27 December 2010

Counting my 2010 blessings

I'm leaving for Mizoram tomorrow with the family to spend some time with the rest of the family. Sort of excited about the new year, hoping for a lot of bad things to go away this new year. Also partly dreading it because I'm scared that the bad things will continue to stay or even get worse.

Anyway no matter what, I still think 2009's been a pretty good year. Things got crazy there towards the end of the year for sure, but even those brought so many good things with them undeniably. I'm not in the best of spirits now to be honest but I intend this post to be a strictly thanksgiving post so yeah let's see....

Okay, 2009 - the year of the great cancer attack. Gah! Not wanted. At all. But it's also been the year of the fabulous Japan trip! And don't forget the very important promotion...and soo many wonderful things that came throughout the year.

But mostly I'm so thankful for the people in my life. Like the friends and cousin whose bloods pump through my veins right now. Literally.

Or that wonderful lady who lit a candle for me in the beautiful St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna.

And special friends who knew enough to give you a Poe while everyone else is forcing self-help books down your throat.

And my grandma who cries on my the phone and makes me sad but softens my heart every time we talk on the phone.

And that friend who sent me Australian health supplements all the way from Melbourne. In fact, made his grandpa send it to me because he was not even in Australia to do it himself. Just because he hopes it will help me beat cancer.

And Zimi the Indian who sent me Zorba the greek so I would have something good to read while I was recuperating and bored in bed.

And my dad who sends the right messages at the right time and lift my spirits.

And my mom who is and has always been my ultimate pillar of strength.

And all the people who come to my blog and leave inspiring messages that gives me faith and hope.

And the rest of my family who keeps calling even when I don't want to talk :P

...and it's impossible to write down all the truly thoughtful things that people have done for me. I'm a bit sad that I can't think of too many nice things I've done for others. That will be one of my new year resolution.

Well I'm going to sleep now because I'm tired. And while I brush my teeth, let me upload a few pictures.

This one's from tonight, took the family out for a last Hyderabadi dinner for the year at Sahib Sindh Sultan.

Christmas day, St. George's Church
And my new favorite person and I at the park :) And yes, he makes me laugh. Like a perfect little gentleman.
This new favorite person also now accompanies me on all my evening walks. It's going to be lonely walking by myself when he's gone.
Have a wonderful new year everyone!

26 November 2010

Behind the clouds

I didn't want to do a quick post but I guess I will have to anyway if I want to do any post at all :(

I feel like this blog is slowly turning into a cancer blog but there seems to be a lot of that in my world right now so here we go again...

Okay, first the good news that I was so excited about. Well it may not seem that great a deal to be honest but it means an awesome lot to me. I took my radioactive iodine therapy on the 16th of this month. Dreary isolation room for 32 hours and 5 days later, I had my final full body iodine scan on the 23rd, and the doctor finally declared me all good. Hooray!

I was really excited because it was so scary waiting for the result to come worrying about 'What ifs?' - What if the therapy doesn't work? What if they find that the cancerous cells had actually spread beyond the thyroid region, beyond the help of the radioactive iodine? Just the thought of entering the isolation chamber again dragged me down to depression hell, I dreaded it so much. That's why when the doc tells you all's good, your spirit leaps and stays on the air for quite a while because you can finally let go of so many of those 'what ifs' :)

And you know what this means - my thyroid ordeal is over. At least until the next check up scan 6 months later. And I am finally on my thyroid replacement meds which again may not sound like a whole lot but when you've been through days of extreme lethargy and general tiredness and you feel like a freaking zombie because your body is swollen like shit and nothing you do helps and it's a struggle to stay awake all day, it's the best thing in the world to know that finally, these medications are here and they are going to help you and you don't have to put up with that crap anymore :)

I still have some minor melanoma related tests and ultrasounds that I have to go through in the next few weeks, but whew! So much more easier to be dealing with one cancer than two. (Actually, make that dealing with two cancers instead of three..and that's another long story that will take up an entire post.)

Anyway, I'm very happy. It's like a huge chunk of weight has been lifted off my shoulders, and I just want to announce to the world that I am rejoicing :D

And oh, I also feel compelled to mention that work sucks. More than it's ever sucked in 5 years. Of course, it's probably got to do with me being out of touch with everything what with me being out of office so much but still...

Anyway for this reason and the other two cancers that I'm still dealing with, it is very important to take what little reason one has to rejoice and blow it out of proportion and celebrate in grand style :) For example, we went out for a really nice dinner on account of my mom's surgical drain being removed yesterday haha

If you're reading this, you should go out wearing your best dress and shoes and celebrate something. Maybe the fact that you and your loved ones are healthy and alive should be a good enough reason to start with.

23 November 2010

So tell me what's a little rain?

I have good news! I have good news! I'm so happy today :-) But I'm saving it for later because I'm at work and I don't want to do a quick post about this one. I want to tell a story, a real, proper story. And I will try and do that tonight but till then, I want to share with everyone the one song that has helped me through the darkest 3 months of my life and made it possible for me to cry tears of happiness despite the many tears of pain.

I hope with all my heart that at least one person can read/listen to this song and see and feel the things this song has shown me. It is one of the best blessings I've received in a long time. It's called 'Bring the Rain' by Mercy Me.

Bring the Rain

I can count a million times
People asking me how I can praise You
With all that I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly change
Who I forever am in You?
Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings you glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain.

I am Yours regardless of
The dark clouds that may loom above
Because You are much greater than my pain
You who made a way for me
By suffering Your destiny
So tell me what's a little rain
So I pray

Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty


I realise the first few lines sound like it comes from someone with immense faith and strength - so not me! But I hope I'll redeem myself when I write about the details later on...

12 November 2010

If I Can Dream...

It's such a beautiful day. Can I dream for a while?

Only a few months ago, I had so many travel plans, some big, some small but all of which I had to put on hold because life kept throwing the darndest, most unexpected surprises at me. A few canceled trips later and still more for the future, here I am itching like mad now to get out and go somewhere. I can't even look at my suitcases without a twinge of longing.

I miss the smell of airports. And the feel of airports...Hell I think I can even merrily skip through an hour long security check right now. Or even just jump into a train and go wherever that train is bound for (I wouldn't mind Mongolia:)). To be among a crowd of strangers, not knowing who I could meet, who I might run into, what kind of experience awaits me...

I want to sit on a beach where no one knows me and where I know no one and just be lost in the moment and not have to think about surgeons and dermatologists and oncologists and radiologists and calcium levels and interferon. And to sit in the sun and not worry about what the sun's rays will do to my skin cells.

I want to go hiking, climb up a mountain and stand on top and look at the world from there and cry because I'm so happy to be a part of all of these. Behold all of God's wonderful creations and sing at the top of my voice because it's so beautiful.

I want to jump into the ocean once again without worrying about whether I will sink or float. But if I'm going scuba diving again, sink successfully this time :) Or go skydiving again but with the man I love this time.

I want to spend a night in the forest camping out under the stars with my dog and a few good friends and a guitar. I want to have a little house with yellow curtains with a cobbled pathway with cosmos blooming on the sides. I want to have a pretty little garden and grow my own vegetables and adopt a few more dogs.

There are so many things I want to do! Someday soon...

