Ok so here is something I've been thinking of for quite some time now, and I think a lot of you, including my close friends, are going to disagree with what I'm about to say. Feel free to disagree with me and give me your counter viewpoints, I like having a healthy discourse.
So, here's what's been on my mind for the past couple of months…
We know that one of the regularly discussed topics within our Mizo society is the way people greet each other back in Mizoram. There had been many blog posts and FB status updates written by various Mizos regarding this issue. The tone of such posts usually goes along the lines of this –
What Normal People Say When They See Each Other After A Long Time:
- Hello, how have you been?
- Good morning. How you doing?
- Long time no see, what's going on with your life?
- Hi! Hope everything is fine with you.
- OMG, you look so good. How's so and so?
Meanwhile… What Mizos Say When They See Each Other After A Long Time:
- OMG, you've become so fat!
- Whoah, what the hell happened to you, you're skinny as bones!
- Hey, what is wrong with your skin? You have the cancer?
- Oho! Are you not sleeping well? You look so tired and ugly!
- Long time no see, are you still shy and single?
Ok so this is the topic I want to discuss…
Yes, it is only when we go back to Mizoram after staying outside for months or years that we experience this "culture shock" of meeting people we hardly know telling us right to our faces that we have gained a lot of weight or look malnourished.
And I totally understand the insensitivity of this issue, hence the reason why I know so many of my close friends complain and criticize about this. Even I think it is quite rude, especially when that person is not somebody we know well.
But I started having this thought, you know, call it a devil's advocate opinion if you will…
So I've been hanging around with a lot of other Indians and foreigners. And we would talk and laugh and discuss various topics over a drink or two. And every time I, or some other Mizo in our group, tells them about our Mizo society, and how people are very frank and direct when greeting somebody they haven't seen in a while, our non-Mizo friends would express their astonishment in awe.
And here is where this thought struck me. This non-conforming realization that perhaps… perhaps this is what makes our community unique? This is what makes us special? This is what makes us Mizo?
Because from a political-correctness standpoint, we know those are not the things we should say to random people, unless they're like our relatives or BFFs. We can hurt other people's feeling in a lot of ways that we may not be aware of.
But having said that, if we dissect the scenario deeper… the one question we should ask ourselves is, does the person asking such a candid and "rude" question have malice in his/her heart? I think not. Because, that's just simply how our community has been rolling all these years. He or she definitely did not intend to hurt your feelings.
It also has to do with the fact that, even though that person may not be somebody close enough to intrude deep within your personal boundary, the Mizo bonhomie-ness kicks in, an intangible bond that binds all of us close to each other. A magnetic phenomenon that automatically makes us feel connected to each other.
The more I think about this, the more I actually look forward now to returning home one day to the welcome chatters of "Dayymm Kima you so fat and ugly now" or "What happened to your hair, you look senile!" Because that will tell me that I have finally reached home, a place where you will never experience something like this elsewhere. Home. Home sweet home. My Mizoram.
And that is what I've been thinking of these days. Feel free to have your say on this topic.
[thanx for sending me this pic Didini Tochhawng]