Sunday, May 19, 2019

Mihring bawk hi a ni…

- Thara Tlau

Take away my factories, my plants; take away my railroads, my ships, my transportation; take away my money. Strip me of all of these, but leave me my men, and in two or three years I will have them all again.
- Andrew Carnegie, American industrialist

Changkanna atana infrastructure pawimawh ber chu mihring hi a ni. In other words, mipuite hi changkanna hmanraw tha ber kan ni. Changkanna daltu bottleneck lian ber pawh kan ni bawk. Ram rethei leh ram hausa chu a thil neih vanga rethei emaw hausa emaw a ni lo, a rama chengte vang a ni. Ram leilung hausa deuh, a mihring awma te inngeih thei reng reng lo chu a changkang thei lo. Thlipui leh lirnghingin a tihbuai reng, mahse a mipuia te rilru puthmang dik tlat, thawhrimna ngaisangtute ram chu ram zahawm leh hausa a ni thei tlat thung.

Japan ram khan Indopui Pahnihna (WW2) kha a chhiatpui khawp mai a, a dinchhuah leh mai rinawmloh khawpin a chia. An rama hnathawkthei tur thalai rual a nuaih tel indona avangin an thi a. Indonaa kal ve lo nunau leh kum lama upa pension age rual ho kha a dam tam zawka te an ni. Atom bomb-in an khawpui pawimawh pahnih a tihchhiat nasat zia te kha kumkhuaa dinchhuah leh theih tawh lohna tur khawpa nasa leh rapthlak a ni. Mahse, an dingchhuak leh. An dingchhuak leh mai ni loin Indopui Pahnihna zawh atanga kum sawmthum vel lek 1978 ah chuan khawvela economy lian ber pahnihna an ni leh der mai. Asia-ah mai pawh ni loin khawvel puma ram hausa ber pahnihna an ni leh a nih chu.

Germany pawh chuti tho. Indopui Pahnihna avanga a ramin a chhiat phah nasat zia kha. An khawpui lian ber ber te kha ancient civilization ang maiin rubble hlirin a khat a ni mai. An mipa te lah an thi hnem, hna thawk tur mang an awm lo. A damchhun tam tak lah prisoner of war an ni. Chutah tak chuan le, an hnam ropui zia a lo lang. “Khai aw!” tiin chung rubble lak ata an ram leh hnam hai chhuak a, thian fai a, tungding leh turin an hmeichhia te an rawn penchhuak. An ram khawpui indo laia bomb chhiat te chu an hai mam a, an thawm tha a; an ram thi mek chu an tuamhlawm a, an chhanhim leh a ni. Heng hmeichhia te hi ‘trümmerfrau’ (rubble woman) ti a koh hial an ni. An ram lo dinchhuah leh nana hnarkaitu an ni. An hnathawh ropui zia hriatreng nan leh anmahni chawimawi nan monument German khawpui hrang hrang ah an din nual a ni. Khati khawpa indopuiin a tihchhiat kha tunah chuan Europe rama ram hausa ber an lo ni leh der tawh.

Chutih laiin ram tam tak, ram leilung hausakna ngah tak tak, erawh chu an ram hming sawi hrehawm leh zahthlak khawpin an rethei. An ram mipuite rilru puthmang dik loh vang a ni tlangpui; corrupt minded kan ti mai ang chu. Rilru puthmang dik lo chu an inngeih loa, an thatchia a, an initsik tawn a, engti kawng paw’n changkanna an hmachhawn thei lo. Hmanni deuh khan Buckingham Palace-a Queen Elizabeth-i nena an inkawmnaah British Prime Minister David Cameron-a chuan Nigeria leh Afghanistan ram te chu ‘fantastically corrupt’ a ti thlawt a ni. PM Cameron-a tawngkam chu undiplomatic viau mah se British news media te paw’n an hrethiam khawp mai. Pakhat phei chuan heti hian a ziak: The prime minister's remarks were outspoken and unguarded but they were not untrue. Heng ram te hi ram leilung hausakna ngah tak, ram lian tak an ni. Mahse, tumahin an ngaisang lem lo, an ram mipui te an pachhe tlat a. Tin, an ram a buai reng bawk a.

Kum zabi 20-naa management thinker ropui bera chhal theih Peter Drucker-a chuan, “The developing countries are not underdeveloped, they are undermanaged,” a lo ti. Ram enkawlnaa mawhphurtu a mipuia te a puh na hle tihna a nih chu. Ram rethei chu a ram neitu mipui te vang, hruaitu an thlan thiam loh vang, hruaitu an neih that loh vang, a mipui nawlpuiin an zir loh hrim hrim vang tihna a ni vek mai. Ram manage tute chu mihring ni miau hek, ramsa ni lo a! Sorkar chauhin a manage lo a, mipui activity hrang hrang hi ram manage naah chuan a tel vek.

Tlar hmasa bera ka'n tarlan ang khian American industrialist ropui Andrew Carnegie, khawvela university tha ber pawl Carnegie Mellon University founder ni bawk, chuan changkanna hmanrua atana mihringte pawimawh zia a lo hmu chiang khawp a. A thil neih engkim mai kha miin chhuhsakin kutruakin kalsan mah sela, a mihring a te ber, a chher hriam sa, anmahnia confidence a neihsa a te kha an laksak loh phawt chuan kum reiloteah chutiang thil te chu a neih leh theih vek a inring tlat a ni.

Mimal chu kuttlingloa sum lalutin emaw vanneih vang hrim hrimin emaw a hausa thut thei. Ram erawh taimakna leh thawhrimna tel loin a hausa thut thei lo. Ram hausak nan shortcut a awm lo. Ram changkan nana thawkrim tur te chu a ram mipuite an ni. A mipuiten an tum tak tak a nih phawt chuan ram chhengchia leh thlaler a awm lo, a changkangin a hausa tho tho.

*Kum 2016 khan Sabereka Khuangkaih magazine ah chhuah a ni e.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Lift up your hearts

- Thara Tlau
Poland, in so many ways, is a symbol of renewal and common purpose. More than half a century ago, from this spot, all one could see was a desert of ruins. Hardly did a single unbroken brick touch another. This city had been razed by the Nazis and betrayed by the Soviets. Its people were mostly displaced. Not far from here is the only monument which survived. It is the figure of Christ falling under the cross and struggling to rise. Under him are written the words "Sursum corda," "Lift up your hearts."
George W. Bush, address at Warsaw University (June 15, 2001).
The most challenging situation facing the Christians, at least according to this writer, is to lift up the heart when it is broken, when it is hurt, when it is fragmented or when it is violated. There are situations when we think the God of love is the God that ‘hurts’. All ills come to me when all blessings go to others - others like those who never bother to bow down and worship Him. Even the Israelites lamented when they felt abandoned, and being ‘violated’ by their captors: “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion… How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?” How shall we lift up our hearts when we feel abandoned, not only by the world, but also by the One who we think is the most merciful?
The psalmist sings: “I will lift up my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” This is the type of praises we sing when we are happy and joyous, and experience the goodness of God in life. We feel the presence of the Almighty everywhere in our surroundings. We feel everything represents the ‘might’ of the awesome God. But, how long does such delightful experiences last? We know, in reality, life is not always a bed of roses… It’s rather more of a bed of thorns and pricks. Or, few roses among a heap of thorns. We are ‘abandoned’ many times when we are most helpless. We are left alone to fend for ourselves in many a trying situations. Where from the helps we sought for come in those difficult times? Many times – from nowhere. Still, we submit to the ‘will of God’ dutifully in all earnestness. We don’t really expect good things from Him… We are accustomed to the abandonment we frequently experiences the most trying of times. Isn’t that right?
If father doesn’t come to the rescue of daughter - though capable and able in all respect - when she needs him most, doesn’t that represent a kind of outright betrayal? When a good friend fails to act when you are in dire need of his help, doesn’t that portrays the truest form of deception? But when God does that to us, we submissively conclude that as His will, and assume it as for the good of us! Nevertheless, we are hurt, and deeply pained within. But, as Christians, we are accustomed (destined) to accepting the inaction of God in those situations as a manifestation of His deep love for us. Then, the question now is, how will we lift up the heart when it is hurt by none other than the most merciful One? It is the cross all Christians carry… And it is, probably, the pain we are going to endure till we reach the ‘promised land’.
The life of a Christian is interestingly paradoxical. She is taught to be happy when sad, to be forgiving when ‘violated’, to be content even when she has nothing to be content with! It is a life that endures every possible hardship under the sun. As a Christian, she must accept the scorn of the non-believers as their ‘ignorance’, the betrayal of fellow Christians as a ‘challenge’, and the inaction of God when vehemently needed as a sign of ‘His love for her’. Sometimes, I feel that such a ‘docile and tedious’ way of life hardly gives God a prominent role to play. Why? Because, we are already (pre)destined to accept things as they are - whether good or bad; gratefully ascribing them as the ‘will of God’.
This willingness to submission of every misfortune as the ‘will of God’ is the evil that plagues the very ethos of Christianity - the evil that hurts us and tears us apart, and makes us vulnerable to all kinds of evil intentions. It’s that evil that prevails upon us against showing our dauntless efforts and endurances as Christian soldiers. It’s that evil that prevents us to struggle to squeeze out the best in us (spiritually). It’s that evil that pulls us down when we want to lift up our spirits and move ahead in life. When that evil prevails, we are depressed and feel let down (by the world or God) though we may have ‘submissively’ accepted the consequences whatsoever as the ‘will of God’.
Christianity as a way of life is rather a life of struggle and battle. A Christian ought to be fighting fit and combat-ready always; not only against the world but also against God. Yes, we may fight with God, we should blame Him for our misfortunes, we should wrestle with Him spiritually (as Jacob did in physical form) to let the best in us and Him come out consequently. We may condemn Him if we are badly hurt for what we feel is due to His ‘inaction’. What is wrong in fighting a spiritual battle against our own lover? In a family, father scolds son, deprives him of his benefits to condition him and mould him to become a better person. So does the boy too. He rebels against his father, ignores his attention, defies his advices… All these just to provoke the softest corner of his father’s heart.
If we fight a battle against God in the right spirit with holy submission, He will not let us down. Our struggle will not simply go in vain. Whatever form the reward comes (expectedly or unexpectedly), it will unfailingly lift up our weary hearts and console our burdened souls. Friends, sometimes we ourselves have to earn our prayers from God fighting a fierce battle; an idle submission is not the best solution often.

