Saturday, May 29, 2010

What Flag will you be waving?

Our 21-year old, old TV sits in my sister's room and Zonet's Demand Channel is the only music channel that it's archaic machinery can pick up. And K'naan's "Wavin' Flag" is requested at least once every half- hour, so the song is stuck in my head. And what it has done, is to spur me on into a quiet frenzy over the upcoming World Cup.

Nopes, I'm not going to talk about team strategy and statistics. Nor am I going to talk about how good a particular player looks. I have long outgrown the tendency to root for the country with the most hunky players. So, bye bye Italy, Nesta, Zindagi (Inzaghi), Cannavaro and their ilk. Nor am I going to cheer for France just because Thiery Henri is in the squad. 

I'm rooting for Germany even though Ballack won't be playing (sob). And its not because their surgeons perform free plastic surgery here :D This reminds me of a conversation I once overheard in a bus some years back:
Woman 1: I'm supporting Germany because they perform free surgeries.
Woman 2: But their people killed so many Christians
Woman 1: Oh, oh, then I'm going to support England. They have missionaries there...
Heh. Looks like a case of the sins of the Fuhrer being borne by the children. 

I also supported Turkey in 2002. And a neighbour remarked in shocked tones- "But they are Muslims! Why are you supporting them?" Errr.. because they have good players? Does this make me hell-bound? 

Okay, so there's some religious bigotry involved in the aforementioned cases. But then, football does have its fanatics. Ideally, the World Cup is supposed to unite people of all races/ sexual orientation/ religion under one big umbrella of football, but that's hardly the case. For some, it becomes an arena where old political scores are revived, religious differences are brought into prominence (Brazil won because they are Christians!) Its also an arena where fallible human gods are sacrificed- The murder of that Colombian who scored an own goal in 1994; the media lynching of Beckham when he was sent off...

Don't get me wrong. I love football (though I'm scared to watch it now because MY team Arsenal lets me down everytime I watch them). I heard somewhere that an impoverished Argentina sent a squad who paid their own way for the 2002 World Cup- all for the love of football and country, and I love this. I also love there is actually a thesis titled ""Un homme avant tout': Zinedine Zidane and the sociology of a head butt" (  regarding Zidane and the racial problems he faces.
It IS a testament to the magnitude of the game that so many issues worldwide are related to it, that so many wars are fought within its umbrella. And to think its just a game where some men chase a ball and try to kick it inside a net (blasphemy, sacrilege!!!).

Again, I've digressed... I tend to ramble on weekends because ...because anything goes on a weekend. I'm dreaming of the day when an Indian team (with ball-boots on) will play in the World Cup. And the backs of their jerseys will feature names like Pachuau, Hnamte, Longchar, Shabong, Yumnak, Khonglam, Singh Sachdev, Ramaswamy, Bhavisha... and an eager Hrahsel on the reserve bench :D (for you, Jay-me).

Anyway, I'm waving the flag for Germany, and Spain comes a close second. And as the game progresses I'll probably forge new loyalties, maybe root for a certain underdog. What flag will you be waving?

P.S: Saw this poem "Damn your flag" by Feddabonn. Felt slightly abashed. Then I realised that the issues are almost similar. Breathed easy :D

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Calvin and Hobbes
:D Sorry, I suck at this... completely managed to make a hash of the punchline. Dont know how to minimise the image. Heheh. Go to the source that I have so thoughtfully provided. I dont know how to edit HTML's. Dont read further before checking the link..Apologies :D NOI. (By the way, what does this mean? Im assuming it means incompetence)

I'm like Calvin (aren't we all?). Inspiration for me comes with last minute panic. I admire those who are able to make a game-plan, stick to it and finish their work way ahead of schedule.

Me, I put it off, claiming that I'm not 'inspired' and then when the deadline looms just a few days away I get to work like a manic android on crack. Always has been and always will be? I hope not. I hope I stop claiming that I work best under pressure, with the rush of adrenaline. I hope I never cram frenziedly the night before an exam again.

