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Monday, March 26, 2007

Chp 115. Dress code at Church services

“I can wear whatever I want. It’s my life. God does not love me any lesser for my outer appearance and what really counts is the inside”.

I’ve heard this quite a number of times when I used to go for the Mizo Church Service in Bangalore. It came mainly from the younger generation, and among them, a majority of them were from the female species.

It is ofcourse considered a normal psychological (and sociological) behavior for any youth to rebel against the existing norms of the Society. Nobody likes rules. Breaking (unwritten) code of conducts is considered cool and hep. It’s all a part of the adolescent phase.

But sometimes we need to contemplate on a few issues before discarding it as something that is natural or something that cannot be changed. It can indeed be changed! If the youth of Mizoram can dress up smartly to Church, why can’t the same youth dress up decently for Church Services outside Mizoram? Why is there a transition in the way one dress up for Church here in Mizoram and outside the State?

One reason is ofcourse the “Elder Factor”. In Mizoram, the Elders would definitely give you the “evil eye” if you dress up shabbily for Church. But outside Mizoram, the looks given by the Elders do not hold much water. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying our Mizo Elders (Families, Pastors, Civil servants, real grown-ups etc) outside Mizoram are not doing anything about it. Ofcourse they are; this is more of a hypothetical question “but are they all doing enough?”

Sometimes it might have to do with an ego thing too. Job opportunities outside Mizoram are definitely more abundant than in Mizoram. Hence many of our youngsters earn quite a lot. They soon reach that stage of being independent and having a sense of achievement without maturing properly first. Hence if an Elder (say an IPS or IAS officer) reprimands such a person for wearing shabby clothes to the Church service, the first thought on the youth’s mind would probably be, “Hell, I’m earning almost as much as you are. You’ve got no rights to tell me what to wear.”

Another important factor is ofcourse the climate. Places like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai etc are way hotter and more humid than Mizoram. Hence one cannot expect Mizos in such areas to come to Church in suits or formals all the time. It is only logical for guys to wear tee shirts to Church sometimes. And with tee shirts, one cannot really wear formal pants along with it, hence must resort to jeans. And with jeans, comes sneakers instead of formal shoes. Similarly, women wear sleeveless. After all, with all the bras and other inner padding they must wear, you really don’t expect them to wear full body covers in such a hot climate.

But hang on a second here. This is exactly a case of “giving an inch, taking a mile”. By wearing jeans or cargoes, why must some of us wear those really flashy, baggy, hiphoppy, over-sized, torn, multi-branded ones? Don’t we have “normal” jeans? Ofcourse there is no actual official definition of what “normal” is, and it all depends upon the concept of the majority and its conformity to social norms. By “normal” I mean a simple plain jeans: Not flashy, not over-sized, and definitely with no chains and other trinkets hanging all around the side pockets! Some of the guys claim they do not have the financial capability to buy “normal” jeans. Ironic indeed, when they could afford such extravagant jeans…

Similarly, to the women, sleeveless is a wise decision when it's hot. But aren’t you pushing things a bit too far with tubes and spaghettis? Some of the guys’ minds do definitely wander a bit when you come walking into Church dressed in such revealing top and short minis that concealed less than what it’s actually supposed to… I know some women want to be the center of attraction all the time, to be admired and complimented upon… but during Church time, the center of attraction is ALWAYS God. Or have we all strayed away from the path of the good Lord so much as to have forgotten this?

Then comes the extra fitting. Once again I am defining “normal” on the basis of its conformity to social norms. Is it really necessary for guys to wear earrings to Church? Or in that matter, large steel bracelets, bling-blings and 5 metres long steel chains hanging from their low waist jeans up to their large Nike skids? Or the 10 extra pounds of make-up some women apply on their faces with fiery dark-red hair color, making them look like the “madam” of a “pleasure house” at Sodom and Gomorrah?

Such dress codes mentioned above, are the same clothes such people would wear to Pubs and Discs. Leaving aside the iniquity of getting drunk and immoral lifestyles at such establishments, we are further diluting and polluting the Holy Sanctity of the Church by even daring to enter the premises with the same clothes of Sin! Sure, some of you may feel I am taking an extremist view on this whole issue, but for a second there, please excogitate and think of all the sentiments that you are hurting… There is a fine line between being liberal and being promiscuous.