*PYF Magazine of 22nd Biennial Conference, October 2017, Mission Vengthlang, Aizawl, Mizoram.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Legend of Tumpanga and Pial village (series)
(posted on Facebook 23rd Feb., 2017)
Not so far away from the easternmost slopes of the Lushai Hills in the East, across three streams and one big river, lies a village whose inhabitants are awfully indebted to the departed soul of a man who they fondly nicknamed Tumpanga; called after a ferocious wild bison species revered in the region for its unique built and distinctive survival instincts. Tumpanga is not a native of the village, he’s its adopted son. He was born in a village bordering Thailand in Burma about one thousand miles away from the village. He had done wonders for the village – real wonders which consequently courted wild envy from the surrounding villages.

The village is Pial - the name whose origin the village elders are recently interested anew and fighting about stupidly. The village wise man - an elderly man in his late seventies, living on the western slope of the hill housing the ‘Upas’ of the village - proclaimed that since it’s the first village created by the goddess Khuanu, so the word ‘piallei’ for earth or soil or land (as you would like to ascribe it) was shortened to ‘pial’ for the name of the village. “He’s absolutely wrong,” argued the village blacksmith whose inheritance of the bloodline of the once celebrated village priesthood, but now abolished, his only ‘valuable’ possession. According to the blacksmith, the village lies on the way to ‘Pialral’, a mystical home of the deaths, regularly followed by the departed souls of the Lushais. And so the village derived its name ‘Pial’ from the mystical abode ‘Pialral’.

The wildest ‘theory’ about the origin of the name of the village came from the village crier who proudly claimed that his ancestors had always been the proud confidants of the village chieftains, whosoever were the ruling clans, and so his version was right and final, and professedly passed down the generations, like an heirloom, in the family lineage. He said, “The land where the village now stands was once part of the eastern slope of the Lushai Hills. One day, a very large eagle flew down South from the northern mountains very very far away. On passing through the land of the Lushais, the bird decided to take a break from his long journey and rested on the branch of a very large tree. However, not only the tree and its truck, the landmass where the tree stood could not withstand the heavy weight of the eagle and so it skidded down eastward slowly… skidding and skidding until it reached a shallow land to stop the movement, and stand. That landmass which skidded down from the eastern slope of the Lushai Hills formed the mound on which the village now stands. Since the word ‘pial’ in Lushai means ‘to skid’ or ‘to break apart’, and since the village came up on the landmass from the ‘pial’ phenomenon and so was the name of the village Pial.” Even the way the word ‘pial’ sounds in his version is extraordinarily different… the tone down sliding like the skidding down of the landmass in his theory.

The village was popularly known as Chakkhai Kawn by the Lushai warriors. This was the village from where the Lushai warriors would pick up their requirements for their month-long hunting expeditions in the deep jungles south of the village, which they would repay back in terms of elephant tusks and smoked meats after their return from the hunting sojourns. This village was located exactly 20 hills northwest of the riverbank from where the legendary Lushai warrior Vanzika killed the ‘invincible’ four-tusked elephant. And so it was also colloquially called Tlang Sawmhnihna village.

The legend of the invincibility of the four-tusked elephant had ruled the hills and the jungles for about two decades, through traditional folklores and songs, until its most eventful slaughter in the hands of the bravest headhunter warrior of the Lushai Hills - some songs glorifying the monstrosity of the tusker, some songs vilifying the cruelty of the mammal. The four-tusked mammal had been terrorizing the jungle and the chiefdoms in the vicinity, displacing seven villages to flee and to resettle in at least as far away as 15 hills North, East or South from its (the mammal’s) home turf. Even the blood-thirsty ‘hlaiba’, the fiercest of the cat family in the jungle, solemnly migrated westward crossing the Lushai Hills, unable to tolerate the vindictiveness of the tusker.


*cont. of the story of the legendary Tumpanga of Pial village.
(posted on Facebook 2nd March, 2017)

Even thirty years after the death of the ‘four-tusked elephant slayer’ Vanzika, there was no such a man born to be claimed exceptionally brave as he’s in the whole of Lushai Hills. Brave men were there, but not a man with a mark of dominance in heroism and bravery as Vanzika. Not only that he killed the invincible animal, he had fought seven wars with the warmongering tribesmen of the East. The whole of Lushai Hills was peaceful after the Seventh War till the death of Vanzika, and it would be peaceful for another 15 years or so. The warmongering tribesmen of the East thought it’s better to ‘contain’ their warring instinct and hunger to kill than confronting the tribe that possessed a ‘pasaltha’ like Vanzika. That had culminated to ‘Sa-ui-tan’ (a non-aggression pact) for the next fifty years after the Seventh War, the most brutal of wars. Though it’s been thirty years after the demise of Vanzika, there had not been a single attack on the villages in the Lushai Hills… Even the marauding tribesmen of the East knew ‘Sa-ui-tan’ was always sacrosanct, and worthy of respect in all situations.

The Seventh War was the bloodiest of wars humans of the Lushai Hills had ever known. 387 headhunters lost their heads from both the warring sides – warriors of the Lushai Hills and the warmongering tribesmen of the East. This war was a story most passionately narrated by parents to their children bedtime. This war was the one which would later on inspire Tumpanga, the adopted son of Pial village, to become a warrior like Vanzika – the ‘four-tusked elephant slayer’. Legend had it that, after the war, the hills were so heavily soaked with the blood of the headhunters that all the fruit-bearing trees bore only blood-red fruits the next seven years.


Part III – Tumpanga & Pial village
(posted on Facebook 5th March, 2017)

The unexpected arrival of Tumpanga at Pial village was preceded by strange incidents and sightings of signs of bad omen. One week before his arrival, there were regular bellowing of deer near the ‘kawtchhuah’ on the northern side of the village, just after sunset. Men were not at peace hearing deer bellowing at odd hours because it was a common belief that the cry of the deer for three consecutive days, after sunset, surely harbingered death in the village.

It’s about a week after the sun had been ringed by something like a rainbow… in full circle. Previously, such rings were seen for a few moments or at length about half of the day; and rarely a full day sighting had been retold in generations. The unusual sighting lasted for almost a month – and continuously from sunrise to sunset every day. Such a rainbow-like ring was called ‘sar-zam’ in Lushai, and it’s a bad omen, a very bad omen. It’s strongly believed that someone’s going to die an unnatural death very soon. And the ‘bad omen’ didn’t appear for a day or two… it was sighted for more than 20 days! It unleashed a dominant fear and agony in the minds of the people – a fear that something of a disaster could struck the village very soon! If a day’s appearance of the ‘sar-zam’ could cause one unnatural death, how much damage could it unleash if it’s sighted for about 20 days…?

The most unusual one was the ‘irregular’ appearance of footprints, in the morning, near the village Zawlbuk (or bachelors’ barrack) – footprints on the dry path! And behold, the footprints were marked with eight toes each… the big toe, they said, was as large as the earrings of the mother of the village chief. The footprints started from the Zawlbuk and ended abruptly at about 20 steps… not a single print found anywhere else after that! These footprints haunted the village for about three weeks, but on irregular occasions whenever men were not on duty to catch hold of the culprit.

Part IV – Tumpanga & Pial village
(posted on Facebook 18th March, 2017)

The arrival of Tumpanga at Pial village was not grand, but spectacular. The event was awesomely bizarre. The night before, the sky was excruciatingly dark. The moon was not visible in the night sky thought it’s just two nights away from full moon. Mysteriously, seven stars were seen that night, and clearly visible… nothing else in the vast and dark expanse. The seven stars shone very brightly. They looked not silvery but rather pinkish, brightly pinkish. The seven stars posed a formation akin to a spear; like the spears used by the Lushai warriors for hunting, and in battles, known as ‘fei-ki-bar’. The spear struck east.

