Saturday, December 10, 2011

Timepass post

I'm thinking of switching to Wordpress, but haven’t really worked on it (procrastinating, as usual). But I've been on Blogger for so long (officially it’s been four years) that it’s hard to let go just like that. I think it must be kind of like having a new phone number and texting the people in your contacts list “Hey this is me and this is my new number”. Of course if you don’t say your name your friends may think you are some psycho stalker and hit the Delete button immediately.

The thing I like about Wordpress is, the Freshly Pressed posts you see when you open it. You discover amazing blogs / blogposts every other day. Like the one that asked you to “Please describe yourself in the most annoying way possible”, the one that made me laugh out loud, even when I thought about it afterwards –“Christmas Gift Guide: Revenge Edition”, or the “Top Ten Movies I'm Embarrassed I Haven’t Seen”.

Today I discovered a new blogpost, The 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list, and the blogger had listed around 1200 books (Yeah I know the title says 1001 books). It is not the definitive list or anything, just one person's opinion, but a pretty good list there I must say. From the list I’d read a few,  some I left mid-book, bought but didn’t open, read the translated version, watched the movie, and read the comic book and abridged versions.

I went through the entire list, and here are the books which I've read. Excluding the abridged, translated, comics and movie versions. Maybe I should make my own list from this - Top 100 books I'm embarrassed I haven't read. (Oh, and try the Wordpress thing. It's much better than wasting your time on Facebook.)

(Only 37? Now I AM embarrassed. Now how many have you read from that list? Not mine you idiot.) 
  1. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
  2. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  3. On Beauty – Zadie Smith
  4. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
  5. Atonement – Ian McEwan
  6. The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver
  7. The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
  8. The Stone Diaries – Carol Shields
  9. The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje
  10. Black Water – Joyce Carol Oates
  11. The Satanic Verses – Salman Rushdie
  12. Beloved – Toni Morrison
  13. Love in the Time of Cholera – Gabriel García Márquez
  14. The Color Purple – Alice Walker
  15. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
  16. The Godfather – Mario Puzo
  17. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey
  18. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  19. Doctor Zhivago – Boris Pasternak
  20. The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien
  21. The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
  22. Cannery Row – John Steinbeck
  23. The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
  24. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
  25. The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
  26. Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
  27. Thank You, Jeeves – P.G. Wodehouse
  28. Sons and Lovers – D.H. Lawrence
  29. A Room With a View – E.M. Forster
  30. The Hound of the Baskervilles – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  31. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  32. The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
  33. Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
  34. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
  35. The Count of Monte-Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
  36. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  37. Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Just in case

I was never a Boy Scout. Of course that’s obvious because I'm not a boy. But I was never a Girl Guide either. In high school I was in the NCC but that’s another story, one which I might tell someday.

You know the Boys Scout motto is “Be Prepared”, right? (I personally think Lord Baden-Powell had decided on the motto after his name. B-P. B P). Well, Scout or no Scout, I like being prepared. Anything can happen to anyone at any time. Which is why you will find in my bag, among other things, a bunch of safety pins, a wad of tissues, a few pens, a notepad, keys, various medicines including Zandu balm, two handkerchiefs, purse, coin purse, lipstick and compact, hand lotion, earphones, comb and hairclips. Depending on the weather you might find an umbrella, scarf, a pair of shoes (I wear my rubber shoes when I leave the house and change in the office), cardigan, shawl and socks. Depending on the time of the month you might find, well you know what. Before leaving the house I always check to see I have everything I need. Keys. ID. Purse. Money. Shopping List. Phone is fully charged. I am pretty sure that on the day of the Second Coming when the heavenly bugle sounds I might say “Lord, please give me a minute to pack my toothbrush and moisturiser”.

The other day in the office we ordered mutton biryani from outside, and afterwards I collected the empty polythene covers, just in case we might need it some day. When someone laughed my reply was, “You never know!” I even keep a pair of chappals in my locker, for those days when you discover your current pair suddenly decides to quit without giving notice.

A closely related subject is hoarding things. I come from a family that never throws things away, “we might find a use for it someday”. Old clothes, shoes, textbooks, household stuff, all pile up in various corners of the house. I think one of my father’s textbooks from his college days still lies around somewhere. My school uniform when I was eight years old hasn’t left my possession. A songbook we made in our pre-teens could be found, if you have the time and the interest to dig through all the junk. When my sister was in middle school, in the late 80s, they learned knitting in their Work Experience class. For each design they would knit a small sample, about the size of the palm, and stick it on the page of a notebook, beside the knitting instructions. That book was a real treasure.

We have inherited this hoarding and being prepared business from my father, who is a champion hoarder (ask anyone in the locality) and worrier. People keep popping in the house to borrow tools or something which they thought we might have because nobody else have it. When I was in school I would be given extra pocket money, which was like, five rupees, in case we had to go for some function. Well, in those days we frequently went to this or that competition and we had to pay for our own bus fares. Never having to take the bus on normal days, that five rupees would make me feel so rich!

An old tin used for keeping knick-knacks (a missing button, a Band-Aid, a clothespin, a dead watch) has been in use for the last 22 years. We call it Bur Tawi. So if my mother asks me to get a needle from Bur Tawi I know exactly where to find it. Another strange thing about my family is, we give names to objects, more like identifiers. Fifteen years ago if my father asked if his “Chakai Khawrh Kawr” was clean we knew he was talking about his rust coloured pullover. If I say I am taking Pu Aitawna to bed no one pays me any attention because they know Pu Aitawna is an old black and white blanket. The greatest treasure was recently unearthed. It was in March of this year, I was at home when my mother excavated from the ruins an old X-Ray of my father’s. The X-Ray was dated January 1979. Can you beat that?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A trip to Laknavaram Lake

“We should go to Laknavaram Lake, they say it’s very beautiful”. We googled the images and we were very happy with what we saw. It was decided that we should go to the lake, which is in Warangal, roughly 220 kms from Hyderabad, about a three hour drive. Aaron has relatives in Warangal and they were ok for us to stay overnight, and everyone was pretty excited.

                                                   [A picture of the lake on the internet]

25 June 2011, Saturday.  It was a beautiful morning. As usual everyone was late and it was almost 11 when we started. Everyone was in high spirits, and we talked about trivial stuff, but mostly about a person we all know (who we have called he-who-must-not-be-named afterwards) and his psycho family. There was me, Mamta, Aaron, Suman, Francis, Joy and Aijaz.

Off we went, and we had almost crossed the city when we received a call from another friend, Annie. She had been invited the day before but she declined, and on Saturday morning at 11 o’clock she suddenly decided to come. When we learned that it would take her at least an hour to get ready and find us, there followed a heated debate. Some of us wanted to wait, and some of us wanted to say “It’s too late you can’t come now”. I will not say in which camp I was, but let it be known that there were arguments and ‘group discussions’ and threats to leave. We finally decided we could not turn away someone who wanted to join us, so it was with grumbles and complaints that we waited, and waited, and waited for some more time, and it was close to 1 PM when she finally arrived and we inched away from the city.

Things went well, we drove by the beautiful countryside, including the town of Bhongir which is located at the foot of the Bhongir Fort which stands on top a big stone hill. People were no longer hostile, everyone was speaking again, and all was well.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Lunglen leh a behbawm

Thlasik a nih veleh a lunglen nghal rikngawt mai hi a mak ka ti. Khawtlang lunglen an tih ang diktak lehnghal hi mawle. Ngaih bik em em pawh neilo, nunhlui pawh ngai lo, boruak awm dan in lung a ti leng ve tawp a ni.

Tawngkam thiam deuh chu ni ila, nisat dan lo danglam ta te, tlema boruak a lo vawh sung dan te, kawrlum hak a lo ngai ta te hi engtin tin emaw ka'n sawi kual vel duah tur a nia le. Mahse han inpuang lawk ila, Mizo tawnga thuziak chhiar hi ka thatchhe em em a, chutah pawh thupui fun deuh hi chu ka la chhiar peihlo lehzual a. Ka chhiar peihloh zingah pawh tawngkam in tih thiam tum lutuk a ziak kikawi vak vak ho hi ka chhiar peihlo fal a. "Tawnni her leh hma loh zawng ar ang ka vai nang ngai reng hian a riangte hi" tih vel ho hi ania ka sawi chu. Hlathu chu ni se ka hrethiam, fiction/non-fiction ah hetiang tawngkam an rawn hman kual duah tawh hi chuan ka chhiarzo lo tlangpui. Fiction an han ziak a thenkhat chuan, mi pangngai ina kan hman ngai reng reng loh tawngkama an han tawng tir ta vak vak mai thin hi chuan a ti lem zo vek in ka hre thin. Fantasy emaw historical novel a nih law law si loh chuan tawngkam pangngai hi hman tir ve hle hle mai tur.

