Saturday, January 11, 2014

Time Pass

Drawing hearts on paper
And thinking about you
This has become
My favorite Time Pass

Friday, January 10, 2014

Chokri Area Wrestling, Kikruma, 8th January 2014



On 8th January, All roads in Chokri Area led to Kikruma village for the 25th Session of Chokri Area Wrestling Association (CAWA). The Chief Guest, Chotisuh Sazo came to inaugurate the memorial stone at 8:30 am at Government High School ground. But that is not where the action was. The anxious crowd had gathered at the St. Peters’ School ground. The excitement and the eagerness to see action was palpable. The prolonged delay in between was met with shouts of, ‘come on, we want to see wrestling’.  We love wrestling. And not just any wrestling, we want Naga Style Wrestling. When the third round was followed by National Style wrestling, people started to leave. The Chief Guest in his wonderful speech had appealed to give importance to National Style as well because that can take one to national and international levels. But our hearts and emotions are with Naga Style. 

Oath taking
Before I go on too long with the introduction and the side stories, let’s hear how it went. The first bout was between Khruzoto Tetseo of Khulazu Basa and Thepukhoyi Swuro of Chetheba. Chief Guest blew the whistle and the wrestlers wasted little time to ‘go for it’ which the crowd loved. Khruzoto went for the right heel of Thepukhoyi and succeeded to nail him. It was not a close fight. He won both the bouts and earned maximum possible points of 6. Due to my poor wrestling knowledge, I haven’t noticed by then that Khruzoto might emerge as the runner up of the competition. He weighs 80 kg, and stands tall at 6 feet. He is only 19 and still has years to go. The wresters, by the way, look smaller in the arena but as you look at the Wrestlers’ Profile, my God, almost all of them are taller than me (an average Naga who thinks he’s not short). Six of the wrestlers are 6 feet or above. The heaviest was Mudovoyo Kezo from Kikruma weighing 100 kgs. There were 12 wrestlers out of 33 (Naga Style) weighing 80 kg or more. We have the built (although that’s not everything).

The Second pair was Vezhopo Chuzho of Phusachodu and Pfusato Tetseo of Khulazu Bawe. The respect for each other was too much, more of the former for the later I guess (don’t judge me, just sounding an opinion) that it ended in a tame draw. Both are senior wrestlers and Pfusato was Hornbill Wrestling champion. It is said that being a former champion makes one’s life harder in the ring. Sort that out for yourself. I have been looking forward to seeing the heaviest man wrestle, Mudovoyo Kezo. He made it look easy as he won the first two rounds. In the first round, he faced Mezivoyi Khamo of K. Basa who is 5 inches shorter and 45 kgs lighter!! Naga wrestling has this (debatable?) fact that there is no weight category. So, it depends on luck (read Omen) who you pick to wrestle. But in the third round, Mudovoyo was not lucky and he picked a man his match. His opponent was none other than Pfusato, who was to become my new favourite after this fight. Pfusato has a lot less fat than Mudovoyo and weighs 82 kg. He was however, taller by an inch and seven years younger (he’s 20). As they took to the ring, it was palpable that this fight could be the match of the tournament (came too soon, it could have been the final). But that was not to be. Mudovoyo fell rather easier than expected. Twice. Pfusato has this aura about him, and has the built of a champion. But sadly Pfusato could not qualify for the title hunt later. It was because of the tame draw with Vezhopo. In the second round also, he managed to nail his opponent towards the dying seconds. If he’d not done it in those seconds and Mudovoyo played defence and ended in a draw, he could have gone home with nothing. That is the exciting thing about wrestling. But he made it to the Chakhesang level although he didn’t win any title here. 

The fight for third place was fought between Hukhoneyi Chuzho (does the name ring any bell?) of Phusachodu and Posehu Kezo of Kikruma village. Posehu Kezo had a wonderful day. He won the maximum points possible in the 3 rounds (18). He had an extra wrestle as well after the qualification rounds as there were 5 of them and four were needed for the title rounds. Hukhoneyi was also exciting all throughout, agile and talented. His figure is not towering, weighing 70 kg and measuring 5’8”. But he has quick feet, good balance and technique. It was a closely fought contest. Posehu eventually nailed it and claimed a red Hunter motorbike. 

