28 January 2010

Top 10 Mizo stories - I

It's lunchtime and it's one of those days where the old brain refuses to function and it's impossible to put the equally old mind to work so I'm going to give myself a couple of hours' break and blog about these stories instead.

This is my top 10, based entirely on my personal opinion. Most are regular folktales, one is actually fact, and some are debatable :) Also, all 10 of them in one post is going to be very lengthy and too much of work so I'm going to break the list up into several posts. Let's start with number 10 - 7 on this post. I have the top 10 ready, but I'll have to wait for the next unproductive day to write about # 6 to 1.

Another debatable issue will be the accuracy of these stories. I am old and my memory is rusty and these are stories told to me decades and decades ago so it's going to be a bit like writing about a dream I had when I was a kid :)

10. Liandova te unau

This list wouldn't be complete without a rags to riches story. The story is about two orphaned, poverty stricken brothers Liandova and Tuaisiala. The brothers loved each other and took care of each other and even once shared a grain of rice (?) between them, I believe...

My favorite part of the story is when the two brothers while roaming in the forest one day walked on a fallen log to cross a little creek. The younger one, Tuaisiala told his brother after they got across that the log they walked on blinked. The older brother dismissed it since of course, logs don't blink. But Tuaisiala was so persistent that they went back and found that it was indeed really a python that had swallowed a 'Paihte' merchant and was too full to move.

To cut a long story short, they ended up with the slain Python's stomach which when they cut open held all the treasures the merchant had with him and the brothers went back to their village very rich men.

(By the way, I think we all know Python's don't blink but to me, this idea of a blinking serpent just adds to the magic of the whole story!)

9. Mauruangi

And then of course, mother-daughter love is a must too. Mauruangi's adulterous father pushed Mauruangi's mother into the river where she turned into a huge 'Thaichhawni Nu' - a type of fish (see pic - by the way, I found the taste and even the texture a bit similar to Sharks, very tasty!).

Mauruangi used to visit her mother in the water where her fish mother would lovingly feed her daughter rich food that her stepmother denies her. There was also a step-sister who found out about Mauruangi's mother in the river and so they caught the fish and feasted on it.

Mauruangi was given the heart that she asked for, and as instructed by her mother before she was caught, buried the heart in the forest. Out of the ground where she buried the heart sprung a Phunchawng (see pic) (Red Silk-cotton tree).

This is my favorite part - Mauruangi would go to the blooming tree and sing -

Ka nu, kur diam diam

Ka nu Phunchawng Darhniangi, kur diam diam

And the flower-laden branches would bend down and offer her their nectar, and Mauruangi would drink to her heart's content. Unfortunately, the step-sister found out about the tree again and so the tree was cut down. The tree cutting part still makes me cry...

The axe would swing, and the tree would crack, and then Mauruangi would sing -

Ka nu, tang fan fan

Ka nu Phunchawng Darhniangi, ka nu tang fan fan!

And the tree would stand up again. This went on repeatedly and they couldn't cut the tree down so they stuffed Mauruangi's mouth with a piece of rag so she won't be able to sing anymore and took her away. With her daughter's voice no longer pleading and encouraging her to keep standing, the tree was finally cut down and chopped to pieces. And that's the end of Mauruangi's versatile mother (though not the end of the story).

This story is definitely the saddest and most poignant of all Mizo stories for me. And it gives me a warm feeling because it makes me think of cold Mizoram nights and me and my brother and sister and my mom under a warm blanket and my mother's voice telling us this story and laughing at us when we'd all end up crying. In fact, I think I should have given it a higher rating...

8. Hlawndawhthanga

Hlawndawhthanga was a 'Keimi' - a Weretiger, or a Timan, or a Huger - if you please :P Or we could even call him a swinger - swings both human and tiger ways (and in this story, even the fairy way as well) :D Keimis are shapeshifters, in fact I think they're just like Werewolves except they shapeshift into tigers instead of wolves. And also minus all that full moon, silver bullet crap.

To be honest, I remember very little about Hlawndawhthanga except that he was very handsome, strong, brave, and everything a real man should be - and more, of course :) He was in love with the fairy queen of some forest, and I remember something about him breaking some fairy law so they set a trap for him wherein a massive log fell on top of him, and he was trapped there till he died, and I forget the rest.

7. Sawngkhara leh Chawngvungi

And of course, the quintessential love story of a love that is just not to be. We have lots of sad stories about impossible loves but as a lover of all things that has anything to do with songs and poetry and rhymes, this one stands out for me because of the beautiful nonsense lamentations spouted by the hero and other relatives when the heroine Chawngvungi died.

The very unfortunate looking Sawngkhara used Zawlaidi (the Bible calls Zawlaidi 'Mandrakes' by the way..a little off I think) to make the beautiful Chawngvungi fall in love with him. They married, had a child, and lived happily, just not ever after.