Lunglen chhan hi a mak khawp a. Thlasik lunglen hi pakhat ni ta se, khawtlang lungleng a dang leh (A pahnih hian a khaikhawm theih fo bawk a, tuna ka awm ang hian). Thil mak pui pui, awm lo deuh deuh hian lung hi zuk ti leng thei tlat a. Hmanah kan hostel hnungah hian rel kawng hi a awm a, junction tereuhte a awm bawk a. Zan rei, reh thep thawp tawh hnua rel rawn tlan ri ruai ruai khan ka lung a ti leng tlat zel a nih chu. Zinkawng, haw kawng nen ka inkawptir tlat vang pawh kha a niang e. Mahse ti ila, tunah hian kan in chung zawna thlawhna a rawn thlawh rik dur dur te hi chuan ka ning em em thung a, liam vat vat se ka ti thin. Aizawl-Gauhati pawh bus leh sumo in vawi tamtak ka lo teihawi vel tawh a, bus leh sumo erawh chuan lung a ti leng eih lo bawk.

Hun kal tawh thil min hriatchhuah tir tu te hian kan lung a ti leng ni ta berin ka hria. Kan la tawn miah loh hi chu ngaihtuahna zawng zawng nena tan chiam hnuah tlem te in a rawn leng ve det maithei. Thil maksak deuh ka rilru a awm reng chu, mi kan ngaih hian anmahni mimal tak kha kan va ngai nge, anmahni nena thil kan lo experience tawhna kha kan ngai nge, kan inhre rei tawh lutuk a anmahni ngai em em lo mahila kan nunhlui kha kan va ngai? All of the above hi a nih hmel.

Pakhatna: A mihring kha kan va ngai em em. An felna te, an bula awm nawmna te, min tihhlimna te, an rilru tha lutuk te, a tam mai, an personality kha a nih ber chu, khami khan min ngaihtir ta em em a.

Pahnihna leh Pathumna hi khaikhawm daih teh ang, ka thliar hrang thiam lo: Chutia han inkawmngeih em em pawh kan ni lo a, mahse kan inkawm ve lai khan thil hlimawm tak tak te kan lo ti a, hriatreng tlak tak tak te pawh a niang chu. A hnuah kan inkawm zui ta lo. Inkawm leh ila khati khawp khan kan inkawmngeih leh kher tawh lo ang. Mahse kan nunhlui kan ngaih avang khan a huna laia mihring te pawh kan va ngai tel ve ta.

Ziah leh tur ka ngaihtuahna lamah ka lunglen a bo zo.

Mizoram time leh vairam time hi sawi daih teh ang. North East hi time zone hrana awm tur tih vel kha vawikhat lai khan kan han sawi hlut a, a reh leh ta chu a nia hei. Mizorama han haw hian khua te a lo var hma a, mi an lo tho hma a, time zone hran ang deuhah pawh lo ngai ta ila. In adjust hi a har duh khawp mai. Dar 7 a thawh te chu tho tlai kan ni a, mahse chhungten min hrethiam a min kaitho duh bik lo a. Chaw min lo eisan a, an eikham tawh dawn lamah min rawn kaitho a, midang ruala chawei loh kha chu ni heklo, mumang nen nuaih a chaw han ei kha chu ei tui a har khawp mai. Mahse ni 2/3 hnuah chuan kan in adjust ve mai. Chutah tlai dar 6 velah tlai chaw kan eikham leh vek tawh, zan a rei duh khawp mai. Inkhawm loh phei chuan zanah hian TV en chiah tihtur a awm tawh.

Mi te chuan tlangrama han haw hi a thawventhlak an ti a, kei chuan a thawipikthlak ka ti tlat a nih chu. Aizawl ngat te phei chu a tawt sia, kawng zim te a awm a, lehlam ah kopang, lehlamah inchhawng sang deuh a lo awm uaih a, anih loh leh in leh in inkarah kan kal rek rek a. Ka thaw a ipik thin. Min ti claustrophobic vek zel. Mahse a thawventhlak ka tihna ve chu engmah ngaihtuah a ngailo kha! Chhungte bulah thlamuang takin kan awm der der a, a nuam e! Rawngbawl, gas lak, inluahman pek, bazar, insuk, electric bill pek etc rilru atanga han paihbo hmak kha chu nuam ve tak a ni. Duhtawk teh ang.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Planetary, my dear Watson!

"Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are the nine planets that revolve around the sun in our solar system" was what we learned in school. More than two decades have passed, and since then there have been many new discoveries and Pluto has been un-planet-ed. Demoted. As if it could not get enough votes to be a member of the Planets Legislative Assembly. Imagine the billion gazillion gases and floating things in space queuing up to cast their votes, proudly exhibiting the ink mark on the finger afterwards.

Two anti-Pluto gases in conversation:

GAS 1: "I will not vote for Pluto, he has done nothing for us in the last couple of million years. I think I will vote for this new planet BX54U8Y instead, he looks promising."

GAS 2: "Let the name Pluto be erased forever from memory."

GAS 1: "That's impossible."

GAS 2: "And why is that?"

GAS 1: "Well, there's another Pluto, the one that's very popular with human beings."

GAS 2: "Are you saying this Pluto character has cloned himself?"

GAS 1: "No, not exactly. You see, this other Pluto..."

GAS 2: "Who is it? A human being? An asteroid? A black hole?"

GAS 1: "It's Mickey Mouse's dog."

Okay enough about the planets.

Or maybe not. The reason I thought about Mars (not the chocolate bar) and Jupiter (not the Roman god) and other planets and the universe we live in, was because I went out yesterday evening.

It was almost sunset and I was riding in a very shaky auto. We climbed a flyover, and above the buildings and the  trees and the power lines I could see this big, round orange sun hanging in the sky. The sky was somewhere between blue and grey and there was not a cloud around, not even a bird. Just this big sun, beautiful and majestic and close, so close you feel you could reach out and touch it. I took out my phone to take a picture but by then we had descended from the flyover and all I could see were buildings above me. At every open space I got I craned my neck upwards to look at the sun. Five minutes later it had sunk very low, and its colour had become pinkish - orangeish.

We all know we live in this big universe, that we are nothing more than a tiny speck of dust. But did we ever actually "feel" that we are a part of it? We live our lives everyday worrying about food and clothing and shelter, but did we ever for a minute take the time to think, yes I live on a planet which revolves around the sun, and there are a million trillion other planets and gases and other space stuff floating around me? Never, is my guess.

In the news we hear about an asteroid or a meteor or something about to hit the earth or collide with the earth. We read/listen to it and think, oh that sounds scary. But we were never really scared, were we? We would be more scared, say if we hear that there is a masked robber terrorising the neighbourhood. Because we relate to it. We don't relate to space stuff. Most of us think all these planets and satellites and gaseous matter stuff is only for the scientists. And I am no exception.

So yesterday I was watching the sun, and I thought, hey the sun looks exactly like the pictures of the planets in our textbooks. To be precise, I thought it looked like Jupiter. Mostly because of its orange colour (see picture below). That's when all these thoughts started invading my head.



And just the other day I read that two scientists captured the birth of new planet on camera. Makes one feel smaller than ever.

Here's a video of the Milky Way taken from the highest mountain in Spain, El Teide.

"If you ever wondered how the Milky Way would look through a Sahara sandstorm, look at 00:32."
The Mountain from TSO Photography on Vimeo.

A beautiful picture of the Milky Way by Thomas Zimmer:



Monday, October 24, 2011

Time after time

Imagine yourself stranded somewhere remote, without a watch. The movement of the sun is the only way you can tell the time. And maybe the hunger in your stomach. Wouldn't you go a little bit crazy? I would. I always have to know the time. But I hate wearing a watch, and the only watch I have is lying inside some unused bag. Yet I get on nicely without it, what with mobile phones and computers telling the time and you always have one or the other nearby, and in the rare event that you are stranded without either one you can always ask people around you, and in the rarest event that you find yourself alone without anyone around.. well that's a bit unlikely to happen.

