Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mumblings on beauty

We little girls in the neighbourhood would sometimes sneak off with our mom's and elder sisters' clothes and cart them off to a friend's place. There we would pile them up and try them on for an impromptu fashion show. One of us, usually the eldest would act as the MC and she would call us out one by one and we would sashay on the kitchen floor.


One time, this girl, maybe a couple of years older than us, moved to the neighbourhood and we invited her to join our fashion show. Instead of wearing someone's mom's clothes, she draped a curtain round herself. We gawked at her elegant make-shift gown and her exaggerated poses on the kitchen walk. And then to top it all off, when the MC asked her where she came from, she threw her hands up in the air and cried, "I come to... CUBAAA!!"


That for us was the pinnacle of glamour. Never mind that our teachers taught us that the correct response when someone asks where we come from is "I come from..". We all wanted to come to (dramatic pause, hands thrown upwards) Cubaaa. Afterwards, we would suck up to whoever was the MC so that she would call us out first and we could claim Cuba. Being very sucky at sucking up, I came to Cuba just once, but oh, the utter divaesqueness of the moment! It didnt matter if youre born in the USA, or you come from the land down under, or you could fly yourself to the moon. Cuba was it. Original Cuban girl too could never afterwards match up to her debut performance. 


Often, I find myself wondering what makes a person attractive. Classical beauty aside, there are certain people who others are drawn to like sugar to ants. I once had a roomie who was quite frankly, certainly no raving beauty but every time we went out in a group, she always, ALWAYS, had at least two romeos who walked up to her on the street and who introduced themselves to her. Being prissy little teens then, we would wonder what the attraction was and surmised that she must've batted her scanty lashes at all the guys she passed (meowr). 


Looking back, I think now that it was her sheer exuberant, laugh out loud persona that was the attraction. Roomie had always been able to have a good laugh with even the dourest person, and even when she hooked up with the guy I and a friend had been heavily crushing on for months, she could still make us laugh our stomachs flat. I think that too was the attraction posed by Cuban girl. The curtainy gown and the posing were pretty good but in itself were nothing worth remembering after 20 years (omg 20!!!) And though I can't recall her face, I cant forget the starry look in her eyes, the exuberance in her raised arms and the total openness of her smile as she cried "Cubaaa!!" She made Cuba seem like a place where all was sunshiney and beautiful. Wonder what Fidel would make of her.


So, .. er, physical beauty aside, I guess attractiveness depends on the happiness that a person exudes. Which is why I think Victoria's Secret models are soo attractive. Apart from the slinky bods and the sexy lingeries, its the friendliness and the "I have fun" attitude which they exude that sets them apart from the other sulky-looking models out there.  
Still, I think batting one's scanty lashes would do the job pretty well too...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A little something to ensure my blog doesn't get all mouldy. A friend recently told me I was bipolar, when I thought I was just being indecisive. Admitting that I might be bipolar seemed to me like I was not taking responsibility for my actions. Blah
 I guess I really am bipolar because I started off all interested in the subject but now I find I no longer want to talk about it. Bleh.


I never thought I would run out of things to say. I guess age and ennui catches up with us all at some point. Ive never subscribed to those who say, "If you don't have anything worthwhile to say, then shut up". 
Now I guess I have no choice but to shut up- again. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

flutterbug

A couple weeks back I sat on my phone and busted its LCD or something and its display was totally shot. Saw a few pretty sights and though I could not see what my 2MP phone cam was capturing, I aimed and shot anyway. Here are some of those blind shots. A picture, some say, is supposed to say a thousand words. For those of us who don't know an SLR from a "Deegeetal cam'ra, cheeep cheeep" hawked on a train, and who completely lack artistic vision, our pictures need the shooter to speak for them. So here goes-


After a night of hurling itself against a tubelight, this moth landed on my sister's wall and refused to move. And she decided to jazz it up by painting nail polish streaks of 'passion pink' and 'silver nights' and glittery 'deep purple' on its wings. They became so heavy the moth could no longer fly, so it fluttered thickly and died. Its corpse was soon surrounded by an army of scavenger ants busily wondering how best to divvy up the shares and transfer this prime booty. The decision was left out of their hands as my sister swept them all up, moth corpse and hungry ants all.







This one was taken after a day of relentless drizzling. In the evening, a watery sun emerged and was soon engulfed by fat lazy clouds. They battled it out and the sun stubbornly sent out its rays through gaps in the clouds. I wish I could have done justice to what emerged- rays of sunlight majestically beamed through cloud covers, as Reiek Tlang in the background stood a silent spectator to this battle of elemental wills. 







And finally, this-
I dont care that the picture's of really poor quality. This one is my fave. For years I've wished on that star (or planet, whatever), silently chanting "Star light, star bright etc". And though wishes don't always come true, I still love that single star in the sky. Especially this- captured on the same evening as the pic above. The heavens braced itself for one more night of deluge and this star chose that moment of calm and storm to shine. That night it disappeared along with all the other celestial objects but boy- did it seize its opportunity. That night it stormed- a lot.




And I, a mere speck in infinity, could only gawk as nature unleashed a tiny part of its fury. "How great thou art".

Saturday, October 9, 2010

weak blood

Once again my blood failed to make the cut. Low HB count. My grandma is battling cancer and she needs blood transfusions. Way back in March, on my Birthday, I tried to give her my blood but I was rejected back then too. And prior to that there has been numerous rejections because I was either underweight, or I had low BP or HB count.

I have a healthy appetite, Im generally healthy, I'm well-rested, I'm pretty fit. So why is my blood unfit for everyone else? My blood type is described as a "universal donor", but apparently there are strings attached that I'm unable to swing to. Anyone out there knows how to increase one's HB count? 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

September and loss.

September seems to be a month for loneliness. M2M wailed about "September 22nd, Sunday, 25 after 9" (The day you went away), Taylor Swift sang "September saw our month of tears"(Tim McGraw). PWT's also sang about "Lonely September", Daughtry rasped, "We reach for something that's already gone" in "September" and yes, Green Day hated this month so much that they slept thru it, asking to be awakened only when September ends. Anymore sad September songs I've missed? (Daughtry pic posted for eye-candy purposes, but havta admit he looks like an air-head hefty wrestler here. Oh well)


I lost and found love this September, albeit love of two very different kinds. I found love when I was told that the recipient of that love asks for nothing in return but that we love Him to the best of our abilities. That His love is patient and that it waits until we are ready. That it does forgive and forget failures. I lost love when my needs were greater than my willingness to meet other's  needs.


I suppose, in the human context, I've never really learnt what selfless love really is. I hated the phrase "If you love someone, you have to be willing to set them free" because for me love was all about holding on and on and on. As long as I love that person, I thought, I had the right to hold on to him. In my selfish quest for love, I focused only on what I felt, forcing my needs and my emotions on someone else, unthinking of the other person's state of mind. Harsh lesson learnt.


October's just around the corner. I don't know why but I've always looked forward to October, some atavistic feeling of nostalgia for the "Khuangchawi Thla" of my ancestors, I guess. September has seen me finally learning that love IS about setting someone free, despite my very selfish inclination to hang on like a limpet. The hope remains that that love will return someday, and while the old me would never have had the patience to wait for that elusive "someday", today's me has found a love that gives me the courage to wait, to hope and to endure if that hope never materialises. 


With the end of September, Im stirring from my slumber. I've gained some kind of wisdom and a great love, so September, despite my title, isn't actually a loss. Hope your Septembers were as fruitful.

Friday, September 24, 2010

You.


Rage burned itself out in the face of Your patient wait. Anger dissipated when You held me as I ranted. You let my tears fall unchecked as I sobbed out my anguish. You allowed me to voice my fears and all my psychobabble. Then You picked me up and held me till I stopped shaking. 