One day the big Banyan tree (or Mango tree?) outside Chawngi's mother's window started wilting, and the old woman knew immediately that that was a sign that her daughter was sick. She would look at the tree every morning, and every time a branch breaks off, she would know that Chawngi's health had also declined further. One day she looked out the window and saw that the topmost branch had died, and she said 'My daughter is now dead, it's time for me to go the their village' or something like that (:P)

(Beats me why she never thought of visiting her daughter while she was sick!)

So she went to her son-in-law's village, and shed many tears, and cried:

Chawngi, Sawnga kha han sun la
Lam ang lo let leh ang che ka tih kha, Chawngvung

(Sual thiam ve khawp mai Chawngi nu hi :P)
Which offended Sawngkhara's mother, so she replied weeping -

Chawngi, thi ka pek a duh loh a, dar ka pek a duh loh a

Kan darkhuang kher I ngen le Chawngi

Chawngvung mantam sumhluani

Sawngkhara was inconsolable, and kept crying over and over -

Chawngi, taitea tui a hal e, taitea tuia hal e

His friends started to worry that his grief would kill him so they decided to take him out to the hills and the mountains hoping he might feel better in the open air. They took him up on the hills, but when they got there they saw the entire area was awash with Tuangtuah blooms and this made Sawngkhara cry even more -

Tlanga Tuangtuah parin Chawngi hmel a iang!

His friends then took him away from there and took him to a different spot on the hill. But unfortunately, there too was another even more beautiful bloom of Chhawkhlei flowers (Rhododendrons). Maybe what he saw looked something like this?

Or maybe it was even more beautiful! If so, poor Sawngkhara! And understandably, this made him miss Chawngi even more!

Tlanga Chhawkhleiin Chawngi hmel a iang

- he cried.

And it went on like that where no matter what he did or where he was, everything reminded him of his dead love, and he could not stop crying and as feared, eventually cried to death.

(There was also something about a gong with a spirit but I'm too lazy to write any further now.)

End of story.


Personally, I hope I never find myself on top a beautiful hill full of beautiful flowers while I'm mourning the death of someone I love. And for this, I feel for Sawngkhara. But he did tamper with nature :P

And are our Mizo folktales usually devoid of morals or I just miss them? Anyway, I love stories without morals. Stories for the sake of stories and nothing else - pure, unadulterated stories. And to me, most of these here are of those type. And I love them all for it.


Varte said...

nice written story. Mizo thawnthu bu kha i la kawl tha khiau a ni lo maw? i hre rei hle mai, kei pawh Chawngvungi nu hi ka ngei thin ania aw...

DayDreamBeliever said...

can't wait to see the rest of the list. reserving my comments for then :P

Anonymous said...

I know the characters, I know the stories, but don't know who did what, where and how! They're all kinda mixed up in my head.
But good to see them come alive again. I've always liked the comical one, like Chhura leh Nahaia, Chemtatrawta leh pitar te, etc.
Wonder which one tops your list!

Jerusha said...

varte - Chawngi nu kher kher hi chu, mi thi tawh akar a, Sawngkhara te chhung tan hian ngeirawm dawn lutuk a, Sawngkhara nu hian a chhang let na lo zawk ngawt ka ti asin.

Hmanni ka Mizoram haw khan Mizo thawnthu bu ka lei a, mahse Ramsa thawnthu ho chauh. Animal tales hi engmah hriat chian ka neih loh avangin ani deuh a ka lei chhan, mahse tunah pawh ka chhiar zo na la rei loh tehreng nen ka theihnghilh fai leh deuh vek tawhin ka hria :((

Jerusha said...

Cherrie and blake - I can't for you guys to see my number 1! I can't wait to get to it - maybe I should just jump straight to #1..haha

Alejendro said...

WOW!! Well written. I'm always keen listening all this folktales, maybe I can over some times and you tell me the whole story of them. :-D

Can't hardly wait to see the rest of them. I'm just curious what'd be #1 :-)

Almost Unreal said...

oi "ka nu phunchawng, chawngmawii" a ni lom ni? lol

mahse ka hnuk hi a la ti ulh reng, he mi zai hi chuan - "ka nu trang fan2" tih te hi *sniff*

Jerusha said...

Alejandro - of course if you're willing to come all the way from Mumbai, then I'm definitely willing to tell you as many broken pieces of stories as I can :P

Unaunu leh - enge a nu hming chu Chawngmawii ami? KA 100% chiang lo na in Chawngmawi chu a ti lo chiangin ka hria hahaha

Keichala said...

Chawngchilhi te pawh..:-)

azassk said...

A va tha leh pek ve i post hi.Kei chu Rairahtea le. Rairahtea thawnthu kha mumalin ka hre ta mang hauh lo mai.

illusionaire said...

hehehe... a walk down memory lane... :)

But why is part 1 from 10-7? shouldn't it be till 6, so that part II will be from 5-1? :) You know... just to even things out a bit :D

Alejendro said...

