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!

Jul 7, 2012

The Garage Encounter: Why I am a Christian and why I choose to be one...

I'm sure I'm not the only one who comes across such questions...

"Why are you a Christian?"
"Aren't Mizo's all Christian?"
"Had you been born into a different religion, would you still be a Christian?"

And lately in University...

"The Bible is so patriarchal. How can you accept such injustice to women?"
"Creationist theory? C'mon, Zuali, you know better than that? Fossils don't lie"

Well, let me start by reintroducing myself...

My name is Hmingthanzuali. I am known as Zuali by most and Seni by family. I was born in a Christian family and I made the choice to be a Christian a few months before I turned 19. Of course, I would be lying if I said that my upbringing in a Christian family didn't influence my decision. But since then, I have never looked back or regret my decision to do so. I made the decision to be a Christian when I was in the darkest abyss of my life, with a mother dying of cancer. The reason why I chose to be a Christian is because Christ gave me hope through that dark time and everyday since then.

If you are a Mizo, you will agree with me when I say that many, in fact most, of the Christian-family-brought-up-Mizos are 'born again' at salvation campings that the churches in Mizoram love to organise. I have nothing against that. 

But my story is a bit different. I met Jesus Christ in a garage.

A makeshift garage with an old rusted tin roof as one of its walls. It was a rainy July night in Shillong and I had just got off the phone with my mother who, without wavering, told me her exact condition after her latest checkup. "I am going to die" she told me " the doctors gave me a maximum of three months to live. I don't want to hide the truth from you because I want you to prepare yourself for it ". I cried and told her that I will be strong, that I am not afraid and asked her to be strong and not be scared. 

I lied. 
That was in fact, the last lie I told my mother.

The truth was that I hung up the phone, collapsed on the cold hard floor of the PCO and wept. My mother was my fortress, my savior and someone I always run to at the end of any problem. And I don't want to live in a world without her in it.

That night whatever prayer I said wasn't enough to help soothe the pain. So that's when I escaped into the old garage so that I could have my time to confront God, get angry with him and blame him for the things that are happening to my mother - a good Christian woman. I never did. Because I didn't have the strength to fight.  So instead, I begged God - my mother's God, the God that she had been serving for all those years, to help me. My prayers were from a broken soul and is not made up of words pleasing to the ears. I did not make any promises to follow Him nor did I offer any leverage.

"Ka nu Pathian kha Pathian nung I nih chuan, rawn che ta che"

(My mother's God, if You are alive, make Your move)

And move, He did. The peace in my heart right at the moment was assurance enough. Then and there, my heart was filled with hope and courage. And I know that Jesus Christ indeed lives. I made the decision to follow Christ that night in front of the old green jeep with a rusty bonnet cover. Why would I not?? If you felt the peace and safety I felt in my heart that night, you would too.

My mother succumbed to cancer three weeks after. I miss her everyday, but I am at peace because I know that it's just a matter of time before I meet her again. Having that divine peace makes me look for a brighter tomorrow. It always makes me see a silver lining in every dark cloud and a rainbow after every rain. It's that divine hope which tells me that no matter how dark the night or how big the problem, God will lead me out of it one day, and I will learn something from that pain and hurt. That divine peace is the reason which makes me say today, that if my mother had still been here with me, I would never learn how to love my dad like I love him now. 

Being a Christian is not easy. It will never be easy. It's a struggle everyday following the Perfect Man's footsteps. And I am definitely not the best Christian. Sometimes I wonder if I ever make the cut of a 'good Christian' but nonetheless, despite all the problems and the struggles, it's definitely worth it because in the end, you have the hope and peace that 'transcends all understanding'.

This post is not about a philosophical viewpoint on the faith that I follow. And sadly I cannot argue on the fact that we Christians are sometimes, the biggest hypocrites in existence. History will confirm this ugly truth. And I'm not here to argue about how you practice your faith or if it's good or bad. I'm not here to be 'Miss Goody Two Shoes' to boast about my Christian upbringing or how regular I am in front pew of the church. This is, but, my brief account on my personal encounter with Christ and why I choose to follow Him.

