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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Chp 90. Law & Order: SVU

The dictionary definition for a spin-off is:
A new organization or entity formed by a split from a larger one, such as a television series based on a pre-existing one.
We are no stranger to spin-offs when it comes to television serials here in India. Some of our favorite serials and sit-coms are actually spin-offs. Frasier from Cheers, Xena: Warrior Princess from Hercules, Joey from Friends, Angel from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, American Idol from the British Pop Idol, Boston Legal from The Practice, Melrose Place from Beverly Hills 90210 etc. I even found out that my favorite show, The Simpsons, is actually a spin-off from an animated sketch series called The Tracy Ullman Show, and is currently the longest running spin-off in the history of Television.

Two of my favorite detective/crime investigation shows are “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and “Law & Order: SVU”. In India, we get CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and its two spin-offs CSI: Miami and CSI: NY broadcasted (on AXN), but we get only Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (on StarWorld), which is a spin-off from the original Law & Order series (The other spin-offs from Law & Order are Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Law & Order: Trial by Jury which are also not aired here in India).

I guess if we want to compare these two great shows, we must first take a look at their respective Networks. It’s a case of the popular (and infamous) NBCCBS rivalry in the US. Please do read my previous post about the various serials that we get here in India, and which Network they originally were broadcasted on. Law & Order by NBC is more or less in response to CBS’ popular CSI series.

Anyway, I think when it comes to air time here in India, CSI and its spin-offs are much more popular than Law & Order. But if you ask me, I would choose Law & Order: SVU any day over the CSI series, even though I love CSI.

Reasons why “Law & Order: SVU” rocks:

I never used to miss this show 3 years ago when it was aired on StarWorld. But after some time it was taken off the air and now recently had made its way back into the channel with an all new Season. Praise be the Almighty Lord for that.

What makes SVU stand out from the rest is the way the whole show proceeds: From crime scene investigation to Laboratory analysis to Court room case. I am a sucker for a good Court room drama. And most of the cases are not just about the simple “break a law – get tried – get jailed” open and shut cases. The show involved many complicated and controversial issues, where sometimes the guilty even gets away after managing to find a loop hole in the written law.

The show mainly concentrate on crimes involving sexual assaults like rape, minor sex, statutory rape, sex trafficking, abortions, artificial insemination, women’s right, sexual discrimination, prostitution, child custody battle, DNA analysis, behavior psychology, drugs abuse, hate crimes, gun control etc Although it’s usually a 50-50 crime-scene court-room drama, sometimes the percentage can shift on either side (like for example, the episode aired on StarWorld last Sunday was entirely a crime scene episode).

The cast of Law & Order: SVU are amazing too. The main detectives are Det. Elliot Stabler played excellently by Christopher Meloni (Inmate Chris Keller of “Oz”, regular guest appearance in “NYPD Blues”, “Homicide: Life on the street” and “Scrubs”, and was Julia Robert’s fiancé in “Runaway Bride”) and Det. Olivia Benson played by Mariska Hargitay (2005 Golden Globe winner for Lead Actress in a Drama Series, as well as 2004, 2005 and 2006 Emmy Award nominee, and 2004 Screen Actors Guild Award nominee for Lead Actress). Det. Stabler felt it is a moral responsibility to protect all people from sexual assaults especially since he had four children of his own, while Det. Benson was a child born out of a rape.

And then there’s the street-smart Mister Cool himself, Det. Odafin “Fin” Tutuola, perfectly portrayed by rapper and actor Ice-T. B.D.Wong played the role of FBI Agent Dr. George Huang, a forensic psychiatrist and expert on the criminal mind (Trivia: His FBI Badge no. is 2317616, the same as that of Agent Dana Scully of The X-files ). Recently I’ve seen him done a lot of active field assignments, although his initial role was just to observe the body languages and behavior of suspects during their interrogation at the Station. The Medical Examiner is Dr. Melinda Warner, played by Tamara Tunie. Their Captain is Capt. Donald “Don” Cragen, played by Dann Florek. He played the same role from the original “Law & Order” series.

The ADA (Assistant District Attorney) is Casey Novak played by the oh so hot Diane Neal. She replaced ADA Alexandra “Alex” Cabot played by Stephanie March at Season 5 after she went into hiding (Witness Protection). The SVU that I used to watch 3 years ago featured Stephanie as the ADA and was disappointed a bit to find the change. But now I am really impressed with Diane Neal’s acting, and ofcourse her charm and beauty .