Ka lo kal tak taka nga, i peih loh thleng thleng ka sawi tir mai tur che a sin. :-D

Jerusha said...

Keichal - read part II, you'll find your Chawngchilhi there :)

Boss - Rairahtea kha nia a ngaihnawm khawp mai, mahse top 10 ah ka telh lo tlats. Magic a tam tawk lo ka ti deuh a, a tawp a thereng chang bak

Jerusha said...

Kimkims - hehe there is no order to anything here, all depends on how much I feel like writing. And I didn't feel like writing after I was done with the 7th.

Alejandro - I rawn kal peih phot chuan I ngaihthlak peih loh thleng thleng ka sawi peih ang haha

Loucherin said...

I blog chhiar a va manhla thin tak em! Dam reng la, ziak zel rawh...

Almost Unreal said...

chawnghniangi tak a niang ...hahaha

keimah said...

Beautifully written. Jerusha, you have a gift in story telling! I am looking forward to read the rest of your list.

Btw, I was told that Sawngkhara was from Keitum village, and Chawngvungi was a beauty from Pangzawl village(both villages are on Aizawl-Lunglei Rd). Some years ago, I was taken to Chawngvungi's grave in Pangzawl (old village), and I even saw and touched a tooth supposedly of Chawngvungi!! If you have an opportunity, please make a visit to Pangzawl, and I am sure it will make your story come alive to you!

virgochhas said...

Hlawndawhthanga hi ka vawi khat hriatna...ka keimi story hriat chu a dang daih :D

Jerusha said...

Loucherin - thank you very much :)

Unaunu - haha I comment hmasa ka hmuh khan ka nu ka han zawt alawm, Darhniangi a ti mother i pawhin :)

Jerusha said...

Keimah - wow!! It's so wonderful to have these places! When they sound like totally fictional characters and to able to touch a tooth! I have been dreaming of doing an intensive Mizoram road trip, if I ever get to do that I will definitely visit the place. And thanks for letting me know!

Virgo - hehe Keimi te chu lasi ang an ni mai a, thawnthu hrang hrang ah an awm alawm boss :)

Lucy In The Sky said...

Jerusha, thingkung par sendang khi 'Tlaizawng" a maw ka lo tia sin. Enge Tlaizawng hi ni ta ang?

illusionaire said...

Tlaizawng is something that comes after chhunzawng, but before zanzawng.

Lucy In The Sky said...

You got me even more confused Sandman :O What is Chhunzawng? I thought there was "Tlaizawng par"

illusionaire said...

First, there is Zinzawng par. It blooms in the morning.

The there's Chhunzawng par. Blooms in the afternoon.

Followed by Tlaizawng par. Blooms in the evening.

Finally, there's Zanzawng par. It blooms only in the night.

And I'm just kidding. XD

Jerusha said...

Lucy - I think that looks a bit different because it's a slightly different type from what we normally see in Mizoram as they're pink, I was just going for a fairy-talish picture :P Phunchawng better picture is here - http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3106/2318459025_fb36fee8d2.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.flickr.com/photos/dinesh_valke/2318459025/&usg=__D3agE-kt0dcNMbOD4_Lf6psykMw=&h=375&w=500&sz=96&hl=en&start=11&sig2=HupoI1iPHmJJxLhjkF-21Q&um=1&itbs=1&tbnid=eZftow5yA1yYGM:&tbnh=98&tbnw=130&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dphunchawng%26hl%3Den%26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox%26rlz%3D1I7GGLL_en%26sa%3DN%26um%3D1&ei=rL1mS9a9LtCLkAWrz5TsDw

Jerusha said...

LOL @ Kims!

@ Lucy don't listen to what this man has to say if you don't want to totally mess up what you already know :)

Tlaizawng par hi engtin nge a awm ka hre miah lo, btw. Phunchawng nen hian ka lo hriat pawlh lek pawh ni thei :D

Lucy In The Sky said...

Hahaha Sandman..you got me. Totally! Hahaha

Tlaizawngpar ka lo hriat dan chu maw, theite kung+par (par lian hret) ang vel hi.Chuan tlaizawngin an
tlan thin, tih vel. Phunchhawng chu ka hre lo zero tawp.

Lucy In The Sky said...

Hei hi ni mai in ka hria, Tlaizawng par ka lo hriat ve chu-


Hetah Zochepa blogah pawh a awm hi -

Jerusha said...

Luce - Tlaizawng par chu theite par anih si loh chuan ka la hmu ngai lo tawp anih khi, a nalh bawn tawp atak a hmuh a va chakawm ve. Phunchawng ka tih nen chuan a in ang lo ve ngei anih hi, Aizawl haw hunah pi leh pu te bulah verify tur anih hi :)