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Teer: Where dreams conjure up hopes for riches
Published on 5 Nov. 2009 11:31 PM IST
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Come over to Iewduh (Bara Bazaar) on any easy afternoon and you may stumble upon potters dreaming leisurely at some quite uninvited corner of this bazaar, called life. These potters have been forcing dreams on themselves for years now searching the unexplained realms, in their pursuit for happiness. They are the day-dreamers. They are the interpreters of dreams. Or maybe perfect cases for Sigmund Freud’s psycho-analysis. You may call them anything, but please be forewarned not to disturb their slumber. At noon after a hard morning of carrying loads some of these potters retire and goes into a trance. According to a report on Sinlung, the whole idea is not to take a well earned rest, but to dream and then interpret them into integers and later place bet. Welcome to the world of Teer (archery) where many believe that arrows hit the target guided by some divine interpretations of dreams. “There is this potter Baban Adhikari who walks daily to Mahadev Khola early in the morning from Bara Bazaar – a distance of five odd kilometres – and sits there near the stream till 10 am to interpret his dream and bet on Teer,” Purna Bahadur Chetri a potter said. Tikaram Chetri another potter who gave up his gambling habit says there are many addicted to this form of gambling and knows of some colleagues who passionately sleep during the afternoon to dream up the magic numbers. These potters, like thousand others here in Meghalaya interpret dreams to translate luck 80 times over and gamble a substantial amount of their income on Teer daily. The manner in which dream are interpreted is unique here in the hills. They are done through understanding of sounds of the local dialect and shape of objects seen in the dreams! For example, Kulai which means horse in the Khasi dialect can be translated into number three. The reason being Lai (which rhymes with Kulai) is the number three in Khasi numerology. If a person is seen in dreams the magic number is six. In Khasi Briew means people and since it rhymes with Hynriew which is six in Khasi numerology hence the interpretation. Coming to shapes, eggs are zero, for obvious reasons, Umbrella is seven due to the shape of its handle, pistol is six due to the shape of the trigger, a fat lady is 88 – now let’s leave this one for imagination. A dead man is nine. Three added to six, because it is believed that man becomes three times heavier after death. On any given day, money worth crores is gambled on Teer. “On an average some people bet anything between Rs. 100 to Rs 500 daily. Few even gamble in lakhs,” Deepak Joshi a Teer bookie at the Bazaar said. Its, however, no dream that there are over 1500 license holders of Teer. In the 2006, Meghalaya generated revenue over Rs 26 lakh while issuing Teer licenses and bookies. The figure has hovered around that number over the years, except 2008-2009 when the amount was about Rs 21 lakh. The tax on betting and amusement collected by the taxation department has stayed around the Rs 1 crore mark annually for the past three years. Apart from the revenue and people’s obsession with this form of gambling, such dream interpretation makes interesting reading. Do people dream in colour or black and white? “Red means saw in Khasi dialect. It also means four in Khasi numerology and once you dream the colour you know what number to bet on,” S Nonkynrih winks.

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