Saturday, June 23, 2012


At a recent PTA meeting at the college where I sub at, one of the parents asked why children today are so weak in English, especially spoken English. While there could be any number of answers to that question, the best and the most obvious one would be that we Mizos have very little opportunity to actually talk in English. So while there are many who can write well in English, actually conversing in the language is still a daunting prospect for many of us- whether its because the sudden shift from a first to a second language confuses us, or because we are unsure of how to pronounce the words correctly or we are worried about our accent.

I have also found that even among English honours students, when conducting a class wholly in English, I am often met by blank or glazed stares and I have to switch to Mizo to make sure that I get my point across to the students. So a typical lecture would consist of 70% English and 30% Mizo.

While in hostel in Shillong, it was necessary not just to converse, but also to think in English. So the words came naturally. But its been ten years since I've had the opportunity to speak English on a daily process, so when faced with a situation that calls for a sudden shift in one's language, I often find myself floundering for words.

 Like the time I had an interview. Prior to that I had stopped off at a friend's place because it was her birthday and she had given me what I thought was some "Burma thil", but which turned out to be tiny hashish pellets. The interview, needless to say, was a disaster, what with my confusion over the shift in language, worsened by my being mildly high. The only thing that came to mind while I was interviewed were the words, "It is." I became more and more flustered by this mental block, and the more flustered I became, the more that mental block grew.

We had advised our students to read more and to assimilate the language more when watching TV, so that they can learn to think in English. We also told them to speak the language every opportunity they get, so that they could be more comfortable with the spoken word. I have another interview coming up, so I've decided to follow our own advice. Hence the reason why I have recently decided to update my blog despite a soul-crushing lack of inspiration, blah. 

The competition is daunting but at least this way, I can redeem myself a bit, and hopefully, not stumble through another interview mumbling, " is.. um, well, it's like this. Ihh.. It is aaa..."

Friday, June 15, 2012

On not being a bona-fide boy

I had a horrible childhood on account of boys. Yes, boys. First of all, I wasn't one. But I was elected to be the honorary boy among us five sisters and that put a lot of pressure on me because I wasn't a tomboy exactly, but I had to do guy stuff. And yet I still liked  girly stuff, but every time I and my sisters played with dolls, I was given the ugliest doll (Still can't figure out the logic in that).

Also, my male cousins treated me horribly because I had no male skills and yet I wasn't all-girl either. I was/still am very klutzy and uncoordinated. I could only get till stage 8-2 of Mario Brothers and could complete Contra only with unlimited lives, so no one wanted to play video games with me. I was always the first to be killed at Inthrengkah. In hindsight I think they killed me off first deliberately so that they could get rid of me. I was always the last to be picked for football teams and I always played defence- badly too, I should add. And they always demonstrated their newly learned wrestling holds on me, and when I cried, they would call me a "Tuai".

And I sucked at girly stuff too. While my sisters made perfect stitches and knits, mine always came undone and I poked myself with the needles. So I tried to learn guy stuff like cycling but my super-protective dad insisted on treating me like a girl and forbade me and my sisters from learning how to cycle because we could fall and die. I asked one of my cousins to teach me secretly and he said, "Girls shouldn't cycle because cycling can make you lose your virginity". I didn't know what a virginity was then, but it sounded like something I shouldn't lose, so I ended up not learning. 

Then I tried to learn how to play the guitar, but none of my male cousins would teach me because I wasn't a bonafide boy and 'only boys should play the guitar'. So I tried to teach myself secretly after stealing one of my cousins' booklet on how to play the guitar. For days I tried to get clumsy fingers to play, and I managed to learn a couple of keys. But the pads of my fingers got terribly calloused. I had a crush on this boy in my class, then. I used to do the "Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight" wish so that the teacher would make me sit next to him in class, that was all I wanted then.  

