Monday, October 20, 2008


I'm just about all wilted out. Been a hectic last few days. Exams at work again with the obligatory morning rush to be on duty by 8.45 am. When duty calls that early, I usually skip my morning meals and make do with omelettes or some other stomach fillers at the workplace. It's always struck me as being absurdly silly that we have to rush about so berserkly just to sit quietly for the rest of the day.

And then we've been having this unusually scorching spell of Indian summer. Octobers up here in the mountains are usually mild, pleasant times when the monsoon rains and humid heat fade into a cool tranquility by day, and nights have us digging into our cupboards for light blankets to top up the quilts. This October has been anything but. First it was heavy relentless rains and then relentless searing sun. I've been having to slap on sunblock first thing in the morning and then forget to reapply.

One of the saddest things about life is losing loved ones who were part of your life for as long as you can remember. Last week, my cousin gave up the fight after a fierce struggle with cancer. One of nine children, of which six were boys, he was the last male to go. Two sisters are the only survivors of that brood. I remember loving going over to their house as a kid. They had this pomelo tree right outside the house which grew the best fruit ever and any time we wanted, we just had to get a fruit and feast on it. My cousins also had lots of friends and at a time when record players were costly, precious things to have, they had one with plenty of great LPs and singles. The house seemed to be always filled with people, long-haired and hip, and every visit was always truly a memorable experience. The old house still stands today but the tree is gone, as have the people and the music. And one by one, my cousins drop away like tired fallen leaves.


  1. Khawhar chhungte Pathian in awmpui se...kan duhtak ten mual min liamsan zel si thin.

  2. i thuziak ai mah chuan i thlalak khian ka mit a la. Thil dang daih ka rilru ah a lo lut khi thlalak vang khian

  3. Hey Z, really sorry to hear about your cousin. Always a sad thing to lose your loved ones. This blog is full of sorrow and sadness. I hope you are ok or will be ok soon. Time is a great healer so I guess you will just have to wait for sufficient time to pass.

    We too are suffering from Saint Martin's summer. It has been blazing hot at this end when it should have been cool. Only the evenings and mornings are very pleasant. Must be something to do with global warming or solar cycles.

    I met someone from Mizoram last week when I was in Darjeeling. Perhaps he was in your class in school. All these years I was under the impression that he was a Manipuri but turns out that he is a Mizo. I actually asked him twice! Just shows how shallow my understanding of your part of the world is.

  4. Ni e tiro, azassk, i ti lawmawm e.

    dulzagin, engchu maw? Min hrilh la chuan kan hnah thel tla tlem ka lo sem ve ang che :)

    Loch, thank you. Yes indeed, time is the greatest healer. I had no idea it could actually be "blazing" hot somehow around the Himalayas. And what was the name of the chap you met?

  5. I will send you his photo by mail. You have a dekko and let me know if you can recognise him. If you want I have some superb pictures of Kanchenjunga too. Just looking at it may cool you somewhat in the Indian summer!

    Remember we are in the low Himalaya at 1350m only so it does get hot. Add to that the heat island effect of urbanisation and you get blazing hot weather. So much so that this year I converted my fully concrete roof into a semi-green roof. It brought down the temperature in my office by 2C. However at about 2000 m it is already quite cold.

    Oh by the way, PLEASE do not put an S in Himalaya to make it plural. Himalaya by itself is plural - singular or whatever. I also hate it when your TV presenters in India mangle the pronounciation of Himalaya. They usually emphasise MA of Himalaya and instead of pronouncing it in 4 syllables they use only 3 thus: he-MA-lya instead of HE-MA-LA-YA.

  6. Ok send me the pics. Can't promise I'll know who he is though. Kanj too. What's a semi-green roof? Do you remember the song we used to sing at MH which went sth like Hemalaya ko etc etc?

  7. Sorry about your loss. Losing loved ones who'd been so much of your life is hard.

    But your pic is real lovely, so artistically apt for the post. Whatever, you are a great shot.

  8. I cousin Kima hi ka thianpa kawmngeih ve pawl tak a nia, ka ui khawp mai. A thih ni chiah khan veng danga kan chhungte thi an awm ve a, a vuinaah ka tel ta lo a. Mahse, Sept. 14 (Naupang Inkhawmpui Ni) khan ka tlawh a, inkawmna hun tha tak kan nei thei a, a hnua ka tlawh leh chuan biak theihin a awm ta lo. Tunah chuan damna kim a chang ta ni-ah ka ngai.