And last but not the least, the coolest of them all! He is no stranger to detective shows on television. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Richard Belzer, also known as Det. John Munch. Probably one of the most common faces in crime television, this guy is super ultra cool. Even though he hardly speaks in many SVU episodes, there’s always an air of mystery and coolness around him. He played the same character of Det. John Munch of Homicide: Life on the streets for 7 seasons before moving to SVU. And that’s not all. He appeared as the same Det. Munch in many other serials like the original Law & Order, The X-Files, Law & Order: Trial by Jury, Arrested Development and The Beat.

Together, they make a fantastic team. I guess the only downside to this show is that it is a wee bit unrealistic. In Law & Order: SVU, every case goes to trial immediately and the trial is completed within a few days/weeks. In real life, however, not ever case goes to trial, nor does it take a few days/weeks to reach a verdict. But then, it’s a serial for Christ’s sake. Nobody’s gonna spend an entire year watching the same case go to trial every week . Kudos Dick Wolf. Continue creating/producing Law & Order: SVU. It totally rocks.

With the main theme in mind, this show rightfully begins each episode with a message:
In the criminal justice system, sexually-based offenses are considered especially heinous. In New York City, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Victims Unit. These are their stories....
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Sources:

Television series spin-offs
Official site of “Law & Order: SVU” at nbc.com

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Chp 89. Mumbai Cable TV and the Ban

Last night, around 11pm, Mumbai Cable Operators finally started airing Cable channels again. StarMovies, HBO and AXN were still blanked out, but atleast StarWorld was back, meaning I can still watch Rockstar: Supernova and the various other sit-coms again. Woohoo! It’s a bummer that there are no more English movies on Cable, but atleast something’s better than nothing.

With AXN gone, we are going to miss out a couple of good serials like Maximum Exposure, The Contender, The Ultimate Fighter, The Shield, Numb3rs, World’s Most Amazing Videos, Xena: Warrior Princess, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, Alias, Fear Factor etc etc.

Have you ever wondered where all these wonderful serials we get on our television here in India came from? Most of them are from The Big Four. These are the four main Television Network rivals in the US of A: NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX (FBC).

The percentage of US Households reached by these top four Networks namely NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX are 97.17, 96.98, 96.75 and 96.18 percent respectively! Boy, that is huge. For those of us here in India, to make it sound more familiar, let me try to label which Network our favorite shows on TV here in India actually belong to.

NBC is responsible for giving us great sitcoms and serials like Friends, Joey, Seinfeld, Frasier, Cheers, The Contender, Fear Factor, The Apprentice, Scrubs, The Office, Law & Order: SVU, Santa Barbara, The West Wing, Baywatch (1989-1990), ER, Just Shoot Me, Caroline in the City, Will and Grace, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Hollywood Squares, Ed, Star Trek, The Pretender, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Knight Rider, Stingray, The A-Team, The Cosby Show, The fresh Prince of Bel Air, Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law and Miami Vice.

Whereas, from CBS (of the Janet Jackson’s breast fame), we get CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, Rock Star, NCIS, JAG (except for season 1 which was aired on NBC, but cancelled it in 1996 after it finished 77th in the rating. CBS picked it up and went on to show 9 more seasons of it), NUMB3RS, The Amazing Race, Survivor, The Bold and the Beautiful, The King of Queens, Becker, Yes Dear, Still Standing, Everybody loves Raymond, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Tour of Duty, M*A*S*H and Chicago Hope. Two new serials that are soon to come to StarWorld, Ghost Whisperer and Two and a half Men are also from CBS. (The Oprah Winfrey Show and Wheel of Fortune were obtained by CBS through acquisition of King World Productions).

ABC gives/gave us shows such as Desperate Housewives, Lost, Alias, Boston Legal, 8 Simple Rules, My Wife and Kids, Less Than Perfect, Monk, Whose Line is it Anyway, The Drew Carey Show, Home Improvement, Full House, The Practice, Dharma and Greg, The Bachelor, NYPD Blues, The Wonder Years, Doogie Howser M.D., Who Wants to be a Millionaire, The Addams Family, General Hospital, Three’s Company, Dynasty, The Fall Guy, MacGyver, TJ Hooker, The Six Million Dollar Man and Batman (of the POW and KABOOM fame).