You know what comes to mind? Prisoners scratching the dates on prison walls. Count of Monte Cristo specifically. Maybe a little bit of Robinson Crusoe. Yes I know he was not a prisoner, he was marooned; but he still scratched the dates on rocks (I think). Same difference.

Let's assume that it's a Saturday and I am stuck in the house without any means of telling the time. Here is how I would know what time it is (approximately).

Because of the Telangana employees granting themselves holidays, the whole city of Hyderabad suffers from daily power cuts, anywhere between two and six hours. In our area the allotted time is between six and eight in the morning, and then twelve to two in the afternoon.

So on this watch-less day I wake up and find that the lights are still on. I look at my window and find that it's not yet daylight, so I know that it's before 6 AM. I go back to sleep, and when the lights go out and and the fan stops whirring, I know it must be exactly 6.

8 AM and the lights come back, and I can hear the caretaker sweeping the verandah.

The neighbour's baby cries like somebody dropped an anvil on her foot, so I know it's around 8:30 and her mother is giving her a bath. A cold one, no doubt.

This is when the fun begins.

We live in a residential area, and there are no shops in the immediate neighbourhood. So from morning until evening a dozen or so vendors, selling everything from artificial flowers to fresh fish would come along, peddling their wares and shouting in their own unique ways.

The first one to make his presence known is the Idli-Dosa guy. He doesn't come everyday, but I've heard his shout a few times. Maybe it's because there are not many bachelors in the area.

At around 9:53 comes the leafy vegetables guy, shouting "Kotmeer, Palakka", which are coriander and spinach respectively. Housewives drop down their baskets or polythene covers from upstairs apartments and he makes a good sale every morning.

And then comes the most irritating Saturday morning regular. The religious guy. Comes to our colony around 11-ish, drives around in a small van/cart thing, adorned with numerous pictures of his innumerable gods, burning this and that incense and playing the loudest devotional songs. It must be a famous song because I've heard people use it as their mobile phone ringtones.

The power goes off, and I know it's noon. And when it comes back I know it's 2 PM.

At 4 PM the samosa fellows come cycling, after which the next regular event is at midnight when the local watchman patrols the street, tapping the road loudly with his cane. Although you know it's only one man with a stick who's guarding your colony, hearing that tap-tap in the night when everything's gone quiet can be really comforting.

All through the day you have the paper-vendors and the fruit vendors coming through. Then you have the occasional fishman, the artificial flowers ladies, the broom lady, the flowers-you-wear-in-the-hair man, the bedsheets and cushion covers people, and the ice-cream man.

That's about it. A day in the life, a watch-less day.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Nice leh Nice lo

Nice:
  1. Sam posi fuh deuh.
  2. Sunshine after weeks of damp.
  3. Getting a window seat on the bus and feeling the cold morning air on your face.
  4. Chaw ei loh pawha riltam miah loh.
  5. Remembering something funny.
  6. A long forgotten song playing on the radio [eg East 17's Stay Another Day].
  7. Walking past a bakery and the smell of freshly baked bread and other bakery stuff filling the air.

Not Nice:
  1. Sam pawh ngil hnu lo to kir leh bup.
  2. Bitter chocolate.
  3. Pheikhawk sang bun zeilo deuh.
  4. Rawngbawl laklawh laia gas zo.
  5. The smell of stale cigarette smoke.
  6. Children calling you Aunty.
  7. The neighbourhood ogler.
  8. Thenawmte naute a nu in tuktin a tap tuar tuar khawpa a bual thin.

The list is not finished, not by a long shot. May come up with Part 2, or I may not. Wait and watch.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chitchat

Sunday afternoon, two weeks after the last blog post. A warm sunny day outside, with the temperature hovering at the early thirties.

A shopping expedition with a girl friend suddenly cancelled finds me with nothing to do. Well, I could read the piles of books I haven’t touched since they left the store, or I could get up and get dressed and go to church. But you know those days when you don’t feel like executing Plan B once Plan A has failed and you just sit around reading the newspaper cover to cover, read a few blogs that you love and wonder why you spent so much time on Facebook when it’s clear nothing great is going to come out of it and the people there seem to be more and more lunatic? Well today is one such day, in fact a perfect example of it.

Did you ever get tired of all the songs in your playlist? Did you ever repeatedly hit the Next button again and again and there is not a single song that you want to lend your ears to? A quiet afternoon making you feel simply drowsy but you want to avoid a nap because it does nothing good for your ever expanding waistline. Switched on an internet radio station, Smooth Radio London, and forgotten songs like No More I Love Yous, The Most Beautiful Girl in the World and Out of Reach filled the afternoon air. Switched to 1.FM and it was Katie Melua singing To Kill You With a Kiss.

Been six weeks since I went to church. I can see the frowns and the hear the admonishments. I plead guilty, Your Collective Honours. Every good girl goes to church and prays regularly, I can hear you thinking. And especially in a society like ours where your character, your moral and religious goodness, your piousness, everything is directly proportional to the frequency with which you cross the threshold of the church. I am not trying to be sarcastic or mocking, I am just stating the simple facts, which to a degree holds true. And I am not justifying my not going to church. I don’t go because I don’t. Simple as that, nothing to analyse or be subjected to study under the microscope or on the shrink’s couch. 

Nelly Furtado up next with Try.

It’s 3:22 in the afternoon, and very soon the samosa guy will come cycling and shout in his flat voice “Samosaaa”, “Samoooosaaa”, and he will linger near my house because I always buy from him on weekends. Small crispy oily samosas at one rupee each, I can easily devour five or six.

Melanie C with Never Be The Same Again. Haven’t heard that song in years. “I thought that we would just be friends, things will never be the same again yada yada yada tukchhit tukchhit….

Monday, September 5, 2011

I Disappear

One of the most terrifying things in the world, I think, is disappearing. I don’t mean disappearing as being physically out of sight. It’s more about being forgotten, disappearing from people’s memory, not being remembered, being lost among all the wires and electric signals and forgotten things in somebody’s brain. Somewhat like being stuffed in a box with all the other useless things and pushed to a corner and forgotten and one day someone will discover the box and ask the owner “Who is this person?” and the person will rack his brains and try to recall who you are and why you were in the box and he might say “Oh just someone I used to know” or he might be embarrassed and start lying in all directions but it wouldn’t change anything because you had been in the box all that time. 

And so we try to attract attention, in all the ways we know. We dress outrageously, paint our faces, wear flashy watches and shoes and drive noisy vehicles. We talk and laugh loudly and drown everyone with our opinions and play our music right in their faces. 

And we go online and tell the world what we did every waking minute of our lives. And not being content with that, we blog and ask everyone to read it. 

But after all this, nobody thinks about us as much as we hoped or feared because they are all too busy obsessing over themselves! Hahaha! 

Stupid post, I know, now you can go and check out my photoblog at wordpress. :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

How about it?

I don’t understand poetry much, but I still love the popular ones like “How do I love thee let me count the ways”, or that one by Yeats that goes “ I have spread my dreams under your feet, tread softly because you tread on my dreams”, or any of Pablo Neruda’s bittersweet poems (Because of you, in gardens of blossoming flowers I ache from the perfumes of spring. I have forgotten your face, I no longer remember your hands; how did your lips feel on mine?)

But, I am a big fan of love songs. HUGE fan. Maybe that was one reason why I was so keen on songbooks and writing down song lyrics (and eventually losing the songbook). It could be any song, any love song, sung by anyone, The Eagles or Taylor Swift or John Mayer or Zirsangzela or Maroon 5. If it has beautiful lyrics that makes you want to grab a pen and write down the lyrics, it is good enough for me.

And once in a while you come across lyrics that just blow you away. Completely. Off the seat of your pants. And sometimes the lyrics are not even that sweet or sad or melancholic. Some geniuses have a way of putting together words that just feels so right, so perfect, that you want to write that song down on a chart paper and stick it on the wall beside your bed (Actually I have done this, and I think it was a poem, don’t remember which one, it was millenia ago).

So who is this week’s lucky winner? It is an old song, well, that really depends on when you were born. Do you know that the songs we listened while growing up are now played in the Retro channel? Makes one feel ancient and old fashioned and not-with-the-times, but anyone who knows me knows I'm not really bothered about being hip and wearing the latest clothes and listening to the latest songs.

Romeo and Juliet. Dire Straits. 1980. I will not bore you with the facts like who wrote it and why and who covered it and all that stuff. Google it.

