To Pletamen Suting

A better man never lived.


This work would not have been possible were it not for an improbable series of chance encounters I’ve had over the years travelling in Northeast India. Sometimes, randomly bumping into a person deep in the jungle can significantly alter the trajectory of one’s entire life. In that vein, I’d like to thank everybody in the Khasi Hills whose lives briefly intersected with mine in the winter of 2019, whether they were folks who I talked to for hours and have remained good friends with to this day, or people who I spoke to for all of five seconds. I would also like to express my deep appreciation to the village councils of each of the settlements I passed through for allowing me to visit and ask questions.

I owe a special debt of gratitude to my friend Heprit Kynta and his family in the town of Sohra. The same goes for Dapbor, Pynshailem, Pyndap, and all the illustrious Syngkrem clan of beautiful Shnongpdeng village, a place I’ve missed dearly during the age of Corona.

Any author writing about Khasi Living architecture would be remiss were they not to mention the herculean conservation endeavors of Morningstar Kongthaw and his Living Bridge Foundation. If the reader seeks further information on Northeast India’s spectacular plant-based architecture, Morningstar is the man to talk to.

I would also like to thank Wilf Middleton and Prof. Ferdinand Ludwig at the Technical University of Munich, whose research efforts vis-à-vis root bridges have firmly entered the Khasis’ achievements in living architecture into the scientific record, and Dr. Gitu Barua at the University of Delaware, without whom this American middle-class suburbanite would never have travelled to Northeast India to begin with.

And last, but most certainly not least, I thank my family for all the love and support they’ve shown me over the years.