Friday, July 30, 2010


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


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.

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