Thursday, July 25, 2013

Writing at the speed of thought

my beautiful pfutsero (July 2012)
What do you do when you want to write but you have nothing to write? What do you do when you want to write something thoughtful but you can’t think of anything? This is what you can do: You start to write that you want to write but you can’t think of anything to write. And so you keep on writing whatever comes to mind although they may not be making much sense. You don’t pause to think, but you just keep on typing away. No. You don’t stop to think. You just let your fingers roll over the keyboard. Now. What do you have? You already have a paragraph. Wonderful. Now, you press Enter and start the next paragraph.

Ok. A new paragraph and nothing yet to write about. Ok. How did you spend your day today? I went to hospital to look after a sick relative who was operated yesterday. Ok. I’m into something. I don’t know if this relative of mine should be called ‘cousin’. I’m really bad at this. I don’t know who to call a cousin, a nephew, a niece. I even get confused about uncles and aunties. I once called someone in my village ‘father’ (not biological father, of course) when I should be calling him ‘grandfather’. I remember I have looked up in the dictionary sometime back. But I still can’t make out the difference. A relative. Let’s stop at that. If I’m asked how we are related, let me say that it is from my dad’s side. My dad and his dad were relatives and so, we are relatives. After going to the hospital, I went to office. I did a lot of work today. I wrote the meeting minutes of the meeting that was held two days back. Yesterday, I couldn’t go to office as the relative was operated in the hospital. Now back to the meeting. The meeting was about the monitoring and supervision visits that medical directorate officers undertake. I have been in-charge, making the tour calendars and analyzing the monitoring reports that the touring officers bring back from the field. Let’s not go into the details of the meeting, shall we? This is just an outline of how I spent my day. And I sent a lot of emails to colleagues in the 11 districts of Nagaland. 

After coming from office, I fixed my television antenna. After the heavy monsoon rain, I’ve not been getting signals for a lot of channels on my TV. So, how did I fix it? By simply shaking the TataSky dish. It worked, although some channels are still not clear. Then I went to see how the relative has been doing after he got discharged from the hospital. He’s much better. But so eager to come home from hospital, they forgot to buy the medicines. So, it was already dark but I had to go to a pharmacy in town to buy the medicines. After dinner, I read a wonderful piece of article that a friend in Cranfield University, UK wrote. He’s going to present it in a seminar and is thinking of publishing it. I encouraged him (through email) to publish it. After that, I did a little office work but stopped myself thinking that should be all for the day. Then, still having some time before I hit the sack, I wanted to write something. And that is when I landed up in this writing exercise that I am doing right now.

This method of writing is called, ‘writing at the speed of thought’. Especially when you have mental block (I won’t say ‘Writer’s Block, for I don’t consider myself a Writer yet), it is really, really useful. When I started writing, I wanted to write something great. I wrote a few sentences but deleted them as they were leading me nowhere. I come across such times very often; starring at a clean MS Word page for minutes and going nowhere. Now, with this exercise, I have not gone anywhere far. But at least I have over 600 words written in a few minutes and a kind of good feeling about myself. Not a bad way to end the day.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Isn't it sad

Isn't it sad
To have something worth dying for
Which you know you will never have

Monday, July 15, 2013

Saturday, July 13, 2013

After I die

Saramati Apples, Thanamir village, Nagaland

Once there lived a boy who grew to be a man.
He started a family and lived in a farm.
He grew apples to support his family.
He died. His children buried him under an apple tree.

To associate the life of a man with growing apples is a nice thing.
After I die, what will people think of when they think of me?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A personal tour through Nagaland

1. Kiphire
 Today, 10th July 2013, is a special day for me. I came back from Peren this evening. That completes the tour to all the district headquarters of Nagaland. In January 2013, I managed to step foot in all the 11 districts but only today could I visit the HQ of Peren district. Let me quickly run through each of the districts through the lens of camera.