The song is soo soo sad, and, to use a word for the second time in a blogpost, bittersweet. Lost loves and people meeting at a wrong time in their lives. And the Romeo and Juliet title makes it even sadder because we all know that R&J were the personification of true love. In the song Juliet is portrayed as a fickle girl who throws away Romeo’s love. Uses him and leaves him once she tastes success and fame. And poor old Romeo roams the streets singing about the old times and serenading girls who do not want to be serenaded, much less from under a balcony.

The lyrics, oh the lyrics!

When you can fall for chains of silver,
You can fall for chains of gold,
You can fall for pretty strangers
And the promises they hold.
You promised me everything, you promised me thick and thin, yeah!
Now you just say, "Oh Romeo? Yeah, you know I used to have a scene with him".

Juliet, when we made love, you used to cry.
You said, "I love you like the stars above, I'll love you 'til I die".
There's a place for us, you know the movie song.
When you gonna realize it was just that the time was wrong, Juliet?

I can't do the talk, like the talk on TV
And I can't do a love song, like the way it's meant to be.
I can't do everything, but I'll do anything for you.
I can't do anything, 'cept be in love with you!

And all I do is miss you and the way we used to be.
All I do is keep the beat... and bad company.
Now all I do is kiss you through the bars of a rhyme,
Juliet, I'd do the stars with you any time!

And a love-struck Romeo sings a street serenade
Laying everybody low with a lovesong that he made
Finds a convenient streetlight, steps out of the shade
He says something like, "You and me babe, how about it?"

You and me babe, how about it?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

What the F?

It all started when I went home for my annual holiday. Thirty uninterrupted days of not doing anything, not worrying about the rent, or about how well stocked your fridge is, or about how far behind you are in paying the electricity bills resulted in the scale tilting a bit to the right. Everyone remarked how plump I’d become, and I happily laughed along because being thin never really suits anyone, or so I believed.

Wait. I take back my words. It all started before I went home, but another month of inactivity resulted in it being blown out of proportion. Literally. Cheeks, arms, thighs, tummy, even the ankles, everything got blown up. And it is not funny at all.

Changing your clothes ten times every morning is not funny. People thinking you are the mother of your 22 year old niece is enough to send the most jovial of persons into a deep depression from which one can never recover. Discovering your favourite pair of jeans now feels a little too tight can almost make you swear to wear only wraparound skirts, which by the way you think is the world’s ugliest piece of clothing, and roam the earth like someone stuck in the 70s.

I wish I was one of those brave souls who could laugh and just shrug it off and say “This means there’s more of me to love!” I wish I was one of those energetic individuals who get up an hour early and tie up their running shoes and go jogging in the middle of the night. I envy those happy people who accept their extra tyres and heavy forearms and do not care about the additional layers of fat they carry around.

I know, I know, I sound like a whiner, an unhappy unaccepting un-selfloving person. Give me some time, will you? Let me get used to living with my chubby body and fat ankles and triple chin. Let me stop automatically comparing myself with every fat person I see. Let those feelings of happiness stop washing over me when I see someone fatter. Let me slowly learn to love and embrace this F word. Maybe the sun will then shine on me once again.

Thank God my shoes still fit.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Tale of Two Sisters

Once upon a time there were two sisters. They had many other siblings but this tale is about the two sisters, so let’s be happy and forget about the other children their parents procreated.

So we have these two sisters, one elder, the other younger. (Obviously, because no mother can give birth to twins at exactly the same time. But wait what about those born via a Caesarean? What is the extracting procedure for twins? Does the doctor just pull out the first baby he sees? How do they decide who is older?)

Okay, so we have two sisters. In fact, if it was a hundred years earlier they would be princesses. Because their mother was a princess, a very beautiful one with skin the colour of ivory and hair like finely spun spider’s web. Our two sisters grew up as ordinary people, and worked ordinary jobs. The elder one married and became a housewife. Her husband was a relatively successful businessman, and they built a house at one of the best locations in town. They were quite well off, and when television arrived in Mizoram they were among the first to get one. I remember their house used to be very crowded, with the whole locality coming to watch any program that was showing. My mother often talked about watching the ’82 World Cup at their place, at a time when Rossi and Zico ruled the football world.

The younger sister got a government job, and was always posted in some far-off town. She bore three children, two boys followed by a girl, but never got married. The girl was slightly older than me, and was great friends with me and my sister. Because of her mother’s job she was always in one boarding school or the other, and we used to write each other, in English, and we thought ourselves very sophisticated because we wrote in English, even though it was never anything more than “How are you I am fine School is fine”.

Fortune didn’t smile on the elder sister, and she and her husband didn’t have any children. So they adopted (informally) the eldest son of the younger sister. They were very good to us (my siblings and I) too. We lived in adjacent houses, and she would, until this day, talk about the days when I was so small I couldn’t cross a small drain that was between our two houses, a drain whose width was no more than a few centimetres.

So the eldest boy lived with his aunt and uncle, and they spoiled him rotten. Gave him whatever he wanted. He had a happy childhood. Then he grew up, and he started mixing with rich boys and developed bad habits. It was the late 80s, and the rich kids had discovered drugs. Our boy too got trapped, badly, and it was very sad to see him decline like that. How his parents must have suffered!

One fine day he brought a wife home. She too was from the rich crowd, a girl who had never worked in her life. His parents were very happy, maybe they were secretly hoping he would mend his ways and settle down. They spoiled the wife, never let her lift a finger and never allowed her to do anything in the house.

Time went on, grandchildren came, everyone became old, and one day the elder sister’s husband died. Everything changed after that. The daughter-in-law declared herself the head of the house, and started treating her mother-in-law like a servant. Well, servant is too strong a word, let’s just say she was barely civil to her. The poor husband never said a word, because his wife was that kind of woman you don’t argue with.

Our elder sister, now almost 80, cooks and washes the dishes every day. Sometimes she would eat after everyone else. Poor thing, she had nowhere to go, and the person she called her son was too scared of his wife to come to her rescue. At an age when she should be enjoying the waning years of her life with grandchildren around her, she spends her days feeling like an unwanted person, an uninvited guest.

The other day my sister went to her house. It seemed she walked into a family argument, and it was very uncomfortable, so she told me. Sis walked in just in time to hear Elder Sister say she wouldn’t allow her bed to be dismantled / removed because it was the bed in which their grandfather had slept. Turned out the family had converted her room into a TV room and she had to sleep in another room.

I feel so disappointed with the human race when I hear things like this. True, no one is perfect and we all have faults and failings and eccentricities, but isn’t respect to elders something we’ve been taught all our life? In fact, it’s something that our common sense, our conscience should be telling us, without anyone having to drum it into our heads.

I don’t know how this story will end. And it is unlikely that a Sydney Carton will come to the elder sister’s rescue. I wish and pray for better happier days for her for the rest of her life.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Pawnfen

Puanfen an ti emawni, a enge dik zawk chu ka hre lem law. A dik ve ve ah lo ngai phawt teh ang.

Hmanni chu inti nù tawkin office ah pawnfen ka va feng ve ngei a. A hma pawhin fen chu ka tum ve tawh thin, mahse kal dawn tepah hian ka inthlak leh rup rup zel. Chuan ka va feng ve ta a, inthlakna awm ta lo kha chu nileng chu ka daih ve mai a. Mahse ka pawnfen fen berkher kha a lining na nal deuh mai hi a nia, chair ah hian ka tawlh zuk zuk reng mai a, khup chen chauh a nih avang khan uluk taka thut kha a lo ngai lehzel nen, ka hah khawp mai!

Chutia han inhmeh lo em em bik ka nih pawh ka hre lo a, chawnlian ve tak chu ni mah ila ka zahpui lem lo a, bawp te pawh tawi ve terh tawrh hle mahse ngalsang pui pui zingah ka inthlahrung chuang hauh lo. Mahse ka ti mi lo ve tawp.

Pawnfen feng ngai lo chu ka ni bik miahlo ania aw, naupan lai leh tleirawl tirh te kha chuan feng ve nasa alawm. Kekawr hak tuh reng ai hi chuan a nalh zawk pawh ka ti, a nù zaih mai a. Sang deuh slim deuh zeih zawih in an han fen phei hi chuan a mawi lehzual ka ti. Ka chak ve thei lutuk.

Tunlai phei hi chuan Mizoramah lamah te an uar khawp mai lehnghal a, thiante tawi ve teng tawng deuh te pawn an lo feng lawp lawp han hmuh takah chuan ka'n lei ve ringawt a. Feng leh chuang lem hlei lo a, dul lamah harsatna lo thleng ve lehzel bawk nen. Pakhat phei chu thingrem mawngah nalh deuhin ka thlep than. Khaw eng hmuh ni te chu a la nei ve mahna.

