25 February 2011

This swell life

This is how my feet looks right now, my classic swollen feet look. (I know you don't really want to look at my feet but I feel vicious tonight). Don't judge my poor feet too harshly though, there was a time I used to have nice feet. And these very feet, believe it or not, used to be gazed on with much love and adoration. But post thyroid surgery, bad hair days have taken a step back to bad feet days. Did I ever mention that when I was a baby, a maid spilled boiling water on my right feet? You can still see the scars. And now, that coupled with the bombasticity leaves me with very little to be proud of.

I'm home alone on a Friday night. Isn't that just tragic? My boredom these days is getting so unmanageable I'm starting to prefer being bored on my own. It's more tolerable than being bored in the company of others. At least I don't have to keep up pretenses. Here on my own I can paint my nails all the colors of the rainbow in one night.

Skipped out of work early, canceled dinner plans with a lie for an excuse. Tried to buy a pair of pretty red suede shoes to cheer myself up (thank God I still fit into a size 36!), but the stupid credit card machine wasn't working and I barely had enough cash to pay for my rickshaw fare back home. I went home fuming, accusing the whole universe of conspiring against me.

And I've been weeping like a fool because I watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind and I felt so sad because I missed my unswollen feet and I'm so much in love and I don't have anyone or anything I want erased from my mind ever. Ever ever.

And I feel threatened. That this 'force' - something beyond anyone's control is trying to erase everything I know. Trying to erase me.

But I'm still here, my memory is still intact. And as for ugly appendages...they're not the end of the world.

And to compensate for the gross feet picture above, here's another one. Nicer to look at with pretty green trees and because I really miss this day.
One of these days, I will do something like this for a living. Hang around trees all day. With unswollen feet.

22 February 2011

Poor Balaam, poor donkey!

I was overcome with so much confusion and general befuddlement while I was reading the Bible the other night. The source of this deep perplexity are these lines from the book of Numbers -

And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do. 21 And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab. 22 And God's anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him.

Numbers 22:20 - 22

In verse 20, it clearly says that God told Balaam to "go with them." But then when he went with the men, God's "anger was kindled because he went."

And if you read the entire chapter, you'll see that poor Balaam was actually really careful about whether or not he should go with the men, repeatedly telling king Balak despite his offers of great honor et al "If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the LORD my God, to do less or more."

Why was God angry with Balaam??? Does anyone understand?

How little of the Bible I understand! How little of my life I understand! How little of everything I understand...

14 February 2011

It's Valentine's day O white-livered ones

On account of it being Valentine's day today, I'm going to take time off off my busy schedule to share one of my favorite stories with you. The following is an excerpt from T.H Lewin's book, Wild Races of South-eastern India - that's us if you didn't get it. Anyone belonging to the wild Mizo race should enjoy this story and I hope it reminds us where we came from and what kind of men our forefathers were.

And now let us proceed with the story. This is what Lewin said:

A young man, a Riang Tipperah, who lives in my house, was formerly a slave of Rutton Poi’s (a Lhoosai chief) [Rothangpuia], and I have heard from him many accounts of raids made by his master. He used to accompany the Chief as the bearer of his weapons.

His first raid was in 1860, made on the Bengallee inhabitants of Kundal in Tipperah. They fell upon the villagers at day-dawn, according to custom; and the Bengallee men, with one consent, ran away. The women, however, stood their ground, and abused their grim assailants vociferously for breaking into honest people’s houses.

The Lhoosai laughed at their shrill tongues at first, but later it was found troublesome, and one young woman had to be cut down pour encourager les autres. The Chief confided to my boy’s care two women, captives. All the prisoners were fastened together by a cord through the lobe of the ears, and the Lhoosais set out with their plunder on the return journey.

Now, one of the captive women was young, and not accustomed to walking; so after the first day’s march her feet swelled, and she was unable to go further. The Chief therefore ordered that she should be speared. “Well,” said the narrator, “I took the spear and went towards her, and Rutton Poia said, ‘Do it neatly, I will look on,’ for it was the first time I had ever speared any one.

When the girl saw me take the spear and come towards her, she fell a-weeping, and caught my garments and my hands, and all my heart thumped, and I could not hurt her. It was pitiful!

So the Chief began to laugh at me, and said, ‘O white-livered, and son of a female dog, when we return to the village, I will tell the young maidens of your courage;’ so I shut my eyes and speared her. My stroke was ill-directed, and she did not die; so the Chief finished the work, and he made me lick the spear. The blood of Bengallees is very salty. Since then I have not been afraid to spear any one.”

Among the Lhoosai it is customary for a young warrior to eat a piece of the liver of the first man he kills; this, it is said, strengthens the heart and gives courage.

Wild Races of South-eastern India - T.H Lewin

*Sigh* Don't you just miss those good old days! The days we ate human liver and licked the blood of our enemies off our spears! :-)

Seriously though, Rothangpuia is my favorite Mizo chief. If we were still living in Rothangpuia's time, today instead of spewing Hallmark-y lines to a man and giving him gifts of little bottles of liquid to make him smell like the inside of a shopping mall, celebrating Valentine's day, I would be seeing my man off to battle, and instead of a mushy love poem, I would be telling him "May you be unhurt, and bring home many heads!" What's more romantic I'm not even sure anymore...