You led me outside and showed me what I had been missing all along. Skies so blue they hurt my eyes. Storm clouds gathering on the horizon as their sister clouds lazily drifted over my head. Mountains spread out as far as the eye can see. When night fell, I tried to count the stars but they just kept multiplying before my eyes. The full moon bathed me in its light as the first raindrops fell on my face. "How could You not know that I love you?" You said. "I made all these for you".

You led me inside and sat me in front of the mirror. You traced the crow's feet around my eyes. "For all the times you  laughed, and made someone laugh with you". The calluses on my fingers. "For all the times you helped someone". The faint tracks of tears on my face. "For all the times you forgot yourself and thought about someone else's pain". My shoulders. "For all the times you helped shoulder someone else's burdens".
"For all those I love you", You said.

Then You touched my mouth. "For all the times you've deliberately said something to hurt someone". The scar on my hand. "For all the scars you've left on others". And then my heart. "For all the hate and the pride it holds. For all its fickleness and its inconstancy. For its unthinking selfishness. For its wantonness. For its rage. For its rampant disregard for others". 
"And yet I still love you", You said. 

And because You love me, all the good and the bad, and because You show me that love every single day, I love You back with all the love that this imperfect heart is capable of.

Monday, September 13, 2010

In requeim

It was a broken down concrete fence on top of a hill in a little alley way. There we'd sit and watch the city spread out beneath us. And we'd share a smoke as the breeze played with our hair. Words weren't needed but we spoke them anyway, free to speak or to remain silent, free in the way lovers are free. Time was ours to steal as we wished. One night we climbed a water tower on top of that hill and we watched the stars come out and the city lights go out one by one.


That fence has been torn down, as are the old buildings near it, to make way for renovations. We no longer go there. All thats left are ghosts and shadows of the people we once were. The girl on that fence- free, laughing, confident, loving and loved- no longer exists. Time hasn't been kind, and our words are now restrained and stilted, imprisoned in the way lovers are imprisoned. Night fell, the stars refused to come out and the lights all went out.


There is a definition of a friend that I had always loved- That a true friend doesnt just pull you out when you're sinking in the mire. He jumps right in with you and supports you from behind, willing to be as entrenched in your mire as you are. But the mire has been too strong and somewhere along the way, we no longer fought to get out together. We ended up fighting each other, and we sank deeper and deeper. There is now no way out, no distance left to run. 


It's harder for me to say goodbye to that girl on the fence. If I could tell her what I know now, I'd tell her her fears came true, that the nameless fear she felt that day when the sun set has now been met. The wish she made on that first star didn't come true. If I could, I'd have told her to live for that moment- but then again, she did. 
She lived for that moment. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Snakes, death, a wedding and a song for the lovers.

Recently, one of our Gospel singers came under fire for posing with a python and publishing that photo on FB . Some people thought she was "satanic" and some remarked that it was highly inappropriate for a gospel singer, that too a female, to pose with a snake/ python. Maybe it's the Snake in the Garden connotation but if I'm not mistaken, we Mizos have always been antagonistic towards snakes. Recently, there has been intense debates on public forums on whether we should kill or spare snakes. Killing snakes that are potentially harmful, I can understand. 


However, I wonder what it is about posing with a python that would prompt the Satanism comments. If we're going to connect all snakes with the Devil because of the Eden incident, why not just denounce all pigs as demon-possessed too? Selective Satanism at play here? I have posed with a garden snake and gifted a snake corpse to BF. I don't eat pork. Am I unknowingly Satanic then? Then again, Im no gospel singer so maybe that doesn't apply to me. Yay!


A boy I once knew OD'ed recently. He is/was the cousin of a friend and though its been years since I saw him last, his death came as a huge shock. I remember him as a quiet, nice little kid with great musical potential and I'm angered/saddened/ grieved at the loss. Death is harsh, but when it happens to the young, it seems even more so.


My 40 year-old uncle got married yesterday. His bride is 26. So that means when his future bride was born, he was already a 14-year old boy-man. Sounds ew, I know, but strangely they look right together. There were a few close calls along the way for my unc but his heart was never really in it. It took him 40 years to finally marry his soulmate and he is ecstatic. So take heart, lonely ..er.. hearts. The search ain't over yet.


And finally, this one's for everyone who has loved, has lost, is hoping to love and who currently loves.
Richard Ashcroft's " A Song for the lovers". 


 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNnh8nszFU0

Monday, September 6, 2010

For an Old Teacher

The school grounds were lush and green, cherry blossoms and tall fir trees lined either side of the long driveway and old colonial-style buildings served as classrooms. If you peep through the holes in the dividing wall,you could see animals like deer, monkeys, assorted birds and a tiger and a bear from the neighbouring mini zoo in Lady Hydari Park.   


And it was in this school that I felt my academically dumbest.


As was customary among many Ist Div students, I was made to take up Science stream after Matriculation. XI was okay. I failed in Physics but then I always failed in Physics, so it was not that big a deal. Percentage-wise, I was second in class, so they made me Asst. Prefect. 


And then Class-XII happened. Physics teacher said, "My God, you are so vague" which was pretty much what I expect since I get that reaction a lot from my Physics teachers. Then Chemistry teacher said, "Aiyaaa, what to do. All your reactions are wrong". and Maths teacher said, "Noh!"


Biology, in which I was a pretty good student also defeated me. I had always been slightly intimidated by our Bio teacher's very cosmopolitan, larger-than-life persona. So when one day, after a particularly bad test, she asked me to stay back, I was pretty scared. I was surprised the, when she said, "You know, the world needs poets and writers as much as it needs doctors and engineers. Your English marks are good. If things dont work out with the Science subjects, you could opt for literature or Mass. Comm."


Then she showed me my marks. Incredibly, she had given me an 8 for a 12 mark question, though I knew I deserved only a 4 or 5 at most. I remember the question was about the human eye and my answer contained only about 15% of biological facts. The rest was a desperate mish-mash of what I have gleaned from Physics about lenses and my own personal, rather flowery description of the eye's importance. And I had drawn a large diagram of an eye, complete with mascara'd lashes and hints of eye-shadow. Rendered in pencil-gray.


With a smile she said, "4marks for accuracy, 3 for creativity and 1 mark for cheekiness".


Perhaps this was not the most ethical means of grading a paper, but by then I had become the student with the lowest marks in class, my Asst. Prefect status was removed, so I was feeling pretty dumb. And it was'nt that I slacked off. Those were probably my most studious years. The Sciences were simply beyond me. Therefore what she said had a pretty huge impact on my shattered ego.


I couldnt forget what she said. I told my parents I want to continue with Arts after XII, but they were against it. Then by a stroke of luck, I failed my ISC. And they had to concede that I did not have the aptitude for Science. I had to repeat my XII, and once again had the lowest marks in class. Despondent, I considered throwing in the towel and it was again Bio teacher who spurred me on.

"We have had two Pachuau girls who completed ISC here. And they were both toppers. Looks like you're going to be the first Pachuau drop-out. Perhaps you Pachuau girls aren't so tough after all". Incensed, I completed my ISC with a respectable IInd Div. 


I saw her just once afterwards. She had recently had an operation for an ovarian cyst and we went to visit her. There was a mini-basketball court on her lawns and she challenged me to a one-on-one game. I told her I cant play and she said, "Im playing with a handicap. Dont be so wimpy". So we played. 


I can still remember what she looked like that day. Pale and haggard without her customary theatrical make-up, thin from the operation, but laughing loudly in complete abandonment. 


I dropped Science and took up English as my Majors after that. And I have never had cause to regret it. So far "4 for accuracy, 3 for creativity and 1 for cheekiness" has managed to serve me well.