The morning, a big elk with a pair of large antlers was seen lazing near the eastern ‘kawtchhuah’ (entrance or outlet) of the village. This species of deer is known in Lushai as ‘sazuk’. A full grown sazuk can be as large as a lactating cow. The elk was not ordinary… there was a cloth suspended between the antlers like a hammock. People saw the elk, he didn’t show any timidity. They crept closer to him, he didn’t move. They were rather scared. How on earth could a hammock hang on the antlers of a deer? What on earth could be inside the hammock? Why on earth could the elk not fear of the human? There was no inclination on the minds of the people to chase or harm the elk either. They were baffled… and spontaneously mesmerized by the spectacularity of the event that unfolded.
A middle-aged woman moved closer to the elk, touched the forehead briefly, and peeked inside the cloth that hanged between the antlers. She was astonished! A baby was smiling at her. She lifted up the baby slowly and cradled him in her arms. The elk then made a slow retreat towards the forest unperturbed.

The baby wore a bracelet on the left wrist. The bracelet had an inscription which they could not decipher but understood the significance. They knew, from their various wild encounters in the East, babies of a martial tribe living in the land bordering Siam (Thailand) were subjected to rituals of hooping bracelets on the left wrists when they were two moons old. The bracelet would tear itself apart when the baby grew older. That was when a boy was regarded mature enough to go hunting. If a girl, she had attained a marriageable age. The miracle baby belonged to the martial tribe, they couldn’t deny.


Part  V – Tumpanga & Pial village
(posted on Facebook 25th March, 2017)

The miracle baby was adopted by the wife of a highly decorated hunter and warrior (or ‘Thangchhuahpa’) of the village. The couple was childless. The day after the baby arrived at the house, the warrior went out alone for hunting in the jungle north of the village. Even the most fearsome of hunters seldom went solo for hunting, if not for hunting in the periphery of the village. The Thangchhuahpa went alone, to delve deep in the jungle north of the village… the jungle well-known for the ferociousness of the topography and its wildlife alike. Very surprisingly, just three days later, he came back with a trophy of a highly ‘revered’ animal on his shoulders. It was the head of a wild bison known as ‘tumpang’ in Lushai. Three days was absolutely not ‘long’ enough to hunt and kill a rare and treasured animal like tumpang. But the Thangchhuahpa mysteriously did it. The last time the village celebrated the killing of a tumpang was about eight years ago, that too after a 13-days hunt deep in the jungle by a team of experienced and very well-endowed hunters led by the village chief himself.

The horns of the wild bison killed by the Thangchhuahpa were two ‘full-arms-stretch’ wide apart, and both were one ‘full-arms-stretch’ in length. Never had the village seen such large horns before, the chief of the village concurred. The village had seen, according to the elders, the tusks of the four-tusked elephant killed by the legendary warrior Vanzika on their way back to the Lushai Hills passing through the village from the jungle where it had been killed. The horns of the bison killed by the Thangchhuahpa were comparatively as large and as long as the four tusks of the famous ‘invincible’ four-tusked mammal, if not larger and longer.

In celebration of the great feat of the Thangchhuahpa, his adopted son - and the adopted son of the village – was christened ‘Tumpanga’.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Of Tribesmen of the East

In a village not so far away from the land of the marauding tribesmen of the East lived a family whose ethos in preserving the culture and dogmas of their forefathers reigned supreme throughout their lives. They were the only remaining family, and the fifth generation indeed to remain so, to protect and abide by the religion of their ancestors when the world surrounding them had though willfully forsaken it. Their village and the whole populace of the surrounding villages, since four generations past, had entirely gone the ‘Christendom’ way shortly after ‘Vai len’ and the subsequent arrivals of missionaries from the West but without, and strictly except, this orthodox family whose family name (clan) I preferred to conceal.

‘Sakhua’ was what they believed as a religion, and truly their way of life. The family head who I met four years ago while on a deer hunting spree in the three mountains surrounding the village told me to refer him as ‘Bawlpu’ while narrating to me the beauty of one of the smallest religions on Earth, probably the smallest surviving ‘ancient’ religion with only this family still following. He was deeply pained… pained by the way his tribesmen extolled the virtues of the West abandoning the values of their forefathers.

(to be continued.. but not in haste)

#posted in Facebook on 23rd August, 2015.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Evening Musings (cont...)

(Just now, a continuation for the story came haunting me and deprived me of a timely dinner...!!)

She was the one who broke the stalemate, the unsolicited silence. A silence for an unknown reverence. She said, “Let me show you some cute photos which will not escape your senses soon.” She switched on her digital SLR, and before I could peek at it she flipped through the numerous photos and suddenly stopped at one. She showed it to me. It was a girl… a girl of her age when they left our town for America. The girl looked fragile and weak, but her eyes showed tenderness and warmth… and determination which I could not figure it out immediately until I heard about her story. My friend, then, spoke few words about the girl.

The girl was the daughter of her professor at Yale. She was 13 when they discovered her illness, and her illness was terminal. She was on her third stage of bone marrow cancer. She looked sweet and loving. She possessed all the sweetness what a man could want for in his daughter. My friend told me the girl died recently, just a month before she left America for our town. Then she showed me some photos of drawings which you could invariably understand as handiworks of a girl from the styles of the sketches and strokes. One photo which captured my attention instantly and which saddened me profusely later on was a boy and a girl holding an apple together. Both the children were in absolute happiness. They were living in a world away from sorrows and struggles. Their happiness was genuine. My friend told me it’s the drawing of the dying girl on her hospital bed.

She narrated to me her words as they were: This boy is my brother Brian… He is my big brother. I used to fight with him for an apple. I will not let him eat it. I wanted to have it all all the time. When I get out of the hospital I will not be bad to him again. I will share any apple I get from mummy and daddy. I love him more than anyone else.

There was another picture in which a family of four was standing with two children giving awkward poses, and the Eiffel Tower looming tall on the background. My friend narrated to me again the words of the little girl: Daddy promised me to take us to Paris when I get out of the hospital. I like Paris. My friend Virginia has gone there. She told me it’s more beautiful than American cities. You can see my lovely brother here. He’s like a monkey… See how he wanted to pose for the photo. He’s playful but I love him more than anyone else.

(to be continued if possible…)

#posted in Facebook on 1st Aug., 2014

Friday, December 05, 2014

Evening Musings (cont...)

(After that restless night, a restless Saturday afternoon bought me this piece... a continuation to that story)

Two days before the school annual function, I was on my way home from office when this rather pleasant but awkward moment happened. It was raining furiously. In fact, it was raining cats and dogs. I was riding home on my old, least admirable bike – a Hero Honda; the bike I purchased second-hand with its appearance now more unattractive than a widow inheriting five children to feed. That was when I heard a voice so clear to my ears it stirred not only the skins of the eardrums but the nerves deep down my heart, and even my stomach probably. That was the voice I had heard once upon a time, the voice I had been so accustomed with. The tone of the voice had changed but the pitch and the melody still so familiar to my ears and unmistakable; sweet and soothing. The inescapable truth about the ownership of the voice suddenly transported me to an era between joy and sorrow.

That was when I was passing through her cousin’s house. And the voice was calling out none other than my name. I was damned, really damned. I was shocked too. I looked out instantly for the origin of the voice. I saw a lady standing in the verandah of the house, yes her very cousin’s. The lady was beautiful, very beautiful. Even the thick fall of raindrops could not blur out the vision nor deprive me of the beauty, a rare sighting indeed. I suddenly stopped the bike on the roadside and rushed towards the house. I saw her standing elegantly striking a confident pose, a canon SLR camera hanging on her neck. “Hey!” was my only word… I faked a surprise smile as if ignorant about her visit. “I arrived a few days back. To… to write something about this beautiful hometown of mine” she declared emphatically. “I just came back from a visit to the outskirt of the town” she continued. Then a moment of silence followed. A silence in honour of the days, and years that had passed by since her family left the town for America… that I was not sure of. A silence in honour of our friendship that had gone silent the day they left for America… that too I didn’t know. For whatever be the reason, the short spell of silence instilled in me a feeling of profound sense of nervousness… I was feeling simply awkward, really awkward.

To strike a cordial chord to start a conversation was a herculean task, or a mercurial one, in that situation. The conversation could not be spontaneous anymore like those old days; our schooling days when we used to end up arguing on the smallest of matters. I had grown up admiring her; each passing day and month had made me fantasize more and more about her; her ‘could be’ look that very time. I could not fathom how much space my name would continue to occupy her mind after they left our town for America, but I preferred to assume that it had been erased completely.

(presumably to be continued...)

 #posted in Facebook on 26th July, 2014

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Evening Musings

( Written on a restless night… to be continued on another restless night :D )

We were thought to be too young to understand what ‘love’ was. We were barely attaining the age of self-consciousness. I was 12 then, she was 11. That was when she left our locality, our town, and our country altogether. Her family had migrated to the land of opportunities - USA. Her father was far-sighted and ambitious. And bold at accepting risks. When he sensed the opportunity to migrate to the land of freedom, he hopped in not minding to undermine even his dignity. There was a call for men from the third world to work at construction sites in New York State as labourers, that’s how I understood. He applied for, though he was an M.Com and working as a teacher in a government high school; a good paying job that time, and a respectable one indeed as always was.