Fact is, I'm just plain lazy. Take my dissertation, for example. I wasted a year waiting for inspiration. Beginning of this year, I started to get a teeny bit scared. So I went and started this blog. I'm expected to submit it by the first week of June and up till a couple of months back, I had completed just one and a half chapters. Then my guide informed me that they had rescheduled the submission dates on the second week of May.

So there I was, with books and xeroxed notes strewn all over my room. Me burning the 4 'o' clock oil. Working frenziedly to beat the clock. Made the deadline by a nano-second.

And then I'm informed that my submission date has been re-rescheduled for the second week of JUNE.

So here I am, unthreaded eyebrows, messy room, broken over-long nails, unwaxed limbs. Dark circles that would give a raccoon an inferiority complex. Body clock thrown out of whack. And where I have always been a little pale because I'm a little anemic, I now look like a blood-deprived vampire.

Maybe one day I will grow up and learn to make a schedule and stick to it. For now, I have a room and an internal body clock to straighten out. And I badly need a mani-pedi, waxing-threading session. Tomorrow... I'll do it all tomorrow... For now...

I just love Calvin and Hobbes cartoons sooo much. Irrelevant, I know. But I couldn't think of another way to end this post.
(BTW, does the link work? I carefully clicked 'copy URL' and then pasted it. If it doesnt go search gocomics for calvin and hobbes 'last-minute panic'. Huis, I know, Im incompetent. But the best part about blogging is that all incompetencies are sympathetically overlooked, right?)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Khawtlang Lunglen

Deleted a post because it was too airy-fairy and I was not feeling it. What I feel instead is "Khawtlang Lunglen". The best part I felt it some nights ago too and already wrote a note about it in my FB notes:

There's a phrase in my language that literally translates into "communal loneliness/melancholy", I think :D
It's when you feel nostalgic/ lonely/ melancholy for no particular reason and you miss... no one in particular. I don't really know how to render the exact phrase into English. 'Khawtlang lunglen' does not connote alone-ness but rather a sense of wistfulness for an elusive...something.

It's the stuff that feeds poetry and music. Its what makes lonely bachelors compose songs, it makes lonely old maids like yours truly here stare out of their windows wistfully into a misty crescent moon...

It's what I feel everytime I listen to the radio and some old, obscure Mizo song comes up with it's tinny recording. It's what I feel when there's a power cut and the neighborhood boys dust off their guitars and sing old Mizo songs and old English country songs.

Khawtlang lunglen is not sad...

Just really, really difficult to capture what it means...

Yeah so, I'm feeling it again tonight. In my part of the world, Its cold and misty and there's a power cut conveniently, and I'm staring at the distant, mist-obscured Reiek Hills...

Friend Alan commented that he too was interested in researching the etymology of a collective memory, and that kinda killed the buzz right there. Why drag academics into it? I told him to do the research and I'll do the feeling..

So yes, I'm channeling that feeling once again.

I don't miss anyone or anything in particular. I'm just reveling in the beauty of the feeling- no lights, no academics, no theories. Just me, some blues music, and my trusty laptop that refuses to churn out the appropriate bluesy vocabulary to suit my mood. Damn!

So instead here's Alison Kraus and Robert Plant's cover of Roly Salley's "Killing the blues"

Source: We don't wanna get sued do we?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

King Jeremy the Queen

No, am not talking about drag queens..

The queen I'm talking about had a rabid jungle cat for a mother and Mephistopheles the demon as her father.

Her previous owners gave her the insipid name "Brownie" but after a day with her we renamed her Jeremy after a Pearl Jam song about a good looking boy who went off the rails and shot all his classmates.

"King Jeremy the wicked
ruled his world"

She was beautiful with her sleek body, her tawny red-gold and black stripes and golden eyes. And she was meaaaannnn >:(

She had an unerring instinct for detecting cat-haters and whenever one came to our house, she would jump them, sinking her claws into their legs and hanging on stubbornly while they whirled in a panicked dance. She never responded when we called, but the moment we sit down to read the newspaper, she'd sprawl right on the paper, giving us a challenging look.

