Sep 25, 2008

Hairy tales : the dark side of spontaneity

“ Nice try, Mary Poppins… hair won’t reduce your age” she grinned at me, chuckled and snapped her fingers and walked away. I blinked as I watch her sashaying down the school corridor. It’s not fair, she never gave me the time to explain. Well, who would?? It’s not like every day that suddenly you show up with your usually no fore hair ( read fringe) to something that suddenly ends at your eyebrows…. Well, this is my story and my lesson as well. It reveals the cons of being too spontaneous even though there are many pro’s to the nature.

People usually give me a grin or a smile and an unsaid thought “what an idiot!!” when I go back to the incident that led me to have this unusual fringe with my usual-same-length-hair. The genesis of this crazy hair begins one morning when I unusually got up at 6:30 am to fill my buckets with water. Precious water, it was, during that time when Chandrabhaga and Lohit hostels faced major crisis in the middle of a hot, sticky Delhi monsoon. No thanks to the contractors of the upcoming hostel “Koena”, who in their damp minds, diverted the water pipes of these two hostels instead of taking up their own connection. What we they trying to achieve anyway?? Pocketing the water bills???? Anyway, they gave us enough trouble with the water supply that we have to carry water from outside. I could have sworn that I developed muscles from carrying buckets and buckets of water from outside the hostel to my first-floored, west-winged, end-corridor room. That was the reason why I got up extraordinarily early to fill my buckets during the short hour when water pipes finally become water pipes.

While waiting for the buckets to be filled, I stared at myself in the mirror, still half-asleep. Then came my sudden moment of insanity. I ran back to my room, get a pair of scissors and a comb, came back to the bathroom, stationed myself in front of the mirror and snip snip snip went my fore locks. I looked at myself again in the mirror again, quite content with the mess I have created. I turned off the water tap and went back crawling between my sheets to resume my golden slumber.

An hour later, I looked at myself in the mirror and my heart sank. What have I done??? I tugged at whatever was left of my fore- hair, hoping to make it grow longer under the tugging pressure. I tried pinning it back but it was too short to be done so; I tried parting it and it looked like remains of a burnt curtain!! It looked fine when I plastered it on the sides but it refused to stay there for long. So in the end, I have to settle for the new look that I had created for myself while I was still half asleep.

Well! The reactions that I got were numerous… few of what I can remember are these…
Toi looked at me, smiled, and as polite as she was, said “It’s not that bad. It suits you!” Thanks Toi, my very first encouragement.

Ron looked at me, stared, turned away, stared again, narrowed his eyes creating those little premature wrinkles when he has something on his mind- something that he’d rather not discuss, or do discuss with lots of “it’s only my opinion, you don’t have to pay attention to it!”. But he was mum, or so I thought till he commented on a particular photo with ‘the fringe’ in my orkut account.

Sing Sing laughed at me on my face with a tonsil-exposing burst and a held back "MMMOO HM, MOM"…

Shruti, of all the people told me that there’s something ‘sweet’ about me that day… not necessarily because of my hair.

Apuii giggled with a hilarious “Why??” and couldn’t stop her giggling every time she turns towards my side. I guess she has the right to because she’s my officially- unofficial hair stylist.

My cousin screamed “Are you experimenting?? You’re too old to pull off that look”

My classmates just stared “It’s quite a change”
One particularly bold one remarked, “Hey, you look sixteen again…”

Bawiha, my favorite Kungfu Panda (read Mizo Male Voice) smiled “You look good with that hair”… well, this harmless panda hardly pulls anyone’s leg anyway!! But it hinted me that he must think that, me + fringe is suddenly a plaything when he kept on pinching me and pulling my cheeks during our usual Sunday evening choir practice.

Zoteii, a fellow teacher at Sunday School grinned “It looks nice when you wear it THAT way… no… not totally down. Sweep it on the side, yeah… like that… it looks good” as she desperately tried to help me tone the fringes down on the side.
U Tani, my roommate’s cousin stared “It totally changes your look. You look thinner with it!!!”

U Kuki, as usual squealed “You’re becoming prettier…” You can’t really believe people like U Kuki not because she’s not honest or trustworthy, but because she simply is someone who can’t see the dark side or the uglier side of life!!

It’s quite a change. I was quite hesitant to accept it at first, but now hey, I love my fringes. It’s only hair anyway… and I can change it anytime I want. But for the time being, as much as I dealt with the consequences of sudden actions and spontaneous gestures, I love the experience of dealing with it all. I hope I take enough pictures to help me remember that once upon a time, I had fringes to which almost everyone I know turned to give me a second look, which is, of course, something that I usually don’t get. I guess I’ll just have to get used to hair grazing on my forehead, until then, fringes or no fringes… the butterfly is still the butterfly!!