L-R: Vevohu (1st), Khruzoto (2nd), Posehu (3rd), Hukhoneyi (4th)
Vevohu Swuro emerged as the champion defeating Khruzoto Tetseo in the grand finale of the 25th CAWA meet, and walked away with a yellow Apache bike. Vevohu wrestled with a heavily strapped right knee which almost cost him the title. He was Chakhesang champion. He has the looks of a champion at 23 years, measuring 6’ and 86 kgs. On closer look, he also has a gentle face, adding to the fact that he’s more pale than most of the other wrestlers. After the first bout which he won, there was a long medical time-out as he limped to a corner. I wonder about the extent of the damage, but it is a worry if he has to go all the way to the State level. He lost the second bout and the title fight went to the wire. The third and final bout which has no time limit ended quickly as the champion wrong footed Khruzoto who fell on his back. Vevolhu emerged as the champion and all congratulations and respect to him. But personally my heart in this title fight went to the runner up. When Khruzoto Tetseo opened the day with an easy win, I haven’t noticed but by the end of the day, I see him as someone to watch out for, this year, but also many years to come (a teenager, he is). Someone remarked that he has a good heart too, as one observes his fight with an injured opponent. His unassuming visage must have won more fans. He doesn’t look extra big or tall. That’s because he is proportionate and has good body balance I suppose. As one looks at the statistics, one realizes that he has what it takes (6’, 80 kg). He won a blue Discover bike (which he doesn’t know how to ride yet). Thenyizu Wrestling Association emerged as the group champion on percentage count. Avolie Kezo, the Guest of Honour gave away the prizes. 

The wresters who competed in Naga Style were (as per the order in the Wrestlers Profile):
1.      Mudovoyo Kezo
2.      Vezota Thira
3.      Sumu Kezo
4.      Kronyo Kezo
5.      Posehu Kezo (third)
6.      Sepo Puro
7.      Mulusuyo Kezo
8.      Sekhoyo Thira
9.      Mudotso Thira
10.  Mudosu Kezo
11.  Pungozo Swuro
12.  Vevohu Swuro (first)
13.  Zumozo Kezo
14.  Venuzo Dawhuo
15.  Vetuzo Dawhuo
16.  Vecuto Swuro
17.  Thepukhoyi Swuro
18.  Theputo Puro
19.  Mutsitso Nienu
20.  Nukhoyi Nyekha
21.  Veswuvoyi Nyekha
22.  Rukuzo Rhakho
23.  Khruzoto Tetseo (second)
24.  Thejozo Kezo
25.  Mezivoyi Khamo
26.  Pfusato Tetseo
27.  Vericho Rhakho
28.  Vezhopo Chuzho
29.  Hukhoneyi Chuzho (fourth)
30.  Zuvozo Ruho
31.  Verazo Thuluo
32.  Kuzhosheyi Thuluo
33.  Vekuyi Medeo

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Sleeplessness

at tzazu, dec 31, 2013
It is 7th January 2014, 12: 45 AM and I am wide awake. I’m tired of trying to go to sleep. Worse is that on 6th January, I updated my facebook status as the day being the most boring since the world began. I woke up early at Pfutsero and drove to Kohima to attend office for the first time this year. It was cold, silent and no one was in the mood to work. After being away for about 20 days, my house was dusty. I was exhausted, partly because of driving and partly because of a kind of emptiness inside. When you are leaving home after a long stay, that happens I suppose. I have worked hard this winter at home. The hardest was the day Mom, Dad, and I fell trees at Tsazu mountain in order to build a farm house. I had blood blisters bursting in my palms. I was excited with the idea of a farm house and the plans I have there for 2014. But yesterday (and now), I was lazy and irritable. When I came from work, there was no electricity and it was cold. Now, to top it all, I can’t sleep. I usually sleep early. And I can doze off as soon as my head hit the pillow. That is a blessing. But not tonight. It is 01:04 AM as I reach this sentence. 

Other times, I could have kept my silence, read a very boring book, or listen to some mp3 talk and go to sleep eventually. But I’m not going to do that. I went to the kitchen twice and made sure it is not hunger which is keeping me awake. I have just eaten a huge piece of pork fat. Or is it because of the cold? I have an extra blanket and have put on a pair of socks. No. So, let me not try to go to sleep, I decided. And I turned on my laptop and here I am. This may not be a wise decision. Today, I have to attend a wedding as a Steward/Volunteer. And in the evening, I may go up to village to watch Chokri Area Wrestling competition. So, it is necessary that I have a good sound sleep. But as we can see, I’m not having that. This is too much personal stuff which I usually don’t publicise. But tonight’s an exception. This is turning out into one of those writing exercises which is called ‘Writing at the speed of thought’. I have blogged on this elsewhere. This is me going slightly out of control. But I won’t harm a housefly, so don’t be scared. 

