Dec 26, 2012

Photo Journal: The week leading to Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone, even though I am posting this on the 26th.

Here I am, all jumbled up in a quilt that came as a Christmas gift from someone I've never met or known before. My little piece of Christmas miracle! I love the little surprises that God tends to throw my way! Yet, I'm tired and physically exhausted from all the activities that I, as a Mizo Christian, am privileged enough to partake during the Christmas season. My throat is sore from all the singing and for the first time in my life, I am sore from dancing in church! Heh!! (Ka hlimsan kum chuan 'exer' ka la tha kher mai!)

But here's another photo post on my week leading to Christmas.

Yep! We got lucky! Zama got discharged (on request) after 9 days at the hospital. This was Day 8. Finally a fever-free day after a week. And the first thing he had to do was scrub his face. Call it whatever you want, I still call it vanity!

Our makeshift Nativity skit at our Sunday School Christmas party during the story-telling hour. The kids came up with their own lines and we had to 'make' baby Jesus from a sweater, wrap it in a t-shirt and draw his face! Heh! The gifts from the three wise men were throw-pillows too! Makeshift skit indeed!

I should stop embarrassing these two! But clearly, it seems Buata and I are the only ones who could stay awake even out of cordiality. Heh! This time they fell into slumber right in the middle of a 'thingpui senhang' conversation after lunch with an elderly couple. Manners, my dears!!

Nonetheless! Love you both. Much!!

My little bakers and their creation of chocolate chip cupcakes! Tastes better than anything I've ever baked. I'm so proud of them distributing their cupcakes to everyone that evening! I should take lessons from them and remember to appreciate all that they have done that evening.

 What's 'zaikhawm' without coffee in papercups??

Nope, we ain't singing! That's my good friend Ricky and I, leading the Delhi Mizo Christmas Eve Programme at Mizoram House. After lots of songs, prayers and a myriad of special items, we ended the programme with a Midnight mass.

Need I say more, this next picture sums up the meaning of the season's greetings!

And I thought I would have more pictures on Christmas day. But I was on my 'nuthlawi attire' with puan and flats dancing my way to satisfaction on the zaikhawm dancefloor. What can I say?? It's my hlimsang year! Haih Jish!

And while uploading this, I thought I'd make do with hostel mess for dinner while everyone back home is at the Christmas feast. But I just got a phonecall with a dinner invitation from a family nearby. I told you so, God and his little surprises! I try to never take anything for granted anymore.

Merry Christmas again!

Dec 18, 2012


I have often raised voice against sexual violence on women and children, more so recently. If you are a regular at this blog, you would know the kind of emotional turmoil I have been going through the past few months, again because of this same issue. But the current news on the Delhi gang rape left me totally speechless. 

Yesterday, I was at my usual evening classes with S. I came straight for the class from the hospital where I spend Sunday night and I haven't had a peek at the newspaper. While S was working on a comprehension passage, I took a twitter break where I came across feeds on the gang rape. What was more chilling about the news was the details. The incident happened just on my 'neighborhood' on a bus route I often took.  And the victim had a male friend with her when they were attacked. I could not help but be slapped on the face with the reality and the close vicinity of the incident. It could have been me!! So many times have I tread that same route with but mostly without male friends. 

I'm not proud to say it, but what can I do, I live in India's Rape Capital. I travel alone most of the time and I am also in research where sometimes I have to stay out late or return to campus late. I often talked about the difficulty of living in a city like Delhi with this 'alien' face. I always make sure I am appropriately dressed; I don't venture out in certain places at certain hours; I only keep close company of  people I know well; I do not party, I do not drink and I always make sure I do not mix with 'certain' people at certain hours. If I have to travel alone after dark, I always pick the busiest street and I go out of my way to stay away from big burly autowallahs and pick the puniest ones no matter how much they charge me.  All the while I know with all my heart that such precautions are not going to work for long, if rapists run rampant in the city I live in; Delhi Police looks for reasons to blame the victims and law and order turns its head the other way.

Do I feel safe in Delhi? No. Have I ever felt safe in Delhi? Never. I always tense up when I travel alone in  a lonely stretch of road even during daytime. And this evening, I panicked, screamed and ran when a huge van with dark windows slowed down next to me. The driver looked puzzled. It turns out he was asking for directions. Though it was a good hour before sunset, can you really blame me for being jumpy when such news haunts the city? But when I looked at the statistics, I was nauseated. According to the National Crime Records Bureau figures, which document only cases registered with the police, the national capital had 453 cases of rape in 2011. Mumbai, the city with the next highest incidence, had only half this number.

And all that talk about dress code, Bullshhhhh!! During my first semester in Delhi, I was 'grabbed' at the supposedly 'safe' environment of the the Library an hour after lunch. And I was clad in a full salwar suit, complete with the dupatta. When the campus security reached me, I was already a jumble of nerves and tears. Luckily they nabbed the culprit without asking me weird questions. I vaguely remembered filing an FIR before he was dragged away. I went a couple of times to Patiala House for hearing. I wasn't about to let it go easily. It doesn't matter to me if that person barely grazed my shoulders or tore my salwar, if he can do it in a campus library in daylight, he will do worse in a dark alley at midnight. And that was also my argument to the judge. I hope his stint at Tihar Jail intimidated him to some extent. 

So many times have I taken part in protests against rape and sexual violence against women in the city I lived for the past six years. Had I known, I would have taken part in the protest organised by the JNUSU today. The NDTV crew came, interviewing students on a dhaba in the campus while I went out for evening tea. I was glad to hear that the issue was debated in the Parliament today and that Jaya Bachchan had a breakdown asking the government if it had apologized to the victim's family and the country. Good question Mrs. Bachchan. Respect! 