By the time you get to this line, you might already find this ridiculous or even have an unconscious sneer on your face. But my point is that, I met God when I was at the lowest point in my life, when reason and religious cordiality have totally eluded me. If you think that God is present only in the vicinity of religious buildings or religious people, or that you can have an encounter with Him only in church gatherings, crusades or salvation campings... just remember that I met Him in a garage.

After all, it's the heart that matters...

Jul 2, 2012

Summer in the Capital

June heat in the capital was magnificent. Now July rolls in with its 'I-drown-just-by-breathing' humidity and here we are, still praying for rain. I couldn't help but sigh when I flipped today's paper to see reports and pictures of priests performing pujas  to appease the rain gods. Rain - Something which already is more of a curse back home in the hills, is an awaited blessing to the people in this city. An awaited blessing, this evening too, as the skies darken  but still no rain. Maybe tonight is the night it will finally rain, or maybe it's just another evening when the skies decide to troll us - rain-deprived folks, yet again.

Dear God, Please heal the Delhi skies of its chronic constipation problem.

I have lived in the city for the past six years and I pride myself in being one of the very few Delhiites who live without an AC or a cooler. But this year, when the minimum temperature refuses to go below 32 degree Celsius, I was tempted to buy a cooler. Tempted. But then the humidity peaks up, and I changed my mind. I have weak lungs, you see, I survived a hereditary TB (unlike two uncles) during my second year of college and I am a fan of well ventilated areas. High humidity makes it difficult for me to breathe and that is why I hate cities like Kolkatta (I make sure I never get out of the airport during overnight transit flights.),Guwahati and Chennai. And I can assure you I will never be a beach babe.

Probably because of the heat, twice this summer, snakes have entered the ground floor of our wing in the hostel, to seek solace in the bathrooms and cooler areas. In both the occasions, I was so glad I lived on the first floor. But I was curious enough to sit on the steps, sweating while watching the hostel guards try to catch the snakes with their lathis !!!! And catch they did not, until a professor from the School of Life Sciences showed up and caught the snakes with his bare hands!

This summer, whether we want it or not, we have to bathe in hot/warm water, even at 1 AM. Thanks to the 'room' temperature! The only time, I've noticed, that we get access to cool water is in the mornings yet before sunrise. So we all take a hot shower and cool ourselves under the fan!! Ah!! Had it been winter... if only!

But what's great about Indian summer?

Oh! The amount of water we drink!! I drink about 5-7 litres of water every single day, I sweat like a pig and pimples are at bay. Whether you like it or not, it's a free sauna/steam bath for every hour of load-shedding when the electricity goes out. All that water intake and all that sweating must be good for something. The summer glow beats any make-up look!! A little kajal and a lipbalm, you're ready for church or any formal event, though you have to arm yourself with tissues and blot sheets.

It takes only a few hours to air dry your laundry even in the shade. Before the humidity sets in, it takes about an hour. Yes, I've timed them. There was a day when I did three batches of laundry in an afternoon, all dried and pressed by sundown.

A midnight walk in the campus with a melting ice-cream in hand or a glass of refreshing Nimbu Paani  is something I always look forward to.

Water Melons. Cheap, juicy, sweet water melons!

Aaaaaaand......... that's about it. ^__^

Delhi summer in its peak ain't that great. Of course, everyone knows this. But when you live in such heat, you take it with a generous pinch of salt. And we don't complain, rant or update our angst about the heat on every single Facebook status updates, like many of my Facebook friends from Aizawl do, when the heat in the hills reaches to the minimum of what we have here!!

(Aha! There I go! I'll brace myself for the negative thoughts some of you might be spearing my way for my last line! :D )