From FOX, we get The O.C., The Simpsons, The X-Files, American Idol, Cops, 24, Arrested Development, Malcolm in the Middle, That 70’s Show, Ally McBeal, Married with Children, The Simple Life, 30 seconds to Fame, Temptation Island, MAD tv, Joe Millionaire, Guinness World Record Primetime, World’s Wildest Police Video, The Street, Alien Nation, Beverly Hills 90210, Boston Public, 21 Jump Street, animations from “FOX Kids” like Futurama and X-Men, and ofcourse a serial I so totally love which is not broadcasted yet here in India, Prison Break.

Yes, if you are as crazy as me about TV shows, then I’m sure you’ll recognize most of the names up there. Some of them might even bring tears to your eyes, because those shows were aired in India long before the entry of AXN, StarWorld and Zee. I used to watch Beverly Hills 90210, Tour of Duty, MacGyver, M*A*S*H, Sledge Hammer and The Fall Guy on StarPlus those days. And even before the entry of Rupert Murdoch’s Star TV Network in India (1991), I used to watch Knight Rider, Stingray, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Cosby Show and The A-Team on Bangladesh Channel during the black & white TV days of yore. Some of us from the Northeast and West Bengal could catch Bangladesh Channel Transmission on our TV antennae (we just had to tweak it a bit here and there), while the rest of India had just Doordarshan .

Anyway it really sucks that the I&B Ministry had to ban Cable Operators from airing any movies with an A or U/A rating on Cable. Like we used to see “anything” in the first place anyway. Every hot steamy scene had always been censored, much to our utter dismay . I don’t remember seeing any b**bs on Cable, but I think I do remember seeing Van Damme’s bare ass in a couple of his movies . And the way these people say it, “Adult Movie”, makes it sound like those sleazy XXX porn you buy illegally from one of those many black markets in and around the city. Sheesh.

I think banning of such channels will only encourage more pirated downloads from the Internet and the sale of pirated VCDs/DVDs.

I really hope they don’t stop StarWorld too because the channel airs my all time favorite show “Law & Order: SVU” which deals with sexual crimes (A post dedicated to “Law & Order: SVU” coming up next). And then there’s Baywatch and the upcoming Miss Teen USA contest to be aired on StarWorld which might be considered “A” too. “A” means “Adult Content”. How vague is that? Animal Planet and Discovery Channel show animals with close resemblance to Human beings happily fornicating in public. Isn’t that “A” too? History Channel shows the biographies of people like Caligula, Cleopatra and Mata Hari infamous for their sexual exploits. Isn’t that “A” too? News channels show news about rapes and other sexual crimes in India. Isn’t that “A” too? Music channels show music videos with models dressed in skimpy skirts and exposing a lot of skin. Isn’t that “A” too? Many Hindi soaps like “Saat Phere”, “Vaidehi” and “Virasaat” have contents about sex scenes, rapes, extra-marital sexual relationships etc. (Source: Mumbai Mirror) Isn’t that “A” too? And last but not the least, Doordarshan shows the Assembly House Session where politicians fight with each other using abusive languages not meant for your children’s ears. Isn’t that “A” too? Sooner or later, everything will be banned at this rate. Damn. No wonder people enjoy better serials in the US of “A”.

We live in difficult times, my friends…

Cheers.

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Source:

>> Wikipedia pages of NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX
>> United States Television Networks
>> List of Programs broadcast by NBC
>> List of Programs broadcast by CBS
>> List of Programs broadcast by ABC
>> List of Programs broadcast by FOX

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Chp 88. Little hut on the brae

As she stood on the peak of the tall lush green hill, she could see smoke rising from the Village in the horizon. Most of the houses were on fire and long lines of thick dark smoke seemed to invade the idyllic surroundings of Mother Nature as if by brute force. With one frail hand she held on to a tall and slender pine for support while she clutched her woven shawl tightly with the other. The wind was strong at the top of the hill and an old woman of her age could easily be blown away.

Her eyesight was not as good as it once used to be, but she could still make out the burning huts and houses. The Village was perched on the slope of a hill that was just two peaks away from her hut. An able bodied man could make the trip from the Village to her small hut and back again in half a day. But for an old woman like her, it would take an entire day just to reach the Village, if she could make the trip that is.