But what can mere mortals like us do on such grounds. I'm an extremist and God forgive me if the next sentence denotes scant respect for human life. I say send the rapists straight to the gallows (I would love to say 'guillotines'!). My roommate strongly disagrees. She says castration is a better option. Let the rapists live out their life, forced to reflect on their deed every single day of their shameful existence. A few months ago I applauded when the MHIP ( the largest women's organisation in our Christian state) issued a statement saying that child rapists should be forcefully made impotent by castration. Many of my male friends disagreed saying that the MHIP should think again and are too extreme. I say, what is more extreme than rape?? You  murder a woman's soul without taking her life.

I am just too disgusted and angry that so many times have I deleted certain paragraphs from this post because I can't level with my emotions yet. I would love to end this post in a positive note. But forgive me I just can't. Rather I'd end this post with an excerpt from this brilliant article.

...being a rape victim in India is so much fun. First, you’re humiliated by the cops, then your personal life is put on trial by the media. After a couple of years being ground down by the judicial process, you get your moment in court where you’re expected to recount every detail – and I mean, every detail – in open court. All this only to find that in the great majority of cases, it’s all been for naught because the original investigation was shoddy and flawed. Your assailants go scot-free while you are tarnished for life as “damaged goods” in our enlightened society.

Good going, Delhi!! A city who boasts of its political, intellectual and feudal elites! It's a shame you will be known as 'India's Rape Capital' and rightly so!

Praying for the victim (who continues fighting for her life as I write), her injured friend and her family!!

Dec 14, 2012

Photo Journal: Meanwhile....

I went off radar (for a couple of weeks this time), and was whisked away from the blogosphere by no Prince Charming but by  research and a couple of other responsibilities.


I spent an evening with the sisters watching an rerun of '27 dresses', eating beef roast and lots and lots of green tea.

The Ravi Zacharias International Ministry (RZIM) held an event in the capital with Ravi Zacharias himself speaking a Christmas message on 'When it's not jingle all the way.' After pulling strings last minute and somehow managing entry passes for the guys and I, we were snugly seated inside Siri Fort. And the showdown happened... Imagine my disappointment when the guys dozed off. I took their pictures carefully. I know, I humiliate people in my blog. A lot. But these two deserved every bit of it!! **Frowny brows**

So I was making omelettes for my cousins when...

It's the first time in my life that I came across so many double yolks in one plate. Calories aplenty, dear cousins!!!

Two of my favorite things this season. An old cap that my Grandma gave me many Christmases ago and this huge huge mug that my dancing partner, Autea gave me for this Christmas...

Lazy weekends are spent like this. A steaming cup of Orange Spicer and a book that I'm currently studying - Richard Foster's 'Celebration of Discipline'. The book gave me a whole new insight on fasting, prayer and meditation while the Orange Spicer gave me a whole new insight on the word 'relaxing'!

And this is my Senior Class on Sunday School giving their annual exams. I have 11 names in the register while 9 appeared for exams. One was out of station while the other one suffered from what I call "Rawlthar Ngeng Syndrome" (U Zuali, engmah ka zir lova, thiamlo deuhin ka inexam ngailo!!). I will miss this batch a lot. Two of them are 'graduating' Sunday School this year. This coming Sunday is their 'Graduation party' in Sunday School and from next year they will be joining the service for the adults or 'Inhnuai' as we call them in Sunday School.

And he looks to the light...

 Yep!! That's my good good friend Zama who's admitted in the hospital for chronic typhoid, acute renal failure and liver complications. And whenever I stay the night with him, we have our own 'Kiki'. I already have so many stories to gun him down with once he gets better.

Get well soon, Mr. Facebook/Twitter Addict!!! And please stay away from social networking at least while you're sick. People don't even believe you're this sick! Heh! :P

What happened in your 'meanwhile'...??

Not Another Christmas Post...

It all started one blue night in late November. My roommate was out for the night and I was alone; in a Christmas mood and hunting new Christmas songs to download. (Yes, I'm a pirate. Notoriously so!). But I ended up being disappointed. Well, almost every album I downloaded has songs like 'All I want for Christmas' (though I'm partial towards the the Michael Buble version), Frosty The snowman, Santa Claus, Winter wonderland, White Christmas and Blue Christmas (and whatnot colored Christmases) blah blah blah! 

Then a friend of mine (a very good singer) told me to try his favorite Christmas song - 'Tennessee Christmas' where the lyrics go something like 

Another tender Tennessee Christmas, the only Christmas for me 
Where the love circles around us like the gifts around our tree
Well I know there's more snow up in Colorado than my roof will ever see
But a tender Tennessee Christmas is the only Christmas for me
(Yes. I googled the lyrics)

I went from being disappointed to confused. My first problem is that I've never been to Tennessee (or any other place mentioned in the song), and I can't fall in love with a song where the lyrics are so foreign and removed from my psyche. C'mon, I've never even seen snow yet, to even decide if I would at all love a 'winter wonderland'. (Though I strongly doubt it, my knees already sing every Delhi winter morning.)

Then my ultimate frustration blew last Monday when the auto that I rode on stopped on a red light. A street vendor came up to me carrying a Santa Claus mask and while coaxing me to buy it, said "Madamji, le lo! Aapke Prabhu hein!" (Take it. It's your god!)

I'm against Santa Claus. I always have been. I don't blame myself especially after my incident at a certain red light in South Delhi. I grew up in a household where my parents also take care of cousins three times the number of our siblings. Christmas time is always a headache for the earning members of the family. And there was no place (or the finance) to fool us kids with the 'Krismas Putar' story. I consider myself lucky now. Compared to some of my friends who grew up otherwise, Santa Claus never had a place in my heart. (Goodness Gracious, I sound like a Scrooge!) Maybe it's because I felt that Mr. Claus stole all the attention from the King born for the world, especially in the hearts of children.

