian Nagas have no such qualms, and there is a saying that the Nagas will eat anything that moves except a car.  Phejin’s family killed a cow to feed the villagers helping with the harvest.  Kip a self-proclaimed foody was anxious to try out his culinary skills on the fresh meat.  It seems he choose to cook the only two things on the cow that Nagas don’t eat, the tong, and the tail.  His in interest in eating such “unusual” items, garnered him curious and a few repulsed looks by the locals.  I choose to try my hand at a more traditionally American dish, barbequed beef ribs.  I’ve never had much success cooking beef in Nagaland, pork has always come out deliciously, but every time I try my hand at beef it comes out too tough.  Undeterred I tried yet again, unfortunately neither Kip’s nor my dish lived up to the visions of succulent tender beef we had in our minds.  My homemade barbeque sauce was right on, but the beef despite a few hours of pre-bbq boiling still wasn’t as tender as I had hoped.  Of course that didn’t stop me from gorging on the tasty but chewy meat.

1 comment to Harvest Time in Shiyong

  • Hi fellow Mon lover! Phejin is a good friend of mine too… I was wondering if you’d like to collaborate on any writing projects concerning Nagaland. If you give me yours, I can email you some of my writing from the state. Cheers, Mudita

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