And when we reprimanded her, she'd stand on her hind legs and wave her claws at her, daring us to a cat-fight. She refused the food we gave her and subsisted instead on the sparrows around our home. She also hunted us. Sis Ayie gave her the Mizo name "Puss-phaki".

One day she came home pregnant and meaner than ever. We had a gentle, eager-to-please pregnant dog at the time too and Jeremy went and scratched the poor dog everyday. And the stupid dog always protected her from other cats and dogs.

She gave birth to two lovely kittens, while dog had three puppies. When one of the pups died, dog nudged her all day, licking her and whining softly. And Jeremy- Jeremy ATE her babies.

I threw her out of the house. I learnt later that cats sometimes kill their young if they were too weak to survive. But at the time I didnt know it, and I was too angry with devil cat that not only did I throw her out, I gave her a kick too.

Jeremy never forgave. Vengeance was her middle name- King Jeremy "Vengeance" Puss-phaki Pachuau. Long name. And Pachuau girls are said to be stubborn and domineering, and while submissive, docile me never had those traits, they were magnified manifold in Jeremy. She avenged sevenfold herself on us.

She cursed the family, and especially me. I failed my XII Boards that year and my sisters also did horribly in their studies too. Not only that she puked every morning right at our front door. She also shredded my mom's plants.

But her biggest retaliatory move was to entice every tomcat she came across, and lure them into our backyard, and they did the deed at midnight. And she would yowl reaaaallly loudly and primally and it greatly embarrassed us. Hell, her primal screams would have made the Marquis de Sade blush. Anyway, she gave birth to a lot of babies over the years and they inter-mated and proliferated and terrorized us. We were lucky none of her spawn were as vindictive as she was. Their genes were probably diluted by the spineless tomcats she mated with. Now if she had gotten together with the Hitler-lookalike cat that lived a few houses away from us, it would have been a different story.

I don't know how Jeremy met her end. She wanted to keep us guessing, I guess. Most probably she went and died at a cat-hater's house just to freak them out. She was like that.

So this is why I will probably never have a cat again. Not because I hate cats but because after Jeremy, every other cat seems really tame and insipid and boring. And I also find it hard to respect dogs. Maybe one day I'll get myself a dog that looks like a wolf....

Monday, May 17, 2010


Loneliness came calling
Seeped in and settled down
So familiarly uninvited
Like an annoying relative
And I dont know how to entertain him
And I can't lay the table for him
For my heart is on it...
No I can't be drunk in his arms
He reeks of resentment
Of wishes unfulfilled dreams aborted
Bottled love choking at the threshold.

How I told him to leave me alone
yet he slowly slid in
With a sad tune and a sigh
smooth and cynical
like a lover who loves you not.

So I let the chips fall
Cut a deal
until morning
Till Lord says "Now"
I sit
with the cards close to my chest
To play a charade of contentment

-Sentinaro Alley.

*Sigh* I wish I can write poems. I looove this poem by old hostel chum and bully extraordinaire Naro. She writes about things I have never felt but feel like feeling one day- for a brief while. I'm really horrible with poetry, I can only write lonnnnng answer papers about the merits of a poem (I don't understand the cards thing in the last stanza of this poem, though, but it still sounds wonderful).

I think to write really good poetry, its not enough to just know a lot of words. Poetry feeds on emotion and experience and I guess I dont have enough of both. The poems I usually write fall under the category of "lame":

O Wallclock that hangeth on the wall
Thy hands doth move so slow;
As yet this boring lecture
Has not yet reached its mid-point.
O wallclock thou tormenteth my eyes,
For thou makest their lashes
To meet in a slumb'rous smbrace....