A week ago while googling for the Christmas songs, I told my roommate, a Buddhist, how disappointing it is for me when  all these songs talk more about the weather and the decorations and Santa Claus rather than Christ and the gospel. That very same evening, while having dinner at a friend's place, a much older friend, a church leader expressed the very same sentiments that I had the whole week long. He quickly added "I must be getting old. I'm so narrow minded". I laughed because he is one of the most broad-minded church leaders I've ever come across.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not exactly Miss-Goody-Two-Shoes but I've been very particular about the core of Christmas. Yes, Christ Himself. And I feel that all these chart-toppers are a little bit too far off. If I look for a Christmas song, I want something which soothes not only my auditory senses but even my spiritual senses (Am I making sense at all?).

A week ago, I went for an Advance Christmas Celebration with some friends. The service was good, the programme entertaining and the food delicious. But after, a few of us decided we'll join a group of old ladies singing together in one of their homes. We ended up singing and praying the whole night. 

The next morning, on our way back to campus, I realized I hunted for the Christmas songs that I wanted in the wrong place. The Christmas spirit that I so longed for was not in the chart-topping music or in the decorations and tinsel town.

The Christmas spirit I longed for has always been in the heart of worship.

So here's to wishing you 'heartfuls' of the true Christmas Spirit every single day!

(And I stay away from a picture of a Christmas wreath or of colors red and green. :) )

Nov 30, 2012

Photo Journal: My last week of November

Okay! I admit I do this 'Photo Journal' thing whenever I feel too lazy to blog. Or when I have lots of half-finished write-ups and I don't know which one to complete. Or when I have pictures on my phone that I want to make it look interesting. Or when I have a lost week and I just want to be heard.

So how would I describe my last week of November??
One word: Actionless...

I have been hunting around for a good source of Daily Bible Study after I finished my last study. Today, Lydia, a friend from Campus Ministries dropped by and she gave me a link to this page. And I'm geared for a year. Yay! If interested please check out

They're not new books. I know. And I've read them all; borrowed them from this friend or that friend over the years.  But I finally got around to ordering them. Homeshop18 delivered  them the very next day I placed the order!!

Two of my three top favorite boys for the season. Hehe!! I have this very bad habit of 'mothering' 'young' people. I should kick the habit . Soon. Hopefully!

Last month, I fell off climbing this 10 foot wall. I don't know what's more tragic, me falling off a wall or me climbing a wall at my age!! I'm just lazy, I'd rather climb over a wall than walk for 2 extra kilometers around it. I tore my beloved pair of jeans and sprained an ankle on the fall and since my trusted neighbour, the Color Engkima (aka the Loudspeaker) already moved back to Aizawl, I had to limp for a kilometer and a half to get a tube of Diclofenac gel and a roll of crepe bandage.  I swear I was in tears by the time I got to the pharmacy. I don't know if it's because of the pain or if it's because of self-pity. I stayed away from the wall for more than a month.

But, this week, I was ready to climb the wall again. And guess what I saw? Heh! I am loved. By Someone up there or someone from the Construction Company!

I spend my Friday evening with these Dudes. There's a fourth one too, and I'm glad he's not in the picture. Heh! Relax! We were just working on the Kut Souvenir for this year! I know exactly why I'm the only female in the editorial board!! They told me it's because I'm efficient. But I know too well, they want someone whom they can work with as a guy but would still have the opinion and the eye of a girl! Hmmph!

These two cuties kept me company while I took a break in the other room with a mug of green tea. (Health first! Always! Heh!)

I'm not a dog person. Or an animal person. And I get disgusted when Minky, the pug, tries to lick me! Sorry!! But I'd gladly hug the pug when the cutest lil' thing on the planet wants to cuddle.

                                               There goes my week. How was yours??

Nov 21, 2012

Stolen Innocence, Justice and the Dilemma of the inbetweens.

(Note: I have this post tucked away for more than a month now. I know I tread on hot coals by writing this post. But despite all the flack and the stones I expected to be thrown my way, I know where I stand. Though my test may be relatively diminutive, I realized my set of principles are something no one should or could take away from me.)

 I haven't been sleeping well for more than two months now. Yes, research has a part to play in it. But most importantly, it was the horrific news I heard on a Sunday evening almost two months ago. A friend of mine sent me a link to Shillong Post where the headlines read. "Reverend arrested on charges of rape and molestation of minors". The contents were more ghastly. Another headlines read, "Six Children rescued from New Life Home". It was a good hour before I realized I was sitting in my dark room peering at my phone. I was shaking the whole hour.

New Life Home has been my home for three years. I have often told people that I met the Lord during my stay in New Life Home. And Reverend Miller, the man charged with rape and molestation had been my father-figure and my spiritual mentor for the happy years I spend at New Life Home. And now to read this after 6 years, I don't even know how to have a reaction.

I stayed at New Life Home for three years during graduation, two out of which I was a Girl's Prefect. I was part of the worship team in the church headed by Uncle Miller and I taught in Sunday School all those three years. Brought up in a traditional Mizo Baptist church, there were a lot of issues and questions I had during my spiritual infant years. It was Uncle who guided me with passages from the Bible and I wouldn't be lying if I say it was Uncle Miller who taught me to always go back to the scriptures rather than what 'this evangelist or that evangelist' said. Uncle saw a leader in me even when I didn't see it in myself. He polished it and helped me shape and structure it and it was he who taught me how built my principles on the foundations of truth and justice.