Sep 19, 2008

Of pork-craving, rainy evenings and complain boxes!!

It all started when my pork hormones started peaking on a calm Bible-Study Tuesday evening!! Surprisingly, my “shweetest” grin couldn’t coax Ron or Sing Sing or anyone for that matter to hike out of campus that evening. So I have to go home and satisfy myself with hostel mess that evening… and the next evening too.

But like I said, there’s no way to subdue the peaking hormones that Thursday evening, that I round up the guys and convinced them to take an auto-ride to Nagaland House, to sink our sharpened teeth on Bastinga-flavoured pork. Ron, Sing and even Toi agreed… even though she act as if she hesitated a bit, complaining that we won’t let her go vegan for a month!!! As if she really would!!

So, regardless of the rain and the cold wind, we set out… with borrowed umbrellas! When we reached Ron’s room, Wicham decided to join us in our quest for quenching pork cravings. The five of us set out at around 8’o clock. Rain and wind won’t keep us in… yes… it won’t even keep us from bargaining with the auto-walla. So after a few hustles and a few fights we finally climbed in an auto… all five of us and got whisked away through the rain.

As usual we pulled Sing Sing’s leg in the auto… and sometimes even his cheeks. You can’t blame anyone, can you? Sing Sing’s always the one who attracts all sorts of cheek-pinching attention with his usual whimpers and his perfect little complains about everything - right from the rain to the people whisking by in their huge cars. He kept on complaining about the rain coming straight to his face (he was sitting on the side), and finally stopped his feeble growls and settled down after placing both his palms right in front of his face. However, an occasional “CHHHIII!!” often came up from his side of the auto whenever we ran pass not-so-hygienic-streets.

I couldn’t be more excited… there I was, on my way to Nagaland House for my much awaited pork dinner. I kept on squealing and bubbling in between to which Ron retorted “ You never know!! They might not have pork there!!”. Then the goose bumps started. What if he’s right? He can’t be right?? Can’t he?? !! Anyway, we rode chattering along with Wicham and his usual short, yet hilarious comments as he perched with the auto driver on the front, occasionally giving traffic signals to people driving by, holding out his borrowed umbrella… Toi’s umbie, to be precise.

There we were, after a 15 minute ride, at the place I wanted to be at dinner time the whole week!! We walked inside to a catastrophically bad news. There was no pork in the house!!! It turns out that if we are a fairly big group, we need to order before-hand. There were a group of NSUD people who had their meeting in the evening who ordered first. Therefore they get to eat and we don’t!! I sank, hoped they were joking but no!! Ron’s comment in the auto totally jinxed us!!! It was already 9 o’clock and too late to go anywhere else, so we settled for chicken!

But hope floats.

"When really in distress", my Grandma used to tell me "God assigns fluffy little angels to take care of us". We, or yet, I must be in a really big distress when a "fluffy little angel" came in the form of Yaransho (of the JNU animal-rights fame). He showed up, mysteriously and saved us by giving us a piece or two each from their pre-ordered pork meal. When he did so… Wicham and Ron were so boisterous in pointing at me, loudly saying that I was the one who wanted pork, not them!!! Some guys they are !! Toi, tomato red, couldn’t help but sink in her seat trying to hide behind the water jugs and muttering under her breath that she will not be back for a year or so. The poor NSUD’s… they had to order another plate of chicken since they gave away at least one person’s share. But thank you so much guys… even though I didn’t have the guts to thank you back then.

All’s well?!! Not so. Wicham was probably disappointed with the dinner and his piece of pork that he grabbed the ‘Complain box’ title from Sing Sing.

“I’m never coming back here again”

“The rice is not good at all. I can make better rice than this”

“It doesn’t even taste like Naga food”

“I can cook better”

Well, these are the more polite ones!! No one had an exhilarating contentment that night, but I get to eat so much that I couldn’t sleep the whole night. Nonetheless, we finished off everything except a handful of rice and dal... which we left only because Ron thought it's good to practice etiquette once in a while!

After dinner, some of us craved for icecreams (Sing, Toi and I), some for paan (Ron) and some for nothing (Wicham). But Sing Sing was broken to see his adoptive father chewing the paan away. He frowned, stared at me, back at Ron and back at me again, pouted his lips and muttered "You hypocrits!! I don't want you as my parents!!". Ron grinned. It's not exactly the first time that we've encountered Sing this way. In fact, he often fires me from being his Mom, but he always take me back when he needed me. What a son?? Huh??