  9. Pictures on the way!

    Yes of course I remember "Himalaya ko...". That was the cumpulsory song for all the houses in the Eastern Music Competition ca 1974 or 1975. The lyrics and the music were by Dibya Khaling. Sadly he passed away some years ago.

    I second Mesjay's sentiments on the picture. Very appropriate. Are you into photography too or are you just a regular weekend shutterbug? With digital cameras photography is no longer and expensive hobby.

  10. What a sad post! But it's beautiful at the same time..And I'm sorry to hear about your cousin.

    The last sentence in this post somehow makes me think of Longfellow's The Rainy Day..'The vine still clings to the mouldering wall, But at every gust the dead leaves fall, And the day is dark and dreary..." I think they both conjure up the same images in my head and invoke the same emotions.. J you should write stuff like this more!

  11. Sorry to hear about your cousin, Calliopia. It sounds like you were very close to the family.

    And I can absolutely *see* you as a kid, hogging on pomelos ;)

    It certainly has been warm this October, hasn't it? Though that lovely pic of a yellowed leaf brought autumn and a whiff of lunlenna right into my room..

  12. Thank you for the words of comfort, everyone.

    mesjay, I just like having an accompanying picture that reflects the theme or thoughts of my post. This particular photo came off a biggish plant in a pot that we'd neglected in the worry over my cousin's very unstable condition and with the scorching heat we've been having lately, just about all the leaves began to wilt and fall off. So this picture represents both our over-dry Indian summer and the death in the family.

    Loch, got the pics, thank you. Am using one of the Kanches on my desktop already. Just lovely. And I'm just one of your average casual shutterbugs.

  13. samuapa, U Kima kha kan in sak chhunzawm nan bank loan te min tihpui tu ania kan tan a tangkai teh asin. An chhungkua hrim hrim hi an vanduai lutuk hi a hrilhaithlak deuh thin.

    Jerusha, to be honest, sometimes I think my posts are too morbid and depressing and I wish I could come up with more cheerful, light posts like everyone else!

    monazo, I still love pomelos though the "teeths" can't take as much of all that acidity as they used to *sigh*

  14. Nothing feels worse than losing a loved one. Unfortunately, it also happens to be one of the bitter truths of this life we have been strapped in...

    So sorry.

  15. First, sorry for being late
    Second, sad to hear about your cousin, my condolence to you and all the loved ones he left behind.
    Third, about the unusual climate, i think this global warming thing is also catching us, i hope it leaves no further effect then the heat.
    Last, In va exam hma bik ve. Chawlh a rei dawn a nimai alom. Sometimes i fell pity for you English teachers 'cos of the work load in checking answer papers. Class test pawh conduct mai mai chi loh!

  16. Hey Amen to all you said: work-wise, weather-wise, skipping breakfast, losing loved ones. Guess there's something to be said about being in the same profession! My condolences to the bereaved family.

  17. With open arms, I express my condolences once again. Sometimes its not the dead we cry for, but the memories of the dead. Cherish every memories from pomelo trees to record players, dear u J, and that is how the dead would also like us to remember them for. For them, that would be the highest honor we could bestow upon them.

  18. Kim, I actually had tears in my eyes as I read what you wrote. Yes, I agree the dead would prefer us to remember and dwell on the happy memories rather than the painful.

    Strange, isn't it, DBD, that our recent experiences are so similar? Btw skipping breakfast is really bad for the stomach. And knowing the eating joints at your place of work, I'm not surprised you stay so slim and trim. Or do you pack tiffins to work?

    vana, nia nangpoh makpa interview in i buai tih report ka dawng tlat mai heehee. Chu chu lom, kan exam hma bik vuah vuah ltk a, course kan zo hman lo chiang kuang ltk. Chi loh khop mai.

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  20. My dear Mr Singh, if you had gone through my posts with any real attention, you'd have immediately realised that I am completely apolitical - read not in the least bit interested in politics, local or otherwise. So thanks but definitely no thanks.

  21. ah, summer! i miss it so much. where i stay, it's always so cold and wet and cloudy that you forget what summer is like anymore. a depressing weather, i tell you. you rarely ever see sun...atleast not for the past two weeks.

  22. Sorry about that, anna, but over the last couple of days the weather changed and it's now cold, wet and v-e-r-y windy here too. We're now in knee-deep woollies :)

  23. im so sorry about ur cousin brother...may his soul rest in peace...

    tloh loh chhung in i blog rong a lo dang ta vek mai :) ....

    vaipa khi a mong a mirh chem chem ngot ang chu :D

  24. duls, thank you, ka van hmu tlai em em!

    virgo, thanks. Mawl hmuar plus min rawn chungtlak em nih khi khi vaia khi :P