Vai ho in a salwar kameez an lo hak nachhan hi ka hre ta. Khawlum deuh ah pawnfen chhing i feng ve tawh em? Chawn vel hi a sa hut hut mai a, khawlaiah phei chuan rei deuh han kalpui ngam hi a ni lo reng reng. An salwar kameez hak hi a lo remchang khawp mai a (hak chu ka ha chuang hauh lo a), nù bawk si, chetvel khawr tut si lo, zahawm lo bawk si lo, a remchang vel vek tawp.

Chutiang bawkin kawrfual te pawh. Hak loh hian an lo thing leh thin. Engpawhnise, zawite chuan kal dem dem dawn chuang lo mah ila, pawnfen fen te, kawrfual hak te hi uar ve deuh tum tawh tur a ni.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Wuthering Heights


It was with a lot of difficulty that I was able to finish this book last month. I had earlier deduced that I would need one hour every day to read a book in a month. Well, things never go as planned; so there were days when I stayed away from all printed material, and days when I woke up early and sat on the balcony and read. Anyway, I finished the book within the stipulated time, and I'm happy. All’s well that ends well, the ends justify the means, and all that rot.

I am not going to narrate the plot, I'm just assuming you have read it, and if you haven’t, well that’s just too bad. I wanted to put down in writing my views on the book, no I wouldn’t call it a review, let’s just say it’s an opinion.

I've heard a lot about this book, and most of them were about Heathcliff and Catherine and their great romance. I must admit I expected some grand romance of epic proportions, something in the lines of rich-girl-poor-boy-defy-their-parents, a tale about two people overcoming all odds and love being triumphant in the end. I had envisioned Heathcliff to be this tall dark handsome hero with a strong character with strong convictions and an even stronger love for his lady love, and Catherine to be a passionate but defiant daughter who chose to follow her heart.

Turns out the book isn’t about love at all. Sure there is love, but it is unrequited, it is forced, it is scheming, and it develops out of having no one else to love. Although the book ends on a somewhat happy note, it doesn’t leave you with that happy contented afterglow. You wonder if such a character as Heathcliff can ever exist in real life, whose only purpose in life is revenge and who doesn’t appear to have a kind bone in his body. But I don’t hate him at all. He has been wronged his whole life, right from his childhood, and the only person he ever loved chose to marry another man, supposedly for his (Heathcliff’s) benefit. I completely understand his wanting to exact revenge on Hindley Earnshaw. I mean who could endure such humiliation and abuse without thoughts of revenge forming in one’s mind? Add to that the loss of one love’s when the words of love and promise had barely left her lips. If you are the self pitying kind you might wallow in misery and sadness all your life, but Heathcliff decides to take matters in his hands. It was to his favour that Hindley turned out to be such a drunken bum who couldn’t control his estate and was in perpetual need of cash.

But why all the cruelty? I agree you cannot crush your enemies by being gentle and lenient, but where is the need to take out that anger on to your wife, your son, and to the world in general? I often wondered if Heathcliff isn’t insane. Digging up Catherine’s grave, seeing her ghost all the time, refusing to eat for four days, and the way he dies just gives me the chills. Insane or not, I think he is the kind of person who, whatever he feels, feels it very strongly, and does not restrain himself from showing it. At times I hate his cruelty and evilness, but at times I pity him. His life was full of sorrow and injustice and his only reason for living was taken away from him twice, first in marriage and then in death.

Catherine was no saint either. She loved Heathcliff, but still went and married Edgar Linton so that “Heathcliff can have a better life”. Maybe she just wanted to escape from Wuthering Heights and lead a normal life, or maybe she was afraid of being ostracized if she married an orphan like Heathcliff who had no money, no property, and most importantly no social standing. She was also quite the drama queen, once locking herself up in her room for three days without eating. I couldn’t sympathise with her at all. She fancied herself a puppet master who controlled the people around her, playing with their emotions to suit her needs.

Tragedy after tragedy follows, and I turned each page hoping for something happy to happen. It never did, except at the last few pages where we learn that Catherine Linton Heathcliff and Hareton Earnshaw had fallen into some kind of love and had regained their inheritance. I pitied all the characters who were the victims of Heathcliff’s revenge; poor misled Isabella, her sickly son Linton, nurse Nelly Dean who watches her loved ones die one after the other, and the unfortunate Hareton who through no fault of his own was raised an ignorant illiterate person.

Will I read the book again? Not in the near future. Mark Twain was absolutely right when he said “A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read”.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Glue

Have you ever been in a friendship with two or more people, when one of them goes away and the friendship suddenly falls apart? I have. We thought we were a happy bunch of friends until one day for some reason a member of the group has to leave, and for those left behind there was suddenly nothing left to say. All we could talk about was that missing person and the good times we had. And the friendship dies a slow death, until we became mere acquaintances who nod and say hello on the occasions we meet.

The same thing would apply for families, I guess. Someone in the family dies and the other members simply retreat into their own shells. A huge void springs up which nothing or no one else can fill, and each member finds his or her own way to fill that empty space inside them.

You might be thinking, what a load of rubbish, but trust me it’s true. There are certain people who possess this charm, or shall we say charisma, allure, magnetism, whatever you call it, that people just flock to them. They attract people. They are the ones who always have a crowd around them, the ones who make friends without any effort at all, and the ones people remember after the first meeting.  I call them the glues. They are the glue that binds friendships, that holds families together, that makes things whole. And we all know what happens when glue loses its stickiness. Things come loose, fall apart, get lost, and finally become forgotten. People drift apart, lose their love and affection, and eventually become strangers.

So am I implying that people are divided into glues and non-glues, and that the non-glues are colourless, boring, uninteresting people who have absolutely no attraction? No! Life is not all black and white. I think most of our lives are spent in the grey area, deciding what to do, which way to go, and who to follow. Sure, there will be people who are charming and attractive, but that doesn’t make you any less charming or unattractive. You will come across people who are magnets, but that doesn’t mean you are a rusty iron rod either. We all have elements of glueyness in us. Each one of us is charming, attractive, interesting in our way. You may sometimes think of yourself as quite ungluey but you never know, for someone you might be the ultra sticky super glue that binds them to you!

A cheesy line – to the world you are someone, but to someone you are the world.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Collide

I think I was around 2 years old when I collided into a neighbour’s moving Jeep.  The issue of whether I crashed into or it crashed into me was never resolved. According to eyewitness reports (my mother’s) I was eating a fruit in the road of the road and did not see the vehicle, subsequent to which it hit me and knocked me down. Multitasking capabilities were not yet developed, evidently. Now I can skillfully dodge a dozen vehicles coming from four directions while speaking on the phone and carrying an umbrella with one hand and a soft drink with the other hand. Ok let’s get back to the story. I got hit, but I don’t remember it at all, maybe because I was not seriously hurt. My mother said I became afraid of all automobiles after that incident, so she spent one whole morning taking me back and forth on a bus ride between Thakthing and Kulikawn. That supposedly cured me, but I don’t remember it either.

Sometimes I’d have this feeling that I would get hit by a vehicle while crossing the road, and I would lie there all bloody and mangled and they would have to identify me from my IDs and it would be very embarrassing if I wear ugly underwear and the casualty staff will have a good laugh at my expense. And I don’t know which one would be more horrible – drowning or being burnt to death. That’s why I'm mighty glad that my ancestors were not in the wizarding profession. I don’t think I would find being burnt at the stakes much entertaining.

Remember the 90s? Before the age of the Internet? When if we want the lyrics of a song we would listen to the song very very carefully, ears glued to the speaker, pause and stop and rewind and play and write down the lyrics? And you know how we remember certain days, certain people, and certain incidents more vividly than others? Well, one such incident was when a friend and I spent a considerable amount of time copying the lyrics of Def Leppard’s When Love and Hate Collide. Beautiful song, I still listen to it now and then, and always think of that old friend.

Can love and hate really collide? Maybe. Otherwise why would so many people write about it in songs and poems and books and movie scripts? But can you really hate someone who loves you? Hate is a very strong word. You may dislike, but hate? Unless that same person wronged you terribly, hurt you and your loved ones, brought about your financial ruin, and destroyed your reputation, I think it must be a very strong dislike we are talking about. We hate our enemies, not people who love us.