I wish I was a poet who "eat men like air" or "dance like I've got diamonds"

Oh hell, Naro is so going to kill me. All that sensual energy and I had to put my two paises worth and totally kill the buzz.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

what do you do?

so, how do you deal when it seems like your world is falling apart? Where do you go when it all falls to pieces? Do you get drunk, cry, distract yourself? What do you do when you know its something you have to deal with alone?

Me, I like to let it all out, turn on the angriest, most broken songs, and cry in front of my computer. Or I pretend that I'm good, put on my loudest clothes and go out with friends. Or I try to lose myself in a good book, but then, its never that easy to lose yourself, is it? And sometimes, crying just gives you a blocked nose and nothing more.

Don't get me wrong. Right now, I'm (luckily) as far away from that place as possible. Sometimes I envy those people with faith. Mine's shaky, and I do pray, and I do read my Bible. And it does give me comfort. But maybe my faith isn't strong enough cause there are so many times that I can't keep my demons at bay.

Some would call it escapism, but can we really fault anyone for running, even briefly, to escape a situation they just can't deal with? But the more you run, the bigger your fear grows. We have to face whatever sometime. So when that time comes, what do you do?

Whoa! I sound so depressed. Really, I'm not. I just read an article about suicide and I'm trying to put myself in that person's head.

I guess I'm lucky that, no matter what, I've always thought life is worth living. I can't imagine what it would feel like to wish to end it all, to be bereft of all hope that you'd want to close your book without seeing where it ends.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The helpless act

At first, it wasn't an act with me. Dad's always been really overprotective of his five daughters, and we were pretty sheltered. And when we entered the real world, we were really clueless and helpless, 'specially me, whose head has always been more in the clouds than the others'.

I noticed the 'potency' of that helplessness the first time I went to a bank. This was three years ago. I felt really apprehensive since I knew zilch about what goes on in banks. I decided the best way was to ask, so I approached this clerk. At first, he was really impatient, but when he glanced at me, he got this tender look on his face. It was drizzling that day, and I never carry umbrellas with me, so I was wet, timid looking, and to top it all off, that day I was wearing my frilliest pink flowered dress.

Long story short, I suppose I looked like the quintessential damsel in distress, because he did everything for me, filling out forms, and the whole rigmarole, all with a tender smile. Ugh! I learnt later that had I done things in the customary way, I would have spent at least two hours waiting in line. At first it felt good. I tried it consciously the next time, and it worked- again! Easy, effortless. The only snag- I didn't learn anything.

Well past the age of looking prettily helpless, I've tried to fend for myself, but the backlash from my previous acts have taken their toll, and I've barely learnt how to cope. Now I'm just a ditzy female.

BFF Jamie and I have also done the helpless act countless times on traffic officials who were given demure, contrite smiles and offered kuhva, who invariably fall for the act.

There's something about girls on scooters that makes some men go "Awww" and "Oh baby" simultaneously. They are prepared to overlook traffic violations and mishaps. So much so that in recent months, there has been an outbreak of girls who barely know how to drive, let alone know traffic rules, causing minor accidents, jams and general aggravation. That's the potency of the 'weaker sex'.

And before the men smirk smugly about the duplicity of women, let me tell ya, they do it too. Many's the time I've had to clean my cousins' rooms when their places start to look and smell like pigstys. "I...I just don't know where to start... Will you help? You point and I'll do the cleaning", they'll say.

Of course, it doesn't happen like that. They'll make complete messes out of the mess, and I'll have to do the work myself. And they'll stand in a corner, putting on their most awed look, and say, "Wow, I don't know how you girls do it, and so quickly too". And I know its all an act, but I'll still feel smugly superior anyway.

I don't know if you other girls fall for their act too, or I'm just a big sucker, because I've often found myself as cleaner, suitcase packer, tea-maker, pimp, and breaking-up-er etc for my cuzs.

Anyway, what am trying to say is, the helpless act may work, its easy and fun sometimes. But the more you do it, the more the 'act' becomes real, and you end up really becoming helpless. It should be used only when you can't get what you want any other way, heheh.

