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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Chp 371. A True Story… of Love & Romance

“Bawihi…” He softly whispered to her, as he pulled her hair back gently beneath the pale moonlight. She looked at him with her soft innocent eyes and parted her trembling lips… She sighed, “I’ll forever be yours… Bawiha.”

.............

The young couple had been in love since time immemorial. They could be you and me, for they represent every young Mizo guy and girl in Mizoram.

In our Mizo culture, unlike most other Indian cultures, being in a relationship at an early age is not only accepted, but sometimes encouraged by our parents too. It is perfectly normal for young boys to visit a young girl at her house and woo her. This concept is called “Nula rim” (Nula means a woman who is single, and rim means to court).

Traditionally, during the process of “rimming”, it is the duty of the girl to welcome the guy (who is sometimes accompanied by his wingman) to her home. She makes tea for her suitor and sits with him in the living room. Then they talk about different things, trying to see if they have anything in common or whether he can make her laugh with his corny jokes.

Sometimes, she gets multiple suitors coming from different places (and such women are called “nula luck”). In such a scenario, the second suitor usually leaves on seeing that somebody’s already beaten him to the house, but there are also incidents in which guys from different places do sit together, each one trying to impress the girl and outdo the others (pretty much like a Group Discussion round of an MBA admission process).

Meanwhile, her parents too do not get involved and while most parents move to the bedroom to give their daughter privacy with her suitor/s, there are also some who do stay within earshot of the conversation, spying and listening to make sure nothing hanky-panky is going on and that no lines are crossed.

The girl eventually ends up liking one of the boys, and they soon become a couple. He lovingly calls her “Bawihi”, and she returns that love by calling him “Bawiha”. The words bawiha and bawihi means “Loved one”. People in love show their affection to each other by uttering those words to each other.

However the concept of “bawihi” and “bawiha” is not something new in our Mizo society.

During the days of “Zawlbuk” (a dormitory right next to the Chieftain’s house, where all the young lads of a village would sleep together. Useful especially if warriors from different clans raided their village as all the young men could quickly assemble and fight back), there were times when the girlfriend of one of the young warriors would hide behind the bushes below the Zawlbuk and wait for everybody to sleep.

Then she would gently call out, “Bawiha…” in the middle of the night. Her lover would then secretly leave the Zawlbuk and whisper back, “Bawihi…” In the darkness of the night, they would keep signaling “bawiha, bawihi” to each other and move towards the sound until they had found each other.

Such was the sweetness and romance of bawiha and bawihi.


.............

At this point, my friend could not control himself anymore. He fell to the ground and laughed uncontrollably, tears gushing out from his eyes. And then taking a deep breath, he looked at me and asked, “You seriously wrote all that shit?”

I was as serious as hell. “Yeah… I mean that was just the gist of what I wrote. I ended up writing for around 7-8 pages, you know, so that I might get more marks.”

He laughed his ass out once again.

I was starting to get a bit irritated, and a bit worried too.

“What’s so funny? Did I not get my facts about our Mizo history right?” I asked him.

Finally, with a straight face, he said, “When they asked you to write an essay on the Bawih system in our Mizo society, they didn’t mean “bawiha”, “bawihi” and any of those romance crap. They meant “slave”. Hence you were supposed to write about the slavery system that prevailed in our Mizo society before it was finally abolished in 1914, how slavery worked, the two types of slaves, how slaves were treated etc…” 

Pin drop silence.

“Oh…” was all that could come out of my mouth…

That was the first AND last time I ever decided to write the MCS (Mizoram Civil Service) exams. A True Story indeed.


22 comments:

daniel said...

Your ending took me by surprise! You wouldn't have made a good MCS officer anyway,as your independent thinking would have been completely stiffled to death.
Let me be a clever dick and inform you further that 'bawi' is the correct word for 'slave' whereas 'bawih' with an 'h' means 'to enslave or be slave to' Similarly 'Pawi' and 'Paite'are commonly mispronounced as 'Pawih and Paihte'

eL said...

when i read this sentence, "In our Mizo culture, unlike most other Indian cultures, being in a relationship at an early age is not only accepted, but sometimes encouraged by our parents too". I wonder you try to encourage other tribes/castes to do so or what?? But..I neva heard about this..