I know the first thing pro skanky-clothes sympathizers are going to say is, the ones who wear decent clothes aren’t all sanctified. Sure, they (we) aren’t, but atleast many of us got the decency to show respect when it's required. And by doing that, the faithful around us definitely feel comfortable in the presence of Christ. It is important to be considerate of others’ feelings too. Just because some of the guys who dress up decently aren’t decent, does that mean you must show your true colors by coming to Church almost naked like a cheap prostitute or an F-word addicted rap artist?

Again, I have read such discussions like “what if it’s a prostitute thirsting for the word of God, or a drug addict seeking God’s help and forgiveness, or a woman coming straight from work where her profession demands of her to wear such an outfit… don’t they all deserve to receive the Lord’s blessings too?” Ofcourse by all means they all do, the good Lord welcomes especially such people into His fold. But before you indulge yourself in such empty rhetoric, remind yourself about this: Our community is small and most of us know each other personally; hence we all know very well that such people are not the above mentioned people. They are merely students and a few proletarians, who definitely have a set of decent clothes for Church but decide to act otherwise, for reasons best known to them.

Once during my time in Bangalore, I was already seated inside the Church (Mizo Service) one fine Sunday, when a girl came and sat right next to me. It was hard not to notice her: She smelt like the perfume section of a high class Shopping Mall. Her long brown-dyed hair was curled beautifully, with the perfect touch of eye shadow and liner making her even more attractive. But what made me notice her the most were her legs. In other words, her milky white thighs. Because she wore an almost knee-length skirt which revealed even more when she sat cross-legged right next to me. During the entire Church sermon, I found my eyes subconsciously wandering every now and then to those legs…

As a human being, it is quite natural to have such “feelings”. Everyone, regardless of whether they are sinners or people of God, are susceptible to the temptations of the flesh. In that particular situation, I think I would have definitely listened more attentively to the ongoing sermon instead of being distracted by uttering a thousand times in my mind not to look at those thighs 3 inches away from me…

Some people might brand me as a conservative. However, as a Christian, it is our moral obligation to lead a Christian Life, a life that will distinguish us from people of other faiths. Do you want that distinctness to be all about wearing extravagant outfits or revealing micro skirts? Do you want the non-Christians to think that that is what being a Christian is all about? At Bangalore Wesley Church, one can easily observe many “roadside romeos” hovering around the Church premises waiting for the Mizo Service to be over so that they can ogle at some of our women. Sad…

Coming back to my opening line, “I can wear whatever I want. It’s my life. God does not love me any lesser for my outer appearance and what really counts is the inside”, ofcourse God loves us all for our inner thoughts and action rather than our outer appearances, but the real question is this: Do you really think that a person who claimed to be worth loving and yet show disrespect to Him in His Home, is actually worth being loved? Or are we going to fool ourselves endlessly by bringing up irrelevant topics like the fact that some people who dress up decently at Church are being hypocritical... How does that affect you in any way? That’s the hypocrites’ problem. God will deal with them on Judgment Day. Whereas in your case, not only are you being disrespectful, you are also creating a whole lot of unnecessary distractions…

Hence as a conclusion, comes the proverbial question: As a responsible Mizo adult settling outside Mizoram, are we all doing enough about the dress codes at our Mizo Church services? Giving them the “evil eye” or gossiping behind their back will not suffice. We need to walk up to such people and tell them frankly but politely, face to face, that such dress codes will not be tolerated and that maybe they might be better off not coming to Church at all if they are going to continue dressing up that way… Sometimes it might even be proper to ask such people to leave the Church premises right in the middle of the service infront of everyone… the embarrassment will not only assure them of ever repeating that again but will also make others think twice before putting on that skimpy outfit. Do we have the guts to tell them that? Or are we going to spend the rest of our lives bitching about that particular person “eeee kha nu kha maw? BiakInah a rawn in chei hot thei rapssss” without anyone ever actually telling the person that he/she is out of place?

