“It was a country where widows or orphans never lacked helping hands. Even the poorest could bury their heads in their own homes by merely expressing the wish even if that meant a four or five days’ journey. No dacoit party even existed nor did locks adorn the doors of the villages. Even the so-called criminals were so faithful and honest that their guards could leave them alone in jungles to collect firewood while they went about their own business. Never was it necessary, in the entire history of administration(in Mizoram), to impose curfew on the citizens before the 1966 uprising.”(The Mizo Uprising by Dr. J. V Hluna and Rini Tochhawng).
My Dear Mizoram, I don’t know if it was the way you welcomed me with a sight of stars sprawled on a valley when our motor crossed Durtlang Leitan and how the world started to look like a painting come to life when we stepped into your lands. I don’t know if it is because my father chose a spot of land out of your sprawling 21,087 square kilometers that is surrounded by nothing but blue skies and green trees. I don’t know, if it is because you woke me up everyday to the sight of a photographer’s dream shots, but you have my heart.
I can’t quite figure out if it was the way the bells chimed on Saturday and Sunday mornings and it seemed like all the people of Mizoram do in weekends is pray and sing and join the chorus of the winds and trees in praising the Lord. I don’t know Mizoram, if it was those early morning sticky bread and puri combos and the sa-tui-leih noodles at second-hand stalls that beats every other combo at CCD or Mc-D. If it was the way my heart shook with each beat of the drum as we sang on into the night when there was a bereaved family in the locality. Or was it the purple glow of the sunsets on winter evenings and the way the moon lighted my way home on late night Octobers, because I can’t get you out of my head.
Maybe it is your charm Mizoram. How you have instigated the essence of tlawmngaihna in every Mizo soul. How you dispel an atmosphere of trust and serenity on every mile of the road. Maybe it is how beautiful and faultless your heart is, that it is still plausible for a state to mourn for a death by murder which shakes the roots of every individual like it happened at their doors while the cities beyond your borders look at murder only as a headline. Maybe it is the way ration supplies and community talks are spread over the hills through microphones, where every house around you hears what you hear and sighs with your sighs, because Mizoram, you are always on my mind.
Could it be your winters? How the clouds seem to descend to meet the mountains and adorn the people of the hills in its white glory for miles. When every house would have sikri’s by the sofa as they watch LPS news at 7:30. How Christmas smells like firewood and flaming charcoal come November. How summers shed light to the glory of the mountains we call home and how mildly the sun directs its rays at you, like you were a special people it is afraid to hurt. I think it is how the heavens just seem so much nearer when I am with you Mizoram because you never cease to amaze me.
Dear Mizoram, I hope you know, that you have a view worth falling in love with at first sight. Mornings blue skies and seas of cotton clouds, evenings triple-coloured sunsets, the nights pristine star-lit sky and hills ornamented like a Christmas tree. A Mizo that steps out of the state borders automatically becomes the personification of Mizoram tourism. To every foreign ear, we praise you for your rights and hide your scars under the lustrous landscapes like a protective mother for her child, because that’s how much we love you.
Mizoram, I think each one of us takes a piece of you with us wherever we go. Beyond the oceans and across state borders we try to keep you alive with cultures you have imbibed in us, hoping people will feel the presence of tlawngaihna even though they have never heard of the word.
I am most grateful Mizoram, that I got to know you well enough to miss you. That I have a land to call home. And even though I am not with you, my first thought when I walk out the door is to make you proud and I hope you know that I can’t wait, I can’t wait to come home to you.
A proud citizen
(originally published in the The Mizo Magazine)