Mizohican said...

@ daniel: Thanx, will keep that in mind. :) Yeah even I was just googling, and I've seen people use both the words "bawi" and "bawih" for "slave". And yeah, even I don't think I'll survive being an MCS officer :)

@ eL: Yup some of my friends' parents got worried when their sons were not interested in the dating scene. They would ask us to introduce their sons to some of the girls we knew. lolz.

ruolngulworld said...

lol. miss my own nula rim-ming days :) so long ago now. love the unexpected ending.

Zaia said...

Haha! Ni thei khawp ang. Mi tam tak hian 'Bawi' (Slave) aiah 'Bawih' an ti fo. A awm lutuk..

A tirah hian, 'I hi, Kima, story teller a che leh dawn e,' ka lo ti hman a.. mahse, Ka va nui nasa tak!

Mizohican said...

@ ruolngulworld: lolz I would love to know how you used to "rim" nula during your days! :)

@ Zaia: Ekhai hotupa, i birthday a ngat ka blog ah te i rawn comment a, i va ti ropui ve! Thanx! :)

Lucy In The Sky said...

Lolzz...Ka nuih hrep chu le. Ka chhiar tui hman asin mawle, rilru mitthla nen ngat!

aduhi said...

Well, it's said that Mizo is a tonal language and a word can have many meanings depending on its sound. And you, poor soul, must have misunderstood the question / assignment and sweated blood to write that essay. But nice going there, especially the Zawlbuk theory and the catcalls between bawihi and bawiha.

Mizohican said...

@ Lucy: hahahaaa... :D

@ aduhi: Yup indeed our language is tonal. Using the same word, you can say the most romantic thing or the most disgusting thing... example: "Ka sms i reply loh apiang hian ka thinglungah perek i chhu" :P

KymBawi Khuptong said...

If there is a like button here I would first like the post and then a 'big like' to Aduhi's comment...:P hehe...

Alejendro said...

Ava ngaihnawm hman teuh.

Mizohican said...

@ KymBawi: Bawihi (lolz), there is already a big Facebook like button below the post, you know... :D

@ Alejandro: i rawn comment avangin ka lawm hman teuh :P

Nepram said...

Hahahahahaha. Even before reading I knew this was something special :D. Great one. Does the bawihi apply to non-mizo lads also?


<a href="http://myworldstuff.com/entries/anecdotes/he-does-love-you#.Tp64OLdmKSo"title="He Does Love You!>He Does Love You!</a>

Khabezuma said...

You could have been a cool MCS-dude :D

KymBawi Khuptong said...

@Kima I know but when I'm reading this blog from my office such freedom is restricted, you know The Freedom to "Like"...:D

nancy said...

van han hre hlah triah2 ve oo... Mizo tawng hi chu a hausa lo bawk em a ni, thumal pakhat pawh hi a lam dan a zir hian awmze hran hran a nei a.. buaithlak ve alom tiraw?? chupawh ni ta se, nuihzatthlak!!

s.n.m said...

a true love story
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2051433/Ziona-Chan-39-wives-94-children-33-grandchildren.html

Maisek said...

Kima, I'm not surprised! really, I am not surprised! in fact, this is so typical of you....but, I like the way you put it into words!

Putarte said...

hahahahaha love it love it

Mann-a Pautu said...

@Sandman: Ka blog chu misual.com lamah khan i remchan chuan zoblogger update ah khan min lo link sak ve thin ta che. ka lawm ngawt ang.(PimPom kha ka ni e.)Ka blog link chu
----> http://mannapautu.blogspot.com/

H.Vangchhia said...

Ngaihnawm teh erh vele. KZP

Mizohican said...

@ Nepram: hehe... bawih can also apply to non-mizo lads :D

@ khabezuma: lolz... I dont think so :D

@ KymBawi: Well, at least thanx for reading if you cant like it from office :D

@ nancy: Nia, buaithlak tak a ni, lam dan a in angloh hian a meaning a dang daih zel a.

@ s.n.m: lolzzz that is a very old story, bro :D

@ Maisek: hehehe thanx pi maisek :)

@ Putarte: thank you :D

@ PimPom: yup, ka link tawh che misual ah chuan :)

@ H.Vangchhia: thank you thank you :)