Less gossip, more action, that is the key to our progressive development. Trust me, we Mizos have an advantage over our non-Mizo Christian friends when it comes to this. At many non-Mizo Christian services that I’ve been to, the Churchgoers don’t know each other personally, whereas our Mizo Church services are more of a community thing. Jonathan (Anglo) whom I befriended at an English Church service back in Hyderabad once told me that there are always such elements at every Church, but there was nothing much they could do about it since they don’t know them and there was also a question of privacy and wanting more people to attend the mass etc. But among our close knitted Mizo society, we can indeed do the needful. The question is this: The next time you see such a person at Church, will you rise to the occasion and tell that person it’s not right? The power to make the change rest in your hands my friends.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Chp 114. MSSU lecture no.10

I meant to update this post sooner, but my poor phone conked (the IC burnt and need to be replaced, so claimed the crafty-eyed mobile technician at CellOne, Bazar Bungkawn, next to CYDIT). Hence, my entire phone book, data, pics etc. are lost forever. So please sms me with your name so I can start building up my contact numbers again. Thanx.

And this is for my friends like BlackWhite, Jenis & a few others: Dad is using my old number. I already changed my number to 9863228021 so please stop smsing my dad! He really freaks out when he receives an sms in the middle of the night with messages like “Yo brother, guess what, I’m drunk” .

By the way, I changed some of the layout on the right hand side with new pics and sponsors. Hope you like it.

Coming back to the main topic here, MSSU (Mizoram Sunday School Union) topic (zirlai) no.10, as already pointed out in my earlier post, the theme for this year is “About the Israelites” (Israel-te chanchin). Chapter 10 dealt with the way the land was divided among the 12 tribes of Israel.

As I sat listening to the lecture, a couple of things occurred to me.

First and foremost,
SweetDevil’s words came into my mind: “Sunday Schools are boring”. As I looked around, most of the guys were sleeping as our particular section teacher taught us. After all, in a way, it was a tad boring, to learn about the various names of the cities, rivers and seas marking the boundary of each tribe of Israel. Plus, there wasn’t that great a learning to be extracted from such a lesson (as mentioned before, Sunday Schools are different from Church service sermons). It was more geographical rather than Biblical.

Secondly, I looked around at all the section Sunday School teachers. Most of them taught and taught, even though they could clearly observe that some of the people they were teaching were sleeping right under their very noses. If I were in their place, I think I would be insulted to be ignored like that, but then, I guess that’s what being a Sunday School teacher is about. You cannot treat the “students” like actual school/college students. Leniency, patience and tolerance are a must.

Thirdly, I constructed a map of the particular lesson.

When mom saw the above map that I made using Photoshop™, she scolded me immediately for not making such a map earlier BEFORE Sunday. Because she herself is a Sunday School teacher, and the map would definitely help her students understand the particular lesson a whole lot better. Sorry mom

Anyway, during the course of the lesson last Sunday, when the land was divided among the twelve tribes of Israel, inquisitive me counted the territories, and I counted thirteen tribes! Not twelve. So I asked our teacher (Pu RĂ¢lliana) why there were thirteen and not twelve. He smiled and told me the reason…

Quiz time!!!!

Hehehe… Can you tell me why? According to the above map, there are twelve tribes plus the tribe of Levi, who did not get any share of the Land.

Joshua 18:7
The Levites, however, do not get a portion among you, because the priestly service of the LORD is their inheritance.

…and were given towns to live in from among the various territories of the other tribes of Israel

Joshua 21: 3
So, as the LORD had commanded, the Israelites gave the Levites the following towns and pasturelands out of their own inheritance

As observed on the map, the biggest share was obtained by the tribe of Manasseh, which most Mizos are familiar with, as this is the tribe that many of our Jewish Mizo brethrens who migrated to Israel claimed to be a descendent of… [Related reading: Mizos: Lost Tribe of Israel or just a lost tribe?]