I respected Uncle Miller enormously, but we also had our differences. I was famous for one thing in New Life Home - my fights with Uncle Miller. And I was the Prefect. Well, there were a lot of things I didn't like about the way he handled the mess, the mess workers and drinking water issues. And when it comes to issues regarding the welfare of the girls, I very often put my foot down and take a stand against him. When I'm ignored, I just get fiercer in my fight.

 I also admit I'm hot-headed and stubborn too. The fight I had with him when I was admitted to Bethany Hospital is one fight that my friends (who were present there) still laugh about it till today. I had complaints of breathing problem and Uncle had ignored me. I went to the hospital by myself and when the doctors found out that I had fluid in my lungs, I was already just too angry with him. So when he came to visit me in the evening, the volcano erupted. I was later diagnosed with TB when my dad decided I should be home until I'm cured. But then again, it was Uncle who stood by me, telling my dad that he'll take care of all my needs and convinced him to let me stay instead of losing a year of college. I fondly remembered Uncle Miller dutifully dropping me to the shared cab station to Guwahati, for my monthly medical trips which lasted for almost a year.

My fights with him weren't always personal though. Once I sprinted up to his kitchen, when one of the junior girls cried after Uncle scolded her for getting a phonecall from a boy. Kakuli, between her sniffles, told me that Uncle asked her what her family will say if she 'gets pregnant' from such 'misconducts'. I specifically remembered me lifting a finger and shouting down the stairs as I left the kitchen after a heated argument,
"Getting a phonecall from a boy is not a misconduct, Uncle. It is biblically proven. And you cannot get pregnant from a phonecall with a boy. It is technologically proven. Alexander Graham Bell didn’t invent the telephone for that purpose. Ahoy! Ahoy! Uncle Miller. Don't fill my girls' heads with stupid ideas".
I made sure I had my voice selected on pulpit mode. Well, I always had a flare for drama, and I was close enough with Uncle to irritate his face with my imaginative feather boa; which I often did on many occasions.

In fact, once he called me "Prefect Phunchiar ber", but then again he never removed me from my position and kept me in-charge up to the day I graduated. I have very fond memories of him and I'm friends with his children. I'm also very fond of Aunty Nimri who took it as her personal duty to take care of my diet while I was undergoing treatment from TB.

A couple of days after I got the news, I met up with Athungo, a dear friend and a senior from New Life Home who also stays here in campus. We were both hurt and shocked by the news and we needed to talk and console each other. We laughed through our tears, talked about our days in New Life Home and tried to figure if the allegations could be true. Were there any signs during our stay? If there were, what could we have done? There were a lot of regrets and a lot of questions asked that evening. Most of them, unanswered...

Since that evening I have been unsuccessfully trying to contact New Life Home and Uncle Miller. It felt awkward when people here ask me about 'the news from Shillong' and all I know is what I read from the papers. What the papers say and what the New Life Alumni say are totally different. Some say Uncle Miller was framed and that the children were smuggled out and were forced to say that. But then again, how could seven year olds frame a 65 year-old well connected, well established pastor?? It just doesn't make sense. And to think of Uncle Miller being a rapist doesn't make sense either. Again, maybe I'm in denial. I can't be sure, I'm torn here!

My ultimate heartbreak came when pictures of Uncle Miller taken to court surfaced. His head was covered, his frame frail, old and thinner than the way I remembered, as he was escorted on his way to court by gun trotting security personnels. Just like the way terrorists and murderers are escorted to court. And to think that he will be police custody for 10 days for interrogation? I realized I don't want even my most hated enemy to go through what he went through. It broke my heart to see him end up like that at such an old age.

But then again, if you ask me my honest truth. I’m torn. Because I don't think children lie in such issues. And when they do talk of such incidences, I think society should lend a ear and act quickly on it.  I am no social activist, I'm not a social worker either, but I say this from the heart because I am a victim of childhood molestation. There, I said it! Only a couple of my best and most trusted friends knew about it untill now. Oh!! Seni revealing her ‘painful secret’ in a blog?? Yes, a couple of times, I’ve talked about it with girls who went through the same thing I did. But it was always a confidential thing. But now I have a reason to talk about it from such a platform, because I want to make a point, and I cannot rest easy until I do so. Sometimes I'm grateful that my mother went to her grave without knowing about it. I've managed to keep it from my dad and my brothers till now. But since my brother and some of my cousins read my blog, I know it'll just be a matter of time until my phone rings with the question “Who?”. I can't, even in my worst nightmare, even pretend to comprehend even a glimpse of what a raped victim would go through. I think it'll be like having your soul murdered.

Our society takes molestation too lightly. When it comes to rape, the issue may be a bit different, but childhood molestation is more often, than not, neatly swept under the rug. I guess people think that the children will grow out of it; parents hope that the children will forget and whispers are quickly hushed into silence. And more often, than not, the offenders are families and relatives.

A couple of years ago, when I revealed my painful secret to someone I have been dating for a few years, he told me, "A lot of girls go through this. You should not take it too seriously". I stopped then and there. I've never talked about it with him (or anyone) again until today. Sometimes, I like to tell myself that he has forgotten all about our short conversation because I felt foolish that I've let him in on such a painful secret only to be treated with indifference. I’ve never convinced myself yet. If the educated youth of our generation have such an attitude, then no wonder the generation before us hushed everything into silence. But then I wonder, what will the same man say if the victim is not a girl he dated but his very own daughter??

Well, no! How can I not 'take 'it' seriously' when I've lived in denial, shame and guilt for 16 years of my life? Even till now, in weak moments, pangs of shame, helplessness and desperation still overcome me. For many years, I realized, my young mind blocked it away. But to be honest, it was a closed wound; hardly a scar on the surface but the insides infected and festering with worms. I was so ashamed of myself that sometimes I tried convincing myself that it was all a very horrible nightmare which never really happened.