And oh, happy Valentine's day O white-livered sons & daughters of female dogs! :P

P.s. You can download or read the book online here, which I strongly recommend you do. The Englishman's patronizing tone can get a bit annoying, but the book makes for a very interesting read otherwise.

13 February 2011

Just call me Masterchef

Sometimes my own greatness astounds me. There is nothing I can not do in this world. How does one deal with such overwhelming worthiness? I'm like a modern day Midas, everything I touch blooms and turns into gold, or into a delicious cake!

Baking is such an ego trip :-)

If I had known mixing some flour and eggs and other otherwise boring articles together and putting it in the oven could bring one so much pleasure I would've studied baking in college. It would've been more gratifying than cutting open dead frogs and rats.

This is my first ever attempt at baking. I was already consoling myself before I got started. "Baking is hard and it's your first time so don't take it too personally if your cake comes out looking like a lump of charcoal" I told myself.

But voila! It didn't look like charcoal, and it tasted really really really good! :) (If you're my Facebook friend, you're already sick of these pictures because I plaster my wall with them). Anyway, pretty good for a first timer don't you think? Especially since my cook book was really undecipherable (ounces, grams..ugh!) so most of it was pretty much based on hunch work.

Well what I really aimed for was a Victoria sponge cake. I didn't have whipped cream so it falls short of the ideal VSC image wise, but my friends did not complain.

It's times like these that I really wish that I have the family here. Cooking is only fun when there are people to eat and appreciate it. I can happily slave all day in the kitchen just to hear people tell me how good my roast chicken was, and how full their tummies are and hear them tell me days later that they still dream of my prawn curry. And here there's only so much I and the two weight-watching roomies can eat.

Well, if anyone feels like cake, call me! :-)

10 February 2011

Say hello to the demons in my head

(Wrote this some nights back but forgot to publish so doing it now)

Despite dear Blackestred's suggestion to unite Minotaur and my dignified cow, I feel, as an artist, I must explore my artistic spirit and graze away from my bovine fixation. Therefore, in this project, we will do demons instead.

Being the descendant of overly superstitious ancestors whose mountains and forests abounded with spirits, it's inevitable for one to grow up without a fairly obsessive interest in the supernatural. Stories from those days of yore thrilled and excited me when I was a kid, and I have these images firmly embedded in my head of what each spirit would look like. Funny thing is, I find even after all these years those images stay the same as they were first pictured in my head. And these are drawings of some of the spirits the way I've always imagined them to be.

First on the list is the tau. Male spirits I think. In the night, much akin to typical behavior of the human male, the taus like to hang out with their buddies. Accompanied by a very strong animal scent, very like the human male gathering. But the similarity ends there.

The taus, instead of chugging beer, spend their nights carrying torches and doing aerial acrobatics in perfect synchronization. Of course, humans can see only the torches, as the carriers are not visible in the dark. It's supposed to be quite a show, and those of us who never got lucky enough to witness something so mysteriously beautiful should realise that our lives are that much less richer because of it. This is what they would look like with night vision -

The tau, who is quite a social animal in the night is a loner during the day. When the sun comes up, they like to loll around on the branches of trees growing out of steep and inaccessible cliffs and sun themselves all day. In my head, the tau sunning himself always looks benign as he sleeps contentedly on his branch.


Next we have the pheichham. This is a female spirit, and it's main job is to grant people wishes. Of course, just like today's corporate world, it insists on the longest and troublesomest process to get her work done.

When a human sees it, the shy pheichham will bats its eyelashes and run away. The human has to be brave enough to not run away screaming at its horrendous appearance, should be fast enough to catch the hoppity-hopping spirit, and be strong enough to hold on tightly and not let go because it will try to shake you off like a bucking bronco.

The pheichham will then ask him, not unlike a job interview, 'What do you see for yourself a few moments from now?' Then the brave soul will say all the things he wishes for himself, but all in one breath. If he takes a breath in between, his wish is immediately null and void, and the pheichham will jump away cackling.

The books always describes the pheichham as an old woman, horrible to behold, scraggly hair, drooping, saggy breasts and has only one leg. For some reason, in my little girl's mind, I saw her as an entire leg with a head, like so -

Pic 1.

Even now that I'm all grown up and I know now that this (Pic 2) is what a pheichham should look like, I can only picture her as Pic 1 in my mind.

Pic 2.

Third on the list are the khuavangs. They consist of both genders and like humans, marry, reproduce and even spoil their young. They live underground. They're generally quite harmless except in the Kungawrhi story. My old school books didn't really describe their appearance but in the Kungawrhi story, they had black faces. But again, because I sort of connect them to fireflies, this is how I picture them -

They appear out of the darkness as glowy, pale faces, with a sort of a humming sound. They look sad all the time - most likely because of the drabness of their living conditions.


