stump play

played cricket with a 7-year-old today
he told me,
“you should hit the stumps,
and i will be out”

i loved the challenge,
i bowled him out.
my turn to bat,
got duck out!

in about half an hour,
his brother came out with a football.
we switched sports,
he used his stumps for the goal post.

new avatar for shillong’s bob dylan

Last week, the sports page of The Shillong Times was wholly dedicated for an ad that was soon to be seen across shillong town. The one and only Bob Dylan of this town was the new face/ poster-child for Star cement.
While the rest of the world knows him for his undoubted rockstar image… jean shorts and sleeveless t-shirts (which he probably cut it off himself); his colorful mis-matched socks and the Tibetan boots have made their marks as well.
What most people fail to mention are his tight-tanned thighs and bulky arms as if he’s been working out all his life. (but again, that could be a result of him walking all across shillong town… in many ways he is also the weather indicator for shillongites as people genuinely agree that the weather is freezing when lou majaw aka shillong’s bob dylan is not wearing his shorts).
In my opinion, the only people to notice the fittest man in shillong town are the star cement- solid setting folks and they have chosen the right man for the right job. Despite the fact that it is only his face that finds space in the frame, the ad people could’ve used different angles and composition to make the adverts a more convincing affair.
Regardless, this post is for the one solid man; both in physique and his music hailing from the abode of clouds.

Impact of Development on the Hmars…

Photo by Immanuel Zarzosang Varte

lmmanuel has been working on the above topic among the Hmars of Tipaimukh in Churachandpur, Manipur for his PhD thesis. Today was his pre-submission seminar and the above photograph was included in his slide presentation. The photo was taken by the researcher himself and has also won an honorable mention in a UN website already.

Because the above picture is so powerful, I wanted my friends to see it, and sought permission from the photographer to use it in my blog today.

For those unaware, Hmars are a tribal group hailing from North-East India. They could very well qualify as James C. Scott’s Zomia from ‘The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia’ but Zomia ends where the hills of Northeast India starts.

Zomia is a new name for virtually all the lands at altitudes above roughly three hundred metres all the way from the Central Highlands of Vietnam to northeastern India and traversing five Southeast Asian nations (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Burma) and four provinces of China (Yunan, Guizhou, Guangxi, and parts of Sichuan)

Immanuel is a Hmar and his is an emic perspective on development among his own people. (Btw, that is a major trend in Northeast India, for tribal scholars to be working among their own tribal communities) To get a better understanding of the Hmar tribe, one needs a clear-cut picture of Northeast India. In Scott’s words Northeast is very much a Zomia.

Zomia is knitted together as a region not by a political unity, which it utterly lacks, but by comparable patterns of diverse hill agriculture, dispersal and mobility, and rough egalitarianism, which, not incidentally, includes a relatively higher status for women than in the valleys.

When India became a nation-state in 1947, these self-governing “nonstate” societies in Northeast India were compelled to be a part of the Indian union and have since been marginalized in many ways. It is a commendable effort by Immanuel Zarzosang Varte to explore the issues and challenges from many fronts. In case you want to read more on his works, he is an occasional blogger on sura.

forest fire nostalgia~

there was once a forest fire
which got bigger and bigger
we formed a human chain

from the youngest to the strongest

we passed water
in mugs and buckets
we worked together
till the flames turned to ashes

today’s forest fire
had suffocating air
thankfully, it didn’t come up
above the barbed wires.