I couldn't reconcile with myself until I have the strength to assure myself that I wasn't the one at fault.  I couldn't heal until I had the strength to truly forgive the person who stole my innocence. It's not easy to do so.

My ultimate test came when I met him in person. Even after 20 long years, I shook while I handed him his cup of tea, looked into his eyes and wondered if he ever realized how much he took from me. He is old and frail now, his eyes empty and his hands shaking, giving away his years of alcoholic lifestyle. All those years, I lived my life in shame and helplessness because of this person. But now, I realized, I'm big and strong and I do not need an apology from him to have closure and start living a life free of shame, guilt and denial. I sat there, forgiving him silently in God's name. In the end, healing, redemption and reconciliation comes only with forgiveness.

But then again, it is a tragedy that many girls never had the chance or the conviction to take that road of redemption towards freedom.

By now, I hope I give you a gist of why despite my relationship with Uncle Miller, I believe the girls. A seven year old girl cannot make up stories on such offense.

So my final stand is this:

I may not know the truth. Yet. But even then, I will stand up for truth and justice irrespective of my personal relations. I know a lot of people back home and especially New Life Alumnis will hate me for saying this.

If any of the allegations are indeed true in this fallen world, I pray that Uncle Miller will have the strength to admit, repent and face the consequences of all the wrongs that he had done. I pray he'll have the strength to apologize to the girls and their families. I pray the girls will get help and I pray they'll come out of this situation with the least scars possible.

If the allegations are untrue, I pray God will restore and deliver Uncle Miller from all the hurt, dishonour and humiliation he has gone through, and most importantly clear his name from such allegations.

I will stand up for Justice irrespective of my personal relationship with Uncle Miller. I proudly call myself a 'New Life graduate' and if there's one thing I've learnt in New Life Home, it is to make a stand for truth and justice against your sentiments, emotions and personal relationships.

Praying for the Miller family and the girls!

Aug 4, 2012

Through his eyes: B for 'Buata'

It's all in the eyes of the beholder!!
If only I could see the world through his eyes, life would be more beautiful than it already is.

I met him a few years ago here in Delhi. We attended different universities back then and I used to admire his spirit from a distance. He was a Master's student in JMI and also an active member of the Church Youth. A light hearted young man, you'd often catch him laughing away or in a deep conversation with his friends. I used to look at him and wondered how he could juggle everything with his condition.

You see, Buata was born blind. ('Visually challenged' might be a politically correct term). He has been tested to be above 95% visually impaired where he retains less than 5% of full sight. But his condition never stopped him from living a full and abundant life.

Lalbuatsaiha (B for Buata)

He was born in a little village called Keifang, attended a blind school in up till matriculation, graduated from a regular college and came to the Capital to pursue a Master degree. Recently he completed an MPhil, making history to be the first blind Mizo ever to complete a Master degree and an MPhil. Wait that's still not enough, today he's still working towards a doctorate degree. And to add more feathers to his already colourful crown of glory, he's an executive member in the JNU Christian Fellowship, the Convenor of the JNU Visually Challenged Forum and also the Co-Convenor of the North-East Student's Forum in JNU. Man!!! Some people are just out of this world!

But enough praises about his social skills and his academic accomplishments, one thing which makes Buata stands out from the rest of the world is not his diplomatic social skills or his pile of degrees, it's his attitude towards life and himself. I have never met a person (physically challenged or not) who doesn't have self-pity but Buata is one of the few people I know who doesn't dwell on one. Have you ever noticed that with some people you tend to 'not' talk about certain stuffs because you don't want to hurt them or end up in an awkward situation? Well, Buata has a whole new approach to those situations.

It was only a few months after he moved to our campus when I was out at a dhaba for a late night tea. I noticed Buata sitting alone in one of the benches when I approached him and said 'Hi'. His answer totally threw me off balance. He turned around to the direction of my voice, smiled and replied,

 " E... Zuali, Lo thu ve rawh. Zanin chu i van nalh em em ve" 
(Zuali, come and sit. You look very good tonight!)

I stopped in my tracks not knowing how to respond when he continued...  

"Tunlai chu i chhelo hrim hrim, i hmaibawl te hi a zia tawp, i no sur bawk sia"
(You look good these days, your pimples are showing mercy and you look positively glowing)

And then it hit me that it's one of his ways of breaking ice!! I laughed so hard that night. 

Somedays, he'll tell me that I gained weight when I'm in my lightest and just last night, he told me I've lost so much weight (I'm in my heaviest) compared to last year!! And somehow he added "Nikum kha chuan i hnungzang atangin i keh mai dawn amaw tih tur alawm". And we laughed and laughed. C'mon, it's a blind guy saying all that!!!! The irony of it all!

Once I met Buata walking alone at a busstop on my way back from the library, it was an hour past midnight. I called out to him and asked him where he's going. He waved his walking stick at me and hollered "Nula  hmeltha deuh ka rim dawn" and walked back into the dark!!

He's quite a venturer. A month after he moved into campus, he knew his way around every dhaba, every school, the library and yes even rides the bus to get to different hostels in campus. On nights when there are some social callings to attend to, we'd pick him up from the busstop nearby his hostel and we'd drop him there on the way back. On some nights when, we'd meet up for dinner, he'd be the first one to pick up the guitar and the whole gang would go screaming, singing and dancing to a familiar chorus of "Pari Zun" or "Tu zunzam nge?". He's way too independent that sometimes I'd totally forget about his condition.

At our picnic last year where he decided he will be the judge of the 'mixed wheelbarrow race' !

But there's one incident that I witnessed which I will always use to pull his leg...