Days never passed by without a nostalgia – about the days we had spent together. She was an early riser and always got ready for school early. When she came to our house, which was just two doors away from hers, on her way to school I would still be on bed enjoying the remnants of the midnight dreams, and half-asleep. She would sometimes, and later on most of the days, cajole me to go along with her since she felt lonely without a company. The school was just 2 kilometres away; a walking distance in those days’ standard. The ‘very rich’ only could afford school van that time. After school, she would wait for me near the school gate since I was always late; completing the half-done marble games with friends during the school recess.

I had stolen few marbles from her, and she had caught me red-handed twice. The second time, she shouted at me unforgivingly, “The worst son of a devil.” But the next day we were on our way to school together again.

She came back to our town last week, on a month-long visit. Now I worked as a clerk in our town’s statistical department. She came back as an internee of The Washington Post. The last time I heard about her was when her mother rang up my mom a few moons ago. She had told my mom her daughter was pursuing a journalism course from Yale University. I had heard from her cousin that she came back to write about the nuances of life in her place of birth, the story being commissioned by The Washington Post. About the intricacies and exigencies, the struggle and the laughter, and the beauty of poverty to entice the rich western readers – I and her cousin had presumed.

Our old school had invited her for the school annual function, ‘to be seated high on the stage on the left side of the Principal’ I told myself. Of course she was a proud by-product of the school. ‘And I, the one who used to steal her marbles, am just a failure in life personified’ I told myself once again. Mysteriously, I too was among the invited few. ‘Is it just for showcasing the opposite side of success when they glorify an old student of her wonderful accomplishment?’ I could not foretell myself this time. The contrast would have been visibly apparent, and an ‘eye opener’ to the curious students.

#1st posted in Facebook on 7th July, 2014

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Rana Rana Lo

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A Rana Rana Lo
- Thara Tlau

Sardar Bridge-a zinglam traffic jam a nasat thin em avangin ka office kalna kawng Ring Road chu old city Nanpura lam Makkai Bridge atanga hel kual chhin ka tum a, hla zawk deuh mah se Tapti (Tapi) lui Sardar Bridge atanga kan a ke pen ai pawha muang zawka in sawt phei chhet chhet ai chuan a thawveng zawkin ka ring a. Chutia ka tlan ta vang vang chu a kawng peng te chu kual deuhin te deuh mah se rin aiin ka tlan smooth ta viau a, tifuh ka inti ang reng khawp a. Nanpura laili Makkaipul circle ka pela ka tlan phei zel Ring Road ka pawh tep tihah chuan kawng sira ‘nawrlirh dawr’, hmeichhe duh chi bengbeh, ngun, zungbun, hairband, hnawihsen ilo zawrhna sira hmeichhe tleirawl lo ding zan chuan ka mitmei a la peng zawk a. Va chhe lo deuh ve rilrua ti paha melh ru zauh pah chuan ka tlan pel a. Khami dawra thil engnge maw lei tur kha ni ngei tur a ni. Chumi kawng thar ka zawh chhin chu a lo tha fu mai a. Ring Road ka pawh a, office ka’n thleng meuh chu nidang aiin minute 10 dawrhin ka hma nghe nghe a.

A tuk a ka office kal tur pawh chu chumi old city tlan tlangna lam bawk chu ka pan phei leh a. Ka tlan vang vang a, a nimina ka tleirawl chhe lo deuh hmuhna zawn ka thleng dawn chiah tihah chuan ka chhia leh tha hriatna zam chu a rawn in khei harh zauh a. Ka’n hawi phei vat chu kha tleirawl ngei mai kha T-shirt, a ban dar khuh tawk chiaha chhing zaih mai leh jeans kekawr bul tight, khup thup mawi tawk chiah chiaha fual ha leh chapal flat bunin a hmelthatna famkim nen chuan a lo ding leh zan mai a. A sam lah chu tinga dum hlim ang hlawrh hian a tliang dum raih mai bawk a. A mit dinglam chung chiaha a bari then chu a awmbawr thleng chuan lehlam lehlamah a uai thla hnap a. Customer khami dawra thil lei tur anga ka ngaih kha ni lo vin a dawr neitu emaw a nghaktu emaw lo ni zawk ngei tur a ni. Chutia ka thlir lai chu a ani pawh chuan mi rawn hmu ve chiah a, ka lehhawi sawk a. Hla siamtuin, “An haw lam chu pawl hnih vek an lo ni…” a tih ang deuh khan hlim takin office chu ka pan phei ta vang vang a. Chu ka kawng thar hmuh chu tlan chhung a rei loh zawk mai bakah a kawnga ennawm a lo awm khanglang bawk chuan a ti manhla lehzual sauh a. ‘Chawm bawk hawp bawk’ ti ila a huam kim ber awm e.

Chumi ‘kawng mawi’ chu ka nitin office kawng a lo ni ta a. Tlan paha chu tleirawl han mitmei sak chu ho te mah ni se rilru a ti hlim ve hrim hrim a. A lo awm loh zauh chang chuan office-ah mood a fuh duh lo phian lehnghal a. Hlim taka chumi kawng ka zawh nitin lai chuan ni khat mai ni lo kar khat chuang zet chu ka hmu ta miah lo mai a. A hmel atang pawha ‘hei chu a nu a ni chiang mai’ tih theih, ani anga nu hmaifang hriam ve hreih hrawih hian a lo nghak nitin ta tlat mai a. Kim lo inti riau chung chuan chu kawng chu ka zawh nitin ta a. College kal lai a ni ang a, college chawlh laiin a nu dawr a nghah sak thin a ni ang tiin ka inhnem chawp a. Mahse, nikhat chu hmuh leh pawh ka in beisei tawh loh hnu chuan ka hmu leh tlat mai. Ani pawh chuan min melh ve tlat chuan ka hria a. ‘Hnung lama sa barh’ an tih ang deuh kha aniang chu tum loh deuhin ka tek leh sak a. Nuam ve deuh a ni.

Khata tang khan ka ngaihtuahnaah tihian ka inzawt a: “He tleirawl hi theih ni ta se kawppui atan ka duh tak tak ang em? Duh lo,” “A nih leh kha kawngah khan lo awm tawh ngai miah lo vin hmuh tawh miah loh ka duh em? Duh lo.” Chu situation chu engnge ni ta ang le? ‘Tui lai rap’ kan tih ang kha chu a ni lo; min ti confuse lo tlat. Duh deuh pahnih neih a thlan zawk tur hriat loh hrilhhai thlak deuh ang kha a ni lo. He situation hi chuan kawng lehlamah ‘remchanna’ a keng tel tlat, buaithlak ahnekin. A ni tak a, kan nun tihlimtu tam tak te hi chu a tak ram thlenpui tura kan duh lem loh, mahse kan hlui hlawn phalloh thil an ni chawk reng a ni. Chutiang situation-ah chuan kei chang ka lo ding lo, an sawi Jawaharlal Nehru-a, India ram zalenna sualtu ropui leh Prime Minister hmasa ber, pawh kha a lo in hnimpil ve nasa tawh chu niin.

A nupuiin kum 1936-a a boralsan takah khan Nehru-a khan nupui dang nei leh mai lo vin a parawl zui ta a. Khatia khawhar taka a awm khan mi nu a hmu tai ta tlat mai a. Khatih laia India ram Governor General Lord Louis Mountbatten-a nupui Edwina Mountbatten kha a nun khawhar tak tihlimtu a lo ni ta a ni. Edwina-i nen chuan an inngaizawng chho ta a, an induhna te chu Edwina-i pasal Lord Mountbatten-a ngei pawhin a hai lo a ni. Nehru-a khan Edwina-i kha nupui atan a duh a ngaizawng a ni kher lo. Mi nupui chhuhsak duh khawpin a rilru a kalsual chu a rinawm loh. Innei thei dinhmunah pawh ding ngat se a nihna khan a phallo hrim hrim kan ti thei ang chu. Chutiang tur si, a tak ram thleng thei emaw thleng ngam emaw si lo tur chu eng vanga inngaizawng nge an nih? Chu chuan nichina kan sawi tak ‘kan nun tihlimtu tam tak te hi chu a tak ram thlenpui tura kan duh lem loh, mahse kan hlui hlawn phalloh thil an ni chawk reng a ni’ tihah bawk khan min hruai let leh a ni. Nehru-a khan Edwina-i nena an relationship kha inneiha hmawrbawk mai a duh loh rual rualin tih tawp enah chuan a en bik hauh lo thung. Khatia India independent hnua Edwina-i leh a pasal in India ram an chhuahsan hnu pawh khan a khat tawkin an intlawhpawh reng mai bakah regu takin lehkhathawn hmangin an induhna kha an chhawm nung reng a. Kum 1960-a kum 58 mi chauh ni a Edwina-i a boral pawh khan Nehru-a khan a sun zia lantir na’n tuipuia an phumna hmuna a aiawha pangpar phul turin Indian Navy indo lawng lian a tir nghe nghe a ni.

