Many of us Mizos live hundreds and thousands of miles away from home, and yet, we always manage to make a home out of where we live. Whether we live in Delhi or B'lore or Mumbai or any other place, that place becomes our home away from home.
And that is why wherever we go, our Mizo "tlawmngaihna" follows us. Because that is what makes us Mizos.
I have lived all across India, at different cities and towns from North to South and West to East, and at each location, our Mizo community had always been there for the people in times of happiness and sadness. Chhiatni Ṭhatni we call it. If there is any suffering like the sad demise of a member or a member's relatives, our Mizo community will be there to ease away the pain, even if people may not know who that person is.
I've had my fair share of "Mitthi tlaivarpui" wherever I have settled across India, and it is our Mizo tradition of gathering at the Hospital or the Morgue or at the dearly departed's house and staying there through the entire night till the next morning when the body is to be sent back home to Mizoram.
Even though we may not know who the person is, it comforts the near and dear ones of the victim with our presence, and this is not something you'll commonly see among other Indian communities.
This week too, Pune Mizos experienced another sad incident, with the unfortunate demise of one of our young members. At just 25 years old, he was gone too soon.
I was already tucked in bed and about to sleep when my phone vibrated. It was Christina. She told me about the sad news and that she and Sanga were heading out to the hospital. I called up Zama and Krossi, and the three of us too went to the hospital in a short while.
By the time we reached KEM Hospital around 1 in the morning, the place was already filled with Mizos from all over Pune.
To cut a long story short, we stayed at the hospital through the entire night while our community leaders were busy arranging the death certificate and air tickets to send the body home along with his family members.
Technically, many of us didn't do anything really helpful that night, but what we contributed was our presence.
At around 7:30 in the morning, once all the papers and red tape were cleared along with the embalming and NOC certificate from the police, we had a short prayer service at the hospital grounds and then the body was sent in an ambulance to Mumbai, since only Indian Airlines is allowed to transport a coffin.
As everybody dispersed, I saw how tired and sleepy most of them were, but it really made me feel proud to experience that at least around 50 of us managed to turn up. And that is what I want to talk about in this post.
First and foremost, a big shout-out to the student community who, in all earnest, would be missing the following day's classes because of the impromptu vigil. You guys rock and did exactly what every Mizo is expected to do. You are the heroes of our community.
And then there's the working class like me and others who turn up on such occasions, including all our community leaders. We too gave it our all, but after all these years of experiencing this, I think there is one sector that had never been given any credit. The unsung heroes of our Mizo community. And those people are ironically not Mizos.
I'm talking about our bosses. Our reporting managers. The Spa manager you had to call late in the night to inform him you won't be able to turn up the next day because of the incident. Or your Voice Trainer at the BPO where you work. Or your agent at the 5 star hotel where you sing. In my case, I had to inform my Producer and Production Head that I won't turn up the following day. And they all understood.
Working in the Private and Corporate sector is not easy, we cannot just not turn up for work the next day without a valid reason, especially if we have important meetings and appointments scheduled. And it is these amazing bosses who understand our community that I really want to appreciate tonight.
Even when I was working in an advertising agency back in Mumbai, be it when my boss was our Copy Head or when it was our Creative Director, initially it took them some time to understand this Mizo tradition of ours, but they had never stood in my way. And in a way, they also got to learn about our Mizo practices and how close-knitted our community is.
So cheers to all the wonderful bosses out there. To you, the unsung heroes, it may just be about approving a last-minute leave request, but know that you have played a really vital role in the greater scheme of how our Mizo community functions.
Rock on. I raise my glass to you all. Cheers.