But right now I can't even go out of town because I have to get admitted back to the hospital on Monday for my radioactive iodine therapy. But thankfully, till then, I have plenty to do. Another cousin coming over for the weekend. Yay! Cousin Biteii will be here and it'll be fun to show her around the city. And having mom and the others back here. They're all getting here tonight so I have to rush home and cook a nice dinner for 6 instead of the usual steamed French beans and a glass of protein drink for 1 :-)

And one of my most favorite people in the world is getting married this weekend. I look forward to wearing my best sarees (...one of which is a brand new Rohit Bal ladies! Woot! - which I could indulge in only because of a canceled Europe trip by the way), do my hair and wear pretty jewelry - even though I feel freaking weird and bloated because of my no-iodine diet. Bloated in a designer saree but who cares!

09 November 2010

Drugs and dreams

I've been having the craziest dreams! Some scary, some just weirdass funny. Like this one I had last night. It started out as this normal enough dream I think. Or uneventful because I don't remember anything about how it started. Or it just started in the middle as dreams are wont to start. They like to start without beginnings, these sneaky dreams, and often just dissipate without proper endings. Or just end horribly. And once in a while delightfully, but that's rare.

Anyway in last night's dream, there I was walking alone in a dark street somewhere in Mizoram. Then suddenly two of my cousins came bearing down on me, asking me why I've gotten into drugs. And even though there were no drugs involved before they showed up, their question made me remember that I had bought drugs earlier on that night and immediately felt it in my jacket pocket. I threw it out while my cousins were not looking.

They threatened me in all sorts of ways that made me shake with fear and cry and shout telling them that I had never ever used drugs in my life. Never ever. And I didn't know why I had bought them that night. No one even seemed to hear anything I said.

It was a luminescent green liquid in a tiny plastic bottle by the way, the drug I'd bought. More like a fairy tale magic potion than anything else.

They kept asking me what it was that I had bought. I told them genuinely that I didn't know. Then all of a sudden these annoying cousins were gone and I was alone. I was putting my hands back in my jacket pocket and touched a piece of paper - the receipt from the drug dealer! Yes, this very nice drug dealer had written me a nice handwritten receipt :)

And I looked and guess what was written on it? There on the piece of paper was written very neatly and clearly the name of the drug I'd bought, which was...wait for it.....Whatchamacallit :-) And beautifully written too. I read it and I remember the word as well as I would have if I'd read it awake. And after 'Whatchamacallit,' the drug dealer had written within brackets - (otherwise known by it's chemical name '.....') and I can't remember that part. I just remember Whatchamacallit haha What part of my subconscious that came from I wonder!

It surely can't be the influence of books. All I've been reading in the past few days have been 'The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket' by Edgar Allan Poe, and 'whatchamacallit' is not something I think one will ever find in Mr. Poe's vocabulary.

The night before that, I was standing in a courtroom and it was me that was on trial. It was all very chaotic but it cleared up and quieted down all of a sudden. They had just announced the verdict, and I was guilty. And then someone asked the judge (who was a very, very big, stern looking black man by the way) what my punishment was going to be. He looked at me in disgust and in the most menacing and hatred-filled voice I've ever heard in dreams or in reality, spat out 'Death!'

I woke up with that word ringing in my ears and hated Mr. Foul-mood-judge because I don't get enough sleep as it is and he woke me up in the most impolite of ways and didn't even come back to apologise for it afterwards when I went back to sleep and slipped back into dreamworld :-)

(And don't try to see too much in my dreams and overanalyse them :-) You might say I'm condemning myself because of all my spiritual strife over my shortcomings, or you might say they're drug induced because a lot of people seem to think I'm still on heavy medication. Just calcium tablets people! Not strong enough to hallucinate on or kick start drug-induced stupors I would believe... :)

Dreams are fun to talk about the next day. The things your head conjures up when you set it free...isn't it just amazing? In fact I think I'm actually quite creative with my dreams even though I have nothing to do with them :P And who cares if the delightful endings are few and far between? Good movies don't always have to have happy endings. I've always liked movies that have me sobbing my heart out in the end.)

03 November 2010

And the waters still keep rising...

Deep is the river that I have to cross
Heavy the weight on my shoulder
I have discovered how great is the cost
Of trying alone to cross over
I try and I try but the current's too strong
It's pulling me under and my strength is gone
Don't leave me stranded

Rescue me, my God and my King
The waters are rising and I cannot breathe
Wrap your arms all around me
Carry me over, rescue me

There is a bridge that is easy to cross
Where all of our burdens are lifted
And peace is the land that is waiting for us
Lord give me faith to believe it
Cause I'm in a storm but I'm willing to fight
I'll overcome and I will not die
With You by my side

I will sail over the oceans
And high over the mountains
And soar up to the heavens
Here is my hand and my heart and my soul and my mind

Things seem to go from bad to worse. And in all honesty right now I'm pretty broken but whatever evil forces are lurking around gleefully watching waiting for me to give up in myself and God, if it looked like I was about to this morning, well, not anymore. I hope you hear me scream 'I am in a storm but I'm willing to fight, I'll overcome and I will not die - with God by my side.'

01 November 2010

Muthilh theih loh manah

Ka mut reng a chhuak thei lo tun zan chu. Khawvel a ka thil nin ber chu muhil si lova khum a mut hi. Chuvang chuan harh kur a khum a mut reng ai cancer ah bawk lut leh lawk teng!

Hetia cancer patient lo nih ve tak a thil pakhat ka notice - mi tinreng mai hian testimony ropui tak nei nghal thuai turah min ngai titih tlat mai hi :) Mahse cancer vei pawh ni ila, mihring ka la ni si a, thlemna lak a a ngai te a chak lo, duh leh it ngai te te, mi ngei ngai te te a ngei a, chak lohna ngai te te la nei vek ka ni si.Thil danglam awm chhun chu a hma a cancer vei lo misual kha tunah erawh chuan cancer vei misual ka lo ni ta a a ni deuh mai :-)

Min an treat dan ah erawh thung hi chuan Paula eng in a chhun thluk tawp ang mai hian an treat emaw chu ka ti deuh :) "Kha le Cancer!" an tia an rawn theh thruai a, eng a chhun thluk ang maiin min rawn vawm thlu a, tichuan vawi leh khat ah ropui tak a Lalpa tan a hna thawk nghal tur ang deuh ani in ka hria min beisei na chu. Midang cancer vei ho te pawh heti hian an lo beisei ve thin awm sia ka tia ka khawngaih ta rum rum mai.

Kei lah chu cancer leh thih hlauh vang ngawt a uchuak tak a Pathian han koh vel hi ka lai tlat mai anih chu! A dik kher lo ang mahse, ka cancer miah loh leh dam that var pawh a ka tih ngei loh tur chu thih hlauh vang mai a ti ka nih chuan Pathian pawhin A duh ka ring lo deuh tlat lehnghal nen...

Pathian ngaih thu bikah, kei hi chu misual, Lalpa lak ata hla tak tak vah bosan reng ching ka nih avang hian cancer hma daih tawh atangin nun khawro avangin zanah ka harh a ka Pathian hi ka ngai thin. Tunah ka cancer hnu ah pawh a dang chuang lo. Dawt sawi loh chuan cancer vang a ka ngaihzual em em tak ka hre lo. Misual Pathian hlat avang a Pathian ngai thin kha, tunah pawh misual cancer vei Pathian hlat avang a Pathian ngai thin ka ni leh mai.