‘The Alchemist’ tih novel-a lal Melchizedek-a chuan beram vengtu naupang Santiago-a chu a mang (dream) danglam tak bawhzuia um tura a fuihnaah, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it” a ti a. Amaherawhchu, mihring hian kan suangthuahnaa kan duhthusam ang zawng zawng hi a uma uma, a tak ram thleng tura kan duh an ni kher lo. Chu suangtuahna (dream) a tak ram thleng chiah lo tur te chu hmuhtheihloha kan nun chawk hlimtu an ni chawk a ni. Kan dream a tak ram thleng thei tur kan sual buan buan ai chuan kan dream suangtuahnaa chambang mai mai tura kan duh zawk te hi kan nun tihlimtu tam zawk an ni fo. Hringnun hi chung dream pahnih – puitling tura kan duh leh a tak ram thleng tura kan duh lem loh – te chuan an inkhalh chhawk a, beiseina leh nun hlimna tam tak min pe thin a ni. Chutiang dream pahnih tena an tlansan tawh te chuan he khawvel hi ro ngawih ngawihin an hmu a, awmna tlakah an ngai tawh lo thin a ni. Mi khawngaihthlak ber ber te an ni awm e.

India rama organization pakhat chuan naupang cancer-a na thi mai tur te an dream an zawt a an theih ang tawk tawkin an tihpuitlin sak thin a. A then police officer nih chak te chu police hotute nen inbe remin nikhat chhung police officer tak tak anga cheiin police station-ah emaw headquarters-ah emaw an awm tir thin a. A then fighter pilot nih chak te chu pilot anga thuamin Air Force pilot ten fighter-ah an thlawhchhuahpui ve thin a. Chu chuan an nunah hlimna tam tak a pe thin.

Thil thleng tak tak tur emaw ti puitling tura kan beih fan fan thin emaw te chuah hi ni lo vin thleng tak tak tura kan duh lem loh emaw thleng tak tak hauh lo tur emaw te pawh hian kan nunah beiseina mawi an tuh thin a, dam chhan min pe thin.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

My First Book – A Hawlphum

After struggling for about two years my debut collection hit the stand in December 2011. As I’ve mentioned in the preface of the book, the contents are purely work of fiction but, let me say once again, almost all of them are based on true incidents. The releasing function held at Bangalore on 29th December 2011 was not a grand one by any sort of definition but unique in its own way as I’ve always dreamt of. I was adamant that as the book was basically meant for the youth most important roles in the function should be partaken by the youth. The host of the programme was my good friend Ms. Blessy Sailo whose tremendous potential was unleashed that very night. Book preview was done by Mr. Fela of KLE College who declared the book superlatively as “ram hnuk khawih thil”. And, the book was released by none other than the President of Mizo Students’ Association Bangalore Mr. Ramsanga. As a beneficiary of their optimum favours and dedications I would like to declare how much I owed them for their deeds - a hundred standing ovations indeed.

Beyond my expectation the book has been received exceptionally well by Mizo youth in the metros. The copies we dispatched to cities like Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi were sold out within no time among our communities – like after Mizo Service in Sunday afternoon. The sales result in Mizoram and Manipur were awe-inspiring. The Synod Bookroom, the largest chain of bookstores in Mizoram, has recently informed my cousin that it’s the topmost bestselling book these days and ordered 200 copies more though we’ve supplied them 300 copies in the middle of January 2012 only.

The most scintillating book review I’ve seen in Mizo language came out at, the most frequented Mizo site, on January 16 – A Hawlphum by Thara Tlau. The reviewer, Ms. Aduhi Chawngthu, to whose ardent fans of her blog I belong, flexed out nitty-gritty the journey the book took you along. I don’t hesitate to put her style as in par with that of The Washington Post’s book reviews.

Let me share here, to your delight, some of the comments I stole from various groups in facebook pertaining to the book –

Angely Sailo: I hardly read and have hardly read any book whatsoever by any Mizo author,with due respect,as I have no patience nor the inclination to understand the intricacies of the language (although I do speak the language):-D..however,I must say that I have no regret in picking up this particular book and finishing it in 2 hours flat..which is an achievement for me was so so so very refreshing and you can almost feel yourself being transported into each of those stories in the book..and the most important part is that the stories are thought provoking too..even after I put the book down I found myself thinking "I hope there's going to be a sequel to this book"...can't wait for the next one to come..Thara Tlau...excellent story teller and a fitting tribute to your have made her proud..:-D..can't wait for your next one..

Sam Haizâng (Scientist): A sawi ngaihnawm thiam si, tunlai thangthar tawng kau chheh zul zuia thu ziah, Thara Tlau lehkhabu ziah 'A Hawlphum' pocket size phek 90 nei Dr. Martin Chhangte hnen atanga ka lei chu ka inchhir lo hle mai.

Prof. Lalrinawmi Ralte: Thara Tlau lehkhabu A Hawlphum chu a ngaihnawm hle mai. Ka lei hmasa ber a, ka chhiar chhuak nghal a, a ngaihnawmin a zirtir a ropui ka ti. Ngaihtuahna hmang tak leh awmze nei taka ziak leh duan chhuah anih a chiang hle. Thara, lehkhabu ziak lam i timi em mai, chhunzawm zel rawh khai!

Rev. Lalhum Rawsea: A Hawlphum zet chu thu leh hla lama Zofate 'ro thar' a tling ngei dawn e.

Rev. Lalthlamuana Hnialum: Lehkhabu tha, zirtir ngah tak a ni. Mizo thalaite tan chhiar ngei ngei chi a ni e.... highly recommended.

And my good friend Dr. Martin commented, “The simple day-to-day tone and language used by Thara make the instances very familiar and relatable.”

Just yesterday, the book was declared one among the Top 20 list produced by Mizo Academy of Letters in the selection process for “Book of The Year” 2011. I am wholesomely indebted to all the readers and the plentiful support I’ve received from friends and well-wishers. It’s because of you that this humble work of mine could fetch such an applause after all. Thank you all.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Another blasts - Chidambaram is to blame

pic courtesy -

Another blasts - Chidambaram is to blame
- Thara Tlau

Our hon’ble home minister has recently come out with a statement – no incident of terror in last six months. The statement was meant to be a highlight of an incredible achievement by his ministry and the security establishments of India. It indeed was an awesome performance on his part keeping the country free of terror for so many months especially in view of the track record of his predecessor Shivraj Patil. Six months is such a long period to keep terror at bay in a country like ours though it’s a minnow comparing with the American’s where nothing of a terror attack has been heard of again after 9/11 which was a decade ago now. However, in reality the home minister kept terror at bay for the past six months due to some proactive actions and decisions on his part, or it’s just a lull period due to some international events or some other reasons which has nothing to do with our ‘step-up’ vigil is questionable. Whatever be it is, more than keeping terror at bay for so long the recent bomb blasts in Mumbai just after a week of his august declaration of being ‘free of terror’ point fingers at him. He is inexplicably responsible for the blasts. Why did he make such a prompt decision challenging terror when in reality we are so vulnerable to being attacked any time? It’s unwise to challenge terror when we don’t have the guts to root it out. It’s not due to our improved security set-up that terror activity didn’t take place; it’s just a lull period like a few sunny days during monsoon when the rain can arrive again anytime sooner or later. It’s in everyone’s knowledge how we are living at the mercy of terror. Our bazaars are easy a target where anyone can plant bombs anytime unsuspectingly; even easier than riding a bicycle there.

I had been suspecting a terror activity soon after reading newspaper reports on our home minister’s speech. It would have been more appropriate to remain silent if terror activity had not taken place for so long and appreciate the going on than taking credit of the situation and spewing unnecessary challenge on the terrorists as if their wings had been clipped and their activities subdued due to our inordinate security arrangements. The home ministry might claim just after the blasts that there had not been any actionable intelligence input suggesting terror attacks in Mumbai. Where the need for such input if you know how to read what’s written in the wind? Let’s try to reconstruct and analyze here what our security and intelligence establishments failed to read. Firstly, a well-known investigative journalist by name Jyotirmoy Dey was shot dead in broad daylight by bike-borne assailants in a crowded street in Mumbai last month. The underworld gangs were suspected of the murder which put immense pressure on them – on their operations and security. Some gangs even came out with statements denying their involvement and their willingness to help in nabbing the assailants. From the murder alone there’s nothing to read of any bigger consequence. But when Mumbai Police without any constructive lead in their investigation to the murder started intimidating the underworlds of highhanded repercussions if they failed to own up responsibility had brewed an atmosphere which was so charged and need to be defused, otherwise the underworlds’ business was at stake. This condition was already enough to trigger a bomb blast so as to deflect the attention on the underworld dons and their activities. This apart, our self-aggrandizing minister had let loose his tongue to remind the nation of his tremendous achievement meanwhile which could be interpreted as a challenge to someone’s (terrorists’) abilities charging the atmosphere further. So if you know how to read the pulse of the situation prevailing before the blasts, there's an enough evidence of a ‘coming soon’ terror which is stronger than the type of intelligence inputs our central intelligence agencies used to send to the states vaguely warning them of an impending terror during Independence Day which has become routine.