Friday, September 3, 2010

From the Twilight OST

I prefer my vampires to be pistol-wielding, martial arts performing, black clad monsters ala Selene in Underworld. Or if they have to be metrosexual, then Lestat in Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles will do very well too. Granted I loved the Twilight series when I first read it, and vampires sparkling in the sun because they had diamond skin (hard and cold) didnt seem as strange. Then Robert Pattinson happened. And Twilight lost much of its appeal. Because a constipated looking, rosy-lipped, blingy-skinned, love-struck, 'vegetarian' vampire just doesnt shout "Danger!". So sue me.


Digressed from the first para itself, heh. Ive been listening incessantly to Iron and Wine's "Flightless Bird, American mouth" and Muse's "Neutron star collision", both of which featured in the series' OST. The series has great soundtracks, btw. 



Muse's "Neutron star collision" generated a lot of hate from muse fans who think the band sold out to the pop-culture infested Twilight. One fan remarked: "The jokers that are saying that they love this song and want go see Muse because of this are not Muse fans, but twilight fans disguised as Muse fans serving only to ruin the rock gods that existed before" :D

Twi-haters aside, I think this is another great song from Muse. Written after a break-up and reminiscing on the first flush of romance when everything feels like its gonna be eternal joy. The celestial-sounding romantic elements aside, my fave parts of the song are the lines:
"The world is broken and halos fail to glisten
We tried to make a difference but no one wants to listen
Hail the preachers, fake and proud 
Their doctrines will be cowed
Then they'll dissipate like snowflakes in an ocean".



A song full of exuberant hope and an "us against the world" mentality of young lovers. In contrast is Iron and Wine's  "Flightless bird, American mouth", a great track which speaks of the loss of individual innocence and the degradation of the American dream or of dreams in general: 
"Now Im a fat house cat
Nursing my sore blunt tongue
Watching the warm poison rats
Curl thru the wide fence cracks
Pissing on magazine photos
Those fishing lures thrown in the cold and clean
Blood of Christ mountain stream"


Satiated through over-indulgence, the once eager impulses deadened by ennui, faith corroded by too much too soon. The promising great soaring eagle we once were is now a "Flightless bird, grounded, bleeding". 
  

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Anger...

... he smiles tow'ring shiny metallic purple armour"- Jimi Hendrix (Bold as Love)
He's wrong. It's an all-consuming fiery crimson red.


What gets your goat? Normally a relatively placid being, these days I'm like a lit firecracker, exploding at every turn. 


Its been a busy, busy time- house construction, demolition, moving, cantankerous nephews to babysit and personal problems of my own, which all adds up to make me a very volatile person right now. I'm generally "Slow to anger, quick to forgive", or at least I think I am. But when I do get mad, I need a good, healthy bellow before I can move on. 

I wish I could be like those people who, when they get mad, keep silent and go away for a while and return when all's well. Me, when I can't find an outlet I brood and my anger just builds. And now its even worse because it seems my temper is frayed all the time. And the sucky part about my kind of anger is, its the kind that's a precursor for crimes of passion. 


Take my conversation with my hyper-active 5 year old nephew yesterday. 
He: "Nu Kuku, can I play with your lat-top, Anuteii's det-top doesn't have bike games.
Me: There's none in mine either, bawih. Besides, I told you you can use my laptop only when you turn 7. 
He: pleasepleasepleasepleasePLEASEPLEASEPLEASE....
Me: No. Here's some crayons. Go play.
He: No (throws them away)
Me: NGE I PAIHHHH!!!!???  CHHAR  VAT RAWH!!!! I
He: (startled, backs away) Nu Kuku, min ngei ami? (Do you hate me?) *walks away sadly.
Me: No...  (heart breaks)


These days it seems my family gives me side-long glances, then hastily averts their eyes when I look at them. I try. I really try to be calm. I take out my Bible very night and pray. But right now Im currently on the chapter where Eve's descendants are cursed to battle forever with the snake, so I guess I'm in battle mode too.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Rehashes.

Reread Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid". And no, this does not indicate my second childhood.
The full story's here. This is becoming my favourite fairy tale. Beautiful lines there- "mermaids have no tears, and therefore they suffer more". The pathos in this sentence really got me. Mermaids aside, its awful when you cant find an outlet for pain through tears. Well, not that its happened to me, being a closet crybaby. My sister described giving birth as "pain beyond tears". I once went to a funeral where the deceased's husband kept patting the body of his dead wife, his body racked occasionally by dry sobs that refused to give vent to tears. I cant imagine greater pain-physical or emotional- than those. Ariel's story, where she loses the love of her life and gains a soul in the process made me reinforce that old cliche, "Its better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all". Love might hurt like a b!t$h, but its always worth it.


The Lit student in me remembers the feminist dictionary definition of fairy tales as a "harmful cross-cultural educative story told to unsuspecting children that shows women as passive, opportunistic or cruel" (Cheris, 149) where passivity is praised and "powerful female figures ... were either deprived of (verbal) power or their power was transformed into the wickedness of witchcraft" (Bottigheimer, 149). Yeowtch!


Rewatched Nirvana's 1993 MTV Unplugged performance. It was thaaat long ago. Swooned all over again. Kurt Cobain is one good looking dude, despite or maybe, because of that greasy unkempt dirty blond hair, disheveled clothes and moody attitude. Laughed at Dave Grohl's angsty grunge avatar :D
kurt cobain grey collage pictures, backgrounds and imagesThe band and MTV originally had differences of opinions about the song line-up because the band didnt want it to be a rock show where the band would play their hits albeit with acoustic guitars. They preferred working with a few of their lesser known songs and covers and also preferred cameo appearances by a little known band, The Meat Puppets, rather than some famous name. They went with their instinct and, IMHO, went on to present the best ever Unplugged performance in history. The grungemeister didn't sell out to MTV execs and in the process, left a musical legacy that thrilled with its creative promise, a promise all the more haunting because it remained unfulfilled. 


Re-listened to U2's "One" after watching a Glee episode in which they covered the song. This song is one of my all-time faves, whether its the U2 single or the one that featured Mary J. Blige or the brief appearance in Lighthouse Family's "Free/One" or the Glee cover. Other covers I havent heard include those by Johny Cash, REM, Pearl Jam, among others. The inception of the song itself is awesome. The band nearly disbanded because of musical conflicts when The Edge came up with a chord progression that inspired the group to improvise the song and everything fell into place again. The Edge describes the moment as one that defines why you're in a band.


Though the song is about romantic relationships, it has been reinterpreted in a variety of ways, a major indicator of great writing (or lyricism, in this case). Often used as a theme song to promote human rights or social causes, the song advocates getting together not because of some spiritual belief that we are one. In fact, it says we are not the same, but we have to come together because we need to to survive. Bono suggested that "the line "we get to carry each other" introduces "grace" to the song and that the wording "get to" (instead of "got to") is essential, as it suggests that it is a privilege to help one another, not an obligation". 


Im into rehashes these days. I need to find me newer things to swoon over but then again, these oldies are classics and in no way trashable. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Colour coded Lurve

One of my old teachers loved telling us about the way Mizo women were (mis)treated in olden days. Apparently, women were a silenced lot, who had almost no say in their own lives. Well, I did say almost. When prospective grooms were suggested to them, if she liked the candidate, she would tell her parents, "As you wish", and if she didnt like him, she'd say, "You can have him if you like". But prospective brides, especially those intended for the noble familias had to undergo certain tests to prove their worth. They were made to strip down and their bodies were inspected for blemishes and marks. Their first crap of the day was also inspected. Apparently, a healthy-looking crap signified a healthy body, which in turn, signified a wife who would be capable of rigorous labour and multiple births :D


They were also expected to be modest and discreet. A maiden must in no way reveal, either by a word or a look that she fancies a particular male. She had to treat all her visitors with equal charm and coyness. If a male complains that a certain girl had been rude to him, apparently, the males gathered together and tore down the girl's house. [Came across this interesting bit of info when a guy told me that if the old rule had still been prevalent, my house would have been demolished quite a few times :-( ]  


Of course, women being women, they found small ways in which they could voice their sentiments. When the lads came calling, they served huge lumps of coal to light the pipes (?) of those they didn't like, and tiny embers to those they liked, so that they would have to go back to them again and again. I guess we all know this bit of info anyway. Well, I came across another info in this month's Lengzem (Mizo Rawng) which had me pretty tickled.