You are walking on the road, or in the office/school/apartment corridor, and someone walks towards you. You decide, I will walk past this person on the right, but that person has decided to walk towards his left. So what happens, you both move in the same direction. A second of awkwardness, then you both decide to take corrective action and move together in the opposite direction again. More awkwardness, until finally someone laughs and stops and the other person takes a step forward and you happily turn your backs on each other. And sometimes you turn a corner and suddenly collide into someone and you both say a hasty “Sorry” and go on.

Let me leave you with this song, Howie Day's Collide.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Press 1 to read

They say you should never write a letter when you're angry. And I suppose they are right. If I have to write a letter to my bank right now, it would drip venom. It would explode upon opening, or at the least burst into flames.

I received a new card from my bank today, with instructions telling me to call them for the PIN. As easy as A-B-C, I thought, and dialled. It was 10 PM, and I figured I would finish the call by 10:15 and could go to bed by 10:30.

Calling IVR numbers must be put up there as one of the most irritating things in the world, along with nosy people and loudmouths. It was the bank I was calling, so before giving me the option to press 1 to do this or 2 to do that, the voice went on and on about the products they’re offering and what phishing is and some other stuff. I wanted to shout “I know all this!!” but could do nothing but wait. Then finally I began the pressing game, starting with what language I preferred and what products I hold and so on. I had to press, I think, 4 numbers in order to reach a person.

First guy I spoke to was okay, helpful, told me to go back to the main menu and press this and that number and finally I would be connected to the PIN people who would then ask me few verification questions and then I could choose my new PIN. He was very anxious about the call, asking me if he was helpful, if he answered all my questions, provided all the information I needed etc etc. I know the call was recorded and that it could affect his salary, so I praised him to the high heavens.

Let’s cut a long story short. There were IVR problems, call transfer problems, being kept on hold for ages until I learnt all the special interest rates they offered for certain periods of time and listened to how patient I was and how the call would be answered shortly by a phone banking officer and how important my call was, and at around 10:30 I finally got through to a girl.

She asked me how she could help; I said I needed a PIN for my new card. First off, I didn’t like her voice, too loud and too flighty. I know I'm being unjust, but let me go on. Asked me for my card number, and when I duly recited it she asked “This is your number ONLY?” I replied yes, it was my number ONLY. Then she told some story that the IVR couldn’t generate my entire card number to their department and had given them only the last four digits so she couldn’t be entirely sure it was the correct number, because there was no authentication from the IVR.

 It was funny, really. I had gone through the whole process of entering my card number, and when I finally got through to her she asked me some verification questions which was impossible if my card number was not made available to them. After verifying that yes it was really me she was speaking to, and not my watchman’s wife, she proceeded to tell me that she couldn’t help with the PIN generation because the IVR didn’t provide her the whole sixteen digits. Hurray!!

But, she did offer to transfer me to the main menu, and I could start again from step 1. I said I don’t want to do that because I don’t wait to wait for another 45 minutes until I spoke to someone. She said she understood (which I seriously doubted) and then started to explain the whole IVR thing, that only the last 4 digits was routed to them. I started questioning the security of their banking system. She had no reply and offered to transfer me to the main menu again. I said no. She was at her wit’s end, and said she would transfer me to her colleague who could help me. Listened to irritating music again for a few minutes, and finally someone came on the line.

I discovered, to my dismay, that it was the same girl again, this time saying that she was unable to transfer my call anywhere, not to the main menu, nor to her colleague’s number, because she had some “technical issues” with her phone. Complete bakwaas. I then did what any irate customer would do: I asked to speak to her supervisor.

The supervisor was a soft spoken lady who introduced herself nicely. She said they were trying to sort out my problem but had some telephone issues and blah blah blah. She offered to call me back immediately on my phone and they would connect me to the main menu, I said no. She then asked me to pick the time and said that they would call, and again I said no, I don’t want to receive calls from you. She then started explaining the whole IVR thing again which by that time I was a leeetle bit tired of hearing. I interrupted and asked if there was any other way I could get the PIN without having to waste an hour of my beauty sleep by calling them. She was delighted with the question and said she could send it to me by post. Finally, a solution!

So we followed with the usual I'm-sorry-I-was-rude-it’s-been-a-long-day and we-are-sorry-for-the-inconvenience-caused-to-you-is-there-anything-else-I-could-help-you-with and I hung up. It was 11 PM.

Some people rant and rave and shout and scream when they get angry. I don’t do all that drama. I am the bitterly sulking type. And one reason I don’t scream is I get weepy when I'm angry. Sad, isn’t it? Being wronged makes me weepy, being accused or criticised (even when it’s entirely my fault) brings tears to my eyes. But for that particular phone call I wished I was the shouting type. Then I would immediately forget everything and wouldn’t have to write this sad post and make you remember all your bad IVR experiences.

It is 12:15 AM.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A book a month


The title says it all; I don’t have to explain much. Read a book in a month. It’s going to be very very difficult, a Herculean task indeed, and I will feel like giving up. Being a world champion in procrastination and a record holder in unfinished projects, it will take a lot of determination and struggle and sweat and of course lots and lots of free time, which I somehow never have. But trudge on we must, till we reach the promised land, till the mountain is conquered, till the great river is crossed, etcetera etcetera.

So how do I propose to achieve this feat? A simple mathematical calculation follows:

Let x = average number of pages in a book = 400
And y = number of days in a month = 30
Hence number of pages to be read in a day = x/y = 400/30 = 13.33

Let’s round it off to 15 pages in a day.

In order to answer to the question “How much time will be required to finish 15 pages in a day?” I conducted a simple experiment. I opened the book I am currently reading, Wuthering Heights, and selected a page at random. It took me approximately three minutes to read that page, something about Catherine throwing some keys into some fire.

Which means it would require (15*3) = 45 minutes in a day. Let’s round this off again to one hour.

Sounds easy on paper, doesn’t it? All it takes is an hour a day, and at the end of the year I can cross out twelve books from my “Books unfinished” list.  But life is anything but predictable, and I am anything but sticking-to-the-plan type. Last minute changes are my specialty, and I don’t know how this thing will turn out. But anyway, let’s not put ourselves down, let’s wear our chainmails and pick up our swords and shields and charge into the battlefield. 



Saturday, March 19, 2011

a little action

race with me
run by my side
let's see who wins this
crazy love marathon

walk with me
put on your shoes
match your steps with mine
'til we reach the earth's end

jump with me
through ups and downs
let's reach for the stars
and hold them in our hands

stay with me
never let go
all we need is faith
we know we can make it

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Aizawl haw

Kum khatah vawikhat ka tlawh a, chu pawh a rei berah thla khat te a nia, mahse "zin" ni lo hian "haw" hi a ni tlat tho. Mahni in awmna ni miau hek, chhungte leh thiante awmna ni bawk. Mahse a chang hi chuan "zin" pawh hi ti ila a inhmeh ve tho ang em aw? ka ti thin. Mikhual duk chang hi a awm fo. Khawpui a lo thang a, in thar leh dawr thar a lo tam a, bazar an lo siksawi a, bus fare a lo to a, Treasury Square te pawh a lo two-lane tawh bawk si (hahaha). Temple bula traffic point lah veilama i hel loh chuan fine a ni a, Zodin leh Chanmari ah chiah a in U-turn theih a, taxi fare a to uchuak bawk. Khawlaiah han chhuak ila hmelhriat hmuh tur reng an awm lo. Vengchhungah naupang te te an lo nula tlangval a, thianten pasal neiin hmun dangah an lo awm bo a, inah hian kawm tur nei lemlo in kan awm ruk ruk thin.

Mahse hrehawm ka ti lem lo. Thian han kawm dur dur chi hi ka ni lo a, ina awm mai mai hi nuam ka ti zawk fo. Unaute nen kan inkawm mai a, chhuah a ngaih leh min chhuahpui mai a. Tun tum ka haw phei chu ka pi kum 85 mi Champhai atangin a lo chhuk a, zing chaw ei khamah hian inchung ni lumah te kan mu vel thin. A mit zai turin a lo kal a, tarmit dum hi a bun raw zel a, "Man in black" kan ti a kan nuih vak vak zel, a ni pawh hrethiam lem hleilo in a nui liam ve mai mai.