Mahse cancer thu ah chuan he cancer hi purpose neiin Lalpa hian a rawn thlentir tih ka ring nghet thlap a. Chuvang chuan zawhna leh hriatthiam duh ka ngah lutuk. Khang a ka zanlai a Pathian ka hlatzia ka hriatchian thut a, Lalpa hma ah ka mangangin "Lalpa, ka hnaih theih na che anih dawn chuan ka nun ah pawh hreawmna emaw harsatna emaw pawh min pe mai rawh" ti a ka dil thin na kha a rawn chhanna a ni berin ka hria.

"Harsatna min rawn pe rawh" tiin ka dil apiang hian, ka sawi zawh rual rual hian ka hlauthawng leh ziah thin a, thil rapthlak lutuk hi A rawn thlentir mai ang tih hi ka hlau leh thin. "Lalpa harsatna min rawn pek chuan thil hreawm nasa lutuk chu theih hram chuan ni lo se, ka tawrh theih loh tur chu min pe suh" hi ka ti leh zung zung thin.

Cancer a rual a pahnih min rawn pe ta hi, khatia ka dil lai kha chuan hetiang a ni dawn tih hria ila hlau in ka khur ang. Mahse ka lo hre lawk lo hlauh a, Aman ka tawngtai chhang a min rawn pek si chuan ka tawrh theih tur A ti tihna ani mai a. Chuan ka tawrh theih na turin hlauh lohna te, ka fight na tur a ka mamawh tinreng A rawn chhawp ready nghal vek bawk a. Hemi thu ah hi chuan ka tawngtai chhan na famkim ani a, vuina pakhat mah ka nei rih lo. (Future chu ka sawi thei lo :))

Mahse chu sawi tawh angin, thlarau a khat tak vek emaw tih vel chu a hnai lo nasa. Mi re re hian Pathian in ka chung a thlentir nachhan te, Pathian in ti tur a min duh te, Pathian hnen a ka tawngtai dan tur, ka sawi tur leh dil tur te pawh an chiang em em vek a. Kei a cancer ber a hian a engmah hi chian ka nei si lo.

A chang chuan mihring bula ka rilru a questions te, ka hlauhthawn leh ka rinhlelh te sawi ka ning thin. Cancer vei miah lo leh la tuar ngai miah lo in cancer thu ah min han sermon khum hrep mai chuan an thusawi te hi eng ang pawhin dik se, a dik tih pawh hria ila, min hmangaih vang ani tih hriat pawhin, kei misual rilru ah chuan a tla na har leh tlat thin.

Vawiin zan ka muhil thei lo pawh khumah ka inngaihtuah a, Pathian ka ngai a, ka hlau bawk a, ka mamawh bawk a, ka ning bawk a, a kual nuaih nuaih a. Han titi thawven ka chak a, mahse zan rei tawh nen titi pui tur an awm loh bakah tunge titi pui ka duh ka hre lo a. Pastor fel deuh awm se, zawhna ka va han ngah tak ka tih rilruk laiin, Isuan "Engatinge midang I zawn I zawn? Kei titi pui tur ka awm reng a" a rawn ti a.

Ka rilru a ka vei zual te chu ka hrilh a ka thaw chu a veng deuh. Tawngtai chuan "Aw Lalpa.." kan ti dek dek a, sawi tur hi ka hre lo ka buai vek thin. Mahse vawiin zan chu ka tawngtai lova kan titi a ka sawi ve teuh mai ka tawngtaina a ka sawi ngai loh thlengin thlengin.

Mahsee ka Lalpa lah hi A tawng zawi thin si, A tawng tlem thin bawk si, thawm dang ri min tibuaitu a tam si ka duh ang hian A aw ka hrechiang thei thin lo. Hriatthiam theihna te hi school a lehkha kan zir ang khan lehkhabu min rawn pe se, note te min ziah sak a kan lo by heart a kan hrethiam ta mai thin ang kha nise, lehkha ka zir nasa viau ang te ka tia. "Lalpa enge ti tur a min duh?" tih hi ka zawhna lian ber ani. School ang te nise teacher te khan a answer ready in min han pe leh ang a, kan han by heart leh mai tur!

Mahse chupawh chu Isuan min hau leh deuh titih in ka hria, "Engkim hi hriatthiam nghal vek tum tut tut suh" a tiin ka hria. "Anih ka buai lo ang a, mahse nitin ka rawn zawt ziah ang che" ka ti a. Mahse chupawh chu kei michak lo lutuk hi ka inring zo leh lo a, "Ka rawn zawh theihnghilh che chuan min lo remind thin rawh" ka ti leh hram :)

Pathian lakah chhe te tal pawh chhuan tur ka va han nei lo tak! Chu question pakhat nitin zawt tur pawh a inrinna nei zo lo khawp a mi nghet lo ka ni. Ka inkhawngaih letling tawh :) Mahse hei pawh hi ka lawmna tizual tu a nih na a awm - heti khawp a chhuan tur nei miahh si lo hi malsawmna hian he ka nun hi A va han vur nasa si tak! A mak ee chhuan tur nei miah si lo heti zozai lawmthu sawi na tur thil min pe phal si hi...

Aaa a tam lutuk ka rilru a thil awm hi ka tlaivar hma in mu daih ang dar 4 a ri tawh. Tihian zan rei ah hi chuan engkim a reh a, a dam duai a. Mahse zing a lo ni ang a thlemna chitin rengin min rawn tibuai leh ang a, ka va han peih lo tak!

25 October 2010

Do you make a good Malaysian?

Okay! Small break off work so I can quickly tell you about this funny story before it slips through my lazy mind.

It happened a few days back when me and my cousins Marian and Rosy were trying to get to this salon in Jubilee Hills to get Marian's hair done (Hakim's Alim - this one stylist who was there was a total dickhead by the way. I hope he reads this. Sweet receptionist though).

Anyway there was a rickshaw shortage in the city that day due to the drivers sulking about being forced to use the meter I think. So we waited and waited and waited and were on the verge of giving up when finally an old man in a gleaming chariot came riding up and halted and asked us where we wanted to go. (It was actually a rickety rick but at that stage even a rusty bicycle would've been, for us, akin to a knightly steed.)

"Jubilee Hills" we said, to which he readily agreed to go. And when we asked him how much (which is the norm because as you may have already guessed, the drivers only quote their own prices and don't use the meter so one always has to bargain first), to which he again happily replied "Free, madam!"

I asked him again because I thought I heard him wrong, but he stressed again that he would take us wherever we wanted to go free of charge. And while we were pondering over the strangeness of this kind gesture, he said "I have just one request, I'll take you to this shop where you quickly browse around for a couple of minutes. All you have to do is tell them you're from Malaysia when they ask you where you're from."

"But we're from Hyderabad" we said. Still continuing to smile peacefully he told us that was okay, we just have to lie and tell them we're from Malaysia. It seemed like a harmless enough request, and we were desperate and a free rickshaw ride!? How many times do you get that offer in a lifetime? So we said okay and off we went.