Auto ride back to campus was again time for irritating Sing Sing. We got down at Ganga bus stop; since we wanted to walk in the rain… but sadly the rain stopped… we walked anyway!! Sing Sing couldn’t understand why we didn’t take the auto till Godavari. He started throwing tantrums but surprisingly cooled down after sometime.

We all went back to Ron’s room to clear out the finances of the evening, from where we walked back to hostel. I had a great evening. Not only the ‘bustled’ dinner that we had but it was also super hanging out with the guys. I can't complain about the rain... it makes our evening more dramatic. I can't complain about the 'complain boxes' either... you guys make our evening more spicy. Hope there are more evenings to come, evenings when pork will be available of course!!

Huh!! All this typing about pork makes me hungry again already!!! Khupchand Sausages…. Here I come!!

Sep 16, 2008

... Reconciliation...


Do you remember me?? Does my voice seem familiar to you or can you even hear me at all? I heard things are going well with you, I'm glad. You deserved it after all you've been through. I have never stopped praying for you and I’m sure better days are waiting for you on the road ahead.
I'm doing great here too. So great that sometimes I want to sit you down and tell you of all the things that I've been through. But I can't do that, can I?? I guess we have come to an unsaid agreement that we should both exist in the same universe but however use indifference as our main solution to hide all the past hurts and bruises.
Time has treated me gently over the years. I must say I’m older now, wisened by the pain and the struggles. I have learnt how to look at pain in the eye and walk even through the darkest valley with grace in my steps and hope in my heart.
Well, life goes on after you left. Would you believe it?? I have already completed my master’s and I am now an official research scholar!! I remember you calling me up on the day of my 12 Biology exams, all the well wishes and the prayers. It’s been years, hasn’t it? The Lord has been extremely good to me, He’s always been close to me like a shadow, sheltered me and provided for me even when I’m wrong. The way He shows His care and love are simply amazing.
University’s not so bad after all… in fact, I now dread that I would have stayed back home and miss out on all these beautiful people and exciting experiences. I’ve met lots of friend here in University. Friends with whom I can be myself with, friends wit whom I laugh and cry with. And would you believe it? Most of them are not Mizos... again!! which proves that I am still an integrationist… I guess your purist philosophy doesn’t really stick to my head.
I haven’t changed much… I’m still no head-turner; I haven’t grown an inch taller or lost a single pound. But I’m finally contented with who I am. I have stopped writing though… except for a few scribbles. I guess it is one thing that you totally took from me. It must have been the constant criticism and the brutal sniggers, I guess I never really recovered completely from it. But however I’m working towards it, and the day anything from my pen gets published, I’ll send you a copy!!
I am still singing inspite of all that you’ve told me. I know I’m not good, but somehow I feel that God wants me to sing. And it has got nothing to do with being good in singing or having a good voice. Who am I to hold back against worshipping a God who does deserve to be worshipped? I have started dancing again… alone in my room though. But sometimes when I’m really really happy, I break out in wild moves even in the middle of the road. The butterfly is back and she’s here to stay…
I have also revived my rain-dances. But I can no longer feel the squishy squashy grass under my feet as I mostly dance on the hostel terrace. I still take walks in the rain… although I hardly have anyone to walk with. But nonetheless, I enjoy doing all these things even though I do it alone.
I have met a new guy. I couldn’t be happier!! He has been quite a rock in my life and the amount of care, concern and love he has showered me are not quite what I deserve. I’m immensely thankful for him and I hope to learn how to love and care for him in ways that he could and couldn’t see.

I do miss you sometimes. I want to see you again and thank you for all the lessons that you have taught me, the love and care that you have shown me and for the prayers that you have prayed for me for all those years. You indeed are one person who have watched me grow and change over the years. I still haven’t stopped yet, there are still so many mountains to scale, rivers to cross and lessons to learn. But I hope to be a better person everyday and i also hope that you will be happy with the woman I have become and the person that I will grow into in the coming years. Even though we are out of touch, someday I hope to bump to you in a busy market place or a hussled street and smile at you just so you know that inspite of what I believed back then, life does go on after you … and its still amazingly beautiful and rosy.

Lastly, I want to say I’m sorry for whatever pain I’ve put you through. And I pray that you won’t regret or feel guilty for whatever I went through. None of it was your fault.

To whom these words belong to…. You know who you are. I am blessed that I have met you.