A couple of years ago, I saw Buata at North East Night celebrations, being totally dependent and helpless during the function and  the dinner afterwards. He needs to be ushered, led by the hand and practically fed (oooOooooh!) and he couldn't take a step by himself. One thing I also noticed was that a very pretty, soft spoken Naga girl was hovering around him, running to his every whim! 

After that we'd tease him mercilessly, saying he knows who has the softest hands or who smells the nicest among all the Naga and Mizo girls in campus! He'd laugh along. But then again, his defenseless laughters are often louder and more boisterous!!

And with questions about the significant other, he's someone who, ironically, often gives hope to the guys here in campus. He'd say that he just needs to find one girl who loves him, not seven. If he had to find seven, he told me once, then he might find it a bit challenging. Well, he wouldn't tell me if there is someone. But  last month, he asked me which market in Delhi has the best and most comfortable salwar kameez and last night, while he was hesitantly posing for a picture with me (he didn't like his new haircut), he was on call with a female! Heeee!! 

Buata, the player: One girl next to him, another on the line!!!

It's people like Buata who made me believe in the power of the human spirit. It's people like him who makes life beautiful. It's people like him who struggled with hardships and somehow takes it as an easy stride, who reminds me about the beauty in life! And it's people like him who found tiny specks of sunlight in a dark dark cave, who makes me want to find beauty in everything. And most importantly, it's people like him who makes the most of what he's given and who doesn't blame God for the hardships in life but rather find blessings in everything. I'm glad I have met Buata in my life and I'm proud to call him a friend and an inspiration.

If someone like Buata, who hasn't seen the beauty of sunrise and sunset, the greenery of the forests during monsoon or a white lily blooming in the wilderness can have such a no-nonsense, self-pity-free, bright and positive outlook towards life, tell me who cannot??

At JNU Miho Kut 2011: Packing up from the park to continue with  evening programme after dinner. His favourite line that day "Lersia kawmchar zu aia thlum zawk ka rawn phawrh ang".

It's all in the eyes of the beholder. 

Sometimes, those eyes maybe blind, but as long as the person refused to be blind, there's beauty in the world and life is lived abundantly! 

His acceptance speech on recieving an Honorary Award from DMZP after he submitted his MPhil Dissertation.

So here's to Buata, his kickass attitude and a full life which will be abundantly lived!


Jul 28, 2012

Seni at the Dentist

Hate is a strong word.... a very strong word. And it precisely describes my feeling when I say... "I hate dentists".

I hate dentists.

And I don't really care if you got me wrong. A few of my close friends are dentists. And I like them better when they are not in their clinic. I have too many bad experiences with dentists since I was a child. Well, there was that dentist at Civil Hospital who 'forgot' to give me a Local Anesthesia when he extracted 4 of my lower front teeth altogether. Then there was that dentist who extracted my new teeth instead of my old teeth. And then, there was that Sadistic Monster Dentist from Shillong who refused to use a Local Anesthesia during a Root Canal Treatment even after I've begged him to. That dentist was the cruelest dentist I've ever known. I still feel sick when I remember his face. RCT sessions with him would end up with me half blind from the pain and sleeping in and skipping the hostel devotions the next day. A week into his treatment, I packed my bags and went home to consult another dentist who goes to the same church as I do. She was the only dentist I could somehow force myself to consult, but then she got married and moved abroad.I guess I have valid reasons to hate dentists. And I avoid them as much as possible... which is, sometimes, not the smartest thing I've done in life. 

Well, today I said goodbye to a tooth. A left lower Number 6 (who cares if I really named it right), it's the really big tooth. I have battled for this tooth for 11 long years. I've had a Root Canal Treatment without a crown which worked for a few years until I cracked it during a Chhurpi eating marathon while I was in Bhutan. After that it had been a constant battle to save the tooth in whatever way I can. Let me confess, I was on such a battle because I'm dead scared of tooth extraction. I lost the battle today.

When the doctor told me that we need to extract the tooth, I died a little inside. Partly because I've wasted so much money and have so many memories with it (Wait! Did I make sense at all?), but mostly because I'm scared of the extraction part. I told the doctor straight up that I am scared of extraction and he, in turn, assured me that there'll be no pain. I did not believed a single word he said. Even after he administered the Local Anesthesia, I couldn't put my mind at ease.  When he asked me how I'm doing, I told him that I felt sick. I did so. I felt sick in the stomach as if I'm gonna throw up any moment. For the rest of the procedure, I closed my eyes and went to my happy place: playing video games and having babies with Zachary Levi and raising a clan of adorably goofy Hranglung-Levi kids!!

When I opened my eyes after all the tugging and pulling with the really big pliers, I realized I could still hold my food in, I had only 27 teeth and there was absolutely no pain. I could feel them tugging and pulling and jabbing my jaw, but then was no pain. Thanks to all the LA! Biting on a huge ball of sterilized cotton, I cheekily asked the doctor if I could have my extracted tooth. He laughed and kindly wrapped it for me in a tissue paper which I brought home and will bury it if the tooth fairy decides to give me a miss tonight. Ah! It's just me being me!

So what's the best thing about going to the dentist today? Well, it's definitely the icecream that follows afterwards. And I'm following doctor's orders. Strictly. :)

What's the worst thing after? I couldn't taste the blueberry icecream properly with half my tongue still numb from the LA. 

What's worse-est ?? I couldn't eat the authentic Baibing sawh that my aunt prepared for dinner. :(

On a serious note, Thank you Dr. Rathi for your very generous usage of LA. 

'Hate' is a strong word... but after today, maybe it'll be a more precise expression if I say ....
"I dislike dentists".