Our country has a distinction of being civilized in treating captured terrorists to give a ‘fair’ trial which ordinary citizens are denied of. How many inmates of petty crimes are languishing in our jails waiting for their days of trial when the government is pretty determined to give a fair trial to Kasab, one of the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai carnage? The need of the hour is not of establishing more and more intelligence agencies with confusing nomenclatures but to set up a special terrorist court to try and dispose of only terrorist cases fast track based on a strong anti-terrorist act. How long are we going to let the public coffer bleed in protecting terrorists during their ‘fair’ trials? If POTO/ POTA of the NDA was found inadequate and susceptible to being misused by states and security forces let the UPA Government come up with a better and stronger bill. It’s a law with a strong teeth which will deal more effectively terrorist activities not the establishments of more and more intelligence and security agencies confusing their role with the already existing ones. The National Investigation Agency which was established after 26/11 incident is a good example in this regard. Moreover, if the UPA Government is so skeptical of the POTA, is there any intention of scrapping the now outdated and enormously misutilized Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act which has victimized more civilians (Indians) than militants which it was supposed to deal with?

There is no ‘too much’ vigilance when we are so prone to terrorist attacks. An awareness and support on part of the general public is needed to let our security and intelligence agencies perform their duties more efficiently. It was a ‘breaking news’ in India when Shah Rukh Khan was frisked at an American airport; frisking a celebrity of such a stature in India, we denounced. This gave a good ingredient for a comedian show there where we were mocked at wondering how Shah Rukh Khan could be frisked at an airport. It’s usual and ritual there where security is of such importance after the 9/11. We heard again of her Excellency, our Ambassador to the United States being given pat down at an airport making our Ministry of External Affairs lodging a formal protest. However, contrarily we recently heard of the President of the United States expressing his willingness to pass through security checking at airports if situation so demand. It is ‘their’ attitude and ‘our’ attitude that played so much a different role in deterring more terror attacks. Our lackadaisical attitude is one factor which can be attributed to the various terror activities in India. Even our high-heeled celebrities are no role model when it comes to following the sanctity of security procedures. The recent episodes of Bipasha Basu and Anushka Sharma trying to circumvent the customs with undeclared goods were good testimonies. If any laxity is to be shown, let it be shown to the President, the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India and the three services chiefs. Let the rest of us be subjugated to strict security procedures whenever required but following strict privacy norms with reliable surveillance systems in order to avoid any untoward incidents. We, the citizens, have to be subservient and submissive enough to security procedures if situation calls for in order to protect our ‘fundamental liberty’ which is at stake otherwise. Are we ready for it?

Monday, January 17, 2011

My Experiment with Truth

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My Experiment with Truth
- Thara Tau

They told me, “You are too thin. Put on more weight.”
She told me, “Thara, you don’t look healthy at all. Take care of your diet please.”
He told me, “You have to take more food. Gain some weight.”

And I decided one conspicuous day to make some drastic changes in my lifestyle. I stopped abruptly my regular morning exercise from the next morning; got up a bit later than usual, by about an hour, because I realized of late that my morning exercise, though not significant in proportion, was one culprit of my Auschwitz survivor-like figure, and a longer duration of sleep would augment well with ‘my tryst with destiny’ (read weight gain). You may claim, just a bedroom floor exercise won’t cost you a kilo, but burning carbs is losing carbs invariably, I strongly believe.

And I also decided to take on more oily foods to supplement my body requirement of “fats” to gain more weight; to sport a new sexy-looking chubby cheeks and double chin. I started initially with outdoor foods; the fried rice, the kebabs, the tandoori chicken, the Gujarati thali, and even at home it became a strict no no to boiled dal and steamed karela. Everything has to have at least a splinter of oil or fats in it. I started ordering for more milk, smeared more butter on bread and put aside the jar of pear jam.

To make the most of my initiative and as a sign of commitment to it I went to the bazaar and bought a trouser with two extra inches from my regular 30-inch waistline trousers. I was determined that it’s going to be 32 in the coming month(s) and will proceed on till 34 when I would only start pulling the brake.

Everything was working fine for some days and it gave me extra confidence to carry forward. A week passed by, I could start feeling a fatty deposit in my tummy. It’s a wow wow!! I told myself, “Your dedication pays off buddy!” Another week set in and I was expecting a better result. Instead, I started realizing that my bowel movement was not ‘up to the mark’. It was irregular and uneven. One fine day I started feeling really uneasy in office. My stomach was just not ok. I went home earlier than usual complaining of my stomach to my boss. When I reached home I already had a high fever as well. I rushed to loo directly and released all the stupid stuff that had hindered my day. Then, I fell down on my bed with excruciating pain on my head and stomach. Two hours later, I was admitted to Seventh Day Adventist Hospital where some Mizo friends were working. I would not have got a bed had not the Mizos there painstakingly requested the administration because it was a flu season and hospital beds were just out of bound that time of the year.

After taking these and those tests, which medical terms I could not remember, in and out of bed for two days they told me it’s acute enteritis. “It’s an inflammation of the intestine” they defined for me. It made me back to square one losing kilos in the process. And I realized once again that it’s best to accept the truth about myself, whatever I was, and that’s another way of doing justice to self.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Is Suu Kyi’s release just a symbolic gesture?

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Is Suu Kyi’s release just a symbolic gesture?
- Thara Tlau

The military junta in Burma has done once again a maverick political manoeuver by releasing its arch rival and political foe the lady Aung San Suu Kyi from her detention. Though it’s a positive sign and a welcoming signal on reformation the military has promised, it’s too odd a timing the lady has been released, after the general election in which Suu Kyi herself was debarred from contesting.

The army-drafted constitution which automatically provides 25% seats to the military in the parliament was approved in a "referendum" by 92% in which there was a voter turnout of 99%! What on earth could this statistic tell us? With a population of 500 million let us assume conservatively that 200 million are eligible voters and if 99% of 200 million i.e. 198 million voters had cast vote, only 2 million voters had abstained from voting which is just an absurdity. By history, it’s always abnormal when voters’ turnout is more than 80% in an election or referendum of that scale. This is one of the hundred uncanny ways the military government has taken to uphold its prowess in the country. It is under the aegis of this crooked constitution the just concluded general election was held which the military claimed to have received about 80% votes.

The election has been widely disputed and condemned as a sham worldwide; and it has put into limelight the prevailing conditions in Burma and the highhandedness of the military government once again. To re-fashion the faux pas and to divert the focus of the international community the military accepted the “expiry” of Aung San Suu Kyi’s detention on Saturday and released her without “restrictions” on her movements and activities which could have been the other way round as her previous releases from detentions or house arrests have been shrouded with conditions.

The release of Suu Kyi is another wisely crafted political coup of the military which has already disbanded her from contesting elections through the provisions of the new constitution and which has also dissolved Suu Kyi’s party the NLD (National League for Democracy) after boycotting the election. The “unconditional” release is unlikely to have much bearing on the political scene of the country because Suu Kyi’s political activities have been indirectly barred via the constitution. So, by showing the world it has done something sensible to cheer for, the military has done it from the shadow of insensible legislations to demean its true worth.


Sunday, November 07, 2010

Wrong but Right

- Thara Tlau

One day a prince offered a diamond-studded necklace, vastly expensive in any ordinary and extraordinary valuation or sensation, to his charming fiancée, a princess from a faraway kingdom as a token of love. Unfortunately, the princess’ kingdom was later on befallen by an unimaginable famine, the magnitude not ever known in the history of the kingdom. The princess’ father, the king, had to shell out whatever was there in the royal treasury to sustain the survival of the citizenry of the kingdom. But until any sign of recession of the famine in far sight, the treasury had gone empty. No wherewithal to support procurement any longer or either sight of help, the princess knew she could do something to save lives. She sent a trusted minister in the court to another kingdom to sell the necklace she had been gifted and brought home foods and grains which would endure the lives of the people and the kingdom some more days until help arrived from friendly kingdoms or the famine started withdrawing or, otherwise, until they were starved to death or else reduced to refugees in another kingdoms. The minister brought home foods and grains and cheers to the people as well; and soon after, after few days, helps arrived from other kingdoms. Most pleasantly, there were clear signs of withdrawal of the harrowing famine.

The prince came to know about the necklace. He doubted the love and the commitment of the princess and subsequently “divorced” her. Of course she was wrong to sell the gift of love, no doubt. What would have been the feeling of the prince who had given her the priceless gift? Was it not ironic that she could sell the gift from her lover?


Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Holy Cusec

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The Holy Cusec
- Thara Tlau

The Holy Cusec
- Thara Tlau

‘Twas a small village, creepy and indolent, on the border of Karnataka in Tamil Nadu state where Nisha and her parents lived. Creepy and indolent all the more so for the past three and a half years since the great Indian Monsoon failed; not only the village but the whole region which depended heavily on the Kaveri River and its irrigated canals. The previous years, the villagers, predominantly farmers could afford minimal harvest with maximum efforts. They had tried every possible means available from their traditional practices inherited from generations past to sustain their crops’ survival. They would channelize the canal water in the form of small nullahs to inundate the cultivated fields. The task of letting the canal water flow down into these nullahs was rather vehemently a robust exercise, akin to a military one, which involved a secretive manoeuvre. They heightened the level of water in the canal so as to let it overflow into the nullahs. For this, they created an artificial reservoir to store the water, to heighten the level and to let it overflow into the nullahs. They filled cement sacs and gunny bags with sand and kept them ready in the embankment area whereon there would be an army of volunteers to undertake the exercise at the right time. The right time, according to them, was dusk when the people of the next village wouldn’t venture out in the vicinity of the canal and detect their mischievous plan. Otherwise, sudden decrease in the water level of the canal could ring an alarm bell in the next village. When the right time arrived, the volunteers pulled down the sandbags into the canal and blocked its flow. The canal then filled to its brim and overflowed into the nullahs. This inundated the fields consequently. The exercise usually lasted till dawn and the volunteers would then hurriedly pull up those sandbags to the embankment area and hid them among wild bushes and fallen tree leaves.