Ka birthday March 4 kha Chapchar Kut a lo ni hlauh mai a, lammual grass phah lawm nan leh huau huau kal ve hrim hrim nan tiin kan va thawk chhuak ve a. Kan tleirawl lai a lammual khu lutuk tak kara hnam lam kan va tih ve thin te a ngaihawm rum rum duh nia. Vawikhat pawh inkawibah ah kan tel ve a, kan tumpui te kha an lo fet nasa, an pen hlawk bawk si. Kan han fet ve a, pen mai pawh duhtawk lo in a zuan ten kan zuang vel. Kan chak chuang lo.



Chapchar Kut denchhena a painting/photography exhibition leh flower show ah pawh ka va kal a, a nalh hlawm hle a, mahse chu aia hmuhnawm ka tih chu fire engine a chhak lawka lo ding kha a ni.



Ka thil hmuh khat deuh ka han hmuh chu zana arsi pe tuar kha a ni. A va han mawi tak em! En rei poh khan an tam poh emaw tih mai tur kha a ni lehnghal, kan mit kha a lo in adjust a arsi tereuhte te pawh kha kan hmuh belh tial tial ni in ka hre ber. Tlai ni tla tur pawh kha a mawi thei khawp mai. Reiek tlang chungah a sen rum a, bial lian deuh in, a hniam tial tial a, a tawpah chuan a pilbo a, mahse a chhehvel boruak chu a tisen phut reng tho a.

Sawi tur vak a awm lo. Kuhva ei hmel hmuh tur an tlem sawt in ka hria a, thil tha tak a ni, ha sen seng sung a hma ang em em kha chuan an tam tawhlo. Mahse meizial zu chu kan la tam. Amaherawhchu pawisa nawi a vang a ni! Ka va han vei em he thil hi chu, misual.com ah pawh ka post phah hial. In chhiar vek tawh maithei a, mahse lo la chhiar lo in awm palh tak hlauhin va chhiar teh un!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Guess what?

No, tell me straightaway. I don’t like to be kept guessing, and most definitely do not like surprises. But I read suspense novels without reading the last chapter first, and I refrain from watching the last few minutes of a thriller while I'm halfway through. Self control, baby! OK OK, I know there’s nothing to be proud of, that was just me heaping junk on you.

So why do I not like surprises? I don’t want to say I hate surprises, because sometimes good surprises are well, good. But that doesn’t mean I am a big fan. No, sir, I'm not. Surprises are embarrassing. They catch you when your guard is down and your fortress is easily accessible to the barbarians. They sneak up from behind and scream and jump at you and your un-madeup face. Not that I always have layers of makeup on my face, but you know what I mean, don’t you?

I think I am becoming more and more of a perfectionist. I've always hated perfectionists, their strict adherence to rules and regulations, their insistence on doing everything right and perfect, the way they have everything neatly planned and executed. But, horror of horrors, I am becoming one!

I cannot sit and relax if I have loads of housework to do. I always go shopping (even if it’s at the local kirana shop) with a list of things to buy. When I have something important to do I always make a checklist to make sure that nothing is missed. This is top secret, but I’m making an exception now, just this time, and sharing it to you – I even make a spreadsheet of my monthly bills and their payment dates. Isn’t that a tad too much?

The reason I don’t like being surprised, I guess, is because I do not like not knowing things. No, I am not a know-it-all (though sometimes I tend to act like one), and I do not know many things under the sun (in fact I know very little, and am extremely thankful to Google and Wikipedia for making me sound like I know a bit).

Let me be specific here. When I say I do not like not knowing things, I mean relevant things. I don’t need to know what the national animal of East Samoa is. I think I will survive and breathe easy if I do not know how many litres of beer are consumed annually by Indians. And I don’t think I will be classified “ignorant” if I am blank when asked where the last KTP General Conference was held, and in which year, and how many packets of condoms were sold during the conference.

So what do I want to know? What are the relevant things that I so badly want to know? Actually, I don’t know that myself. I think I just hate it when things, situations go out of order, where it gets to the point where I cannot control it. That’s it! I'm a control freak! Oh joy, oh happiness! Ok now you can stop snickering and go to the comments section.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My love-hate relationship

Well, Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and what will we write about, if not love? Stores are chock-a-block with red heart shaped thingies, sale (and price) of roses and chocolates are sure to skyrocket, Shiv Sena faithfuls will pounce upon young lovers in parks reprimanding them for abandoning the Indian culture of chastity and purity and for embracing the filthy Western culture (by sitting together in parks and/or holding hands). (How one billion Indians are brought into this world is a subject not relevant at this time and anyway should not be discussed at all, you dirty minded weirdos).  Anyway, love is love (lou is lou), and hate is hate.

Did you see the title? And wasn't your interest immediately aroused by it? Did it make you want to scroll down, skip a few paragraphs and see what this love-hate thing is all about? Who is the unfortunate victim? Me or the other party? How many were killed? Were there any survivors? Was the body recovered? What was the cause of death? What were the autopsy results? Was it a quick death? Was it buried or cremated? Or did it go to heaven on a chariot of fire?

I am a kindhearted person, hence will not prolong your suffering, I will try to answer your questions as quickly and as precisely as possible. I am the victim, the other party is not even aware that we are in a love-hate relationship, and no one has been killed (so far). The relationship still continues, and will most very likely continue throughout my life. Everytime I go out shopping it is there, and I see its cousins everyday, in fact several times a day. I cannot imagine living without it and its extended family.

But I do not despair, because I am not its only victim. Many women are in the same relationship. We hate it, but cannot live without it, and everyday our gazes fall upon it most lovingly. We love it so much we carry it everywhere we go, and seek it out wherever and whenever we have the chance. They are a fragile lot, hence we treat them with utmost care, afraid they might break in our hands.

The smarter ones among you might have already figured out what this object of my and other women's collective affection is. In case there are some of you whose thought processes run a bit slower than the average person (and I know there are, as sure as day is day (except in Norway)). Thus being the benevolent, generous, kind, noble soul that I am, let me proceed to tell you what this thing is: It is the mirror. To be precise: the dressing room mirror in shops.

I was out shopping the other day because it is the sales season and there are sales wherever you go, and what is shopping without picking up a dozen items and trying them out and hating them and yourself and not buying a single thing leaving scowling shopkeepers and dressing room attendants behind you?

I went to one shop, picked up a couple of jeans, and made my way to the dressing room. So far, so good. Locked the door behind me, admired the doorknob and the hooks on the wall where you hang your bags and clothes and such ("Good quality steel"). Excellent progress. Removed shoes, and pants. Uh-huh. From there it was downhill all the way (Is it my imagination, or do I use this phrase a lot - downhill all the way). Whatever. Anyway, there I was, standing in a small cubicle, pantless, surrounded by mirrors on three sides. Not good, not good at all. Confidence level skydived. Where did that pillow of a stomach come from, and that too such a fluffy one? And are those thunder thighs? Heavens above, is that a stretch mark on the back? Have I been roaming around with that messy hair? Let’s look at ourselves sideways, maybe we will feel better. Wrong wrong decision. Side view even worse than front view. Sucked the stomach in, but it didn't help. Flat stomachs and lean thighs became a hazy memory from a distant distant past. Looked at the new jeans dubiously. (I don't think those will fit me... What was I thinking, taking them into the dressing room?) Hesitantly reached for the first one, and cautiously inserted one leg, then the other. The jeans were small, waaaaaay too small, so tight I couldn't even pull them up beyond mid-thigh. Hastily removed it. Tried on the other pair. Same result. Threw them down in disgust. Reached for my normal jeans and was welcomed with open arms. Walked out of the cubicle. Left the jeans with the attendant and sulked out of the shop. No wonder those jeans were on sale, who would fit into those tiny things, I consoled myself and went to try my luck at the next shop.

So there you are, my relationship with dressing room mirrors and their numerous cousins. I love mirrors, but hate their frankness, their brutal honesty which sometimes borders on cruelty.  And I'm starting to have suspicions that dressing room mirrors are specially manufactured so that everyone will look fat and ugly when in fact it should be just the opposite. Mirror manufacturers and shop owners should work together and produce mirrors that make everyone look slim and pretty so that it’s a win-win situation for all.  Except maybe for gullible folks like us who will then buy ill-fitting clothes and wear them proudly and our friends will be embarrassed to go out with us but they will anyway and if they are real friends they will tell us the outfit makes us look worse than a South Indian heroine and we will then change into something slightly better but not so wow-inducing what I mean is a slightly more tolerable outfit and I don’t know how to end this post so I think I’ll end with a lame “Time to look in the mirror.”