(PS: The Local Anesthesia hasn't worn off yet. I might change my 'precise' expression tomorrow) 

Jul 22, 2012

Photo Journal : A week in pictures

I must admit, these kind of posts are much much easier... and quicker too. They work great as fill-in posts especially when you've gone M.I.A or are about to, just like me, who might be off for the next few weeks. Sorry, research calling.

Please do remind me if I go overboard with such posts for I'm still not hip enough to instagram!

But anyways, my week goes...

BabySitting at the Mall: The Little Princess wandering around, getting interested in statement rings and necklaces at Forever 21. Wait! This was only a few minutes before her batteries ran out and she fell asleep in the escalator. Yes, an ESCALATOR!!!  Well, she's someone who can fall asleep right in the middle of a Sunday School action song!!

Recharging with coke after she refused a frozen yogurt and an ice-cream. Aaaand... she's back to prancing around the stores, chattering about Harry Styles (Harry who????), Korean serials and her favorite colors, pink and purple. And btw, yes, I believe in feeding sugar to kids in 'cases of emergencies' or parties or for Sunday School snacks or breakfast cereals. Heee... I can't be partial to sugar! I might not be a good mom as I would like to be, after all!!

A fresh batch of readings all printed and spiral bounded. Enough to keep me busy for another week! Come on, Hard work!!! Come on, CONCEN!! Haih Jish! My humdrum student life! This is exactly why I complain about my back and shoulders all the time. I should marry a physiotherapist. Any takers?

A much older friend of mine was showing me his new laptop. ('Much older' because two of his kids have already 'graduated' from our Sunday School, the youngest in the graduating class now) While he was going on an on about the weight, look, color and processor of his new laptop, all I lusted after was all that free memory! Sigh!

A moment of truth! Who doesn't like Sale Season??? And don't judge, it's the only time that all those mall contents don't look ridiculously expensive and are finally student-budget friendly with their slashed prices. Oh! and btw, don't worry, the shoes are walking different streets in different states in extreme ends of the country.

And after 27 years, I've finally dared to wear Fuschia ( It's an extravagant shade of pink. For all you color-blind men out there!) You need a lot of confidence to carry off such a color and finally, here I am, gathering all my confidence. On an honest note, it's just a matter of minutes before I eat it all up!! (Note to Self: Lipstick ain't no grub.)

Have a Happy Week ahead!

Jul 21, 2012

Mindblock: The attack of the 'scumbag brain'

So, it happened to me again...

I was in line to pay for a ballerina shoe I picked up from a shop in Lajpat Nagar Central Market. I had just dropped by from a meeting in the same locality and had no time to stop by an ATM. I gave my Debit Card to the shopkeeper, and when he told me to punch in my pin, I realized I couldn't remember the four digits! I looked around, my friend was still busy trying on shoes in the very crowded shop. I looked at the shopkeeper again, who, I reckoned, by the time, couldn't make out if I have second thoughts about the shoes or if I suffered from a sudden attack of.... constipation!! I smiled and asked if they had any sandal section. He pointed towards the first floor and I quickly escaped, not to try on the sandals but to give myself sometime to recall my pin number.


It happened to me so many times before. But with my ATM pin number, this is the second time. Thankfully this time, I was able to recall the number with the help of a hint sentence I saved in my phone. What's funny is that, just yesterday, I was at the mall and swiping my card the whole afternoon. And then suddenly today... well!!

The last time my 'scumbag brain' decided to troll me with my ATM pin, I stood in front of an ATM machine, a ridiculously long line behind me and then suddenly, the little consistently turning gears on the back of my head decided to stop. I stood there for a good ten minutes after punching the wrong pin twice; the bald-headed uncle behind me peeped through the glass door, pimple-like sweats beaded his forehead and finally decided to come in. Maybe he thought I needed some assistance. I did... just in ways he can't assist. I quietly left without a word. That was when I decided to come up with my hint sentence which helped me remember the digits, just in case, my brain decides to pull a prank on me again, like today.  

Mindblock!! Hmmm... A mindblock that I've never forgotten happened when I was in Class 9 and I forgot the spelling of 'because' in a Geography exam!!! I couldn't make out if the spelling was 'because' or 'becuase'. I ended up avoiding the word altogether which made my answers very blunt and awkward. Two weeks later, my geography teacher asked me what was wrong with my answers. He told me that I've written all the facts right but my sentence formation was very weird and awkward, that it was as if  have no command over the language. There was no better excuse than the truth!!

Mindblock! Ha... have you ever had instances when you forgot tunes to a song you knew so well!!! I'm no stranger to that either!

I was 9 when I was asked to sing in Sunday School Special Event. A few weeks before the event, my mother taught me the hymn "Shall we gather at the river" for the school solo competition. I came second place. Imagine our surprise when one evening, my brothers and I were watching a Western Movie (Read: Cowboy Film) and the very same song was sung by the crowd at an execution scene. We decided that I'll sing the same song for the Sunday School Event and my brother Edward and his friend worked for over a week with their acoustic guitars, trying to give me the perfect music for my first ever church solo.

The day came, I was decked up on stage; Ed and his friend tuned their guitars for a good five minutes and gave me a very grand intro. I sang through the first verse without any glitch, but when I came to the chorus, I forgot the tune. I remembered the words perfectly but then the tune was lost. And I started making up the tune as I sang along. I knew I couldn't just stop because I, unfortunately, have two guitars accompanying me. 

I looked at my mum in the crowd, I could see she was choking with pity. From the corner of my eye, I could see Ed looking up at me, puzzled, all the while trying to keep up with tunes which were clearly getting out of hand. From the other corner, I could see some kids giggling while their teachers told them to be quiet. I wanted to cry. But I sang three verses and make up the tune to the chorus as I sang along. By the time I finished the song, I realized I was sweating and had tears on my cheeks. When I went back to my seat, my mother hugged me and whispered that God would really like my song. When my brother Mama mentioned about the solo over dinner, I cried, a firm hush from my mother quickly followed. The 'solo incident' was almost a taboo in the family.

