Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A very simple life story

I know exactly where the sun rises. The sky turns yellow over the mountain, then the sun appears in between the guava tree and the thatch house. Wait for minute, now, it is in front of the house. It is time for breakfast.

I washed my face and took my pot home. As the water in the kettle started to sing, I have finished cleaning rice. I replaced the kettle from the fire place with the rice pot and added some firewood. With a cup of strong tea, I went round my house, strolling leisurely as I thought of what I'll do today. Hmmm... I'll check if the water channel to the paddy field is functioning. Then I'll dig fish holes and weave a new net at the outlet. On my way back, I must remember to collect some dry woods and mushrooms.

Whistling my favourite tunes, I packed my Tiffin and walked down towards the paddy field. It is a long two hours walk. The paddy field is on the river bank. After my day's work, I got some extra time and I did some fishing in the river and took a bath.
By the time I returned home, the sun was setting. I cooked dinner- fish and mushroom, and shared some with my neighbour as we chatted about our day's work. I was tired and went to bed early. After all, I've to wake early and go down to the pool to watch the sunrise.
RIMS, Imphal 2004

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Very romantic love story

(A Silly Short story written while in Imphal, posted for an online short story writing competition. It was ignored)

Jack gets butterflies in his stomach whenever he sees Rose pass by his house on her way to school. He loved her so much.

But he never let his feelings show for fear of rejection. He couldn't afford to make a mistake. She was just too precious to lose. An illiterate boy from a humble background; he didn't see a second chance coming once he blew it.

To make the story interesting, Rose also had deep feelings for Jack. But what can a girl possibly do to initiate an affair, she thought. She can only give positive responses if she sees any move coming.
One fine morning, Jack was splitting firewood in front of his house when Rose came by. He knew when she will come. It was a very bold move for he can see her and even talk to her. No more hiding and peeping through the window curtain this time.

His heart started racing, now, he was sweating. He had hardly worked for two minutes; and he couldn't look up. Just when he raised his axe, she greeted him from behind,

"Morning, Jack".
Everything became dark and he missed his spot. The firewood flew like a rocket as he screamed,

“Watch out!”

She escaped by an inch as she bent low, with her hands covering her ears.

“I’m sorry, are you OK?”

“I’m OK”

“I’m so sorry, that wouldn’t happen again. It was my fault, uh; I’ll get the axe repaired”.

“No, the fault was mine, I must’ve scared you”.

“Err… Have a nice day”.

“You too…”

Jack didn’t turn back; he tiptoed back to his bedroom and bolted the door. He jumped onto his bed and started punching his pillow.

“Damn, damn it, damn”.

He could’ve knocked out Mohammed Ali at his best.

Rose also did not look back and she had a bad day at school. The teacher twice caught her dreaming and staring at nothing.

To cut the story short, they got married- though Jack never gathered enough courage to propose her. It was an arranged marriage. Many thanks to their parents who reignited their love which ran out of fuel.

So, what do we have here? We have about Jack and Rose, a romantic love story which began after marriage. Actually

RIMS, Imphal, 2005

Friday, June 20, 2008

On abortion in Nagaland

She breathed a sigh of relief. She said to herself, "Now that I have finally got rid of the problem, I will forget and leave behind whatever has happened and start a new life. And yes, I will be careful in the future. But well, no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. It’s is not a big deal. But as she lies down to sleep that night, it all came back:
Flashes of light, the nurse standing by her side, and the doctor scraping out the content of her womb.

"I made the right decision, it could have been worse", she reassured herself. Her parents have made it very clear what will happen to her reputation and family’s prestige if she will not do it. They have been a tower of strength and support and even accompanied her to the clinic.

The next day, and from then on, nobody in the family mentions a word about it anymore. Everybody has moved on and so has she; well, in a big way externally, though deep inside, life has never been the same; something’s not quite right. When she sees her friends with babies, she imagines what hers would have looked like. Come Christmas, New Year or some important date, and her heart would sink to think, "Had my baby been alive, he/she would be 8 months old this Christmas". When he sees the guy who made her pregnant, and thinks of what she has done with the pregnancy, it feels like ‘double defeat’. It comes back:
Flashes of light, the nurse standing by her side, and the doctor scraping out the content of her womb.

The experience of the lady in the story is only an example of a thousand more. Stories like this go untold. Surveys and official statistics can give only rough estimates and they can be much skewed. A local paper reported that at least 150-200 abortions are done daily in and around Dimapur. That means a combined population of Zunheboto and Wokha towns (as per 2001 census) is wiped out in Dimapur every year. The number here is debatable, but it is beyond a doubt that abortion is a menace to our society.

Exasperated, I asked a friend, "Where are the voices of our fellow Christians and Christian doctors? Why are the church leaders silent? He replied, "Because their daughters do it". That is a harsh reply, but we certainly are not speaking out loud enough and our complacency sends out signals that we are OK with it.

Christians are called to stand for the weak and the vulnerable (James 1:27). Early Christians would bring home and take care of the infants thrown out with the garbage in the streets of Rome. Reverence for human life not by virtue of utility, but by virtue of existence is a primary mark of Christianity. Everybody is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26); an unborn child is loved and known by God (Psalms 139) and has the basic right to live. This takes precedence over matters of mother’s rights and the politics and sociology of abortion much debated about. There are difficult situations like, ‘the mother’s life or the baby’s’. But this account to only 0.013% of all abortions in the UK which I guess will be no different here in Nagaland.

There is so much that we can do. There are enough birth control measures to which the church do not object: Barrier methods (e.g. Condoms), Intra-Uterine Devices (e.g. Copper T), Oral Contraceptive Pills (except morning-after pills), sterilization procedures (e.g. Vasectomy in males). If the church promotes these things, are they too ‘secular’, too ‘fleshy’ that the church’s attention will be diverted from the more important ‘spiritual’ matters? What if the church and society work to provide counseling, child adoption facilities and creating an environment where single mothers are accepted and respected?

Finally, I appeal to the doctors who perform MTP in good faith or as a profit making business. I’d like you to consider these four clinical cases that appeared in Christian Medical Forum, UK website. Imagine that these cases come to you in your clinic. Would you consider or even recommend abortion?

Case one: A pastor and his wife, who are extremely poor, have 14 children and mounting debt, are now expecting their 15th child.

Case two: A family in which the father has pneumonia and the mother is suffering from tuberculosis. The couple is struggling to look after their three remaining children following the death of the second eldest sibling. Additionally, their history reveals that one of the children is deaf, another blind and the third has tuberculosis. The mother has discovered that she is pregnant.

Case three: A 13-year-old black girl who presents two months after being raped by a white male. The pregnancy test is positive. And her parents ask for your opinion.

Case four: An unmarried pregnant teenager whose fiancé is not the father of the baby and is very upset.

If you have answered ‘yes’ in any of these situations, you have just sanctioned the death of:

Case one: John Wesley, one of the greatest evangelists of the 19th century.
Case two: Ludwig van Beethoven
Case three: Ethel Waters, the great black gospel singer
Case four: Jesus Christ!

Indra Vihar, 2008