When rolled cigarettes replaced pipes, women found another great way to express their affections. They would roll cigarettes for their gentlemen callers and they came up with certain colour codes in the threads they used to tie these cigarettes. 
If the thread she uses is white, it stood for indifference- neither dislike, nor affection. Just plain and simple nothing. Nada.
A black thread signified sorrow. She might be telling a suitor that her parents do not approve of him.
Red stood for anger. A cigarette tied with a red thread was a silent but strong accusation or reprimand to a lad.
And green. Green literally means she's giving a lad the green light. It stood for LOVE (in caps-yes). A ciggy tied with a green thread could  literally be an un-smokable treasure for a love-struck lad.
And finally, if a maiden used her own hair instead of a thread to tie that ciggy, it signified not just love, but also complete and utter surrender of her self. It stood for "Im yours. Send emissaries NOW". 


Can you just imagine our forefathers grinning foolishly in the firelight staring at a ciggy tied with a green or hairy thread? Bring back the romance! Or maybe not. Not being able to freely tell the one I love that I love him would probably frustrate the hell out of me. Still, it would be such an exhilarating moment, when a maiden shyly ties a ciggy with her own hair and hands it to her lover in trepidation. And lover boy would receive it, comprehension slowly dawning on his sun-burned face as it breaks out in a face-splitting grin. 
Love, I guess, speaks its own language and finds its own way- Cliched but true.   

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

When a man's needed

Feminists be damned, theres one area over which we females will never approximate to a male, and thats in brute strength. Sister #5 and I have pleaded, begged and badgered mom to get a male servant but she thinks she has a man's strength so she remains adamantly against the idea. 

We once had the perfect male servant. Well almost- he went out one Sunday and never returned and some of our stuff mysteriously disappeared with him too. He was 5 ft of muscle. He can hoist himself off the ground with just his arms, using a pole as support, aligning his body perfectly parallel to the ground. When he carried heavy loads he's skip merrily, waving his arms and saying "Heiha huiha". And he also fancied laddies so it was perfectly safe to leave him around with five little girls. Now he's gone :(

Our house is located on a hill and all routes to it contain hundreds of steps, vehicle inaccessible. Many's the time #5 and I have staggered our way up those steps when theres a delivery of sacks of rice, building materials, gas cylinders etc. Today, a truckload of sand unexpectedly arrived. We had only one worker to help and he was scrawny and puny. It looked to be a long day's work for #5, me and him.

Bro-in-law #2 came over, bought us icecreams, said he had work and couldnt stay, told us to change into long pants (we were in shorts) because we had Vai workers and they might ogle. We dimpled prettily but didnt change. Who ever heard of mucking about in sand in long pants?

Then #4 and her hubby, bro-in-law #3 came over. #4 wants to "play in the sand" too and she told her hubby to take their six-month-old son. Hubby insisted on being a man (yayyy) and helped us instead. So there was no longer any need for #5 and I to walk up and down the steps carrying sackfuls of sand. All we had to do now was to load the sacks with sand while bro#3 and puny worker carried them. And God made the weather blissfully cloudy so it wasnt too bad.

Yes, yes, I know, we look like models on an exotic fashion shoot but still, it was grueling work. Anyway, one highlight of the day was when two little schoolboys, probably 6 or 7 years old came over and insisted on helping. The held open the sacks for us and then asked for a handful of sand as payment :D
Then they ran away, cupping their treasures in their hands, whooping in delight. I want sons like those. And thats another instance where men prove helpful too. To help in procreation.

Anyway, its now time to clean up the mess the workers made, and to start preparing dinner. A woman's work is never done. Thats when its nice to have a man around to talk to after a hard day's work.

So feminists and supporters of all-female utopias be damned-again. Men do have their occasional uses. And I for one am going to badger my mom again about seeing to a male servant. 

Saturday, August 7, 2010

smells

After a bout of housecleaning on a hot summer's day, there's nothing worse than stripping down for the shower only to realise that the only soap available is your dad's Lifebuoy soap. Dont get me wrong. Im sure Lifebuoy's a good soap, with skin enhancing properties, environmentally friendly, not tested on animals etc. I just hate the way it smells. Choiceless, I used the soap, uncomfortably aware that I smell like my dad. 


I used to love smelling like a man. Probably the first body spray I used was El Paso, Im sure those of my generation remembers it. And Jovan White Musk for Men. I liked the hints of musk, wood, tobacco and alcohol in perfumes and sprays. 


Each of us have our own distinct smell and the same perfume smells different on different people. The one Im currently using smells like crisp spring day on me. And on another girl I know, it smells like summer flirtation. I hate that girl. She makes every perfume she wears smell like a weapon of mass seduction. But thats how it is with some people. 


I read somewhere that the purpose of having hair in pits and pubes is so that it would trap our natural smells and act as a seductive pheromone something or the other. And while we might not exude such strong personal aromas as our cavemen forefathers, we all do have our personal scent that nothing can quite disguise. Which is why the scent of an ex-lover is such a strong trigger for nostalgia (or revulsion, depends on one's experience). 


And this is the main reason that God made men generally taller than women. Its so a woman can burrow her face in a man's chest and inhale the essence of him. And a man can bury his face in a woman's hair and know how distinct she is from every other woman. 
All this just to detract from the fact that I smell like my dad.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

My misfits :)

Its ironic, really. 
One comes from Lunglei and I am sure you know trotrally all troo well what has been said about those coming from those parts. That they are small-minded, they get married too young (!) and they are wannabe Aizawlians. 


Then one's a hybrid. They're supposed to be two-faced, small-minded and disloyal.


Then there's the "nuthlawi". Supposed to be a cougar that breaks in boys and then breaks their heart and homes.


And there's the UPC. Small-minded (too!), rigid, with looooong unstyled hair.


My best friends are those that society has casted into one stereotype or the other. Nopes, its not a conscious choice :D  Ive often heard what people say about my friends and find them ridiculous. However it does make me think, if birds of a feather flock together, what about me? Am I the odd bird out? Or do I fit a stereotype too and people are talking about me and Im blissfully unaware as usual and my friends are protecting me again? 


Lunglei-wallah makes fun of the way she is stereotyped. Small-minded? No, just principled. Marriage centric? I wish! Its past time for her to get married. Wannabe- Aizawlian?- If there's one thing I know about her, she isnt a wannabe anything. She IS herself.


Then Vainu :D Small-minded? Hah! She's a little bit too tolerant. Two-faced? If she is, then I want her faces. Disloyal? Far far too trusting for her own good. 


Nuthlawi. The 'cougar' on the prowl. Sometimes I want to give her a big hug because I know so well that she so is not. It doesn't matter that she has had just that one boyfriend, the one who made her a nuthlawi. That nuthlawi status will forever label her as a fallen woman.


UPC. Long haired- yes, but very well-styled. Rigid and small minded?- Probably has the kindest heart of anyone I know. Had a steady boyfriend whose friends rag him mercilessly for having a looong-haired UPC girlfriend. They've broken up since, though they still burn for each other.  


My misfits make it easy to forget how hurtful it could be for them sometimes. They make politically incorrect jokes about themselves- their way of thumbing their noses at those who stereotype them without knowing who they really are. Lunglei-wallah has us in splits about trotrally Lunglei jokes. Vainu will say, "Vai velh tur, ka pa hi lo beng r'u". And nuthlawi will say things like, "Ka lo ti ang. Nuthlawi alawm ka nih, ka zahtheihloh kha". And UPC smiles beningly whenever religious discussions come up and someone will always, ALWAYS say something bad about UPCs. 
And despite their problems, whenever I wail, "Im loonely", they call, suggest we meet up, and proceed to make me laugh my blues away. 