Photo 1: Kiphire district, Pungro subdivision in particular is close to my heart. After my studies from Delhi, I decided to work in the Eastern side of Nagaland and landed in Pungro Community Health Centre. This was where I learned lessons in life that I could not find in books. It taught me first hand about the realities of rural Naga life. I enjoyed the trips to villages where I spoke in the church on health awareness. My first trip to Thanamir village will always be warm in my heart even if I were to live for a thousand years. After the treacherous, yet memorable journey, we climbed the 2nd Saramati the same day. This picture was taken on the way up. We organized the first Saramati Apple Festival in 2010. The story of Saramati Apple, Thanamir village, which we published in the local dailies was picked by the National newspapers. The festival has now become an annual event.
2. Zunheboto

Photo 2: Zunheboto district. It was in mid 2012 when I joined the malaria program that I came here with State Program Officer. The photo is that of the office of the Chief Medical Officer, Zunheboto district, of the 21st century!!

 Photo 3:  Phek district. I'm from Phek district. So, I have lots of photos from home. But I chose this photo because it is amusing to me. As this blog post is not generally about the districts of Nagaland, but more of a personal journey, I have the liberty to put this photo up. Should I reveal the identity of the person in the picture? Let me not. I went to a village to preach on a special sunday, as deputed by the Chakhesang Mission Society. So, here I am on the pulpit (not in the photo), giving a fiery sermon on the mission of God. But lo, my friend later showed me this beautiful picture of the pastor dozing off during my sermon.

3. Phek district

Photo 4: Tuensang district. I have been searching for a good picture of a thatched house for this blog. But also not just a thatched house, but one which is on the top of a mountain to go with the description of this blog. So, I have been trying to locate a good one during my travels. When I came across this one on my way from Tuensang during Polio duty in January 2013, I said to my driver, 'stop', 'stop'. I knew I have found 'it'. Although I change my blog photo once in a  while, this is 'it'.

4. Tuensang

Photo 5: Wokha district. I don't have many photos from Wokha yet. Except for passing through, I'm yet to tour the district. The picture is that of the Doyang river in winter. The hydro project, and the fishes are what come to mind.

5. Wokha
6. Dimapur

Photo 6. Dimapur district. a frequently visited district but all I could get is this jack fruit photo of April 2013.

Photo 7. Mon district. Mon, I think is a fast progressing district in Nagaland. In the 2011 census, child sex ratio was found to be low in Mon, particularly in Chen and Phomching circles. We chose Chen for a survey and visited the villages in the circle. This photo is from Chen HQ. It was chosen as the cover photo for the Study Report.
7. Mon

Photo 8. Mokokchung district. There is much to appreciate and learn from Mokokchung district. It may not be the same everywhere in the district but cleanliness is something other tribes can learn from the Aos. Sense of beauty is also keen in the Ao mentality. They keep things beautiful for beauty's sake and not just for utility. This place has a good view. It is a few kilometres away from the district HQ on the way to Changtonya. It is like a hotel/resort.

8. Mokokchung

Photo 9. Longleng district. The road to Longleng is the worst road to any district HQ at present. It is due to the partially done highway widening project. If the road is taken care of, Longleng should develop fast. It has the advantage that all the people of the district belong to a single tribe, Phom. Some may see that as a disadvantage for other reasons. But it does not pose conflict situations like several tribes fighting over the headquarter or an area. The community having a sense of ownership is important so that a place can develop. This photo is from Yongphang village. 
9. Longleng

Photo 10. Kohima district. I used to think that Kohima is a crowded town. Now, I'm getting used to it. This photo was clicked one rainy April evening. This is the only instance when I see a traffic jam is beautiful. 
10. Kohima

Photo 11. Peren district. It was 2011 and we were on the hunt for the cause of a disease which killed three people. The Rapid Response Team of the medical department reached Poilwa village of Peren district. It was nice experience, professionally. The disease was nailed. It was Scrub Typhus. The trip was in the news. Now, Scrub Typhus is found routinely in several districts. It probably has been there among us. We were not the first to detect it in Nagaland. But I'm sure that trip helped to create awareness in a big way, so that now, we are not scared of the disease. Another thing: I was too badly dressed for the day. Felt uncomfortable with my dressing the whole day. Another reason why I remember the day clearly to this day.
11. Peren

Monday, July 8, 2013


Come up with me
To the top of Tsazu
Come, sit still by me
And listen to the wind

Let it blow against your face
Let it blow away your pain