And then comes the other tribes like Judah, Simeon, Benjamin etc. To make it easier for you, let me note it down this way:

01. Levi (not on map)
02. Manasseh
03. Judah
04. Simeon
05. Rueben
06. Gad
07. Dan
08. Ephraim
09. Zebulun
10. Asher
11. Issachar
12. Naphtali
13. Benjamin

Why are there 13 tribes? Which is the extra tribe? Where did it come from? Ofcourse I already know the answer after our section Teacher explained it to me. I just wanna make this interesting by asking you in return. Hehe… don’t Google!!!! I can see you. You’re only cheating yourself, my friend. Instead, take the Bible and try to find the answer there. Clue : The Book of Joshua.

Ofcourse I cannot offer any prize to the one who gets it correct, but then, you will always be remembered in my books as a knowledgeable Christian. And ofcourse this quiz is not open to John Fanai, Rema etc, who are all well versed in the content of the Holy Book and are serving the good Lord as missionaries. God bless you all my brothers.

I await your answer!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Chp 113. A poem for women

Mistake – A Poem. 

Winter dark red skies, on the distant Horizon,
A Mizo version of, the Aurora borealis.
Rendering a clear view, of the mighty Orion,
T’was a night full of, romance and bliss.

Sangi cuddled intimately, in her lover’s arms,
All alone with him, at the peak of Beraw.
Oh he was so chivalrous, filled with charm!
And she was an Angel, the Queen of Cheraw.

Together they made, such an amazing pair,
Like two fiery lovebirds, flying on a mission.
And then his hands strayed, down her silky hair,
Sangi sighed, but protest turned to submission…

The next half an hour, was quick and rough,
Sangi neither enjoyed, nor felt any pleasure.
But she couldn’t say no, to the man she loved,
To her it was commitment; to him, leisure.

But after that day, things abruptly changed,
Sangi and he, would consistently fight.
Every time she called, his phone was engaged,
Still she tried to fix things, with all her might.

Soon enough he found, somebody else to adore,
And Sangi was left alone, detested by others.
She couldn’t lead the life, she had led before,
For she had now become, an unwed mother…

Dedicated to all the nuthlawis (single mothers) out there, who are still paying the price for a mistake they committed a long time ago, who courageously faced Society’s “evil eye” and braved through the thick and thin all by themselves, who knows the true meaning of Life and rather bring up a child all alone than put it to a cruel death… in my books, you are my number one heroes, the real unsung heroes of our Mizo society. God bless you, women, and keep the faith.

You're not alone – A conclusion. 

Sangi led a lonely life, in solitude and seclusion,
Her friends she lost, her happiness she faked.
She longed to be free, she wanted a diversion,
But her life must change, for her baby’s sake.

Gone are the days, of uncontrolled laughter,
Her tears only increases, her anger it fuels.
Her father is mortified, to call her his daughter,
He became the butt, of Society’s ridicules.

But still she held on, doting her protruding belly,
For how could she kill, a living soul no less?
She braved all criticisms, she was called unholy,
She prayed to God, for strength and forgiveness.

It’s not funny or easy, if you are the victim,
With freedom at one hand, and life at the other.
T’is so easy to snip, and kill the holy Seraphim,
Death of an Angel, rather than become a mother?

Be strong, be steadfast, oh women of Mizoram,
For the Glory days of our Lord, is coming soon.
He will take your child, and protect it from harm,
From all the hypocrites, under the sun or moon.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Chp 112. Proof of Malaria

“It is an honor to die for our Country while defending the Constitution, hence we are ready to face any bullets from the Naxals; but to be sent home (Mizoram) in body bags because of a mosquito bite is extremely disgraceful”.
- Mizo IR Battalion soldier posted at Chhatisgarh.

(No Mizos have died in the hands of the Naxals so far, but already 3 have succumbed to Malaria, with more than 50 Mizos in the infirmary going through various stages of Malarial PF infection)

I was down with a 104° plus temperature for the past 10 days, hence no update on my blog (or It was definitely not an NBC sitcom moment

When I was at the height of my sickness, attacked by severe paroxysms of chillness rendering me (almost) breathless, my folks rushed me to the hospital. I was already heavily medicated so I don’t remember much, except waiting for 30 minutes which seemed like 31 minutes, for my blood test result to come out… finally, the nervous anticipation and trepidation was over: the doctor confirmed that it was not Malaria. Phew!

