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.
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.
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):
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
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)
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
dressing can save fuel (charcoal, firewood) and electricity.
your feet warm and your whole body will be warm. While going out at night,
always cover your head and your ears.
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.
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.
bath is a challenge. But taking regular bath seems to help in fighting the
of sunburn from sunbath.
Fats warms the body but be mindful of Blood Pressure and other health
engineering works around the house can help in reducing the wind, increasing
sunlight, retaining heat indoors, improving ventilation especially while using
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.
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.