So this is a tribute to my four social misfits. I don't need no Friendship Day to tell you I love you all and that Im proud of you for not letting the narrow-minded bigots get  you down
But Lunglei wallah told me to write a friendship day post and Im a good friend too. So here it is, luv. Hope it makes you smile and get you all puffed up. 

Friday, July 30, 2010

Chances

I wish old age would find you  infirm perhaps, but unalone and unafraid
I wonder what

What makes a person special?

I am a little teapot round and stout blah

There's this line from that movie Casablanca. I havent actually seen the movie but its supposed to be really romantic or something. Anyway, there's a line that goes- "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine". I don't know why that line popped into my head. Anyway, it made me think of serendipity, fate, destiny, kismet, khuanu ruat, what have you.

I once heard someone say that life is like a deck of cards. The cards you're dealt stands for Destiny. The way you play those cards signifies Free Will. But those cards youre dealt with pretty much determines the way the game is played, right?


Its often hard to pin-point the exact moment when a life-changing moment occurs. In hindsight, maybe, its easy to say "That was it", but at the time, we usually are oblivious to what is happening. As it is with, say the people we fall in love with. Some search for the one only to find that the one is someone they've known all their lives- a neighbour, a friend you never saw in that way, the guy in the corner shop who was always so nice, the big brother substitute who bought you ice creams, etc. Or it could be the classic someone on a foreign trip, or the stranger in the train. 


Life places people in your life and while its entirely your choice to make of them what you will, its often the little things that make a difference. A trip taken, a minute's wait, a last cup of coffee, a road turning taken. And these minuscule things change our life around in ways we cannot imagine; brings people into our lives we might never have met otherwise.


Anyway, to get back to Casablanca, Rick and Ilse, despite Ilse's serendipitious wandering into Rick's gin joint, never did get together. So maybe they were never fated to be, or they chose not to be fated to be. Yeap, this is an illogical post yet again.


Here's looking at you, kid.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Simple Pleasures

- Rediscovering an old song you once loved.
- Falling in love with a new song.
- Falling in love.
- Impulsive Kisses.
- Stolen Kisses.
- A sudden drizzle on a hot summer's day.
- Water fights on said summer's day.
- Someone running a comb down your back.
- Bus rides with friends.
- Bear hugs.
- Music on a long bus ride.
- Travelling at night.
- That last puff on a cigarette.
- Sleeping with your head on someone's lap.
- Good conversation.
- Feel good songs. Currently, Uncle Kracker's "Smile" and the Bee Gees' "Secret Love".
- Sales.
- The breeze in your hair.
- Holding hands and strolling lazily.
- Evening walks.
- Successfully completing a Sudoku puzzle, Crossword or two-decked Spider Solitaire 
- Watching mom and dad dancing on the kitchen floor.
- Joining in.
- The first puff of the day, heh.
- Loooong phone conversations.
- Making up after a fight.
- Books.
- Daisies!!











- .......
.....
Too many!


Life is beautiful, innit?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Goodbyes

While rummaging through my old boxes of letters and mementos I came across my "Memory Book". Not content with mere autograph books, in our hostel, the outgoing students have this habit of circulating a thick notebook among the girls. There we'd write whatever springs to mind, and like all goodbye notes, the notebooks were usually filled with memories of good times, promises to keep in touch, addresses, funny photos, pressed flowers, ticket stubs and pages ripped out from comic books.


I re-read the pages written by my old hostel mates. Sometimes life plays its cruel little tricks on you and present you with extraordinary people with whom you inevitably have to say goodbye to. Because we had practical exams, we were one of the last to leave and I had the unenviable task of seeing off my friends as they left one by one. I remember standing on the platform as they peeped out their bus windows and we extracted last minute promises to keep in touch. And as their buses pulled away, I'd half-run after them and we'd shout, "Take care!!! Call me! I miss you already!!"


I think it's always hardest for the ones left behind. I also came across a short letter written by Ben, an old school mate who died a few years back. He wrote that at 21, it was nearly time for him to find a bride. Last month was the anniversary of the death of my guy's dad. One of his friends wrote a short dedication to him in his magazine which went something like : "I thought you and I would take the night bus home together. But you went ahead and took the morning ride without me, and you left me here".


Goodbyes are such a huge part of life and no matter how many times one faces them, it never really becomes easy. Death is probably the biggest farewell of all. We think we and our loved ones would depart together on that night bus as the sun sets on the evening of our lives. But so many of us have to depart so suddenly and those left behind can only watch them leave and miss them already.


In our Mizo mythology, dead souls drink "Lungloh tui" (waters of unloneliness?) and inhale the scent of the "Hawilopar" (The no-turning-back flower :D ). My translation sucks. There is one more stage they have to pass through but I've forgotten what it is. But basically, dead souls can't enter Pialral (Mizo Valhalla, Paradise, what have you) until they have forgotten those they have left behind. I suppose it would make life a lot easier if we could forget all those that we have had to say goodbye to. Still, I'd rather have the memories with the pain, than to forget what it was like with them, even to forgo the pain of loss.


And it hurts more when the one you lost is someone whom you want to have in your life forever. The first person who wrote in my "Memory Book" was a Naga girl called Naro whom I used to call my "soul sister". She wrote that she would forever picture me as "Cheery-faced Kuku with optimism in her skin, search in her eyes and words in her head". I dont know how much of the girl she once knew still remains in me, but I too forever will remember her as "the girl lying amongst crushed daisies in her Green, crying her mascara tears". Yeah. Memories. We leave behind a part of us forever.


Still, life does offer us its compensations. I remember feeling sulky and weepy on the bus home because Naro had an exam and couldn't drop me off. And on that same bus too was a girl whom I vaguely knew and she too was surreptitiously wiping her goodbye tears. That girl eventually turned out to become another soul sister, my BFF. So yeah, life does go on, people come and go, leaving their indelible yet permanent mark on us. And one day I'll point to my laugh lines and tell my grandkids, "so and so put these lines here on my face". Yep, my face will become a map of those that I've loved and laughed with and said goodbye to.
And life remains one big circle of hellos and goodbyes. And so it goes...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Crazy dances

I love, love, love this "History of Celebration" ad by Coca-Cola- the brand that Ive been drinking for almost every night now (Coca Cola should pay me for this). It so represents the euphoria that accompanies the World Cup.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-M3Q54rPjQw


The players cupping their hands on 0.12.
The yellow swaying men on 0.16.
The guy grabbing that flag and performing an impromptu concert for the photographers (My fave) in 0.20.
The blue rowboat in 0.28.
The posers in 0.31.
The birds in 0.39 and 0.41.
Oh hell, the whole damn ad!


Roger Milla's little dance escalated into this frenzy of goal celebration where grown men act like crazy little boys and the world just loves them all the more for it. "(They) show the whole world not just how to celebrate but how to live".


Would-be octopus murderers aside, the WC does generate a certain kind of jubilant unity in us, no matter what team we support. When a team scores, this sleepy little town is filled with the sounds of cheers, people banging on steel utensils (that was my mom, sorry neighbours), loud honking on truck horns and the occasional bursting of crackers in this cracker-less town. Good natured ribbing ensues when a friend's team loses, phone messages and calls escalate and football haters go into grumpy hibernation.


There's something about unselfconscious joy that is so very contagious. Whether its football players acting crazy when they score a goal, or a baby screaming in sheer delight or pretty young things laughing on the street, that kind of unfettered happiness always draws people in.