Comically enough, I recovered pretty quickly once I realized I was not carrying the dreaded sporozoan parasite transmitted by the jobless infected female Anopheles mosquito. Ah Malaria, Shoooo shoooo!

Before the blood test, everybody feared it might be Malaria. I tried convincing myself it was not Malaria, but there could be no real conviction without an actual test. But at the same time, I was just too scared to get a blood test done. Hence, a part of me gave up hope trying to fight the fever, because I still could not completely believe if it was a case of Malaria or not.

And that is how most of us are: We need proof inorder to believe in something, an evidence that we can see with our own eyes, or touch with our own hands…

When our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ rose from the dead and appeared infront of the disciples, Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve disciples, was not present.

[John 20]

25So the other disciples told Thomas, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it."

27Then Jesus said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."

28Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"

29Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."


While I was sweating profusely from the after effects of paracetamol, larkin and antibiotics, I just couldn’t convince myself that it was not Malaria. It was only after the Laboratory doctor confirmed that it was not Malaria, that my body started fighting back.

However, apart from the senses of touch and sight, there was something else amiss. I couldn’t feel if it was Malaria or not. But in the case of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, many of us may not see or touch Him physically, but we definitely feel Him in our lives. And yet, we still falter from our beliefs inspite of such an experience… Must we all be like Thomas, asking the good Lord for proof first before believing?

The lonely road of sickness

Any of you who had been through such a similar experience will know what I am talking about: we always miss the one we love the most when we are down with a high fever.

I happened to dig out one of my earliest posts, dated December 22nd 2004! (The day I started the visit counter on my blog)
FEVER It's about the time I felt really sick in IIMB and missed all my love and dear ones…

As I always used to be away from Home, whenever I felt sick, I always miss my parents. Now that I was at home with soaring temperature, I didn’t miss my folks at all, but I really miss my friends, sisters and my sweet girlfriend. We always miss the ones who are not currently with us. That’s the paradigm of sickness.

The one big difference between my earlier sickness and the latest one was, I always wanted to turn more towards God or be reformed once I recover. Just like how we miss the people who are not with us, we also miss God, promising to be a better Christian once we recover. But now, I do not miss God at all. For how can I miss someone who is always with me by my side?

Lying in bed the whole day with uncontrollable shivers, missing all my material friends, I realized one very important revelation: I was alone, but I was not lonely. Jesus Christ was there with me all along the road of wheeze and sneeze. He gave me companionship spiritually. It was a great journey indeed. Although I was extremely delirious from all the medications, I felt complete.

Thank you once again, sweet Jesus, for delivering me from the clutches of Viral fever and making me fit again so that I can continue serving You.

Psalm 121
I lift up my eyes to the hills--
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip--
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD watches over you--
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all harm--
he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Chp 111. To Nepal, with Love.

The icy bitter wind sliced through the cold amorphous morning air like a chunk of dry ice forcefully submerged in a sea of frozen glacier. The cloudy sheet of voluminous mist enabled just a mere 50 meters visibility.

Sharma and Rajesh, the two border security guards, clad in thick burly army over coats and woolen mufflers covering their heads, stood on their grounds, cursing their job and duty. The woven gloves they wore were hardly enough to protect them from the freezing temperature embracing them.

That was their job, to man the check gate at the porous Indo-Nepal border and search the vehicles traveling into Nepal for any “contraband”.

Sharma always used to crib and complain about their inhumane posting, while Rajesh would assure him time and again that they were much better off getting frostbites there rather than hunting for Maoists in the Valley.


The unmistakable rickety sound of an approaching engine woke them up from their respective motionless states immediately, and just like any other day, they stood up in full alert behind the closed border gate, one hand gripping their semi-automatic weapon while the other hand clutch a walkie-talkie, so that they could warn the ever vigilant transmitter room immediately incase trouble erupts.