And last but not the least is the khawlhring. Now this is a bad spirit, up to nothing but mischief. The khawhring's main occupation is to covet the possessions of the humans it shares its habitat with, with a particular fondness for gongs. In order to get its sickly hands on these coveted items, it makes people sick and then makes its demands through the sick person - "I want so-and-so's gong," and if this so-and-so refuses to part with his gong and its demands are not met, the sick person would never recover and eventually die.

The khawhring is a drippy, sloshy spirit, oozing with the slime of centuries old sicknesses. And of course, that's only in the pages of the picture book in my head. No one's ever given a clear description of a khawhring, and I have a feeling no one's going to find out any time soon.
It mostly afflicts its victim with terrible stomachaches. So next time you're stricken with that nasty stomach pain, think twice before you blame your poor ulcer.


Bonus item: On the bonus item we have the tualsumsu. Personally, I think no other spirit is capable of striking as much terror as this one, the thought of it fills me with intense fear, even though it isn't in the habit of harming anyone except the poor soul it possesses. But I believe the mere sight of it would surely be worse than taking a few bops to the head. So being harmless doesn't really do much for its reputation in my opinion.

Well the tualsumsu is not actually a spirit but a possessed female human being. This woman will live a normal life and go about her daily routine during the day, but when it's night and the dark settles in and evil awakens all the dark forces, the spirit will flip this poor person upside down and proceed to make her roam around the empty streets inverted. The afflicted person might complain of a dull pain on the head the next morning, but won't remember her upside down romp from the night before.

A friend once told me this story of how when she was a baby, her dad was posted in some remote village. According to the village people, there apparently was a tualsumsu in the village, and at night people were scared to venture out, locking themselves in their houses. My friend's mother, obviously more enlightened than the simple village folks called it balderdash and paid no attention to it.

But then one night, as she was sitting by a window nursing the baby with only a candle burning and everyone else had gone to bed, out of the stillness of the dark night, she heard a thumpity-thump-thump sound coming down the lonely road. 'What could it be?' she wondered, and looked out the window - and behold! on the street was a young woman on her head, legs up in the air, slowly hopping down the street.

Now doesn't the very thought of that fill your heart with dread?

The tualsumsu somehow seems related to the Chinese hopping spirit. I saw it in some Jackie Chan movie once, this hopping spirit. Arms outstretched, hopping around and all I could think of was the tualsumsu. Maybe they're related. Or like the male/female versions, a bit like the succubus and the incubus.

I just don't like this hopping business. Normally-walking spirits are bad enough, I don't see where the need to hop arises. It's just not a nice thing to do.


You can see I'm totally jobless. I am trying really hard to stay in more and go out less, so unless I do something, anything to do with my time, the restlessness monster will catch up with me.

08 February 2011

Motor Acid

Kan tet laiin vawikhat D.C Workshop motor hmanrua chhia etc an dahna ah motor acid an lo dah kan chhar a. A chhung a a phek kha kan la chhuak a, lawm em em in inah kan hawpui a. Choka atangin bowl leh fiante pakhat kan ru chhuak a. Chhuah pahin chi tam tawk kan tham ru bawk a.

Inchung lamah kan tlan chho a, tah chuan tuiah kan chiah a, chi kan telh bawk a. Kan chil thli te tla zawih zawih khawp in kan han chawh vel hnu ah, kan han in tan ta a. Fian te khat theuh vel kan hawp hman tihin ka U hi a lo kal thut mai a.

"Enge in tih? Kha enge kha kha?" a rawn ti ta. Fian te chu min rawn laksak ta thawt thawt mai a. Tuman engmah kan sawi duh lo a, kan ngawi thap a. Fian chuan an hawp chhin a, "Eee motor acid elaw, tha lo lutuk! Khawi ami nge in neih?" a tia. Bawlhhlawh paihna ami tih kan sawi a.

"Tenawm lutuk, tenawm lutuk, hetiang ei reng reng suh u" tih pahin chhuatah chuan a leih baw ta vek mai a. Concrete chhuat te chu a phuan suah suah mai a acid in an chiah chuan, chuti chung pawh chuan keini chuan ui em em in engmah sawi ngam si lovin kan en thap mai a.

Chutia a leihbuak zawh chu ti tha inti takin inhnuai ah min chhuk san leh mai a. Kan zing a pakhat chuan "I U Mama chu a sual kher mai!" a rawn ti a. Midang pawh chuan sual an tih zia an sawi sap sap a. Kei lah zak leh thiante laka inthlahrung em em in ka awm a. Acid bua ai chuan min leihbuak sak tu kha ka U ani kha pawi ka ti ber mai. Khami ni a ka U kan ngei em em zia kha.

Hemi tih loh hi chu motor acid ka la ei chhin awm pawh ka hre lo. Mahse ka thiante zing ah heh tak tak an tam. Mizo lo hi Motor acid liah ching hi khawvel ah an awm ve angem le?