Along the way he explained that there was some South-east Asian convention in the city and certain stores expect a lot of South-east Asian tourists/shoppers and he gets some monetary compensation for every foreign shopper he brings to their shops. I knew the kind of shops he would take us to and I warned him that even though we will look, we most definitely will not be buying anything. He okayed it all.

We found ourselves in front of a fancy, high-end handicrafts shop in some posh corner of town. The three of us trooped in confidently and were welcomed with open arms. By and by, the inevitable question came - "Where are you from madam?" And horror of horrors! I discovered I could not say 'Malaysia'! I opened my mouth but nothing came out. No sound of 'Malaysia' escaped my parched lips.

The nice gentleman looked at me opening and closing my mouth but when no answer came forth, he probably thought I was just imitating a fish out of water (which I sort of was) because Malaysians do it all the time and he frequently gets Asian customers who walk into his shop and out of pure excitement start imitating a fish I guess.

Undeterred he cleared his throat and asked again. And again the mouth opened, but no sound issued forth. It was the most uncomfortable feeling in the world, and I was so close to panic I even for a second contemplated acting deaf and mute.

Now I'm not pretending to be an angel or anything. I can lie. I can twist the truth around and even sound very convincing at it. I'm in advertising after all :D But the thing is, there has to be an essence of truth in it. Give me a piece of truth to use as a core and I can wrap pretty lies around it. But unless I have that base to work on, I'm useless. I just can't do it.

Thankfully Marian came to the rescue and smoothly told him that we were from Malaysia. They aahed and told us how delighted they were to have us and raved about how much they like our country. We smiled politely and putting on the airs of moneyed tourists started browsing through their wares.

"Are you here for the convention?" they asked. This one was easy. Before anyone could answer, I shouted "NO." Maybe a little too enthusiastically but I think they were happy to see that I was not, after all, mute. (See I can be good when I have that basis of truth :))

They fawned over us, took out their best silk and cashmere and amethysts and silver and spread them out before us. Like we were royalty. Bliss! I started to enjoy myself and tried on their cashmere wraps and crystal jewelries while trying to find some excuse for not wanting to buy anything I tried on (other than not being able to afford it - which was the truth).

Lost in the loveliness of the things they threw at us, and the smell of expensive, exotic perfumes wafting in the air made us forget about our promised 2 minute browsing time. We draped the cashmere shawls around our shoulders, tried on the many bejeweled earrings...Marian got so into our roles that when she tried on an expensive silk scarf at the request of the owner, she tied it around her head like a typical Malaysian headscarf instead of around her neck which is the only way she's ever worn scarves in her entire life.

30 minutes later we reluctantly decided to leave. I had despite all good intentions also picked out a georgette saree that I could afford, and as I about to pay my bill, I heard one of the salesmen exclaim "Welcome sir! Come in come in." I glanced at the door, and I saw a group of Asian men making their way in through the door. Catching me, an Asian woman, staring, they beamed with gladness. At running into a sister in such a far-off and foreign land I suppose. They all turned and smiled at me.

I knew immediately without a doubt that they were Malaysian. Female intuition, sixth sense, divine intervention, whatever it was, I knew it was a bunch of Malaysian men smiling at me that very moment. And I panicked. I managed the quickest smile that ever passed through human lips and looked away immediately. My pulse quickened, my heart was beating against my chest, and my hands trembled as I handed the salesman my credit card. I tried to smile, told him that I just noticed the time and that I was running late for an appointment and could he please hurry up.

"Of course madam" he chirped happily. But his movements were slow and deliberate, I knew he wanted those men to come to us and start a conversation. They wanted their store to be full of happy Malaysians excitedly chattering away in Malaysian! Malaysian men meeting their countrywomen in a foreign land, convincing each other to use their Malaysian Rupiahs to buy tiny silver elephants and ridiculously expensive chairs imported from Dubai and other such nonsense.

Me and Rosy became by some magic perfect candidates for extra roles in the Night of the Living Dead. I could tell Rosy was even more terrified than I was. Marian was hanging around somewhere in the back oblivious of the danger we were in.

Then the dreaded nightmare happened. A voice, belonging to one of the wretched salesmen who I would have loved to smite down in great earnest if I had been a smaller God. But because I'm not one and only Gods can smite and I can only...kick (Karate lessons :)) no smiting happened.

Anyway, back to story. The voice rang out through the store - "Ooh what a coincidence! Madams here also from Malaysia!" And before I knew it, they'd sauntered over..I couldn't breathe. I stood there, staring at the wall, stone-faced, being the meanest person in the world because these men were sweet and all smiley-ey and beaming at us. And worse, all the salesmen the store had, about 5 of them, stood around us, beaming radiantly at this joyful union as well.

How do I explain the thoughts that went through my head at this point. It went something like this - "That's it, if they come any closer, I'm just going to come clean. I'll say 'Stop we're not Malaysian so don't come any closer and I'm really sorry but we were lying because the rickshaw guy asked us to and it seemed pretty harmless at first and we really needed to get somewhere and we were desperate but we're sorry and we'll never do it again because we suck at this and it's not a nice thing to do and I'll buy more of your nice things if you'll forgive us!!"

Then I heard it. "As Salam Alay Kum!" (Arabic for 'Peace be unto you') said a male voice. Me and Rosy steadily trembled (Hah! An oxymoron there?). Then a female voice, loud and clear, answered "Alay Kum Salaam!" Shocked I stole a furtive glance and saw the female voice belonged to Marian. What's more, it looked like she had just straightened from a little bowing of the body! She bowed while saying "Alay Kum Salaam"! I wanted to cry and laugh at the same time. Rosy and I looked at each other, too scared to laugh but too bemused by the perfect Arabic greeting to cry.

In any case, I thought that's it, we're caught, there's no way she can go beyond that. But surprisingly they switched to English. I heard them ask if we were in Hyderabad for the convention and other relatively safe questions. I thought things looked better and we may yet make a dignified exit.

Then I heard one of the men ask "Which part of Malaysia are you from?" The question even though not directed at me made me shiver to my bones, for everything I knew about Malaysia flew away like a bird the moment I heard it.

Slight pause. Then I heard Marian say bravely "Pedang."


I told the guy to hurry with my saree.

"Yes Pedang"

"Weird, I've never heard of it."

One guy was trying to wrap my saree in some flowered paper, I grabbed it "No need to wrap!" He wouldn't let go. "DON'T wrap it!" I literally screamed.

Malaysian guy to Malaysian guy: "Do you know where Pedang is?"

Second guy to first: "Nope never heard of it."

Guy stuffs my saree in brown paper bag.

Marian (sounding indignant): "Of course there's Pedang. Our grandparents live there. We live here in Hyderabad with our parents but our grandparents live in Pedang which IS in Malaysia!"

Guy slowly takes out a shopping bag and equally slowly drops my sari in. Rosy and I wrangled the shopping bag from the lazy guy and dashed out the door, grabbing Marian along the way. It was rather rude I admit, as we didn't even give Marian a chance to bid farewell to her newfound Malaysian friends.

But something told me her farewell wouldn't be as smooth as her greeting because she doesn't know how to say 'Later' or 'See you' or even a simple 'Bye!' in Malaysian.