The continued failure of the monsoon for more than three successive years made life more miserable. All the sinister exercises they had undertaken the previous years had become redundant; redundant because there was not enough water in the canal which could be stored overnight to let it overflow into the nullahs. The water level had come down so drastically that at least three days would be required to fill to the brim, which was not possible since that would invite anger, if not wrath, from the next village whose panchayat members kept on measuring the water level of the canal day in and day out the past two years to ascertain if there was any increase in the level which they had been praying for with sumptuous offerings to the rain god. Nisha’s village too had been doing these; offerings and prayers to all the gods they could perceive, remember and be aware of. In the afternoon, people would gather near tea stalls or the banyan tree near the village middle school to listen to the radio. They would listen emphatically the debates and discussions, and at times breaking news about the river water dispute but with little or no understanding of the technical terms involved. They could not quantify the ABC of cusec of water demanded by their hon’ble Chief Minister. The Chief Minister of Karnataka’s contention that he could not release ‘that much cusec’ of water to the neighbouring state when his own farmers’ requirement of ‘this much cusec’ could not be met adequately puzzled them more.

“What is cusec?” they quizzed among themselves. “Is it the name of the main canal which flows down from Karnataka?” “Is it the name of the inspector of the irrigation canals?” “Is it something sacrosanct, like the holy Gita, whose alteration is a sure blasphemy?” The panchayat members were tightlipped, the village Tamil schoolteacher was an illiterate in this regard, and the menfolk were empty-headed about it. Whatever it might be, although they could not reach at an agreement on the contentious issue, they had one strong common belief – that cusec was a bad omen after all, and a quick decisive action against it was incumbent before their village was doomed.

While the first step of action was under consideration in the domain of the village’s panchayat, Nisha had a dream – a dream which was not ordinary in the true sense of words and which could become the saviour of her village, if proven true. In her dream, an angel appeared on the backyard of their house and said, “If the villagers are really curious about cusec, it’s right here buried deep under 15 feet, 20 feet away on the northern side of the village banyan tree.” The next morning, she told her father Balaji about her dream who further relayed forward to the members of the panchayat who crudely dismissed it as incredulous and just another wild dream of a small village girl.

Undeterred by the demotivating response, Balaji and three of his closest friends with the support of an elderly Brahmin decided to dig the area which, according to their measurement and sensuous belief, was the ground zero as told to Nisha by the angel. They dug the ground with their ploughs and spades; they shattered the layers of soft rocks underneath with their chisels and hammers. They dug, they dug and the work tardily progressed. They reached 12 feet deep by afternoon, but there was nothing peculiar to be seen. And then 14 feet, again they noticed nothing of a cusec. They discovered that the layer beneath the fourteenth feet was crusted with a stratum of hard metamorphic rock. The other three men revolted. “If nothing is seen till now how can we expect a miracle just a foot below” they grumbled. They then gave up. Balaji dared to prove his friends wrong, and had to. He determinedly wielded his chisel on his palm once again and struck the ground; his sweats rolling down to the hammer and chisel, and his exhaustion seen from the gradual declining rhythm of the hammer and chisel. After all his hopes were gone, he gave a last hit to depart from the scene, may be forever, with fuming and furious eyes. And lo! He could not believe his eyes. A spring of silvery water gushed out of the crack. It was in such a sudden and violent outburst that he could hardly manage to clamber up the wall.

An emergency meeting of the village panchayat was summoned that very evening. The sole agenda of the meeting was the cusec. “Let’s plaster the wall and three feet circumference of the well, and dig a nullah up to the main irrigation canal to perennially supply water to our stricken, crocodile-skinned fields” they decided. “And christen the well THE HOLY CUSEC.”

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Why Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus?

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Why Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus?

- Thara Tlau

The first time I saw Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus (acronymed as CST), more than appreciating its grandeur I was overwhelmed by the question: “Why Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus?” I could not reason out the wisdom behind the renaming of Victoria Terminus as Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus. No doubt, Shivaji was a great warrior and king of the Marathas in the 17th Century anno domini. However, the building (station) was built after 200 years of his reign in the later part of the 19th Century and that too not by a ruler of his descendant but ‘foreigners’ who were the rulers at that time under the aegis of the British Indian Empire whose Empress was Queen Victoria.

In the assembly elections of Maharashtra in 1995 the Shiv Sena-BJP combine became victorious and formed a government. The government went on a renaming spree on ‘popular demand’ of which Bombay became the first victim – henceforth to be called Mumbai. Bombay could have retained its old identity had the Bombay Citizens Committee, which had within its ranks industrialists such as JRD Tata and Sir Purushottamdas Thakurdas, been successful with its one-point agenda – to keep Bombay out of the state of Maharashtra when Indian states were reorganized in the 1950s. “The first settlers were Europeans; chief merchants and capitalists Gujaratis and Parsis; the chief philanthropists Parsis. The city was built by non-Maharashtrians. Even among the working class, the Marathi speakers were often outnumbered by north Indians and Christians” quoted Ramachandra Guha, a distinguished historian and political commentator, in his book ‘India After Gandhi’. Even Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was ‘inclined’ to make Bombay city a separate union territory. However, in the end the will of a much larger organization, the Samyukta Maharashtra Parishad, whose leaders had been fighting tooth and nail with almost an ‘unethical tone’ for the inclusion of Bombay in Maharashtra state prevailed. Politics, as you are aware of, is weighed in numbers; truest in case of a fledging democracy like India.

The second high profile victim of the renaming tantrum was the most spectacular structure in Bombay along with the Gateway of India – the Victoria Terminus. The station was designed by a British architect, F W Stevens, and it took ten years to complete the construction. It was inaugurated on the date of the Golden Jubilee of the glorious rule of Queen Victoria over the British Empire and so the name Victoria Terminus. The original name, Victoria Terminus, befits well the time, the place, the people and the architecture associated with it. The time because it was opened on the anniversary of Queen Victoria’s fifty years of reign. The place because Bombay was a flourishing port city of the British Empire in the east. The building would serve as, the builders might have imagined, a souvenir of the glorious past had the empire broken up which was so now but with a changed name bearing no resemblance to what it originally was christened as. The people – the people who ruled over India and who were responsible for the construction of the station – were the British whose Queen Empress was Victoria. Also the people because the people of India were ‘subservient’ to the Empire which was represented by the Governor General. And the architecture – as it is a World Heritage Site since 2004, it will be most appropriate to quote the authority i.e. UNESCO. It describes the design as a ‘high Victorian Gothic’. Nevertheless, it also describes as ‘an outstanding example of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture in India.’ So, where is Chatrapati Shivaji in the picture? Is it not doing injustice to both Shivaji and the British by renaming the station?

Let me make the argument clearer this way. You had a daughter and that’s too your only child. You christened her lovingly after your favourite lady in the Bible as Esther. She grew up under your dedicated upbringing and went to a college. At college she happened to find love in a boy called Babloo Yadav. She confessed to you one day that she fell in love with Babloo and they had decided to get married. You didn’t like the idea; you hated it. That’s absurd for you. Meanwhile, you didn’t want to hurt her because she’s your rose. You had been watching her grow from a young bud to a blossoming flower. Why to spoil the fragrance afterall you decided. So you reluctantly married her off to Shri Babloo Yadav.

They were married and you thought the chapter was closed. You were wrong again. Shri Babloo Yadav felt that since he’s a Hindu it wasn’t appropriate his wife bore a Christian name. He ‘renamed’ her as Laxmi Yadav. Esther became Smt. Laxmi Yadav! You felt cheated but you couldn’t do anything since her ownership had changed hand from ‘you’ to ‘him’. That was when you asked me, “Is it not a kind of injustice?”

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Mamuan, ka thiamloh a ni…

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Mamuan, ka thiamloh a ni…
(a short story) - Thara Tlau

Inrinni zan thiante ina “weekend” hmanga ka leng chu nuam hle mah se zan dar 12 a lo rik dawn tawh avangin haw zai ka rel ta a. Bangalore-ah chuan zan dar 12 vel hi weekend-ah chuan “lenghawn ar” khuan hmasak khuan hun a ni reng a. Tichuan Kamanahalli atang chuan ka tlan haw ta vang vang a. Cantonment Railway Station atangin Indian Express Circle ka pan phei a. Chutia ka tlan pah chuan ralkhata Circle sira street light eng hnuaia nula mahnia ding hi ka hmu thei a. Ka’n tlan hnaih zel chuan Mizo nula ni ngeiin ka hria a. A bul hnai ka’n thlen chuan a hmel chu chiang takin ka hmu thei ta a, kan thenawma awm thin Mamuani a lo ni reng mai a.