In The Catcher in the Rye, umm, whatsisname, yeah, Holden, the protagonist compares childhood to a field of rye where kids play freely. With adulthood they leave that field and enter into a world of phoniness where displays of real emotions are seen as signs of weakness. Too often we are told to keep our emotions in check. While this might be a good thing when it comes to negative emotions, I don't know why we don't cut loose more often when we're happy. Maybe with adulthood we learn that happiness is sometimes fleeting, that openly expressing joy often makes us vulnerable- I don't know- but we tend to laugh a little less and be more guarded.


What I do know is that nothing gets me out of a bad mood faster than to see my little nephew smiling his open, toothless smile, or my youngest sister suddenly performing her mad little dance, or my boyfriend jumping and clicking his heels in the air :D That never fails to get me. 


As I watched Germany beat the hell out of England and Argentina, I literally LOL'd to myself. It has been quite a while since I allowed myself to laugh that gleefully and loudly. Its also been a while since I woke up singing, or performed an imaginary rock concert while getting dressed. And it has also been ages since I walked in the rain or climbed a tree, dignity be damned.


The world needs more laughs, more silly moments, more crazy dances. Or wait, is it just me?


P.s: Haha, Eve, I forgot everything you taught me about resizing videos to fit!! Ah well, leave it. Just another silly moment for me :D

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The wrong kind of love?

There has been oodles said about inter-racial marriages and I probably would not contribute much by way of new insight into the whole issue. But recently a friend got married and I found out only through the photos she mailed me that her husband was from a different race. She said that she had been hesitant to tell me because of the general attitude towards those marrying outside one's race.Some of her friends didn't attend her wedding, whether because they were genuinely busy or opposed to the union, she couldn't say, but she felt their absence keenly.


I know a girl who married a half-Vai guy. Her family, especially her father opposed the marriage vehemently. He was a church elder and it didn't matter to him that the man her daughter married also came from a Christian family. He kept insisting, "God wants me to never forgive this great sin". WTF? He never acknowledged his daughter or her in-laws, and later, his own grand-daughter. The couple eventually separated and only then,  he took his daughter and his grandchild back into the fold.


Admittedly, I'm thankful that we Mizos dont have 'honour killings'. It was brought to my knowledge fairly recently that apart from the many threats of reprisals and the ostracisms faced, there have been remarkably little violence perpetuated in the name of inter-racial marriages within our community. We women sometimes rant against the inflexibility of our males on their stance towards inter-racial mingling, but it has to be admitted that they are not as violent in the way that they have shown their disapproval. And who knows, we women might just be as bad if one of our 'eligible' males decides to marry outside our community. Just food for thought.


Nooo..I don't want this to be a post about racism and discrimination. Rewrote this post over and over again and it still refuses to say what I want it to say. Still, one last effort...


There are those who disregard sentimental notions like love and build a marriage based on shared interests, compatible lifestyles, mutual respect and perfunctory affection. These marriages do work. And then there are those lucky enough to fall in love with someone who share similar interests, lifestyle etc with them. Then there are those who fall in love with people who, for various reasons, society deems is 'wrong' for them.  


Then there are those who make that extraordinary leap of faith and take on the collective disapproval of a whole community, all for that "illusory, fickle and temporal" thing called love. There are those who choose the 'wrong' person, come what may. There are those that refuse to spend the rest of their lives living on the remnants of "what might have been". There are those that refuse to subsist on forced 'love' with those that society has judged as suitable for them.


So is this the wrong kind of love?


Would anything that makes a woman look this hauntingly beautiful and exuberantly alive be wrong?


Nah. As far as Im concerned this is probably the rightest thing ever.


I know. This seems like a scattery (?), illogical post. But what the hell, this is for all those who have dared to prove society's nay-sayers wrong. And especially for you, yes, you, the girl in the picture. I know you'll make sure that your children will have the best of both worlds, despite what THEY think.   

Friday, July 2, 2010

They paved Paradise...

Those of you familiar with Aizawl would remember those big, noble Bung trees at Treasury Square. One of them was cut down some time back because it obstructed traffic. Also, there have been some accidents, some fatal, where careless drivers ran into that tree. Of course, some of those accidents were genuine tragedies, brought on by genuine mistakes. Anyway, that tree was cut down to decrease traffic mishaps.


The second tree is currently meeting the same fate as I write this down. This afternoon, its branches were felled and a few minutes ago, a JCB was tearing out its roots. The ASEP pasted this little note on the tree.




Granted, it was located at a very awkward place, half-in, half-off the road. But as to the claim that it caused accidents... I just don't buy that. There have been so many drivers who manage to navigate the tree successfully. As for the tragic few who were unable to... how could you not see that big tree looming before you? And even if you had somehow not seen it at first, how slowed down were your reflexes that you were unable to brake or swerve? Or how fast were you going that you were unable to stop?


This might be painful to hear for those who have lost relatives and friends in road accidents, even those not necessarily connected to this tree. But blaming a tree for an accident is tantamount to blaming mother nature for the mistakes you make. 


I have always loved those Bung trees, with their branches spread majestically over the road, their grand, old knotted trunks withstanding time and the follies of men. Here our forefathers rendezvoused before political meetings with the government and lovers of old met under its shade. This noble tree witnessed us Mizos as we took our tenuous path towards progress, and now it is going to be sacrificed at the altar of that same progress.


One less tree, one less accident? I dont know. There still are people stupid enough to drive even when they are seriously inebriated, those who think overtaking everyone and taking fast corners is the epitome of coolness, those who think they are reliable drivers just because they have obtained Driver's Licenses through illegal means. What then, do we line our streets and sharp corners with cushions so that no one will get hurt in accidents? 


The PWD claims that they have had a lot of complaints regarding this tree. But the press have said that as far as they know, the only accidents have been one of human negligence- over-speeding and drunk driving. According to a source, the media is planning to raise a huge outcry against this, it being Green Mizoram week too in the bargain. Fast forward to a few months and those complaining about this tree will be the most outspoken about poverty-stricken farmers burning their fields for cultivation and how those "stupid villagers" are destroying the environment. I have written about this in a previous post so I will not repeat myself.


I dont know now if the media's plans to intervene are successful or not. Will update this tomorrow. 
Meantime I sit here thinking of a younger me boasting to friends from other states about the greenery of Mizoram and the clean, pristine air we enjoy there.


Sigh. They paved Paradise- and its not even good paving at that too! Bleh

Monday, June 28, 2010

Meaty post

Sorry to disappoint you but this is not going to be about that kind of meaty.
A couple days back, Vanglaini produced a picture of a maxicab which was used to transport the Mizo delicacy extraordinaire- dogs. Those dogs were bundled inside sacks with just their heads showing, and bound hand (paw?) and foot. Some of the more whiny ones had their mouths tied shut. It generated a lot of comments on public forums like Fakselna, where people condemned the inhuman, brutal treatment of those dogs.


Now, I'm no vegan (though I don't eat meat that much, and especially not dog meat), nor an animals rights activist. Im not going to speak against meat eaters. Its all part of the food chain, this.


However...
Last year, I and a friend took a trip to Shillong by bus. On the way back, we stopped at Khleiriat, I think. Four Mizo women started bundling those bound and muzzled dogs inside the luggage hold of the bus. We, the passengers were a little shocked. One of them mock-joked, "We're going to report you to the border police", to which one woman replied, "I've already gotten permission from their Chief". Wow. 


We muttered amongst ourselves. I even ventured to ask tentatively if they could be transported in a more humane manner, but they laughed and said those dogs were going to be butchered soon anyway. In the Phantom comics of old, there is a saying, "The female of the species is deadlier than the male". I suppose I'm still conventional enough to be shocked that other women could treat living beings that brutally. 