Well, we, or rather I have never talked about it again... until this post!!! 

That was definitely my worst mindblock till date! I wonder if I'm ever gonna top it! Not that I'm eager to or I'm even trying to! Sometimes, the scumbag brain just randomly decides to go out of its way to put me in a state of inconvenience or worse, humiliate me! I wonder what I've done to make it decide to!

Jul 17, 2012

Life so fragile

Sticky July with all its humidity ain’t no fun in the capital. I waited for more than half an hour and walked more than a kilometre just to hail an auto. Every auto I came across would go only at double the price. I haggled, quarrelled and threw a mental punch at one auto wallah who refused to look at me after I named my price. I scolded them with what was left of my atrocious Hindi after a long hard day. I was on my way to Mizoram House for a grievance service of a young girl who passed away in Jalandhar and whose body will be taken back home. I don’t even know the name of the deceased and all I know was that the body will be brought down from Jalandhar that night itself.  But such occasions in the Mizo community are something I never want to miss in a place like Delhi.

It was only after I reached Mizoram House that I learned that the deceased was a girl I went to school with, for half of my life. An Army Medical Officer with a Captain rank, she was found dead on her table. She had no previous ailments, no previous complaints of her health. I froze for a good couple of minutes, the only words I could utter “You mean, Melody, ‘our’ Melody, Mary Mount St.Paul’s Melody??”. My old classmate nodded. Apparently it was all over Facebook but I haven't learnt about it as I have been really busy lately, with mountains of work pending and “hospital duties” still in full swing.

I sat there in the lobby. Quiet. I was alone in a crowd with everyone else buzzing about me...

The girl I remembered was a tall gawky girl, hair pulled back to a low pony tail (as was the school regulations), a mole on her face, someone who used to have scented pens of various colours and sandwiches for lunch. We haven’t remained in touch for ages but it felt just like yesterday when the whole class was punished for making noise in Class 7, Melody and I knelt face to face, giggling all the while. And that girl is now just a body in the casket, underneath the pile of flowers and tears of family and friends. It all seemed surreal.

We make plans for the future, running after financial gain, working so hard and not having time to cherish and enjoy the company of our love ones. We all know that death often comes to those who expected the least.  It doesn’t leave out the richest or the poorest, the strongest or the sickest, the youngest or the oldest. And to think that something as obvious as that crosses our mind only once in a blue moon or maybe only at funerals…

I pray I am reminded of how fragile this life is often and again. And I pray I live life to the fullest, love those who matter and not waste my time and  worries for those who don’t. I pray I live my life in such a way that I be a blessing to people who cross my way. 

But most of all, I pray I remember that each new day is a gift and I learn to be grateful for this most precious gift. Most importantly, I pray, I learn that how I decide to live each day is a gift I can give to myself every single day. I pray I learn to give myself a beautiful gift each day!!

Live each day well, for you never know when you'll not wake up to a new day!!

Jul 8, 2012

Photo Journal : A week in pictures

They say 'A picture is worth a thousand words'. And tonight, after a super hectic week, I'm in no mood to review it in words. 

So here you go.
I name this guy Tom - Praising Tom and Praying Tom. He's just an Intercession Prop I made for Sunday School from the lid of an old shoe box. I spend the whole morning cutting him out and painting him. I'm not much of an artist, but at the end of the day, kindergarten art is all I really need. 

Spring cleaning my vanity tuck-ins. Yes, I would love to lay them all out in a pretty vanity,  but while I live in  dusty Delhi, I'd rather have them hidden away in plastic tuck-ins. BTW, I know this is way too much make-up for someone who grew up a tomboy!! Sheeeesh!
And I discovered I own eight lipsticks!!!!!!!!!!! 8 year old me would have hated me....

I'm old-fashioned. I'm always armed with my Pocket Planner, my Pocket Financial Diary (Hahaaa!!) and my old beaten phone that my teenage cousin bedazzled for me during the Christmas Holidays.  And yes, people do find my phone amusing and immature!

I wonder how big is the paspot size of a mint???

Heck No!! That's not a mouse!!  Ignore the lung infection, but this is what a pacemaker device looks like through an X-ray film.  I'm not a cardiac patient but we have a cyborg in the family. :D And when the cyborg gets sick, lives from Delhi to Tripura to Aizawl to Saiha gets disrupted!!! BTW, that lung infection is what made me spend the better part of my week in a hospital in South Delhi. 

I just can't help but notice the single vowel that made all the difference!

My heart breaks each time I cut a pomegranate this way. It triggers some old friends - the childhood case of OCD

In my perfect world, I'd peel a pomegranate this way and waste an hour on it. Heee... but in my real world, I was just bored and jobless while waiting outside the ICU.

My breakfast, lunch and dinner for three days. Oh! how I crave for buhchangrum!!!

The next building. Pigeons all lined up. An hour before the constipated Delhi skies finally get cured of its chronic ailment.

Love Rain!! :D :D 

After I've put down the sick cyborg for the night,  I finally settled to watching that scene from Game Of Thrones Season 2 Finale. My heart skips a beat all over again. The Khaleesi should have a Dothraki flashback in every episode on Season 3.  

I know it's not quite the season for bangs, but you know the combination of  me + a pair of scissors + bored = weird fringe I will pin away the next day itself.

So what am I doing in the weekend??

Yes, I badly need to feed... on buhchangrum
And catch up on sleep!!!

Have a Happy Weekend everyone!