Pause. Pause. My eyes are sore. It is 01:19 AM. Pause. Now, it is 01:21 AM. I need to sleep. Too much for someone who can go to bed by 8. Please God, let me have a sound sleep. Angels, sing lullabies for me. You there with the small white wings, you sing soprano, Michael you song bass....Silence. It is 01:25 AM. It will take me 2 days to recover. This is why I used to hate night duties (I take days to recover) – One reason why I chose Public Health over clinical medicine. Yippee, no more night duties! Am I in love? Hmmmm. Shhhhh. Change the topic. It won’t be bad to have company during insomniac attacks, Eh! Full stop. OK. One interesting plan I have for this year: I want to document in which season and in which dates which plant should be planted or seed be sown. Last year, we planted some Rhododendron plants at Pfutsero. Some survived, some didn’t. Why? Because they were planted on different dates. They looked as if they will all survive but when winter came, the latter batch died. So, for plantation/transplantation, there is only a narrow period which should be known. For winter vegetables at Pfutsero, for example, the farmers know just when to sow. It is 01:37 AM. After writing about plants, I feel much better already. I should be able to sleep. I need to try. So, I’m signing off. 01: 38 AM. Save document. Shut Down laptop. Turn off the lights. Try to zzzzzz. If I can’t sleep, I'll listen to a boring mp3 lecture.

(03:30 AM, awake. Listened to an mp3 talk. Didn’t work. 05:55 AM, awake. 06:15 AM, wide awake. I must have slept in bits and pieces. 06:58 AM, preparing to blog it. Dad is on his way from the village, to go to the weddingzzzzz)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

How to survive at Pfutsero

It is freezing cold here at Pfutsero. There were reports of snowfall last month (December 2013). And cold weather can be incapacitating. People from warm places dread the climate and do not plan to visit during winter. But not so for people who make their home at Pfutsero. 

How do people at Pfutsero go on living? As someone who was born and brought up at Pfutsero, let me share some survival tips. They are not in any particular order.

1.       Rather than wear one thick sweater/jacket/shawl, wear several layers of clothes. There is a scientific principle behind it. Person A sleeps with one blanket which is 3 inches thick; while Person B sleeps with two blankets each of 1.5 inches thickness. Which one will be warmer? They are of the same thickness (3=1.5+1.5). But due to air being trapped in between the two blankets (which retains heat), Person B will feel warmer.
2.       It is not just the temperature but the wind/breeze which should be kept in mind. Therefore wear a wind-proof dress on the outside while cotton/wool can be worn on the inside.
3.       Shawl can restrict physical movement if you are not used to it. So, if you want to stay warm and also maintain physical movement, put off shawl and put on a wind-proof half-jacket over whatever you are wearing. Forget Fashion. This is about survival.
4.       Proper dressing can save fuel (charcoal, firewood) and electricity.
5.       Keep your feet warm and your whole body will be warm. While going out at night, always cover your head and your ears.
6.       OK. As per the law of physics described above, you sleep with three blankets instead of two with equal thickness. Chances are, that in the course of the night, one of the blankets will slip off and you will wake up in the dead of the night shivering.  The trick that I used last year to prevent this was: I tied the ends of the blankets with a rope so that they all will stick together. This is funny but it worked for me.
7.       Physical activity generates heat. Lying/sitting idly by the fire/heater does not produce lasting heat. So, dress up and do some rigorous physical activity in the morning. This will keep you going through the day. Sharpen your dao and cut grass around your home. This works for me. Morning shows the day. But if you’ve sweated, don’t try to dry it by the heat of your body. Take off your vest and wear a new one.
8.       Taking bath is a challenge. But taking regular bath seems to help in fighting the cold.
9.       Beware of sunburn from sunbath.
10.   Eating Fats warms the body but be mindful of Blood Pressure and other health complications.
11.   Minor engineering works around the house can help in reducing the wind, increasing sunlight, retaining heat indoors, improving ventilation especially while using charcoal, etc.
12.   The mind plays a big role in fighting the cold. If you think it is cold, you will feel cold. If you think it is not that cold, you will be able to bear it.

Friday, January 3, 2014

More blogging in 2014



I expect to blog more regularly in 2014. So, you can expect to see new posts more frequently this year. I’ve said this earlier but I was not able to carry out myself: that one should not try to write big stuffs all the time. It need not be a thoroughly researched and carefully thought article that one tries to write each time. If one tries that, one won’t survive for long in blogging. 

So, I’m going to write about things and thoughts which I encounter every day. Every day ordinary stuffs are beautiful. And I would appeal to the heart to appreciate that beauty that we can find in the ordinary, that we often take for granted. It is about being observant, being alive to the times and the surroundings, being appreciative, but also being critical sometimes.

I want us to live more reflectively. I want us to live with more hope. And I believe that people can change for the better. If we care, if we speak up, and if we act on what we believe; I believe people and our society can change. That change will not come in a day. But if we live rightly and can impact a few people, we will have done our part which will ultimately result in ground breaking large scale societal and systemic changes that we long for.

We know many things are not quite right and we feel it is beyond our personal capacity to make certain things right. The whole is more than the sum of the parts, and whole system needs sweeping changes. But such momentous sweeping changes do have foundations in smaller individual efforts. Whichever part we are called to play, we all are called to do something. If yours is to take the bull by the horn, that’s great. Even if you are not playing the central role, you are called to do your best.

In my own small way, I will continue blogging.