The luggage hold was dark, cramped and stuffy. Imagine being bound, hand and foot, tied inside a sack, muzzled inside a dark, cramped space. Imagine being jolted everytime the bus hits one of the numerous potholes on the road. Imagine whining through the muzzle, petrified, as you try to scratch your way out. imagine suffocating on your own vomit. For that is precisely what happened to three of those fifteen or so dogs being smuggled in that night.


The women got off at Vaivakawn. And shockingly, they got into a huge fight with a man whose luggage was shredded by one of the dogs who managed to free itself from its bindings. Those woman dared to accuse that man of mistreating them because they were 'weak females' (A awm nem zawk kan nih vangin min diriam). The passengers intervened and an uneasy truce was called.


And those dogs, and others are smuggled in incessantly, with the smugglers supposedly in cahoots with the border police, if what that woman said should be believed. But then, the police conducted their mandatory border check, and they saw those dogs and they did nothing. So...maybe its not illegal, I don't know. Maybe its not even smuggling after all.


So while I think that meat is a natural part of our diet, its the brutal treatment of those animals that galls me. So what if they're going to die anyway, can't they be treated with compassion, their ends hastened instead of being drawn out like that? Do they have to be subjected to such treatment?


Looking back, I remember turning to my travelling companion and saying, "I cant sleep", and the reply, "Neither can I". And we sat in silence, listening to the frightened whines of those dogs that the sound of the bus' engine, nor the howling winds could quite cover up. And wondering who was the bigger sinner- those that commit evil, or those that stand by while evil is being committed.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Katharsis

What's your deepest darkest moment?
Am in confessional mode here, and well, confession is good for the soul, right?


Mine happened nine years ago. After twelve years of strict schooling and three years of stricter boarding school, I didn't know how to cope with the sudden freedom of college. What made it worse was that I set up house with some girls I met during the admissions rush. My parents thought I was in the college hostel. I planned to, but there were some problems and I couldn't get a seat right away. My dad is very pro hostel and I knew if he heard that I was not in a hostel, he'd tell me to come back home.


So I spun a lot of yarns about the hostel phone being inaccessible. And as the guilt grew, the calls home became less and less. I was also too guilty to ask for money and I steadily became broke. I knew I was on a disastrous course but I couldn't tell my parents the truth. At first, the freedom was exhilarating but the guilt and the lies eventually wore me down. I grew depressed and sat at home all day.


And that's when the big bang happened. My friends started losing money. Everyone of them- except me because I was broke anyway and I remember I had only about  Rs.500 tucked inside my diary. So we called in our seniors and they started investigating. Well, I became the number 1 suspect since I'm the one who stayed at home and I was so broke, so they started interrogating me. I think there were about six of them who did the interrogating. It went on for hours. I haven't had dinner and they refused to let me eat.


After about four hours, they locked me inside our bare kitchenette while they all had dinner. Then they resumed the questioning. A couple of them had started drinking and they became verbally very abusive. They tried to blindfold me but cooler heads intervened. That nearly made me cry because up till a day ago, they were all my good friends, people I had laughed with. Around 3 in the morning, one of the more level-headed ones said he wanted to talk to the rest of the girls. I suppose he started to believe me since I kept on sticking to my story.


By daybreak, they discovered that it was actually one of the girls who was the thief. On inquiring further, they found out that she had a history of kleptomania. She had pretended that her money had also been stolen to divert suspicion away from her. During the course of the previous night, they had called up my parents and informed them that I had stolen money and that I should be sent home. My mom in turn called my cousin who came over in the morning. She also caught a plane and would be arriving that day.


I had stubbornly held on to my tattered dignity and refused to break down. But when my cousin came, he was so darned sympathetic I bawled in his arms. Then I started packing my stuff. My interrogators were a bit ashamed I guess, because they promised to smoothen things with my family and tell them that I don't have to be sent home now, since, surprise, surprise, I wasn't a friggin' thief.


What galls me the most is that afterwards, the friggin thief came and sobbed sorry and said, "In Tlabung we don't have good clothes. You can always buy good ones, so give me some of yours". And I was so numb, I did!!! I couldn't very well stay any longer, so the next day, I went home with my mom. Tlabung girl was also sent home soon after. But people who heard about the whole thing thought I was the thief because I went home so abruptly :((


Joined college at home, got good grades and redeemed myself. But for a long time afterwards I was ashamed and bitter. I knew it was technically my fault for landing myself in the whole mess and maybe my interrogators had grounds for suspicion but its hard to move on nevertheless. I've now chalked the whole thing down to good learning experience, though its still hard to speak of it. But now that I have, its strangely cathartic. I no longer resent the guys who got abusive, though I have to admit, learning that one of them never passed his BA and is now jobless doesn't hurt none. Am only human after all. 


Kinda personal and not-so-nice, but hell, its me blog and me outlet, so there ya go.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Gottverdammt!!!

The German Wall is breached
My Panzer-men
Fell like toy soldiers...


Under that pitiless African sky
My heart was ground into the dust
My dreams butchered by an arschloch ref.


Please, please..
Tread softly,
For you tread on my dreams.


:(
There. You guys have me writing scheiss poetry and plagiarizing too in the bargain. I hope Ghana loses tomorrow night, or at least get a draw against the Aussies. And that the indomitable Germans recover at the next match against the Ghanians.
And the matador's chances are dodgy too. AArgh!! 
This is one sucky WC! 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The best damn name!

After seeing Mimi and Jay-me's post about their names, I googled my name and got the Kuku tribes of Africa and Kukui nuts, plus some bands named Kuku. But it gave me no inkling into what my name really meant or signified. I've had a love-hate relationship with my name(s). My great-grandmother gave me my Mizo name Vanlalveni. I HATED IT! It's sooo old-fashioned! An uncle thought so, too, and he gave me a Biblical name (read, Sap Hming) which is a Hebrew name for "Bee"- 'nuff said. I never used it. It didn't feel like me.

Now that I'm older, I've learnt to appreciate my Mizo name. Its unusual and I don't have to suffer being relegated to a number  like my sister who had Lalremruati 1 and 2, plus Lalremruata 1, 2, and 3 in her class. Besides, when you think about it, most people have guardian angels, and I have a guardian God. How awesome is that? (My name means "protected by the Heavenly God"). But I prefer being called Kuku- it's so me, though I don't know what it means. And that has been a bone of contention for me.

I once asked my parents how/why/when I was named Kuku. They didn't know the answer. As a teen, I was told by my sisters that the middle child is often the most neglected. I have two elder and two younger sisters and I am slap-bang in the middle. The fact that my parents don't know why/how/when I got my name seemed to confirm that I was an unwanted, unloved child and with all the teen angst I felt, I often felt like running away :( Sob. I've since stopped listening to my sisters, but I've always felt the lack of self-knowledge, till I remembered a story I read in, of all things, Archie comics about a caveman called Ku who saved the world. I got down to some serious research in a lot of secret archives. Ku's story is not found in google. Its too earth-shaking. Here goes:

Once upon an un-time, for the lack of the concept of time is the crux of this story, the world was in peril. There were no watches and clocks then or even the basic knowledge on how to tell time, so the world was plunged in chaos. No one knew when to start working, or when to stop; when to start eating or when to stop when to sleep or when to get up. Animals and people died. You may suppose that scavengers would have a field day, but they too were just as confused. All creatures cried out for deliverance from this chaotic confusion. It was a dark age indeed.

The dodos, who were the high priests then called for sacrifices to appease the gods. The biggest animals- the dinosaurs- were the first to be sacrificed. They were pushed inside a volcano, much to the anger of their chief T-Rex who felt that the dodos were big frauds. As he was about to be pushed inside that volcano, he said in a voice that shook with anger, "The future that be, shall heap ridicule on your head, and my tribe will be vindicated!!"  But the dodos, sure of their supremacy said, "We'll spread the word that you all died out when that meteor visited us. Now jump, big guy".