Then one day my wish came true! There he was, my crush, sitting next to me in class and me, trying to act all cool and unconcerned about it. Then one day while trying to peek at a drawing I made, he suddenly grabbed hold of my hand and while I tried to still my pounding heart, he shouted, "Eheee, this girl has the strangest fingers I've ever seen! Look, look, they're all toughened up!"  That night, I bade farewell to the guitar and hello to hand lotion. I never bagged that boy, though, and the ironic part is, a couple years later, he showed me his calloused hands which he claimed he got from playing the guitar. Bleh

Most people treat me like a genuine girl now, except for my male cousins. Some ten years back, one of them came over and talked about this girl whom he liked- about how pretty she is, how mischievous and yet feminine, and how she's a total princess. And when I smiled whimsically, he casually told me that I could never be the princess type because I didn't have what it took to inspire the "prince" in a guy. Which hurt terribly.

If my life was a book, a sparkly, vegetarian vampire would fall in love with me because I'm so clumsy and therefore, vulnerable and he would be totally protective of me. But life can be better than fiction and I found that there are guys who are neither sparkly, nor blood-sucking vegetarians, but who still fall for a girl who keeps on falling and falling. And I've acquired a few girly skills, my male cousins discarded their chauvinism and no longer treated me like a wussy boy, so life does get better. And I also found out I don't want to be a princess, being a girlfriend works out jes' fiiiinnee

Hah, who am I kidding- I thoroughly enjoyed my childhood. I miss my male cousins :(

Sunday, June 3, 2012

I love rain! (Not the Korean guy)

And the monsoon is officially here again- I think.
For now, the rains aren't quite that heavy, and after the previous week's scorching heat, they are absolutely welcome.

There's something about the rain that awakens the nostalgic spirit in me.
-Memories of childhood walking along side-drains with friends, carefully picking our school skirts in one hand, and holding our naughtyboy shoes in the other. Sneaking inside the house so that my mother won't nag me about my rain-soaked hair and clothes.

-Curling up in bed with a good book to read and a bad boy to daydream about :)

- High school moments when a crush would seek shelter underneath the same awning, and I would turn crimson with excitement eventhough he never noticed me around.... (He has a paunch now, yay! :p)

- That time I and a friend (God, I forgot her name) were given a free ride by a very nice taxi driver who felt sorry for our drenched selves and we imagined he was taking us somewhere else to molest us and the look of surprised consternation on his face when we begged tearfully that he release us please and he let us out in the pouring rain (May you prosper- good, misunderstood sir!)

- That time when Mimi and I sought shelter at a dingy mithai shop and the shopowner gave us free tea and boiled eggs. Best boiled eggs I've ever had in my life. Thank you, sir!

- That awesome day when a biker splashed muddy water all over my school skirt and he stopped to apologize and he turned out to be a huuuge crush (who has since passed away) and I ended up walking on sunshine all the way back home :):)

- Being walked home by the new (and still reigning :p) BF and one of his friends, and we forgot to be 'cool' and splashed mudwater all over each other. Belatedly realizing I was carrying an umbrella all along, and he gave me a quick kiss under the umbrella right there on that deserted, mist-covered, tree-lined road, while his friend made gagging sounds.

- Recent trip to Shillong, waiting for this roadside chaiwallah's pot to boil, while rainwater dripped from our umbrella and we shivered in the cold. Anticipation + cold + Shillong = best red tea of my life.

- Being cooped indoors with that certain someone and feeling nooo pain at ALL :)

- Having the wind wrest my umbrella from my hands and go billowing right in the middle of a busy intersection, and running to retrieve it while patient Aizawl drivers stopped for me. And not a single horn was honked (Bless you all). And then immediately afterwards phoning the guy to alleviate my embarrassment (And bless him too for being there to receive all my "I just made a fool of myself again" calls).

And there are still so many more rainy day memories- all of which makes me realise that events in themselves are really nothing, except that they are made special by the people we are with. And the memories I associate with rain has almost always been of the best kind. Or maybe I've blocked out the "you left me. Alone. In the rain." kind of shitty memories that makes some people associate rain with pain.

And maybe a few more weeks of this and I'll complain about the wetness and the mould and yearn for sun-dried clothes. But for now, let it rain.

P.S: This is so my rainy day song :)