Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Lost Parchment* - Mafaa Hauhnar


The parchment is gone -
lost in the abyss of time and space;
Some mongrel dog ran off with it.

The parchment of leather
in which were recorded -
the valour and valiance
of our lionhearted lads;
the boundless beauty
of our luscious ladies.
the voices and visions
of our poets and prophets;
the wit and wisdom
of our saints and sages.

The scroll of time
in which were scripted
the time when
the steadfast spirit of Tlawmngaihna **-
the flower of life*** -
burst into full bloom
under the cerulean Mizoram skies;

The time when
women and children,
faces flushed with freedom,
stood stalwart and tall
like the mighty Mount Phawngpui****
casting vast shadows
across the plains.

The parchment in which
words like
gallantry and chivalry
altruism and heroism
trustworthiness and selflessness
were used
as the lynchpin of society.

But now that parchment of ours is gone
and our vocabulary
is dying like embers
in the deep folds of our heart.

Streams of our lexicon
word by wondrous word
tumble;
fall out
by bits
and jots
and pieces.

Fingers can no longer feel
the pen mark or ink spot anymore.

Deluded by the canopy
of pitch-black dark,
we are tossed
like a tiny boat on an open sea.

How can we survive
in an ark that seems
sinking?

If only we could cling
to our parchment
like a lifebelt
to keep us afloat.

Now I sit myself down
despairing
desperate
despondent
among my own wreckage,
staring out into
the retreating horizon
of its presence.

28.07.2014




Notes:

*According to the Mizo legend, the legendary Thlanrawkpa gifted the Mizo with a leather parchment saying, “Treasure this with great care for within it is nourishment and riches and all the knowledge to quench your thirst.” The Mizo carelessly left his gift in a front porch, from where a hungry dog picked it up and took it away.

**Tlawmngaihna = The Mizo highest code of morals, the spirit of self-sacrifice and self-denial.

***the flower of life = an epithet coined by the famous Mizo songwriter Rokunga in his song “Aw tlawmngaihna hlu, Aw nunna par” (O Precious tlawmngaihna, O flower of life)

****Phawngpui =  The highest mountain peak in Mizoram, considered to be the abode of the gods.



Mafaa Hauhnar is one of contemporary Mizo literature's most well-known names, having published several volumes of poetry, critical essays and creative prose works. His publications are invariably bestsellers, trademarked by quirkily witty turns of phrases and puns, as well as a healthy infusion of humour which often neutralizes the sometimes acerbic social satire.  He regularly makes appearances at seminars and writers' meets across the country, and on Mizo television reality shows as celebrity judge. While most of his work is in Mizo, unlike most of his contemporaries he also occasionally writes in English. He is presently editor executive at ZOlife, a well established monthly magazine based in Aizawl.


3 comments:

Ma Enga said...

Flower of life .... a va tha ve aw

mesjay said...

Wow! I sooo love it. Very skilfully composed. Great imagination. Mafaa nge nge.

Martin Le said...

ngaihnawm hlawm