Nothing worked. The gods remained stubbornly silent. All creatures fasted to appease them. In a huge cave sat the next group awaiting their own sacrifical to the gods- a bunch of ragtag, useless creatures called humans. As the big red ball in the sky started its journey towards the heavens, one of the humans, a large-headed individual called Ku could no longer control the voice of his empty stomach. It kept  grumbling "mmmrrnnnngg". This irritated their tense leader Glog so much that he gave Ku a huge bop on the head with his club. Now, Ku's head is extraordinarily big, and the acoustics of the cave magnified every sound. So when Glog hit his head, Ku's head gave off a loud "Gongggg!!!"

All the creatures who had gathered around the sacrifical volcano asked, "What was that? What was that? Is that our message from the gods?" The dodos were by now eager to seize any opportunity to claim their kinship with the gods so they dragged Ku and Glog out and asked them what had happened. On learning the story, they proclaimed, "The gods have answered our prayers in the form of this worthless beings. The gods spoke through his stomach, they said 'mmmrrrnnnnggg', so let this period be called morning and let us break our long fast to celebrate this auspicious event".

So they ate and by the time the red ball reached the middle of the sky, the sated Ku's bowels gave off a satisfied "hnnnooonnn". So that period was called noon. And when the red ball fell off the sky, Ku's stomach had by now wanted feeding again, and murmured, "dnnnrr". So, Glog was made to hit Ku's head again, and everyone ate at a time that came to be called "dinner-time". From then on, Ku became the official time-piece of the prehistoric world, and Glog became the time-keeper, bopping Ku's head everytime his stomach announced the time.

Life became wonderful. All creatures now learnt how to tell time by observing the position of the red ball and connecting it with Ku's stomach's predictions. They shouted, "All hail Ku, saviour of the earth!" This enraged the dodos, who felt that Ku was becoming more popular than them. So they spread the rumour that Ku had become insane because of all the bopping he recieved. They originated the phrase, "He's gone Ku-ku" to signify madness. They then said that the gods had to be appeased again, and sacrifices once again offered to them.

But this time, the creatures that had once remained in thrall of the dodos rebelled. And a bloody war started between those for and against the dodos. Those against the dodos called themselves the Kukus. Their mascot was a bird that kept crying "Ku-ku" and this bird came to be called forever after as the cuckoo. The crows cried, "ko!ko!" and doves cooed, "Koooo". It was a long and bloody war. Whole species were decimated. But in the end, the Kukus won. The dodo high priests were exiled. They turned to the gods and offered themselves as sacrifices. They were on the lookout for great miracles, and completely missed out on seeing the answers in simplicity, failing to see 'eternity in a grain of sand'. This is the true story of how the dodos become extinct.Their names therefore become synonymous forever with stupidity unto extinction.

When mechanical time-pieces were invented, they were called 'clocks' in honour of good ol' Glog, and the earlier clocks feature a cuckoo that cries out "ku-ku, ku-ku". Yes, the cult of Ku still lives, but so does the dodo cult. They are the ones who invented the alarm clock, a device meant to vex and frustrate human beings beyond all endurance. Of course, the Ku cult fought back. The word "doh!", short for 'dodo' is now officially synonymous with mistakes of huge proportion: Doh (d) Interj. a) A Gen-X colloquialism conveying an overall feeling of frustration. b) Used to express a feeling one has after realizing they have been tricked, misled, scammed, swindled, etc.. c) Used to boast or chide the victim of such tomfoolery. (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=doh

So while my parents no longer know why/ how/ when I was called Kuku, I now know that it is because the unseen but powerful forces of the cult of Ku had been working on them, influencing them to name me after a person who is responsible for the propagation of life on earth as we know it, and for the supremacy thereafter of human beings. The name therefore is a signifier of what defines human beings, the force that makes us humans- dumb luck and pure chance. In other words- serendipity. 

Friday, June 11, 2010

The unmarried sister- a must-have.

After five (wonderful) daughters, my parents have been recently blessed with a fourth grandSON. (It runs in both sides of my family, this propensity towards having children all belonging one sex). So anyway, guess who was called on to assist in all this wonderful plethora of child-bearing and rearing? Unmarried sister extraordinaire Kuku, that's who. 


I've been alternating nights at the hospital with my mom because my bro-in-law's family does not have any available, competent nurse to help my sister recuperate. I don't mind though, even if the latest addition to the family is an ugly little bawl-his-lungs-out-at-all-hours-of-the-night crybaby. Being called on to help out is part of being THE unmarried sister, after all. 


I was in boarding school when daughter #1 had her son, but I comforted her through her crying jags and midnight cravings for wai-wai during her pregnancy. Daughter #4,who by-passed #2 and me, #3 at the marriage stakes should get down on her knees and thank me. I changed numerous diapers for her two sons, even washing soiled cloths for her. Then when she and her husband decided to cut set up house together, her husband had to go frequently out of station, so I was the one who had to help her get set up. 


She was heavily pregnant with her second son at the time, and this was just before Christmas, so you can imagine the picture- me trying my best to shield my future nephew from the rush of the crowd as we go search for stuffs for their house. I did things I never imagined myself doing- haggling with Pick-up truck drivers for delivery and stuff, walking all over Aizawl searching for good but not-too-expensive furniture items, buying floor carpets, cushions, cutlery etc. and arranging their delivery- all the while protecting my unborn nephew and his bursting-at-the-seams mother.  


It's a fact that with great responsibility comes great grumpiness. Before #1 and #2 got married, they were the epitome of grumpiness because the responsibility of the house fell on them. My mom declared some fifteen years ago that with five daughters, she was retiring from household chores and concentrating on doing what she loved best- doing manual work in the garden and our farm. So the onus of the household chore-dom fell naturally on the eldest sister. Hence the grumpiness. 


And then they got married and became mothers. #1, whom we secretly nick-named "The Dragon" became a madonna- placid, smiling and endlessly patient. And #2 with her hair-line temper has now followed suit. Last night, as her little tyke kept up an incessant wail, she crooned softly to him with the tenderest smile. Of course, when her husband, who also spent the night there remarked on the unruliness of their 4-day old baby, she turned on him like a tigress. And when I slept a little too soundly and the little monster's diaper needed to be changed, she called "Kuku... KUKU... CHHUUUNGIII!!!(Her lovely pet-name for me)".


#4, who, as I mentioned by-passed me and #2, loves reminding me that my biological clock is ticking. She's always been a little different; eversince she was a kid, her aim had been to be a good wife and mother. Of the five of us, she's the only one who fulfilled her childhood dreams (I wanted to be the first female CM of Mizoram). She says, "By the time I'm in my thirties, my kids won't need that much looking after, and I'll be able to re-beautify myself and concentrate on doing what I want. Giving birth ages you, and by the time you give birth you'll be too old to rejuvenate yourself". She also loves warning me of how much it will hurt because I left it so late to have children. She should know, she took barely an hour to go from labour pains to giving birth. Lucky thing. 


So anyway, as the relatively competent unmarried sister, I'm the one who's always called on to do the dirty jobs. I now hold the dubious honour of being the elder sister, since there's only me and #5 left. And I'm starting to become grumpy too. Maybe when I have a child I'll become sweet-tempered again. I know, I know, its terribly chauvinistic to say that motherhood makes placid beings out of harridans and if a guy had said this I'd probably shoot him.


I don't intend to be the unmarried sister forever. I want my own ugly little monster and a live heater in my bed too someday. And this reminds me of a conversation I had with my grandmother some months back. I was basking in the warmth of her praise over my being an all-round great daughter and sister, when she said, "You must never get married. You should stay home and look after your parents and be there for your sisters anytime they need you". I guess I protested a little too loudly because now the whole maternal side of the family jokes about my fear of NOT getting married.


Anyway, time to cut off my long with this great lesson for all- treat your unmarried sisters like gold, for one day they may get married.