Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Lost Parchment* - Mafaa Hauhnar

The parchment is gone -
lost in the abyss of time and space;
Some mongrel dog ran off with it.

The parchment of leather
in which were recorded -
the valour and valiance
of our lionhearted lads;
the boundless beauty
of our luscious ladies.
the voices and visions
of our poets and prophets;
the wit and wisdom
of our saints and sages.

The scroll of time
in which were scripted
the time when
the steadfast spirit of Tlawmngaihna **-
the flower of life*** -
burst into full bloom
under the cerulean Mizoram skies;

The time when
women and children,
faces flushed with freedom,
stood stalwart and tall
like the mighty Mount Phawngpui****
casting vast shadows
across the plains.

The parchment in which
words like
gallantry and chivalry
altruism and heroism
trustworthiness and selflessness
were used
as the lynchpin of society.

But now that parchment of ours is gone
and our vocabulary
is dying like embers
in the deep folds of our heart.

Streams of our lexicon
word by wondrous word
fall out
by bits
and jots
and pieces.

Fingers can no longer feel
the pen mark or ink spot anymore.

Deluded by the canopy
of pitch-black dark,
we are tossed
like a tiny boat on an open sea.

How can we survive
in an ark that seems

If only we could cling
to our parchment
like a lifebelt
to keep us afloat.

Now I sit myself down
among my own wreckage,
staring out into
the retreating horizon
of its presence.



*According to the Mizo legend, the legendary Thlanrawkpa gifted the Mizo with a leather parchment saying, “Treasure this with great care for within it is nourishment and riches and all the knowledge to quench your thirst.” The Mizo carelessly left his gift in a front porch, from where a hungry dog picked it up and took it away.

**Tlawmngaihna = The Mizo highest code of morals, the spirit of self-sacrifice and self-denial.

***the flower of life = an epithet coined by the famous Mizo songwriter Rokunga in his song “Aw tlawmngaihna hlu, Aw nunna par” (O Precious tlawmngaihna, O flower of life)

****Phawngpui =  The highest mountain peak in Mizoram, considered to be the abode of the gods.

Mafaa Hauhnar is one of contemporary Mizo literature's most well-known names, having published several volumes of poetry, critical essays and creative prose works. His publications are invariably bestsellers, trademarked by quirkily witty turns of phrases and puns, as well as a healthy infusion of humour which often neutralizes the sometimes acerbic social satire.  He regularly makes appearances at seminars and writers' meets across the country, and on Mizo television reality shows as celebrity judge. While most of his work is in Mizo, unlike most of his contemporaries he also occasionally writes in English. He is presently editor executive at ZOlife, a well established monthly magazine based in Aizawl.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

If this is January - Zualteii Poonte

January is the slow, quiet time of year
when we sit back and relax
after the rush of the Christmas season
and bask in the sun, warming our backs
and eating sweet oranges.

Not a time when crime explodes in our faces:
when young men go missing
and their bloated, blackened corpses are found
and skinny young dark men arrested
and charged nine long days later¹.
When carnage runs wild, free as blood
as crazed men burst into houses
and slash you to death with
a butcher's knife,
when in a family of six,
five coffins are lined up
the next day².
And on the streets and social media,
church-going people 
for vengeance and retribution

and taking the law into their own hands.

If this is January
slow, quiet January
I dread what summer will bring.

¹ On the night of the 31st December 2014, a young man was reported missing with his two-wheeler. After wide searches by the YMA, his dead body was found eight days later. The next evening, his vehicle was found and its supposed owner admitted to the theft and killing.

² Around 7.30 pm of the 9th January 2015, a family of six were confronted in their own home by a knife-wielding man. Five died instantly in the horrific assault that rocked Mizoram. The assailant was believed to be on meth.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Happy New Year - Lalnunsanga

Every year, there is this day where the whole world agrees together to hope.
Though memory and history proves that most times than not, nothing much changes or happens but the year passes as similar to the year before, yet we hope.
Determined or desperate that the new year will bring with it all bounty and riches, we hope. 
For a brief moment, we deny the numbness of habit and existence to influence us to cynicism and we hope. 
For this day we leave being an adult and like children believe in magic and miracles and hope. 
It was the best of times, it was the worse of was very much like today, we hope. 
And with this fervour of possibilities spread across a sparkling sky, let me hope
To friends and family, blood or thicker than, happy new year
To neighbours, next door and the next and the next, happy new year
To thieves, in cloaks or corporate suits both, happy new year 
To terrorists, with guns or economic policies both, happy new year
To you, hypocritical lower middle class self righteous poet, happy new year
To God, yours and mine both, happy new year (P.S. You really need better P.R.O.s)