Sunday, March 15, 2009


Questions questions everywhere I go. I'm sick to death of answering the same questions a million times. That’s one big disadvantage of living in a strange land. People around you are curious, and every new face you meet, every new friend you make means you have to answer questions 1-10 all over again. Strangers are no different. Go out shopping, go for medical checkups, go to the bank, go to any dashed place and the most asked question is “Where are you from?”
Sometimes I’d deliberately misunderstand and would tell the name of the locality where I live, and the look of perplexity on the other person’s face is priceless, a pure Kodak moment. Other commonly answered questions are -

-Is that in Nepal/China/?
-Why have you come here?
-What language do you speak?
-Is it similar to Chinese/Japanese/any Southeast Asian language?
-Say something in your language.
-What kind of food do you eat?
-What currency do you use?
-How do you like this place?
-How many brothers and sisters do you have?
-What is your father? (Yes they ask this and many times I’ve been tempted to answer “A man.”)

I don’t blame the local people for being curious. It’s human nature. If tomorrow I meet someone from say, Bora Bora, I’d probably ask the same questions, maybe even more. But answering the same questions every other day, questions from people as diverse as auto drivers to shopkeepers to colleagues to strangers on the street could get on your nerves a bit, I tell you.

Sometimes I’d get so fed up, so sick of saying the same things for the millionth time that I’d think to myself “Maybe I should just pack my bags and go home, to the place where everyone looks and speaks like me and nobody cares if I have fifty siblings or if my father is a ditch digger or asks me if I like living at home.”

But oh, the irony! I’ve been living away from home for too long, and every vacation, every Christmas, every trip home, with every familiar face I see, with every old acquaintance I meet, more questions come in my way.

-Oh, are you home? (No I'm still in Bora Bora, I am just materializing here and in a few seconds will dematerialize and you will see me no more).

-When did you arrive?
-When are you leaving again?

(Every single person invariably asks these two questions, and I’m tired of answering. Next time you see me out there don’t ask me these two. Sometimes I’d think I might just as well pin some notice, some tag on my chest that said – I arrived on so-and-so date and will leave again on so-and-so date, thank you very much)

-Where are you working now?
-How much is your salary (c’mon people have some sense)
-We thought you might have gotten married to one of them locals..ha ha ha…(I don’t know if this qualifies as a question but every second person said it to me)
-Is it hot out there?
-How many Mizos live there?
-My neighbour’s husband’s cousin’s daughter also studies there, do you know her? (No I don’t)
-Are you still living there? Are you never coming back? (I don’t know)

I know I'm just being grumpy and difficult, and you might want to ask me these questions, depending on which category you fall in, but well, like I’ve said, there’s just so much irritation a woman can endure.


  1. Intrusive, invasive,inquisitive, yeah yeah, those aggravating questions. I suppose it's best to take it philosophically - at least they're not ignoring you.

    I get the how much is the salary or its variation pretty often too and I think it's got to be one of the rudest, most mannerless questions to ask anybody!

  2. Isn't it amazing how people just expect us to know somebody from Mizoram? Thats one think I like and hate about our society. Like it b'coz we're a close knitted society and everybody's expected to know somebody. It gives that feeling of bonhomie and warmth. Hate it b'coz sometimes it gets a wee bit irritating.

    I've given up answering to all those questions like "where is Mizoram? Is it in China?" etc coming from our own educated Indian brothers. I always get the question, "Are you from China?" which pisses me off many times.

    And then the other day I got caught in the local train station for traveling to the platform without a platform ticket ( avangin FI..) and when the TC asked me "You didn't know you need a platform ticket?" I thought they'd be lenient to me if I say I'm not an Indian.

    "No sir..."

    "You're not from here?"

    "No sir... I'm from China."

    "Don't lie to me, you bloody fellow. I know you're from the North east. Manipur? Mizoram? Show me your ID."

    Aaaaaaaaaargh!!! I got fined 260 bucks.

    See, that is the heights of frustration. When you want them to recognize you as a Mizo, they think you're chinese. And when you want to be chinese, they know you're not! I've already written a short post about this too which I'll post later (had to post the football match result first) hehhehe.

  3. just one question tho' - isn't this a common problem faced by everyone who comes from our part of the country? i think the problem is the rest of India's still very ignorant when it comes to north east, but with shows like Indian idol where youngsters from north east have started participating i think "the rest of India" have started taking notice. Hopefully things'll improve..

    taka i dam mo? i va vang veee!!

  4. My sentiments exactly.. If I had a penny for everytime I've been asked to say something in my language (I'd probably buy some more beer!) and the best part is "Say a bad word in your language!" I tell them that we mizo's are very decent people and would hurl a fist rather than an abuse. That would sometimes shut them up, other times, they laugh back at your face with "Every language has abusive words.. blah blah.." (Our worst one is Monkey??)
    Also, I have been asked the exact same questions when I go home for vacations and it does get harrowing sometimes.. So when I vented to my mum about it, she would say "They are doing that because they care.." Yeah right.. or not..
    We're in the same boat sis, and if I ever find a one-word answer for all the questions, you'll be the first to know.. or not.. ;)

  5. Reminds of a question shot at me when I was traveling in a bus the other day..."Are u an African or a Chinese?" Can u beat that!!?? :PP

  6. zoram, I am a Martian i ti lo nia :D

    Ka thiannu nau mipa Anthonys' a kal thin laiin an Naga thianpa Mizo tawng thiam ve chhun chu "Tho ve chiah2 mi?" tih ania. Tlaiah te, zanah te tho ve chiah2 mi in tih reng chu a ngeiawm dangdai duh ania a ti hehe

  7. Japanese or Chinese emaw khawnge mizoram tih hi chu ka la hrethiam...min hre ve deuh, min hrechiang si lo zawhna ka dawn chang hian ka sa ve fo thin. Entirnan, Utawk sa in ei thin em? tih vel zawhna ka dawn ni chuan- ka MIzo thin hi a chhe ve fo thin a..ka insum hma hian ka tawng leh buan buan thin...! Babie sawi ang hian hma kan sawn chho mekin ka hria..!

  8. hehehe,.. Aduh, han awm dun ila, kan ti ti a rual phianin ka ring, kan tawn a in ang thei sia.. :)

    Mizote hian he zawhna hi kan tawn tlangpui a nih hmel khawp mai. "Chinese i ang" tih nen hian. Min han hmu dun chiah se kan danglam an ti leh hle si ang chu... Ka zawhna dawn thin pakhat, i sawiho bak ami chu "Eng hawrawp nge in hman" tih hi. Chinese character hi kan hmang ve turah an ngai thin.