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Monday, January 23, 2012

Chp 389. The long-distance death knell

The further the death knell chimes, the louder it sounds. Loss of a loved one is a torturous ordeal when you’re thousands of miles away. Last Thursday, three very dear friends of mine here in Mumbai lost their father. One of them is the love of my life.

When you stay far away from home, losing a father or mother is more painful. At least when you’re at home, you’re with friends and family consoling you and helping you ease the grief. You’re right there with the lifeless body of someone you once loved so much, warming you with his/her presence no matter how cold the body had become.

And then there is the horrible task of journeying home in a wretched emotional condition. You’re in the flight and everything else seems normal all around you, except for the fact that you alone are going through an agony of pain and suffering.

I’ve been living in Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Yercaud, Lucknow and Kolkata all my life, and I have already seen too many Mizos going home after hearing the sad news that their mother or father or brother or sister had passed away.

Being a close knitted community, the Mizos of that particular city then inform each other and soon gather at the person’s rented apartment. The close friends of that person then take up the responsibility of arranging the refreshments, prayer service, flight tickets etc. The “Mizo Association” of that particular city also plays a very important and helpful role in this.

Last Thursday, at 4:26pm, my girlfriend called me up. I was in the middle of an important pitch discussion. Before I could tell her I was a bit tied up, she told me her father passed away. No further words needed to be spoken. I left office immediately. My bosses were understanding enough to rearrange all my schedules for Thursday and Friday.

On my way to her place, I kept thinking about death, and the pain of losing somebody. She stays with her two brothers here in Mumbai, older bro M who is an IIM-A grad and younger bro H who is studying in Pre-University here.

I reached their place even before the brothers. I did what I could cleaning up the place and consoling her. Soon, other Mizos started arriving. M and I went to the airport around 6pm to book their flight tickets home.

Throughout the way, M talked about how much it pained him and we even stopped by a wineshop and I bought him some beer to ease him up. When we reached the airport, further bad news awaited us as there were no tickets available for the next day. Although there were many morning flights available from Mumbai to Calcutta, the only flights that would reach Cal in time (before their Calcutta-Aizawl 11am flight) were Indian Airlines and Kingfisher, and they were both full.

V arrived from a direct Aizawl-Mumbai flight around 9pm, and he too immediately joined us straight from the arrival terminal in trying to get three tickets for the next day.

Finally, after pulling a lot of strings and many help from Mizo IAS/IPS officers all over India, around 1 in the morning we managed to get three confirmed IA and KF tickets for Mumbai-Kol.

We reached their home by around 2am, Friday morning.

When we reached, their apartment was filled with Mizos from all over Mumbai! They were all there, paying their condolences and comforting them. That’s what I love about our Mizo community. Everybody’s always there for each other, even if you don’t know each other that well.

We had a proper prayer service and Bible reading session, followed by the Lord’s Prayer.

Around 4am, a few left.

Many people did try to cheer up others and change the mood. It’s true how we sometimes tend to hide our sorrow behind a joke. We stayed up with them throughout the night (morning) and finally dropped them at the airport.

They took the connecting flight as planned: Mumbai – Kol – Aizawl. After that, they had to spend a few more hours on the road traveling to Lunglei. Finally, they reached Lunglei and laid their father to rest after dark. In our culture, we usually bury our dead around 2-3pm before dark, but there are few exceptions like this that require a late burial.


I can’t help but think about the ordeal they must be going through. I look around in office today and I notice most of my colleagues are staying with their family here in Mumbai. They see their parents every day… When I was in the auto with M (on our way to get the three air tickets) we talked about Cinderella’s song “You don’t know what you got, till it’s gone”. How true indeed.

May the good Lord continue giving them strength and courage to ease their pain and move on…


Zaia said...

A va zia lo ve le! Monday tukah i post hot thin nen, tukin chu a danglam hle mai. I (your) 'special one' te chu ka tawrhpui hle mai. I tih tur tha taka i hlenchhuak a, tanpui leh buaipui an ngaih laia i buaipui tluan chhuak (i theih tawk) chu i ti tha hle mai.

Ni e, hun a ral ang a, an thinlung na chu a la dam ve zel ngei ang.

Mizohican said...

Nia, airport a an unau pathum in departure lounge lam an han pan kha chu, pawn atanga lo thlir pawn a na duh khawp mai... :(

TS Khupchong said...

Khai aw.. A pawi hle mai. Nang pawhin post meuh i rawn siam avangin i tuar tih a hriat e. Ka tawrhpui ve leh chhawng a che.

Ma-i Mizo said...

Ka nu leh pa thih thu ram hranga hriat kha chu a va nuam lo tak em...

I thilsawi chuan hun kal tawh min ngaih tir khawp mai. I bialnu tan i in pe zo, i fakawm e.

mangbuhril said...

va han zia lo ve, poi thin hle mai...

keimah said...

A va zialo tak ve le. Hetiang dinhmun hi kei pawh ka tawng ve tawh a, a nuam lo khawp mai. Pathianin hnem mawlh rawh se.

Lemon said...

Well, I have had my own share of experiences. Your doodles have really brought back memories of the years gone bye. There is an undeminshed hope with all of us that, one day, we will meet on that beautiful shore.

mnowluck said...

a va zia lo ve.. my prayers are with their family. I know how they would feel cos I've already trod their paths. Mumbai a ka awm lai nia, ka mangan zia te, While everyone was celebrating New Year's day, I'm on my way to the airport! To be home to bade the last goodbye to my dad. :(

Rest In peace

Mizohican said...

Thanx for all your comments. Vawiin hian Lunglei atangin Aizawl lam an pan chiah e.