Once we reached the safety of the rick, we laughed till our stomachs hurt. Then Marian got angry at us. She was embarrassed because she made a fool of herself. She wanted to know why we didn't tell them that we were from Thailand or the Philippines even. She screamed that she will never ever go out with us again and that we were not worthy of being called cousins. Then we laughed some more and headed towards the salon.

Then it turned out that the salon only had that one asshole Arabic-scarf-wearing stylist so we bought some clothes at a nearby store and went home.

(Also what is it about these scarves that all wannabe hairdresser/stylist types think they should have one around some part of their snooty bodies at all times?! And snooty for what reason I haven't been able to fathom.)

Anyway, my advice to anyone who is not Malaysian who gets an offer to act Malaysian for a free rickshaw ride, say no. Its just not worth putting your heart through that kind of stress.

15 October 2010

Battle scarred but alive and kicking :)

Okay, first ever thyroidless post of my life. Another milestone. Not one that I thought I'd ever cross but here we are, and everything seems to be intact. My surgeon was afraid of two things - that my voice might change. For life. Or that I might have to breathe through a breathing tube for a few days but the operation went smoothly and I still sound the same and I'm still breathing through my nose :)

My doctors have been amazing, and the nurses were sweet and helpful. Check out my pre-surgery hairstyle one of the helpers sweetly did for me. Pretty fashionable huh? :)

It's been 11 days after my thyroid surgery and about 50 days since my leg surgery. When you just listen to all of this, this test and that and this surgery and that surgery and this treatment and that, it sounds like a lot to go through within a couple of months, and you'd think I'd be battered and bruised and sucked dry of energy by now. But in all honesty, I feel and look the same, except for this new huge scar across my neck. I feel as healthy as I did before all of this started and I thought I was the healthiest human being on earth.

I also really want to talk about how once you go through it, despite how scary everything may sound, none of it involves pain that is worse than....than stubbing your toe. So it's really not that bad at all :-) Just in case there's someone out there facing something similar and you're scared.

There are so many procedures that can sound downright terrifying but when you go through it they're okay and the few bad ones are the fairly common ones that you wouldn't even think twice about normally. In fact, let me list out my most unliked parts ranging from their levels of pain/unpleasantness involved:

1. Surgery; Thyroidectomy - no pain (on account of me being out like a light maybe but in the end, what matters is that you feel no pain).

2. Nausea from the anesthesia - bad bad bad especially when your throat had been cut open the previous day and you feel doing something like retching might pop open your raw wound and your leftover thyroid area tissue might come spilling out :P

3. Countless needle pricks - very little physical pain but mentally unpleasant.

4. Night in the ICU - highly uncomfortable but no pain, and the discomfort only mainly from being unable to move freely because you're hooked up to so many machines. And remaining still is not one of my fortes. And don't forget being thirsty to death but not being allowed to drink. It made me remember the rich man from the Lazarus story in the Bible (the beggar, not the one that Jesus raised from the dead) and like him I wanted to call out 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus with a little water so I can cool my tongue.' But alas, even the freedom of speech was taken from me that one night.

5. Neck harmonium :P - well I just call this the harmonium. After the surgery, there was this pipe coming out of my neck (gak!!!) and into this contraption that looks like a harmonium. And I had the tube coming out of my neck for the next 3 days after surgery. But this was still not the worst because there's nothing more shiver-inducing than...

6. Peeing in a bed pan while lying prone in bed! - how do I explain the horror of all that this act involves! Luckily for me, it was only that one night in the ICU that I was forced to do this but I have to say, because I peed in a bed pan that night, I am forever scarred. But remember this if you ever have to do this - if you can pee in a bed pan without getting up from bed, you can do anything!

I'm awaiting my next line of treatment which is the radioactive iodine therapy. I don't know how bad that's going to be, but I know it's not nasty like chemotherapy so I thank my lucky stars for that. I'll just be really radioactive for a few days and I've gone through a somewhat similar experience before so I believe the worst is really over.

It's also really bad looking at your thyroid floating around in some liquid. I would've posted a picture but I think it would be appropriate to show some respect to my thyroid and leave it alone. But maybe I can use this one - my last picture ever with a thyroid :) Before I was being wheeled into the operation theatre.

But more than anything, this is mainly to thank everyone who called, messaged, emailed, visited, gave me flowers and wished me well in the past couple of weeks. I can't explain in words how truly grateful I am. You've all taught me one very valuable lesson - I will treat every single sick person I know with so much compassion than I've ever been able to show before because I know now how even the smallest show of concern can mean so much to someone lying in a hospital bed.

And to everyone, it is not easy to really comprehend how terribly you need your your family and friends when everything in your life is going great. But you WILL need them at some point in your life, and they are soo precious and important keep them close and love and cherish them.

Oh and make sure you have insurance :-) Even when you think you're young and healthy. You don't know what may happen.

30 September 2010

Cancer makes you think of dying

Ever since I found out about my cancers, my thoughts keep going back to this conversation I had with a friend sometime back. She asked me if I've ever felt like I wanted to die. That there are times when things get so bad she'd want to die and that she believes all humans go through certain phases in their lives when things are just so bad they want to die.

I told her honestly that I've never in my life wanted to die. Even when life sucks BAD and I'm hurting so much I'd rather sleep on the bare floor rather than on my own bed. I love living, I love being alive, I love my life. And even when things get really really really bad, even to the extent that I think it might be better to have never been born at all, I've never wanted to die. Because of the fact that I love this life I have now and also partly because death sounds so...lonely. And also because dying is scary as shit.

There are moments when these flashes of anger come and assail me. Why? Why is it that this is happening to me - me who have always cherished and loved life and have always been grateful to be alive and have never ever wanted to die? And these people who hate life and living and long for death are cancer free? I think it's a little like this baby thing :) Some women would give anything to have babies but they can't, then some women who don't want babies get pregnant at the drop of a hat, only to abort them or give birth to perfectly beautiful babies who they'll probably ignore or give away.

But that's how life is. It's not like only people who want to die die. I know people who love life as much as I do die everyday. And I guess in the end it's sort of good that this is happening to me because I want to live and I have the will to fight this with everything I have. I won't have the will if I was so keen on dying would I?

And you know...even being a sinner has it's plus points :) It makes you meek and humble before God and you know you can't complain. I know I'm in no position to complain so I'm not and it makes taking this gracefully (if you can call it that) easier. I want to take this as graciously as I took my promotions or my free international trips. There's nothing that I don't deserve - the good, the bad, and even the ugly...cancer.

23 September 2010

Bye-bye Thyroid and other body parts

If you're reading this, consider yourself lucky, a part of one of history's defining moments (well in my history anyway :P). Why? Because this will probably be the last time (or one of the last times) I'm blogging with a thyroid. It's not everyday you get to read a blog post written by someone who's losing a thyroid after all.

It's sort of funny how when you can completely ignore your thyroid all your life, be totally oblivious to it and yet be so concerned about losing it. I mean, we don't really pay attention to our thyroids the way we do our skin, hair or even our nails do we? We use expensive creams and lotions and stuff to keep them healthy and glowing but the thyroid? A completely neglected organ, poor thing. It's only when you're losing it that you start giving it attention, and despite all those years of neglect, you know you're going to miss it. I sort of miss mine already.

And what's up with the past few weeks anyway?! It's almost been like 'give pieces of yourself away' weeks. I also bid goodbye to a mole on the back of my right leg exactly a month back. In fact, this whole trip started from that mole.

