Apr 22, 2009


Ka Nu,

I feel weird typing this rather than speaking out! How I wish I could talk to you! But anyway, it feels better typing this out rather than talking to a wall which I have done for countless times. Words fail me every time I try to describe how much I miss you… so I have stopped trying to say so!

The time of the year is approaching again! I can’t tell how much it hurts to put yet another bouquet in the place where your body lied… And I can’t even describe how much more it hurts for me not to be able to be with Dad in that time of the year! Dad hardly talks about you, but I know he misses you when he looks at me with that faraway look and tells me that I look more like you every day! Why just last December, he encouraged me to wear your old puan and gave me your wedding ring!! I didn’t even know how to react!! Dad’s rather stubborn! Every time I try to convince him to let me leave my studies and let me stay back home to take care of him, he pushes the idea out and tells me that I should live for myself and not for him! He always tells me that I am living both of your dreams!! And even though it hurts him to see me board the plane after each holiday, he still let me go because he wants what’s best for me!! And I, with tears, would try to follow the verse you used to teach me Obedience is better than sacrifice.

I haven’t changed much! I still have your eyes and your voice and I still walk around in Daddy’s feet! But my pimples have finally shown mercy after all these years, and even though they drop by to say ‘hi’ now and then, I walk with confidence! Why!! I’ve been accused of being pretty a couple of times!! I still sing my heart out in the church choir and I’m sure you would have been proud to see me lead worship in the Easter Sunrise Service this year! I still can’t cook like you do… but I’ve found someone who pretends to like everything I cook (at least!!). And Dad has finally allowed me to date!!! Me being in post- Master’s and all, he ran out of reasons to lock me in!! But A U Mama is still reluctant!! Boooo!! At least I’ve got green light from the higher power!

Sometimes I wish I could turn back the time; so that I would undo the things I’ve done. I would undo all my rebellious teen years and spend my years trying to be the perfect daughter who never broke your heart! I was just learning to open up to you, just getting to know you when He decided it was time for you to go home. Maybe things would have been easier if I had a sister, not that the boys are insensitive or anything! Sometimes I got so lost growing up, moving from this phase to that phase of my life that I just couldn’t help but miss you! I know that crying or making my life miserable by missing you is not going to bring you back…. But sometimes… just sometimes, I cry. But I do so only when the world sleeps or only when I have a pillow big enough to muffle my cries!

It’s been shade of blacks, whites and grays!! The dark shades can get so dark but now they’re beginning to blend in with the grays! To look at the brighter side, Nu, I’ve learnt to love Dad the way that I would never have, had you been here! And I’m learning to cherish those I love, lest I get no time to cherish them again! I just hope that I make you proud with the person I am today and the person I aspire to be!

I know that it’s all beautiful and you love it up there, but please do take some time to miss me too!! And I know I should have said this when you were here, but better late than never… I love you…

Apr 6, 2009

(Un)Leggy Tales: Living with "tummied" calves

** Semantics Course, MA 1st semester; Class on Ambiguity**

Example sentence: The lady climbed on the table with thick legs.

I laughed silently. In the sentence, the lady with thick legs appealed to me rather than the table with thick legs.

Taking after my father’s thick paunchy legs, my precious legs and calves are the most ridiculed body part since high school. I don’t know why I didn’t take after my Mom’s slender legs; my brothers did!! And I, the only sister, am stuck with legs that only an athlete or a ballerina would possess… of which I am neither! So I grew up with my precious legs. High school was difficult; partly because the uniforms were knee length skirts, as I grew more conscious of my paunchy calves and partly because my best friend, whom I go to school every day with, has the legs of a supermodel. The two of us would walk uphill everyday to school with young boys behind us making fun of our calves… my calves in particular. Before long, I got used to the chawnsek chawnsek chant of the boys in my locality who always find the time to tease me on my way back from school. That was probably why I started wearing ankle length skirts to church since 8th grade, and soon switched over to puan way before my peers did!

Uniform regulations in school saved me. Skirt lengths should go below knee. O Happy day!! In fact I went overboard lengthening my skirt till it covered the stripes of my uniform socks… That way, my paunchy calves have more places to hide and I was never in trouble for violating uniform rules! Thank God uniform in secondary school was a salwar suit.

I remembered once during Secondary school when I needed to submit the Original Scheduled Tribe certificate for verification. I called up my dad and asked him to mail me my original certificates. He laughed. I remembered his exact words. I chawn hmuh la, Tribal I nih chu an hre mai ang. Verification awlsam ber ani mai alawm. (Show them your calves and they would know you are a tribal. It’s the easiest form of verification.) Fuming, I hung up the phone.

That was my dad, at least, and he did that to pull my leg. But one incident I could never forget was with a guy visiting from my father’s village. One morning, I was making tea before school and this guy was with me in the kitchen. I was just up from bed and was still in my shorts. And this mikhual of a guy exclaimed “ You have the legs of Roberto Carlos!!”. I never served him tea that morning.

But from that morning, deep inside me grew a feeling that I will never have the legs that would escape people’s notice. First of all, I blamed my father. Yes!! Blame it on the genes. And then I blamed my mother for letting me go ‘in rubber miss’ when I was a kid. Well, I didn’t really know if skipping, hopping and jumping with rubber band works up the claves. But it helps when you have someone to blame for that self-loathing feeling.

That was years ago. Today, if you see me walking around campus with a knee length skirt, don’t be surprised. I have finally learnt to love myself and get comfortable with my short ‘unslender’ legs. When people joke about my legs and calves, I can finally laugh with them and pull my leg further, enjoying the joke all the while. The strength lies in being comfortable in one’s own self. And by being comfortable with my legs, it doesn’t mean I run around wearing a micro mini, but it’s that feeling of being contented with yourself and loving the body you’re living in. Well, if I can’t love myself, who else would? Mimi, my partner in the short ‘unslender’ legs society, once said, “People notice only when you’re uncomfortable and fidgety”. She couldn’t be more right.

The other day, I met an old friend who, without hesitation pointed at my legs and laughed. ‘God, your calves still have tummies of their own’. I laughed with him ‘I’m glad they don’t have minds of their own any longer’. Well, I’ve finally learnt how to be contented with my short thick legs. There are people out there who survive everyday without one. I should be counting my blessings instead of being ashamed of it. And in fact, lately, I’ve realized that my ridiculed short thick legs are really not that bad after all. If I have slender model-like legs, then I would look like a potato on toothpicks!!!! And it all comes down in the end; I wouldn’t mind having the perfect legs that one could dream of, but I sure wouldn’t kill to have one either!!