• Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

By Sucheta Chatterji

Growing up partially in Shillong, one thing that intrigued me very much during my childhood days was the game of archery or ‘teer’, a unique system of the lottery on this planet.

Because here the bets are entwined with ‘dreams’ and not the probability of numbers as in most other cases. And nobody considers it as a serious vice, as they would in other forms of gambling….in fact, it’s quite legal in people’s minds.

Whenever alone, as a child I would take a detour through the Polo ground teer field area on my way from home in PoliceBazar to our uncle and aunt’s house in Forest Colony, Shillong. Here I would stop by to watch the game being played out along with many other populations of all ages, gender, colour, shapes and sizes!

The field had an awning on one side where a number of archers sat in a semicircle with bows and arrows, ready to shoot at a target on a wooden post some distance away. Once the signal is given the shooting begins and the number of arrows hitting the target carefully counted. And the last two digits in the number of arrows was the winning number – suppose 245 arrows hit the target, winning number would be 45. Before the game begins bets are placed, as a 12-year old I won 20₹ once for 25p. And it is needless to confess that I was disciplined with a solid beating by my mother for betting in teer. Bets are taken for ‘1st’, ‘2nd’ round and ‘forecast’, and the winning amount increased with the odds.
Shillong had a network of bookies of all gender, setting up a makeshift shop in every nook and corner, mainly in paan shops. They would give you a white piece of paper with your betting amount and number bet on written on it, and it was honoured without fail if your ticket wins.

And now the dream part. The people here believed in interpreting their dreams to decide on the number to bet on.

  1. Erotic dream: 03, 08, 13, 37, 40, 73
  2. Flying in an airplane: 23, 43, 53, 63, 68, 73, 83, 93
  3. Money: 00, 14, 15, 20, 25, 35, 50
  4. Ghost or apparition: 52, 54, 58, 62, 64, 68
  5. An event: 18, 28, 38, 52, 58, 62
  6. Husband and wife fight: 03, 08, 13, 37, 40, 73
  7. Bathing in the open: 08, 18, 28, 48, 78, 98
    And so goes the list! Interesting, isn’t it? The same number is seen for different dreams, so one has to interpret it in the totality of the dream. I remember how people would listen with great interest to thejvm dreams of others, interpreting them instantaneously into betting numbers. Archery is an integral part of Khasi life….they are great archers, and love to pursue archery as a sport.

(The article is solely the opinion of the author)

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