It was an old Mahindra Jeep that appeared slowly from amidst the heavy mist. It had an Indian license plate. WB – West Bengal. The headlights perforated through the blurry surroundings, lighting them up in an eerie and mystified demonic way. On seeing the closed gate, the Jeep came to a bumpy halt and switched off its headlights.

Sharma cautiously approached the Jeep, his fingers on the trigger of his gun, while Rajesh stood behind the gate, already informing HQ about the arrival of the vehicle.

Inside the Jeep were four middle-aged men. The driver looked Indian, the other looked like a Nepali, and the other two men sitting at the back, well… they were of a tanned mongoloid facial character that resembled more of the North Eastern people of India.

“Paper”, commanded Sharma.

The one who looked like a Nepali was indeed a Nepali. He handed Sharma a bunch of paper while wishing him a great day in their lingua franca. Sharma smiled sarcastically.

All the documents seemed to be in order. Permission to take the Indian registered vehicle into Nepal from the Ministry of Transportation. Passports and permission for two tourists from India to travel into Nepal from the Tourism Department.

As Sharma handed back the documents, he told the one who was a Nepali, “You still know I have to search your vehicle right?”

“Yes Sir. I am fully aware of that.”

“Good. By the way, where are your two guests sitting behind from?”

“They are from Mizoram, Sir. It is one of the States of…”

“Yes yes I know where Mizoram is. Do I look like a fool?” Sharma retorted with an air of know-it-all attitude. He looked at the two passengers and then focused his attention at the Nepali again. “Mizoram huh? So they are Christians?”

It was pretty clear from Sharma’s tone that he did not even try to conceal his disgust… “Yes Sir” replied the Nepali sitting in the front seat.

After a brief moment of silence that felt like ages, Sharma finally broke the lull, “Ok. Now let me see what you all are carrying.”

The Nepali sitting in the front seat got down and opened the dickey of the Jeep. There were two suitcases filled with clothes, the usual kind of belongings any traveler would have. After Sharma quickly went through the pile of clothes, he noticed two medium-sized cartons stacked up on the side of the dickey.

“What is in there?” Sharma asked suspiciously.

“Uh… just books…”

“What kind of books?”

“Something like a study material. There are a couple of great lessons in them…”

“Open it”, ordered Sharma.

As Sharma was more preoccupied with the cold blizzard blowing at his face, he failed to notice the two Mizos sitting at the back seat nervously glancing at each other. He however noticed the Nepali guy’s fingers shake as he opened the carton but he dismissed this as a normal behavior due to the freezing nature around them.

Sharma waited patiently to inspect the cartons. The Nepali passenger was telling him the truth. Inside the cartons were tons of books. Books with a black cover. Sharma picked up a copy and read the name of the book. The New Testament.

“What kinda book is this?” Sharma asked the Nepali passenger again.

“Well, basically they are books about moral teachings… they contain great lessons in it”, the passenger repeated.

“Hmmmmm…” Sharma quickly flipped through the book putting on a discerning look. “Well I still have to check the rest of the books to make sure they are all the same”.

After ten minutes of opening up both the cartons, taking out all the books and making sure they were all similar, Sharma finally told him to keep them back inside and that they were clear to go.

Within no time, the junky old Jeep came back to life. Rajesh opened the gate and the Jeep entered Nepal.

As the red tail light of the Jeep disappeared from their view, swallowed up by the hungry thick mists surrounding them, Rajesh asked Sharma, “So, what were they carrying?”

“Uh... just some useless books, probably for a School. The two passengers at the back were Christians, from Mizoram.”

“Christians? You checked their luggage didn’t you?”

“Yup” Sharma replied, “I am well aware of our highest priority order especially when it comes to Christians entering our Country. I checked them inside out, they were clean. They didn’t have anything with them.”

“That’s good. We should always remain vigilant to make sure none of these Christian missionaries ever come into our Country carrying the Bible.”


**/ Fictitious story based partially on the true-life incident of our Bial Pastor Pu K.Thangmawia.

****/ Carrying The Holy Bible into Nepal (in bulk) is indeed banned.
The law prohibits converting others and proselytizing, activities that are punishable with fines or imprisonment.