Which is why I'm here, braving the elements, on my quest for knowledge- broke, tired, cold and hungry. The hunger gnaws at my insides,and the cold chills my bones, but I'll fight on. Sometimes I think wistfully of chocolates and pastries, but they're all just dreams... So I walk on, dreaming of the kindness of strangers, of angels of mercy, who might decide to send me boxes of chocolate....

Monday, May 3, 2010

Rising, Falling.

So today BFF Jamie and I went out, and everywhere we parked 'our' scooter (ours, because it's mine, but she's the driver), we had to pay 10 Rupees for parking fees. A few days ago, the fee was just Rs. 2. The fees for LMV's have also gone up from Rs. 5 to a whopping Rs. 30. That's like a 600% increase! (I think. My maths is horrible).

Soooo, why this increase? Supposedly, its to help lessen traffic congestion, to discourage people from parking their vehicles on roadsides. But traffic is as worse as ever, and there are still vehicles parked on roadsides. So is this, as many people are saying, a scheme for the government to scam money off citizens? Or is it just a hare-brained scheme devised by beleaguered traffic officials who just don't know what to do anymore?

The men's barber's association has also increased their fees from Rs. 15-20 to Rs. 30. Once again, there was a lot of justification. They have to keep up with rent payments, 'barber-ing' materials, and anyway, in other states, a haircut costs Rs.35. Barber shops are not places that I frequent, but the one time I went to one to get my nephew's hair cut, the shop was small, dirty, the service was bad, and the choice of haircut ranged from trimmed, short, very short to bald. Can we really compare our barber shops to those in other states? Apparently, you get a free head massage thrown in too. But then again, this is not an area that I'm familiar with, and I would appreciate a little enlightenment.

And clothes. Oh, for a gal who loves clothes as much as I do, it's always heartbreaking to be told that a simple lil' top would set me back by at least Rs.700. Thank God for our thriving second-hand stores, where you can get good cloth materials at cheaper rates, which you can get stitched. I try on the expensive clothes, take a pic, go away, and get the design copied by an amazing seamstress who doesn't know what she's worth yet. Expenditure- roughly 300-400 Rupees. Yes, its piracy, so what, yo ho ho, and a bagful of fake Diors.

Methinks Aizawl has a very high standard of living. The price tags are Metropolitan-worthy, but, hello, we are so not metropolitan. The price of everything is increasing, whether its clothes, food, house rents, public transportation fares etc. (And our morals are declining, as the Ram-Hmangaih-Tus say, but I'm not going into that) And yet, day by day, its becoming more and more crowded, and our villages and other cities are neglected to feed our hungry capital city.

I often wonder if we Mizos aren't a little bit too peace-loving for our own good. Price increase in many other states are so often met with riots, protests and marches. Here, there is a great outcry in newspapers and local networks, and then grumbling, we accept whatever decree is laid down to us. Not that I'm saying we should have a protest march, or maybe I am. We Mizos are too complacent (yours truly included), too fearful of rocking the boat. Sometimes I feel that we are "all talk and no action", all "sound and fury,signifying nothing" :(

There was a move a couple of years back to shift the capital from Aizawl to Thenzawl, and though as usual nothing happened, maybe it would be better if they do shift the capital there. Then Aizawl would be like what New York is to the States, while Thenzawl would be its financial capital. Then when Aizawl is levelled by the oft-predicted earthquake (Touchwood, touchwood!), our finances wouldn't be in too much of a muddle, and congestion problems would definitely be solved. Yeah, right.

Despite all my raving and ranting about her, I do love my savage land fiercely. I just wish I knew what to do about it, besides just going on and on about its many problems. And I wish I don't know her this well, that I see her faults so clearly. And I wish I didn't love her so much that I would never leave her for another. Because seeing her like this, falling apart at the seams, and not knowing how to help her, is tearing me up inside.