I noticed the mole growing in size and went to get it checked by a doctor. It was still really tiny so everyone thought it was totally unnecessary, Mizoram phone calls would be peppered with insightful advices like 'Just use Lelte lotion, that's what we all use to get rid of growing moles, why the expensive surgery?' But I have a great fear of moles that don't stay the same. The doctor thought it was probably nothing, I said I was scared that it could be cancerous, doc said 'I'm 99% sure it's okay but let's get it removed anyway.'

And so we did, and a biopsy was done, and guess what that itty bitty tiny little thing turned out to be? A malignant melanoma. If you Google that, you'll see that melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. And all my life, I've always thought that only Caucasians get melanoma, not brown-skinned persons like me.

I once worked on an online ad campaign for the Australian Cancer Council. I remember sitting there, writing lines like 'There's no such thing as a healthy tan!' and thinking how lucky I was that I am this skin colour and that I don't have to sun-bath or use a tanning booth. I did not even consider myself at risk at all when I was writing those lines, warning people about the dangers of skin cancer like melanoma. And yet there I was, melanoma very much on my body.

Anyway, under pressure from family, I saw an Oncologist after the melanoma was removed. He suggested a whole body PET CT scan just to be on the safe side. I thought it was unnecessary. The doctors had removed the melanoma, and assured me that it hadn't spread anywhere. What are the chances of them finding another unrelated cancer I thought.

Wrong again. They found a nodule on my thyroid which after further testing turned out to be papillary carcinoma. That was Monday, and now you know why I will be farwelling my thyroid. The scan also detected some other nodule on my cervical lymph nodes which was also supposed to be tested but it was so small the ultrasound couldn't detect it when they tried to perform FNAC so that's been put on hold.

Well that's about the end of my cancer story for now. I am undergoing a lot of tests right now in preparation for my surgery. The surgery will be followed up by radioiodine therapy. And I will regularly stand naked in front of a friend or a family member to check for any new signs of a rouge mole henceforth. Not too bad I think.

Getting two completely unrelated cancers at this age seemed a little unfair to me at first. But when I go to the hospital and I see all these little kids with worse forms of cancer than mine, I feel ashamed to even think about unfairness.

There are a million things that go through my head, and I would love to write them all down. But maybe I'll save all of those for later when I'm in the hospital bored sick in bed itching for something to do.

Anyway, my message to you all is this - get that mole checked if you notice any irregularity. My mole was so tiny people joked that I was getting a cosmetic surgery when I went to get it removed. I have always used sunscreen lotion. Get that lump checked even if it doesn't seem to be anything serious. I am very careful about what I eat - the greens lover, the apple-a-day-eater, I work out regularly and am very physically fit. Although not perfect at all, I do try to treat my body well. During all of these, I have never felt sick or tired, did not have any pain, no complaints with my thyroid, not even a peep, never even a lump that I noticed, there was just nothing that would suggest that I was even remotely sick. I even got voted 'the most athletic' on a team outing some months back :P

Smoking is one bad habit of mine that I hate. But with thyroid cancer, what they say is that there seems to be a lower risk of thyroid cancer in smokers especially if they're still smoking. Well, I'm a smoker and I'm still smoking. Just like melanoma, sunscreen and hardly no exposure to the sun on any regular day or tanning booths didn't help, smoking which was supposed to improve my chances also clearly didn't.

I think I have cancer genes and that I am just genetically predisposed to cancer. Cancer have always been in the family and if this had happened when I'm like 50, I wouldn't even be surprised. Now just seems a tad early. But then who's to say when is early and when is not.

Please keep me and my family in your prayers. And pray for me especially so that I can learn to listen and hear what God is trying to tell me through this because I know He IS trying to tell me something.

p.s: A friend was telling me the other day that I only have one in a hundred chance of getting thyroid cancer. That, and with the doctor's 99% surety that my mole was not cancerous and yet me getting the one in those hundred chances in both cases, do you think maybe it would be a good time for me to buy a lottery ticket? I'm sure to win if chances favor me the way they've been favoring me with cancer :-)

p.p.s: I really hate it when people treat me like I'm sick or dying just because I have cancer. Living leads to death, so anyone who's alive right now has as many chances of dying as I do so we're all in the same boat. And don't send me chocolates because I don't like them. Flowers are welcome :))

p.p.p.s: And appreciate your thyroids. Every once in a while, give it a little pat or a nice rub and say thank you!

03 August 2010

Mizo thei leh thlai te leh an Sap (leh vai) hming

Pangpar leh a extra kan ti tawh bawk a, tunah thei leh thlai leh bonus ho han ti leh teh ang. Keipawh mi huan a thei lo ru kumkhua lo in, mahni a thei huan te hi Pathian in rem A tih chuan siam ve te hi ka chak a, chung tih dawn hunah internet a han search zung zung theih nan an Sap hming hriat hi a tangkai.

Heng ho hi chu kan naupan laia kan koh thin dan a ni tlangpui a, an hming dik tak a ni leh nih loh ah ka chiang lo.

Ar-a fanghma: African horned cucumber, horned melon, blowfish fruit (US lamah) etc

Kan naupan lai chuan khat tawk a ramhnuai a hmuh fuh hlauh tih loh ah chuan hmuh tur a vang. Chaltlang Zotui tuikhur bulah khan a zam nasa thei. Zotui kha a hrang an ti thin a, ngaina lo deuh chung pawhin Ar-a fanghma a rah tih kan hriat chuan kan kal tang tang thin.

Bawrai: Indian Jujube, Indian plum etc. Vairamah North lamah kha chuan 'Ber' kan ti mai thin, South lamah hi chuan...ka hre lo.

Vairam bawrai lian lurh ang chi hi chu tui ka ti lo khawp mai. Mizoram bawrai phak deuh chep chuap ngei kha a tui. Vairam ah hian pawn a an rawn zawrh hi chu hetiang lian tui lo chi hi a ni na in, an ramhnuai ah te leh kawt ah te pawh bawrai kung lo rah hi chu kan ram lam ami nen a in ang.

Bepui: Hyacinth bean

Hei chu sawi vak tur awm lo. Saum nen thak tek tok in bai ila a tui em em tih mai loh chu. Chhumhan pawhin a tui tho.

Bepui thlanei: Winged bean

Hei pawh thil tui dang. Hei chu a saphming hi a common a kan hriat fur ka ring. Ka telh nachhan chu a Sap leh Mizo hming meaning in ang vel dan em em hi a mak ve mai mai a. "Literally" a Mizo to Sap (or vice versa) a leh te pawh a ang.

Chengkek: Kokum, Wild Mangosteen, Red Mango

Chengkek hi a lar em em lo nain, a cousin Purple Mangosteen hi chu khawvel ah chuan tropical fruit lar pawl tak chu ni. Thei poster ah te khan hei chu an telh ve ziah kha :) Thailand/Indonesia velah khian hei hi chu a tam a. India ramah pawh theizuar lian deuh chuan hei hi chu an nei ve tlangpui. Hyderabad ah chuan pali vel zel a pack hi Rs 60-70 an ti. Delhi ah chuan kum 5 kal ta khan pakhat hi Rs 100 in an zuar thin. Imported a nih tlangpui vangin a to.

