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Thursday, August 08, 2013

Chp 459. Being an introvert in a Mizo society

One of the biggest misconceptions in our Mizo society is how we often confuse being shy or introvert with being "inchhuang".

The Mizo word “inchhuang” means somebody proud, conceited, snooty, vain, arrogant... Somebody who feels they’re so uber important or above your class/status that they consider it improper to talk to you in public...

...which is quite ironic because we Mizos probably have the most class-less non-hierarchical society here in India, where maids and servants dine together with their employers eating the same food, where a Minister plays table tennis with his driver and is thrashed by the latter, where everybody meets each other at an equal platform, where social gatherings consist of the richest rich working hand in hand with the poorest poor cutting vegetables and meat together for a grand feast... and yet “inchhuang” is one of the most overused words in our Mizo vocabulary.

I'm an introvert, especially when it comes to our Mizo society. I may be quite open in the online world but I’m shy as hell in the real world. I have serious people issue, I can't look at women (I'm not acquainted with yet) directly in the eye, I can't socialize in real life and I prefer not to be in a room full of strangers. I’m also a geek and I love doing most things alone.

Maybe that is why I’ve been blogging for almost 10 years now. To me, blogging is an outlet to express my feelings since I’m not able to do that in the real world. And most bloggers would agree with me on that.

I once tried socializing with complete strangers here in Mumbai, and that was when I decided to take part in Indiblogger’s Anniversary Meet, where I even got to meet Gul Panag and took a pic with her. But I felt awkward the entire time. Other than that, the only other times I socialize with strangers here are the occasional Coral Networking dinners conducted by i2cook where we meet new people and try to network with each other over exotic cuisine, and the only reason why I participate at such events is only because i2cook is run by Pawan and Meg, two of my dearest friends since Hyderabad days.

In our Mizo society, we have a lot of social gatherings, and sometimes I wish I was just a lizard at such functions, quietly being on my own at my own little corner. We have this thing called “mitthi tlaivar” where the youth of a particular locality gather at the house of somebody who died that day in their locality, and they sing songs the entire night till dawn to keep the grieving family accompanied. I participate (whenever I’m home for a vacation) if and only if my cousin is also participating. If he’s not going, then I don’t go. If he’s going, then I sit next to him the entire time till dawn breaks. The same with “ruaitheh” and other functions. I go only if my cousins or a handful of childhood friends I grew up with are going. Otherwise I stay at home.

The same with wedding ceremonies. One of my dear friends N got married recently, and I went for her wedding. After the wedding, we had the traditional photo session, where different groups were called out turn by turn to take a picture with the happily married couple. When it was the turn of the “bride’s friends” (mo thian), I didn’t know any of her other friends, so I didn’t step up. She even actually called me out from the Church’s steps to come for the photograph, but I just froze. That’s how bad I am among strangers.

Hence if you see me feeling uncomfortable and not speaking to anybody at such events, don't say mean stuff like, "A va inchhuang em em, tumah pawh a be duhlo, en pawh min en lo etc" (Look at how arrogant he is, not speaking to anybody).

It's not about "duhlo" (don’t wanna). It's more about "thiamlo" (don’t know how to). Remember there are quite a number of people like me who are very shy and introvert’ish... not everybody's like you... I know how open our Mizo society and culture is, but you should also be aware that not everybody goes through that same ultra bonhomie phase.

Maybe instead of passing scathing judgmental remarks, you can take an attempt to make things comfortable for such people by approaching them and starting a friendly conversation... Just my two pence :)

We really should do away with this negative outlook and judgmental opinion about people who don’t interact with others at our Mizo social functions. It is definitely not because of “inchhuang” or “induh”. Try walking in our shoes and you will be amazed at the introverted solitary and lonely life we lead.

Think about it.


Puibawiha said...

Zakzum mi hi awm a ni a. Mite hi negative zawnga en loh a tha ber, i rawn ziah hi a tha khawp mai.
Naupangte phei chu positive zawnga thlir hram hram tur. Thil kan tihtir a, an thiam lo emaw, an nuar emaw, an tiduh lo a anih pawhin, an dinhmun hriatthiampuiin, an level leh harsatna hriatsaka tanpui tura keimah lam kan in-adjust hi a ngai fo thin. Chuti a nih loh chuan, naupang tawng, sual, leh thatchiaah kan chhuah mai thin.
Naupang lam ka sawi kai ta duah mai, mihlim dan takah a tul a nia nge.

ku2 said...

Read it. Checked to make sure this was Mizohican's blog. Reeled in shock. No wonder people say you shouldn't judge a person by their online personas :D

Rascal Crowe said...

Funnily enough, my wife mentioned the same thing a month ago. We were talking about a dear friend who always seem happy just to talk and chat away when he comes over to our place yet how people would brand him proud, unwilling to interact with others. She insisted that the people branded proud and aloof in Mizo community are actually the shy ones.

daniel said...

I never would have guessed.