Wednesday, January 20, 2021

A Letter and an Apology & Small City of Small Wonders - Candle Vanrempuii

 A Letter and an Apology

Today I found a letter you wrote in an old notebook of mine.

It broke my heart just picturing you write it alone at night, in the room we used to share, while I was away.

It was a resignation letter addressed to the owner of Genesis.

You wrote about how your health has been an ongoing problem for you and I'm pretty sure you meant your mental health.

You wrote about how you needed to take more days off than the 12 days Casual Leave you are allowed to take a year.

You wrote about how you've caused a great inconvenience for your colleagues and how it was unfair for them.

You thanked your employer for having helped you in your professional life and personal life.

You thanked everyone there for welcoming you to be part of their family and how much you've learnt not only as a laboratory technician but also as a person.

I picture you writing all these things.

I picture you alone.


At night.

Scribbling down a resignation letter you would not send.

I wish I had been there

To tell you you're not alone and that we will deal with your health issues together.

To tell you you've made a grammatical mistake here and there.

To hold you and tell you everything will be alright and that I have got you and you need not be scared.

I would've written a better letter than that -

one that isn't as humble or as thankful.

I'm so sorry I didn't.



Small City of Small Wonders

 I live in a city which is often taken for granted and criticised for quite a lot of things.

A city which always seems to be hated for what there is to hate and never seems to be loved for what there is to love.

This is a city where -

I see the bus stop sign lean on a middle aged beggar who has quarrels with a supposed friend we cannot see.

I see an old lady who sits on a plastic chair on a public step sunbathing

Her hair shining  like silver against the winter sunlight.

I see an old man who wears an awkward little hat the looks of which he pulls off anyway, most probably owing to age

Whom I told I fancied his fashion sense that one time I had the chance.

I see a determined old man who irons every single paper money he receives from his small ei chawp dawr¹

I see successful old men marry young beautiful women and be criticised for doing so

Just as I see successful old women marry their young handsome drivers and be criticised for the same

But I have also seen both overcome the criticisms and build beautiful families.

I see old men with whom we can share taxi cabs give away handshakes at the time of a pandemic as blessings to youngsters that educate them on it.

I see educated and well intentioned men love this land so much so that they squander their entire life earnings to become politicians for the people and fail, my grandfather was one of them;

And I also see corrupt men rich with dirty money and a mouthful of shit successfully become politicians for the people.

I see a person tell me I will outgrow writing about love with age and I see myself outgrowing that person instead.

This is a city where -

There is a man who has written the entire English Dictionary by hand because he couldn't afford one and he happens to be my uncle.

There is another man who has not only read the Bible but written It in Its entirety again by hand and he also happens to be another uncle.

There are people who read their Bibles in the secrecy and sanctity of their bedrooms without people having the slightest hint.

There are kind old ladies- mother to local artists like tailors and musicians who do not know what further to do with their talents- who shopkeep for their daughters while they're in labour and their sons while they're away. These kind old ladies have mean negotiations with other kind old ladies and agree on a price that makes the two of them smile, my grandmother was also one of both.

Gardening is not yet a profession

and there are people like myself who love that it isn't because it means that every single flower or plant or shrub you see within this city are either planted and nurtured by hands that love them

or that they are strong enough to withstand the world and its cruelties on their own and that they beat the odds that so often are not in the favour of us all.

This is the city that mourns and cries with a single voice in chorus for a man who lost his life to the love of his life in the blink of four innocent eyes and he also happens to be another uncle of mine.

No October sunsets are as beautiful as the ones in the city of Aizawl and this is coming from a person who has not even been to every state and UT in India.

It has taken me 22 years to realise that there will never be October sunsets as beautiful as the ones in this city no matter how many states or countries I go to.

This is a city often taken for granted.

This small city of small wonders.

If there ever is a place where the god of small things lives

and survives

I am convinced it is in this small city of small wonders.

So often taken for granted

It's no surprise that so many of us take after you.

But in you I see what there is to love and what there is to hate but I chose to love you for whatever there is to love.

You choose to do the same and you choose to be my home.

And I choose to be the same.

And I hope one day we find a person who looks at us and sees in us what I see in you now that I've turned 22.

¹ a grocery

Candle Vanrempuii has been off the poetry writing grid for some time since bringing out her first book Evermore two years ago. We're really happy to have her back with these two new poems written in her inimitable first person narrative style that draws you in and makes you feel like a confidant to her deepest thoughts and observations.