Kongthong village is like any other villages nestled in the lushly-forested East Khasi Hills with its quaint huts and farms fringed with betelnut trees, this tiny hamlet is inhabited by nearly 700 villagers who cultivate the land, hunt in the forests and live a peaceful pastoral life. The uniqueness of this village is not in the landscape but the whistling sounds, as villagers communicate with each other by whistling a tune unique to a person and not calling names. Typically inspired by nature and natural sounds, each lullaby – or jingrwai lawbei in the tribe’s dialect – is anything from half-a-minute to a minute long. The mothers of the village use these melodious tunes to call out to their children, who learn to respond to them quickly. Interestingly, it’s only the title of lullaby (about 5-6 seconds long) that is used by the villagers to call out to each other. Among themselves, they never use their official names!
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