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


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 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".

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".