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.

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


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


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. (

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.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Eating humble Pie

For someone like me who suffers from a chronic case of foot-in-mouth disease, eating humble pie is pretty easy. After all, its an acquired taste. 

After hearing some people say that Mizos writing in English are less Mizo (whatever that means), I fired off  a little post about language and culture purists. Basically the post was about me ranting what makes those people decide who is 'more' Mizo and who is not? And the term Mizo is a blanket term comprising of Lai, Mara, Paite etc peoples, and is it fair to call them Mizo II because we, the Lusei are the majority. And in the same way, why should the Duhlian language be considered as Mizo tawng just because it is the most widely used language within the Mizo community, blah blah blah. 

This would have sounded quite valid had I not been writing in Duhlian language, which pretty much busted my little rant because I also talked about the correct usage of Duhlian language, and unfortunately, my own writing Mizo is stilted, and the syntax is not as perfect as I would wish it to be. As a medium of writing, I am much more comfortable in English, though I am spectacularly good at spoken Mizo, so don't ever get into an argument with me. And I can read Mizo flawlessly, with perfect intonation and pitch. But anyway, after posting the piece, I cooled down and discovered  the many mistakes plus the ambiguity, and so I removed it. 

Of course, it showed up clearly in people's readers and stuff and so, here I am, gorging myself on humble pie, admitting that I strayed into an arena where I am not qualified to. Kudos to the Mizo writers and the people who are trying to instill correct usage. But my stance on the medium of writing and it's supposed implications remain. 

And yes, I often lack tact and sensitivity, and often have to cover my ass or eat humble pie after making a huge blooper. Like the time I went shopping with a friend and she asked my advice about a shoe. I thought it was for her mom and said, "Your mom's only 50-ish. That shoe is so 60 +." And she says, "I meant to buy it for myself" Oh hell, what do you do in those circumstances except flatter her a little and fess up? So I told her she had pretty feet that would look good in any shoe, but suggested other styles for her. 

The there's the time another friend showed me a new phone and I unthinkingly said, "I thought of buying it too, but it was too bulky and yellow". Ooopsss.. my runaway tongue does it again. So I said, "But the yellow is nice, looks like Bumblebee" and proceeded to take a lot of pictures of myself with the phone cam. Sometimes I try to shut up, and when I do talk, I use polite words. Then they tell me I'm being unnatural, blehhh!

That said, I'm usually not a nasty person with a lot of bitchy comments. I just say the wrong things at the wrong time. Like complimenting a previously rake-thin friend on her  new voluptuousness and she said, "I'm not voluptuous. I'm pregnant. I was excommunicated last Wednesday". Damn damn damn. 

So, as long as I keep talking (or writing), let there be a steady supply of humble pie. 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A private moment with my man

Hi! I'm bleary and drowsy but I wanted to write this to you.
In the movie "In her shoes", Cameron Diaz plays a ditzy girl who constantly lands herself in scrapes and messes up everything. But her heart was always in the right place, and like all movies, in the end she redeemed herself.
You know I suck at writing poetry. So here's the poem she read out at the end. I do not claim to like or understand all of e.e.cummings' poetry, but this one- this one I claim:

i carry your heart with me - e.e.cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart).

Have a great day, sweets.