Friday, December 12, 2008
It's that time of year again. 'Tis the season to be jolly, tra-la-la-la-la and all that. This year, I'm not as apathetic as I was last year. With a miraculous lightening of my workload comes a corresponding lightening of the heart. Sure, there are things to worry about, mistakes I have made, wounds I have inflicted, loved ones I have lost. And this year has certainly been chaotic, with me trying to make sense of what seemed to be losing sense each passing day. And for some reason, I always seemed to be two paces behind whatever was happening; I felt I was constantly running a race where the moment I finally reached a pit stop, the next hurdle loomed large, a hurdle I should have jumped over days ago. There were days when I literally sat down and asked myself, "is it worth it?" and moments of despair, when I was so dog-tired and frustrated that I threw my hands up in the air and cried, "I can't do this anymore!" Yet, somehow, with the approach of year's end, things have fallen into place. There is a sense of harmony, a unity, an imperceptible click that miraculously restores everything to order. In other words, Peace.
Maybe that's what the season is all about. I've always marveled that Christmas should coincide with year's end.How very fitting. We rush through our jobs and our lives and all the inconsequential but necessary activities that make up our existence. And then, it's the end of the year, there is sense of closure, a promise of new beginnings. Christ's birth is a symbol of that promise. After all the chaos, the madness, the rushing around... Peace on Earth.
On to lighter things, Peace is not the word that comes to mind when one looks at the markets in the city of Aizawl at Christmastime. It's positively bustling with activity, and one begins to wonder where all these people came from! And where were they throughout the rest of the year?! You don't even have to make an effort to walk, you get pushed from behind anyway. You literally 'go with the flow'. And the wares are interesting. While more upmarket stores display overcoats 'imported' from 'foreign' at three thousand and four thousand rupees, the second-hand shops, not to be deterred, also display overcoats, also imported and equally fashionable, at less than half that price. And while some shoes set you back by four thousand and five hundred rupees, mom went to a sale today and came home extremely satisfied, having bought a decent pair of pumps for three hundred rupees. See? Nobody gets left out.
What is forever associated with Christmas in the Mizo sensibility is the good ol' Boney M Christmas Album. Scores of new artists, Mizo and otherwise, record Christmas songs every year; yet, the ultimate Christmas songs will always be those sung by Boney M. I ventured up to bara bazar today, and true to the spirit of the season, Boney M was blaring from shops everywhere I went. Personally I've overdosed on it because when we were growing up in Dawrpui, Aizawl, there was this store downstairs that sold music systems, and the day the sun rose on December 1, they would start playing that blessed record. Over and over and over again, the whole day, everyday, until Christmas Eve. Nothing else. I kid you not. So, I guess you understand the mixed feelings I have about that particular album. I wonder if Boney M will ever realize the impact they've made on Mizo culture. Probably not. Oh, well.