Chengkek pawh Mizoramah heti em em a a that theih chuan heng chi pawh hi a that duh ka ring. Han ching teuh mai ila, India ramah thawn chhuak ila, imported price ai a hniam deuh si in, a hlawk duh ngawt ka ring. Hei chu Chengkek ang lo takin a pawn tuamtu hi a ei theih loh a, mahse a mu var lai hi a thlum bon thuais a, vai ho duh chi tak ani. Aizawl ah ka hawn a, thenawmte leh chhungkhat ho te ka eitir a, tui an ti nasa. A mu an dah tha sap sap mai kui tiah beiseiin. Lo kui tiak hlawm tak ang maw...

Hlonuar: Sensitive plant, humble plant, shameful plant, sleeping grass, touch-me-not

Hei hi chu 'touch-me-not' tih hian kan hre lar hlur a, a hming dang ho khi bepui thlanei ang deuh, a in leh mawi em avangin kan telh ve re re ani e. Eg. Hlo = plant, nuar = sensitive (mi sensitive thinrim hma deuh te sawi nan a kan hman ang context in). A zung hi rulchuk damdawi ah a tha an ti.

Iskut: Chayote, Chow-chow, Vegetable pear etc

Hei pawh 'squash' tih chauhin kan hriat dan a ni tlangpuiin ka hria. A tui ve em avangin boksik ve re re ang :)

Kawlsunhlu: Otaheite Gooseberry, Malay/Star/Tahitian Gooseberry etc

Hei pawh thil tui full fight! :) Sunhlu pangai aiin tui ka ti zawk.

Lenhmui: Jambul, Java/Portuguese Plum etc

Hei vairam ah chuan Jamun kan tih hi. Hei pawh hi vai Jamun lian pui pui ai chuan a thlalak ami ang Mizoram a te reuh te te phak deuh deuh kha a tui ka ti zawk. Kan in kawt ah kan nei thin a, a picture ami ang chiah hian a rah thet thin. Ka lung a van tileng tak!

Pawihte ha: Salak, Snake fruit etc

Pawihte ha leh hruipui rah ah hian ka buai! Ka nu chuan thil in ang an ni lo atia, hruipui rah ni a ka hriat chu Pangpar post ah khan Moriche palm tih a ka dah kha.

Rul chaw: Mock strawberry

Tuikhur leh hmun dam ah khan a to duh thin. A hmel a it awm avang hian kan ei leh nge nge thin, mahse a tui lo.

Sazu theipui: Velvet apple, Mabolo

Hei chu phak thlawn. A hming re re atang hian a itawm loh, mahse ei chuan ka chhung zawng zawng a duk vek theih avang khan intih bawn nan naupan lai chuan kan thial lui tawlh tawlh thin :)

Sertok: Pomelo

Sertok is veri tui tih mai loh chu sawi vak tur awm lo.

Theiria: Jabuticaba (??) - Hei hi chu theiria ka hriat dan hi a chiang loh avangin a dik loh ka ring mah mah. Mahse ka mitthla a theiria ka hmuh dan nen chuan a inmil viauin ka hria.
Bukpui khua ah vawikhat chu ka pa in min hruai a, kan thlenna te in kawmthlang ah theiria kung hi an lo nei a, heti hian a kung leh zar zawng zawng ah khan a rah duk hi a lo bet khat chur mai a, ka thau ah te min man deuh titih. Natna a ang :) Mahse a thei hi chu a thlum a a tui bakah a mu te kha a nem vek a a ei theih zel mai a. A mu nen a ei zel theih hi thei ah chuan a tha ber mai! :D Bawngkawn Brigade field thlang ram ah pawh sawn theiria kung chu a awm nual thin.

Tuaitit: Bignay, Currant tree etcHei pawh thei tui (mahse ei em em dan a vang) leh lung ti leng.

Thei herawt: Starfruit, Carambola etcHe thei hi chu ka thei ngainat loh tlemte te zing ami a ni hlauh. Ka ei luih chuan ka luak dawn zel.

Zapan zawngtah: Leucaena, Coffee bush
Bekang nen, hmarcha hmui nen han rawt ila a tui full. Vairamah hmun tinah a to hi Mizo vairam awm Mizo chawhmeh rawp em em tan chuan a vanneihthlak. Keini pawh kan apartment kawtah a rah reng a, duh hunah chuan zanah zuk lawh zuai ani mai. Mahse ka ngaih bel nge vairam ami hi Mizoram ami angin a tui ve lo in ka hre leh tlat.

Chawngbawla: Kaffir LimeSer ah chuan tui ka tih ber pawl. A thur dan hi a chiang. Thei tan hian piangthar hi thur dan ah hian teh ta ila he thei hi chu a piangthar tha ngawt ang :-)


Chiang lo group - chhui peih te tan a chhui zawm tur

Pangkai: Langsat

Langsat an tih hi a thlalak vel a an lang sat sat danah hian pangkai ni ngeiin ka hre na a, ka chiang ngam lo. Engnge in ngaihdan?

Ka thei hriatpawlh tawp theih loh chu theitat leh tuai ha beh. Ka mitthla a ka hmuh danin hetiang ve ve hian ka hmu -

Heng hi Lakoocha an tih leh Kwai muk an tih nen hian a in angin ka hria. Lakoocha leh Kwai muk hi chu tlem in an dang na a, family khat, in ang lek lek an ni.

Thei pahnih ka vei em em an saphming ka hmuh theih miah loh chu khawmhma leh bil hi. A hria chuan min rawn hrilh ula lawmman ah khawmhma den ka lo pe ang che u :-)


Tunah bonus track :P

Ka thil mak tih mai mai, kan Mizo tawng leh Saptawng te, kan Mizo 'myths' leh ram dang myths te lo in ang ve tlat thin ho pahnih kan boksik lok ang e.

1. Seliah - Cowlick

Seliah hi Sap hovin cowlick an lo ti ve hi mak ka ti. A in ang chiah chiah a a meaning hi. Se liahna hnu chu a ang pawh a ani maithei, mahse han an theih hi a ngah em a, entirnan 'Sam luhlul' te pawh lo ti ta ila awm ve tak tho ania. A sap ho pawhin 'cowlick' ti loin 'Pillow hair' (hehe) te lo ti ta sela a awm ve thei tho. Mahse hetiang a sam awm kan hmuh a, thildang tam tak a an theih kar a, bawng in a liah na hnu chiah kan lo tehkhin ve ve a, ''Seliah" kan lo ti ve ve hi a mak reuh ve mai mai.

2. Chawngtinlerhi fapa leh Greek ho Satyr leh Roman ho Faun

Chawngtinlerhi thawnthu ah khan lasi, ramhnuai leh ramsa te lal pasal a neih hnu ah a fa nausen nen a U an va tlawh a. A naute chu puanin a tuam tlat a, a U chu a naute ke lam en a phal miah lo tih kha awm kha. A U hnenah 'Ka naute ke I lo en chuan vawikhat mah min hmu tawh lo ang' a ti a, mahse a U chuan a en chak ta tlat a. A puan tuamna chu a phelh a, naute ke chu a enru ta a. Naute chu a lu lam chu mihring naute pangngai ni si kha a ke chu kel ke a lo nih kha.

