Lada phi iaid marwei ha surok nongbah,
Lada phi sangeh shipor, ban sngap thuh:
Phin shem baroh ki beh dien ia ka.
Baroh ki kwah ban bat ia ka, ban long trai ia ka,
Baroh ki kwah sma ia ka, kwah ban peit ia ka dur jong ka:
La jan man ka iing, phin shem ia ka,
Wat lada don ha kiba ka kham juh.
Ka ai bor ia ki briew, ka pyntyllun ia ka pyrthei,
Ka seng bad synshar ia ki shnong;
Ka poi na kawei ka kti sha kawei: ka roi haba phi roi, ka rkhie haba phi iam;
Ka kyrkhu bad sumar ia ki para ba ngeit,
Ka pynryngkat ia u Khasi bad u Dkhar:
Ka pynryntih, pyniasyriem bad pyntylli.
Lada phi pdiang ia ka, phin pang; lada phi kyntait, phin shah bein ha ka pyrthei.
When people gather at festive times to worship their gods, they show to the world how truly empty they are:
Hands hauling heavy plastic bags, plastic hearts pumped by jingle jingoism
Set by the Past with no progressive visions of the Future –
Simply we will survive, we will endure, we will crawl through the whips of Time
That land upon our backs and be contented to be only believers:
In words that are etched onto stone tablets, eternal: eternally cold, eternally severe.
Lippi’s swing in the dusty garden which aunty watered every evening; Nikhil crying inside for his milk; I think I liked Geetu.
First time I ever felt marble was in Guwahati; cold slabs for my child’s body, salve from prickly heat.
Jalpai tree in Lippi’s garden where I crushed snails underfoot and ate her mother’s pickles; the first tree I ever loved.
The small neighbourhood field hosted the bigger boys’ cricket games;
Our football and marbles after they finished.
Before nightfall, mosquitos chased us in
To carrom, Doordarshan Two or videotapes borrowed from the parlour in Ganeshguri.
My father lorded over the office during the day, the kitchen at night.
Fish head curry to make us smart like Bengali classmates,
Though we tried our level best to resist, stay savage.
Redder meats somehow became exotic in the plains,
But emerged out of the freezer everytime guests came round.
At sunset, every day, the monotonous drone of the tube well; the hoots of owls, on the hunt, in the warehouses next door;
The nuisance of smelly Odomos and asphyxiating Tortoise coils.
The whole house settled down for Mtv India, Alisha Chinoy and Apache Indian.