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Friday, December 29, 2006

Boxing Day and the following days

The first day after Christmas is called the Boxing Day. The day originated in England. It is a significant day that follows Christmas. On Boxing Day, the rich and haves of the society take time to present their employees who worked for them even during Christmas. These presents, which are Christmas leftovers, were made in boxes, giving a name to the day.

Back home, in our land, the Boxing Day is still Christmas. It is the second day of Christmas. But good that we did not have the Boxing Day. The good thing is that we do not get to wrap leftover food in boxes to present it to the poor and needy. It is not that we do not have leftovers. Eventhough secondhand clothes suit our taste, economy and fashion quest, the leftover foods are not seen as something to be presented. Is that because our foods are not wrappable? Or is that because leftovers are leftovers? Not presentable. The rich, the not so rich and everyone could feast together once again in celebration of Christmas on the Boxing Day, which is more a leftover day.

I was once into a discussion on where the leftover foods, which Jesus fed to the five thousand men, not counting women and children then, on the mount of Olive must have gone. It was a difficult attempt, as it was not recorded in the Bible. Did they go rotten or presented? It was not written that way either. All that we could say was, Peter must have taken them on his fishing trip. But what is important here is that the poor and haves- not of the society also get to be fed or celebrated on the same day that is supposed to have collective significance. If the trend becomes a popular one, it would be disheartening to see the poor and needy giving more importance to the Boxing Day than Christmas itself. That would be very un-Christian. Or very un-Christmas.

Friends from Tipaimukh Hills often told me about their extended Christmas celebrations that sometimes stretched till the fifth, sometimes tenth of January of the next year. There was no Boxing Day to brake their extended Christmas celebrations. Even the poor and needy contribute their chicken and pig for the unending celebrations. When the rich and haves in England were generously giving out their “leftovers” as presents, our folks in the hills and mountains of Tipaimukh gave whatever they own or possessed to celebrate the birth of the Son of Man. The longer it gets the louder the song was sung. The louder the song was sung, the wilder the dances turns to. That goes a long way to fulfil the long awaited season and reason.

The giving spirit is still so different. Jesus much concern was centred on this issue too. The Pharisee’s giving and the poor old woman’s giving was a big lesson in The Book. That has to say that it is not merely about giving. There is more to it than just giving, which goes beyond the man and human within us. Imagine receiving a Boxing Day present? That would raise too many questions, which is why I could not send you any. But the day follows for good and I say, “Blessed be the New Year to you.”

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Laltuoklien: The Romantic Rocker

Laltuoklien songs fume with the battered tones of shattered romance and relationships. That relationship, with not just a woman, but women happens to be the resource of his songs, which he memorized to mesmerized his audience. His songs, particularly the love songs, speak about his immense love for the woman and relationship, which he, at one point of time hated with regrets. “It would be a great inconvenience to live this world without woman,” said Laltuoklien. If the Word had not say, “It is not good for man to be alone,” Laltuoklien would have made a chorus out of that. “ Without woman,” Laltuoklien said, “The world would limp with strange passion in the quest for that incomplete inconvenience, which man will never understand for himself,” What will be beautiful, then, without woman? He popped, “The beast.”

For a man who learned to appreciate the beauty of woman when he was barely fifteen years of age, it is no surprise that his songs reflects his experience of the rock bottom and peak of love and hate for the Eves tribe who bleeded him blue. However, the sweet misery turns out to be his biggest resource. They actually transform the hopping lover to a composer whose poetic derivations springs strongest from the bruise and scars of the relationships he had with many of his lover. His first love was a girl from Taithu village, Tipaimukh, Churachandpur. He courted her for two years and married her. “My love was the one with the biggest thigh and breast in the whole village,” Laltuoklien said. Those assets are what he called “beautiful” in a woman.

Cupid striked the young lover in his jhum field, where the “beautiful affair” bended his strong knees kneeling. “I was a changed man once and for all when I learnt to love,” Laltuoklien said. The farmer rocker who had loved the most beautiful woman from different villages in Manipur and Mizoram has married three women. The veteran lover, however, is still in the quest for defining love. “Love is,” he said, “about just loving, happiness, contentment, and meekness.” Laltuoklien did not ignore the undeniable presence of the seed of the passion of flesh and blood in love. He believed that love glows with all its beauty with that passion. Laltuoklien, the son of Adam, believes that man would be a poor lover without the strength of what he called “flesh and blood.”

“I have courted many woman and many words need not be said to win them. I really have nothing to advertise myself with. So I used to say the three most important words to them.” Guess not the three most important words. They sound so common to win the queen of the village hearts. But that makes it all for the king of Sinlung rock and blues as the strongest weapon. “The three words can melt the heart,” Laltuoklien said with the youthful confidence.

The lover rocker cannot imagine life without woman. If women were suddenly removed from the surface of the earth, Laltuoklien said, “The world will grow dim and dark and man will groan in loneliness.” That is the most painful situation the farmer rocker could imagine here on earth. Laltuoklien believes that old flame die-hard. For his many lovers, he still treasure the softest corner, which he did not dare call it love. He said that there is a word called “faithfulness,” which everyman should uphold with a wife. The pandering game sets out of his life as he is happily married to Ramdinthar, his wife, with four kids. “All that it was, it was love. But now, it is love. That’s the difference?” Laltuoklien said of his past and present.

(02 December 2006, New Delhi)