Greek ho ramhnuai 'huai' Satyr ho pawh hi mihring lu leh kel ke an lo ni ve leh zel a. An ni ngaihdan pawh khan Satyr ho chu ramhnuai huai chikhat, 'woods and mountains' a cheng an ni a. A mak ve mai mai na chu, hetiang culture in ang lo lutuk, Greek ho lahin Mizo an awm tih pawh an hriat loh, Mizo lah Greek an awm tih pawh an hriat loh lai a, hetiang 'huai' - ram leh tlang vel a cheng, mihring lu leh kel ke nei kan lo nei ve ve hi. An lo awm tak tak thin emawni leh te ka tih phah rum rum.

Mahse Mizo in kan sawi tel ve loh, Greek ho version a tel ve ziah chu Satyr ho hi an *hur* hle tih hi :D An lem ziah re re ah pawh an shekshi thei hle. A tlip nan, satyr picture seksi tak bonus ah kan dah ang e :-)


02 August 2010

Paranormal or not?

For someone who grew up in Aizawl, I spent a lot of time in the forest as a kid. I lived in an area where half the kids were from farming families and therefore spent more time farming in the forest than they did in school so I was never short of company when the majestic green hills surrounding the city beckoned.

On no school days, it was only natural to sit on our vantage point in Chaltlang, point to some hill in the distance and just set out for it. There were many times these chosen destinations were much farther off than we assumed and night would fall on us while we're in the middle of the woods. We were never afraid, I remember walking through the woods with my friends with only the moonlight gleaming through the leaves, our only fear the scolding we would surely receive when we get home...

But there's this one time I and everyone else I was with got scared out of our wits. And it all happened on this hill -
It was during the school holidays, we were sitting around, listless kids trying to come up with something fun to do. Suddenly this boy, his name was Lallawmawma, piped up -'I know what to do! Let's go to Muthi tlang!' he said. There were a few questions, 'Isn't it too far?,' 'We don't even know the way..' and most importantly 'What's there to do?.'

Lallawmawma quickly put everyone's qualms to rest by proclaiming that he knew the way (even though he'd never been there), that the distance was more or less equal to our favorite swimming hole, and that the reason we should go there was because cinnamons grew there in abundance. Cinnamons! That wonderful, magical root and the best loved of all childhood treats. And when he said that we could dig up all the cinnamons we wanted to eat, plus more if we wanted to smoke them and we could bring along some old newspapers, no one needed further convincing.

We jumped up, appointed him king and leader for the day, put on our sandals and headed off in the direction of the hill. We faithfully followed in our hero's footsteps all the way up to Durtlang but when he started cutting through people's vegetable gardens, murmurs of doubt started to rise. But despite this we made him lead us far enough away from civilization that we could see houses no more and by then the sun was out in full force and we were all hot and thirsty.

And when we met two farmers and our fearless leader stopped to ask them the way to Muthi, we dethroned him immediately. We did find the rest of the way easily enough because there was only one tiny path in the forest to follow from there on anyway.

When we got to the forest, all the disappointments of Lallawmawma's failed leadership was forgotten. It was beautiful! A virgin forest, thick with trees, and the defamed king was right about the cinnamons. Except that they were either bitter or tasteless. I remember someone saying the plants were too young..We kept digging but we gave up after a while and just busied ourselves with the climbing of trees and the singing of songs and other such joyful activities.

Then what happened next was the weirdest thing ever! I was sitting on the branch of a tree with a friend, and the others were frolicking on the ground, some still digging, some singing at the top of their voices, me and my friend lustily joining in from our lofty perch..when suddenly, it grew really really dark. Almost like the darkness of an approaching thunderstorm but at an extra speed. It seemed like very thick, dark clouds were rolling in at the speed of a plane.

We were all a little scared, but calm still because we thought it was just going to rain. Then suddenly there came this sudden gust of wind blowing through the forest. It was total chaos, the wind was so loud, there were leaves being blown about everywhere, the girls were crying at the top of their voices. The wind was so strong the tree we were sitting on went crashing down, but it was not a violent crash, and luckily it was not a tall tree and the earth was really soft so we were unhurt. I was really worried about my younger sister so I immediately ran looking for her, everyone else was also running around in panic it was not easy finding her.

Then as suddenly as it started, it all stopped, everything went quiet, the wind was gone, and the sun was shining in through the trees again. It seemed to me like it all started in the blink of an eye and stopped in the exact same way and lasted only for a few minutes.

But it was eerily quiet after it was over, no birds chirping, no soft breeze rustling through the trees. I saw my sister, grabbed her hand and held on tightly. For some reason I was filled with terror, and apparently everyone else was too because no one wanted to stay anymore. Just as we were walking out of the wooded area, we saw a flock of these big geese-like birds flying out of the forest overhead. They were blackish/greyish in color and scary looking as hell. After that, we pretty much fled from that evil scene of darkness.
When me and my sister told my mom that night about the wind, and how the tree went down, and how the forest shook and how it all stopped so suddenly, she only laughed. I think she thought we just had overactive imaginations and we were blowing everything up. I was disappointed that she didn't seem to think anything was strange. I got a little sense of satisfaction when we got to the birds part and she said "That's weird!" But then she said the birds were probably 'Kawlhawk' and that they were was a common sight in the villages.

I don't know anything about Kawlhawks (what are they called in English?) because I've never seen one. And even if I saw one now it wouldn't mean anything because my memory of the birds that day is all hazy, and I remember no specifics except their size and color.

Sometimes when I meet some of the friends I was with that day we still bring up that incident and wonder. Did we indeed experience something out of the ordinary, or was it merely that our impressionable young minds misunderstood a regular weather phenomenon? Or was it the force of some paranormal activity? I guess we'll never know...

But you know, I guess the real horror story in life is the ravages of time. Two of those children I was with that day have been dead for over 10 years now, our fearless leader is now a raging drug addict and can no longer be considered sane, and will never again lead a troop of hopeful children to any magical place. And the rest of us? We may be alive but none of us can be made happy with just a few sweet puffs of cinnamon cigarettes anymore...

Well that's it. What do you think? What happened that day?

25 July 2010

Pictures of Mizoram again

Because I'm still homesick and I can't get enough of these pictures yet and it's a lazy Sunday evening and I have nothing to do.

Here's one of the beautiful Tlawng river -
Water, water everywhere...
My two greatest loves who make missing home more intense than ever -
Jonathan on his little throne :)
The chillies I planted when I was home in March had full grown chillies this time when I went home, and they produced such weird-looking chillies!
I love geraniums too. Funnily enough, Bozo seems to like them too. To eat. He would chomp the leaves off every morning so we had to move all the pots where he couldn't reach them.
Of course, not all's fair and lovely. There are buildings coming up every freaking corner now :(
But still, to have your own micro kitchen garden! Who knew celeries could grow so well in pots! And out here, they're so expensive. There a few pots yield more than you can eat.
The neighbor's plants are thriving too. Especially the marijuana plants :)
The day I was supposed to fly to Kolkata. Needless to say, the flight was canceled because of dangerously low visibility.
But when the fog clears, the mountains are gorgeous as always.
And there was such an abundance of rainbows, practically everyday.
And last - something to teach you that you must never fall asleep while there are troops of excited football-watching youngsters around :)