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Everyone is fat and balding


  • If you read this, then you must be having an Internet connection.
  • If you have an Internet connection, then you must be on Facebook.
  • If you are on Facebook, then you must have Facebook friends.
  • If you have Facebook friends, some of them would be new friends, some of them would be people you’ve known for more than ten years.
  • If you have Facebook friends, then they would have uploaded some pictures.
  • If your Facebook friends have uploaded pictures, then your friends of more than ten years would surely have uploaded unflattering embarrassing pictures from the Stone Age.
  • If Stone Age pictures of you and your friends surface in Facebook, then you must have gone “oohh-ahhh we were so young and so innocent”.
  • If you had oohed-aahed at your old pictures, then you would also have noticed how slimmer everyone was back then, and how everyone had more hair.
  • Which leads us to the conclusion: everyone is fat, and balding.
       Elementary, my dear Watson!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Grave matters

I promised myself I would write a happy post, but as Confucius said, “He who makes a promise is a liar”, so I'm not entirely to blame for any sad words that may follow.

Death. It’s so certain, yet it still remains the most uncertain part of our lives. It’s there, waiting for us. Most of us don’t want to die, and probably never imagined ourselves as dying, gone from the world, all the hard work we had done in our lives, all the riches we accumulated, all the hatred and love we carried inside, all gone in that instant when our hearts stop beating.

I have been extremely lucky in that I haven’t lost anybody close to me. My father’s mother died when I was four, his father died when I was twelve. I have vague memories of my grandfather, he lived in Champhai and we would exchange letters, and he would visit us occasionally. But I clearly remember the time when he was hospitalised, and I was in the next room when he breathed his last in that small hospital room. I didn’t cry, and I don’t remember being sad. My parents went to Champhai for the funeral, and when they returned I joked that now that his parents were dead, my father was now an orphan and maybe he should live in an orphanage. It was mealtime, and everyone laughed. But now I realise it was a very crude and insensitive thing to do, and not in the least funny. I never understood how lost and lonely my father would have felt after losing both parents. I still cannot imagine how that would feel like, because thankfully both my parents are still alive. I have seen people losing their loved ones, have seen them cry and mourn, but I cannot truly sympathise with them because it’s something I have never experienced.

My mother’s father died four years back. He too lived in Champhai, and we rarely saw him. So when he passed away I didn’t really mourn as one ought to mourn for one’s deceased grandfather. I know I seem callous and insensitive here again, but to tell you the truth it’s really hard to feel the loss of someone you hardly know, no matter how closely related you are.

So when I say I haven’t lost anybody close to me, I'm talking about the people who are close to my heart, related or otherwise. You make your own relations in life; your ancestry is just a part of it. As you grow up and make friends, you decide who to love and who to remain close to, you choose the people you’d mourn with all your heart and soul should you ever be parted by death. And all of us are going to go through it, we don’t have a choice, life gives us no choice.

I think I've made you pretty sad by now. And I haven’t even got to the point of this post. I used to have a friend who would skirt a topic for hours until you tell him to get the point. I hope I'm not becoming like him.

Death is unavoidable, we all know we are going to die, our loved ones are going to die, and nobody knows whose turn will come first. We wait, and in the meantime try to have fun and collect riches. But how often do we think of death? The seriousness of it, the everlastingness of it, the inevitability of it all. We fall sick now and then, but we never think of dying. Our loved ones fall sick, and we just assume they would get well again in a few days. No matter how ill someone is, the human mind still clings to that thin thread of hope that everything will be all right, that things will all work out for the better.

My cousin’s wife has been diagnosed with brain cancer of the 2nd stage, and she now lies in a hospital bed waiting for surgery. It is at that stage where it can be cured or it can turn aggressive. We all pray and hope for the best. Please remember her in your thoughts and prayers.

Sometimes I feel God put pain and suffering in this world to wake us up, to shake some sense into us, and to remind us not to take anyone or anything for granted. I know this may sound like a cliché, but cherish every minute life gives you, because you don’t know when it will be taken away from you.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Khirh

Pathianin nungdama min la zuah zel te anih chuan engtik hunah emaw chuan kan lo tar ve ngei dawn sia, ka peihlo lawk! Ka peihloh nachhan ber chu thalai te nun ka man loh lutuk dawn vang pawh ni lo, kawm tur an awm dawn loh vang pawh nilo, ka khirh dawn lutuk ber hi! Tu leh fa te kan la nei ve ngai te a nih chuan min ning thei ngawt ang. "Ka pi hi chu phunchiar si, thil awmzia a hrethiam si lo,a ninawm ngawt mai" min la ti ang a, an nu te khan "In pi neihchhun a nih hi, duat rawh u" kha an lo ti bawk anga. Pasal te kan neih loh tak leh unaute bulah kan khawsa ang a, "In ni hi duat rawh u, duattu tur fa te a neih ve loh hi" an ti ang a.

Mahni kan inhriat ai daih leh kan rinai daih hian kan thlahtute hi kan lo chhun thin. Mizia ah te, chezia ah te, ngaihtuahna thleng te pawh a niang chu. Kan seilenna leh kan lehkhazirna, hnathawhna, chenna hmun te hian kawng tam zawkah chuan min influence mahse kan mizia tamtak hi chu kan thisen ah hian a bet hi ka ti ve tlat.

Ka nu te lam hi mi ngaihsam, thil pawh pawm zel thei mai an ni a. Ka pa te lam ve thung hi chu khirh ve angreng, phunchiar ve angreng, taima bawk si an ni a. A khawilam hi nge maw ka chhun le, ka ti thin. Ka ngaih kha chu a sam ve thei khawp mai, hoh pawh kha ho ve thei tak ka ni. Ka thiante leh min hre tute in zawh chuan mi ho ve angreng, thutak pai lemlo, thawveng ve tak ni thin in min sawi ang. Mahse chuti chung chuan khirhna lai te kha ka nei leh thin, ka ngei zawng leh ka ei loh deuh te kha chu polite taka han tuar hram hram mi kha ka ni ngai lo. A chang chuan tawngkam ngeiawm tak tak te pawh ka lo chhak chhuak thin.Thawveng bawk si, khirh bawk si ka ni thin anih ber chu.

Mahse kum te a han liam zel a, khirh lamah hian ka kal ta telh telh maiin ka inhria nih chu! A va han buaithlak em! Nula senior khirh an tih zawng zawng hi ka qualify zo dawn. Nula senior jokes hi kan sawi teh fo a, mahni thu a ar talh ngam ngat chuti khati kan ti a, a hmingin sum tlemte kan lo thawkchhuak ve a, nu leh pa ten min lo duat ve tho sia, ar pawh kha lo talh pawh ni ila enge maw in lo buai le? Mahniin torchlight (cell 3) pawh nei ila enge maw in nuihzat viau le? Tunge thimthamah indap du du peih? Sawi thui lo teh ang.

Tichuan, khirh lam kawng chu ka zawh chho zel chu a nia. Hmanlai anga thawveng taka awm kha chu la chak tho mahila a theih tawh loh. Nu leh pa te sum kha kan ring a, eng lem mah kha kan engto lo a, engpawh kha lo thleng se "A fel leh vek mai ang" kha kan ti liam puat thin a. Mahse tlema lo fin ve deuh tawh hi chuan a theih tawh miahloh. Hna han thawh ve tawh phei hi chuan kan uikawm em em a, kan sum neihzat hi kan hre kar mai a ni. I nuih hma khan han inngaihtuah chiang teh, nangpawh i sum neihzat chu i hre kar a ni lawm ni? Kha daih kha asin.

Khirh in a a ken tel tlat chu strict hi a ni. Strict hle mahila, sual nih chu ka duh lo ve fan tho. Mahse strict nge nge chuan mi kan lo hau zing deuh a, mi kan lo hauh zin deuh chuan min lo ning a, sual nih hi kan lo hlawh leh mai thin. A va buaithlak lehzel em! Thangthar zawk te hi ka rilru ang pu tur chuan ka beisei hauhlo, anmahni ang rual ka niha ka hoh zia leh thawven zia pawh ka hre vek, an rilru tur pawh ka hrethiam vek. Mahse ka lo hau leh thin tho.

Mahse fel thut emaw khirh loh thut emaw chu ka tum chuang lo. Khirh hmasa ber pawh ka ni lo a, khirh hnuhnung ber pawh ka ni dawn chuang lo, tih hi inhnemna nep tak ni mahse tun atan chuan lo inhnem ve der der nan hmang rih teh ang.