“Mamuan, zan reiah mahniin hmeichhia lehnghal eng nge i tih? Nghah i nei em ni? Hawh, ka va thlah ang che, rawn chuang rawh.”
“Aw, ka nau a bang har deuha min rawn lam rawh a ti a tah hian ka lo nghak a nih hi. Thlah ka ngai love, ka lawm e.”
“Chuti a nih chuan ka hmanhmawh chuang lova ka lo nghahpui ang che.”
“A ngai lo. A rawn chhuak tep tawh ang. Weekend ah hi chuan an tlai thin a.”
“Hmeichhia mahni chauha zanlaia hetiang hmuna din a him love. Inthlahrun a ngai lo, ka lo nghahpui hrih ang che.”
“A ho mai mai e… Eng ka ti lovang min ngaihtuah duh suh. Min haw san rawh. Mangtha le.”

Chutia nghahpui ka ngai lo a tih talh takah chuan ka tlansan ta a.

Mamuani leh a nau Rintei hi ka unaute tluka ka ngainat an ni a. Bangalore-a an rawn chhukthlak tirh chuan kan thenawm lawkah hian in “one bedroom” luahin an khawsa a. Ka bedroom a lut tlang ngam khawpin kan inah an tlangnel a. Keini chhung paw’n engkima kan tirh ngam an ni. American Idol leh English Premier League phei chu an tel lovin kan en thiam lo tluk a ni. Manchester United tan ulh thak an ni a. Keini lah Chelsea lo chu ti ve ngat kan lo ni bawk si. Manchester leh Chelsea inkhelh chang phei chuan boruak a sa tha ham ham thin hle a ni. Cold drinks bottle lian hi kan inchawi thin a.

An unau hi mi inkiltawih tak, inngaitlawm bawk si an ni a. An chhungkaw chanchin, a pa boral dan leh a pa boral hnua an chunga thil thleng te min hrilh kha ka theihnghilh thei lo. A pa chu city bus driver a ni a. Vanduaithlak takin an veng inkanga naupang pakhat a chhanna lamah a chesual palh a, a thi ta a. Chutia a pa eizawngtu ber a boral takah chuan a nu, lehkha thiamlo, tan chuan an chhungkaw chawmna tur chu a vang hle mai a. Aizawl khawpui daifem a khaw pakhatah a pempui a, zu thlawrin ei an zawng ta a. Tichuan Mamuani te unau chuan sikul an kal chhunzawm a. Mamuani’n Aizawla high school an kal laia an khaw hming sawi a zahthlak thin zia leh an hmuhsit thin zia a sawi kha lainatawm tak a ni. An zirtirtu te takngial paw’n an thlavang hauh ahnekin “naktuk chu fun khat mi rawn ken ta che” fiamthu deusawh takin zu han ti thin a! Chutiang hmuhsitna karah chuan high school chu tha takin a zova, in lamah a nu a pui thin ta a.

Ni khat chu an khuaah chuan vanduaithlak takin Aizawl veng pakhat tlangval hi “eng emaw” vangin a rawn thi a. (A thih chhan hi Mamuani paw’n min hrilh tha duh lo, ka chiang bik lo a ti tlat.) A hnu lawk darkar reiloteah chuan chumi tlangval te veng chu a khawnawtin an rawn thawk thla a, Mamuani te khua chu an rawn suasam chiam a. In te an thiah sak a, huanthlai te an palchhiat sak a. A sawi dan chuan kha tlangval kha drama party pakhata an “office bearer” ni tur a ni. Mamuani te in chu khaw tawntirh deuha awm a nih avangin an tihchhiat hmasak ber pawl a ni a.

He chanchin min hrilh laia a zawhna ho ang reng tak mah se awmze nei tak chu, “U Thar, kha tlangval kha kan veng ni lovin veng dang, Zarkawt emaw Khatlaah emaw khatiang khan lo va thi ta se kan veng an suasam ang khan an suasam ngam ang em?” a tih kha.

Chutia an awmna in ber a sawp vek takah chuan a nu chuan, “Hawh u, i putea te i bel mai ang u” a ti a. Tichuan Kolasib-a a putea chu an han phone a. Ani chuan Aizawla a thianpa punin an rawn lam a. Kolasib lamah chuan an pem phei ta a. Kolasib-ah chuan a putea te inhnuaiah an khawsa a. A nu chu a putea chuan dawr te a tan sak a. Mamuani chuan sam siam a zir a. A nau Rintei paw’n high school a zawm ve leh a.

A nu eizawnna chhawk zangkhai beiseiin Mamuani chu Bangalore-ah hna zawngin a rawn chhuk a. Brigade Road-a beauty parlour lar takah hna a hmu mai a. A nau pawh high school a zawh veleh a chah thla ve a an pahnih chuan an awm dun a. A nau pawh chuan Mamuani thawhna bul lawk restaurant changkang deuh pakhatah hian hna a hmu ve mai a. Tichuan an unau chuan an nu chu an chawm ta a. A nau chuan kum khat vel a thawh hnu chuan a thawhna aia lian leh changkang zawk restaurant, Cunningham Road-ah hna a hmu leh a. Kal velna a buaithlak avangin Cunningham Road hnaih Indian Express Circle atanga hlalo teah an pem phei ta a.

Chutia Mamuani ka hawsan chu ka ngaih a tha lo ru riau a. “Engmah a ti em nang” tiin ka mu lui a. A tuk chu Pathianni a ni a. Tlai dar thuma inkhawm tur kan nih avangin dar khatah chaw kan ei a. Chutia kan ei mek lai chuan ka mobile phone message tone chu a rawn ri keuh a. Ka’n en chu Bangalore Mizo Association (BMA) secretary atangin a lo ni a. Committee kohna a nih dawn hi ti a ka’n hawng chu ka phu dawrh a. “Mizo nula ruang char a ni a, post mortem-na tur St. John’s Hospital-ah a thei thei i kal ang u” a lo inti kuau mai. Kan secretary chu ka’n call nghal vat a. Ka hlauh ang ngei ngeiin ani chuan, “Mamuani a ni a. Rawng taka pawngsualin an sawisa hlum a ni. A ruang chu Cantonment Railway Station leh Shifaa Hospital inkara ram ruakah khan tukin zingah an chhar a” a ti ta mai. Chu chu nizana kan intawhna hmun atanga hla lo te a ni si.

St. John’s Hospital pan tura ka insiam mek lai chuan ka mobile chu a rawn ri ret ret a. Mizoram landline number hi a ni a. Ka’n pick up a.
“Aw, tunge?”
“Mamuani nu. I nau Mamuani misual kut tuarin a thi an ti.”

A ngawi vang vang a. Insum harsa ti tak chunga a insut ri chu ka hre thei a. Han chhan mai ngaihna ka hre lova. Ka ngawi ve reng ringawt a.
“Hei chanchin min rawn hrilh ve chauh a, hospital pan turin ka insiam mek. Helampang chu in rawn ngaihtuah a ngai loving. Buaipui tul apiang chu ka lo buaipui ang.”
“Anih leh Mamuani ruang i rawn zui ang em? A nuta neihchhun i ni si.”

Chu tak mai chuan min va han thawng nasa tehlul em! Engtin nge Mamuani ruang chu Kolasib thleng ka zui theih ang? A zahawm lutuk. Keima vang liau liaua kutpalh tuar a ni si. Mamuan, ka thiamloh a ni… i u Thara hian i tlawmngaih thin zia kha engvangin nge nizan khan ka hriatthiam loh. Misual ina an sual rawn lai che khan min rawn hrechhuak ngei dawn si a maw… i mitthla tur pawh ka hrethiam vek e. Mizo tlangvala chhiar tlak pawh ka ni tawh lo, pawnfen feng tlak lek ka nih hi.

“A theih hram chuan rawn zui ka tum ang. Mahse police case leh thil dang neuh neuh hi bawhzui a ngai dawn a. Tin, an unau bungrua te pawh ka lo va fawm phei a ngai dawn a…”

St. John’s Hospital ka va thleng a. Rintein min han hmu chiah chu mi rawn kuah a ka awmah chuan a tap ta vak mai a. Thiam ang tawkin kan han inhnem a.

Rintei hi nizana a u a hmuh zawh loh takah khan United Theological College (UTC) lamah auto-in a lo va phei a. A u a hmuh zawh loh thu leh a phone tlang theih loh thu a sawi bak chu engmah a sawi chhunzawm thei lova. UTC lamin police-ah report te pein an theih chin chinah hma an lo la a. Chuta tang chuan Rintei chuan tumah a lo be tawh lo hrim hrim a. A u ruang an chhar pawh chuan tah pawh a lo tap thei lo niin. An nuta anga an ngaih mi han hmu kha a lo tap thei ta chauh a lo ni a.

Mamuani ruang post mortem chu an han zo fel a. Embalming te an han tih zawh chuan a ruang chu kuangah an han dah a. Bangalore Mizo Christian Fellowship President-in hunserh tawite a hmang a. Chutih lai chuan Mamuani ruang chungah chuan heti hian ka intiam ta a:

“Mamuan, tunah chuan engmah sawi theih ka nei lo. Amaherawhchu, Kolasib-ah i thlan chungah ngei keimah chauhin ngaidam dilin ka la rawn kal ang.”