She had been leading an isolated life for such a long time now that she could no longer remember when was the last time she had ever been in that Village. There were hazy memories of happier times, and also blurred images of the time she was the most beautiful woman in the Village. There was also another vision she wanted to forget. It was the reason why she left the Village and never turned back after that.

Many years ago, she was once a part of that Village. Everybody knew her. She was the envy of every other virgin in the Village, until she got married. Her husband was Thanga, the Village Chief’s son and the most eligible bachelor in the Village then. Not just brave and righteous, but handsome too. It was the perfect match. Together they had three adoring sons. She used to lead the life that befitted a Princess. She was a good wife and mother. She helped out other mothers and Village damsels with all their problems.

This wonderful life went on until the day her youngest son got his first pubic hair and was considered old enough to take part in the Village raids. She was around 32 years old then, still beautiful and still the envy of many other women. Her brother-in-law became their next Village Chief after her father-in-law stepped down due to a ripening age. After a long discussion with the Village Council, her brother-in-law decided to conduct a raid at Tawia’s Village. It was a risky decision which nobody undertook before, but if they succeeded, it could pay off very well. So on that fateful day, she said goodbye to her husband and three sons, not knowing that it would be the last time she would ever see them again.

Five suns and moons later, the loud Village gong woke up everybody, signaling the return of the warriors. It was around dawn and there was still a sea of mist surrounding the plush hill-side on where their Village was situated. She rushed out of her room to welcome back the raiding party. She had spent five sleepless nights, worried about the lives of her husband and three sons. Finally, the moment she dreaded the most had arrived. Would she see them again or would she be haunted with those nightmares for the rest of her life?

She saw the warriors entering the village one by one. None of them were happy; none of them rejoiced; none of them even smiled on seeing their family again. Slowly everything started spinning and becoming hazy for her. With trembling hands she counted the Village warriors who returned. More than a 100 of them had left for the raid, now she counted just thirty returning. She fell on the floor as she could not find her husband or any of her three sons in the group. Even before one of the warriors who slowly approached her spoke, she already knew what he was going to say. She looked up at him and all she could see were his lips move. Nothing was audible. Everything around her had become more and more blurry until darkness completely embraced her.

She woke up on her bed surrounded by a few of the Village women and elders. Once again, she realized her nightmare had come true. The pain of losing her husband and three sons was so hard that she could not even cry. She just stared into blank space as the other women tried to console her and prevent her from slipping into insanity. She could not even feel their sympathies.

That night, she packed all her belongings quietly and left the Village. It was a dead Village. Nobody sang songs like other nights. The sounds of insects chirping seemed to flood the entire Village. She didn’t look back even once as she left the place where she was once so happy. The only people who saw her leave that night were the two Village lookouts, who didn’t know what to say to her. Nothing they said could have ever made things right for her. She had just lost her all. They just let her walk because anything they said would make things harder for her.

Under the pale light of the moon, she kept on walking mindlessly. Through thick overgrown forests and thorny slopes. Past one hill. Past another. Finally she reached her destination. It was a small hut that she and her husband had built a long time ago. It was the hut where they had spent their first night as a married couple. It was only when she reached the hut that she finally cried. She cried her heart out. She cried for the next two days.

Some of the Village youth who were looking for her, came to her hut relieved to find her there and asked her to come back. She said no. The next day, the Village priest came with the same youths and told her she must perform the three months long ritual for her dead husband. She couldn’t care less. With that, she was ex-communicated from the Village community and she was now truly on her own.

Eventually, she recovered from her shock after a couple of days. She had not eaten at all and her face, which was once beautiful, was now just a shade of boney cheekbones and pale white skin. She made spears from the pines around the hut to protect herself from any danger. She lived on roots and vegetables growing nearby. She fetched water from a nearby mountain creek. She started setting traps for wild animals around her home. Slowly, she started getting used to the life there at the little hut on the brae. Once a month, some of the people from the Village would take a day off from their work in the Village and visit her, bringing her fruits, rice, clothes and shawls. But when they asked her to come back, nothing could change her mind. Very soon, her visitors stopped asking and visited her just to bring her new supplies. And after sometime, the frequency in which people would visit her started reducing, until they stopped.

To her, this was her World now. Hardly a year after she started living a solitude life, warriors from the neighboring Village raided her Village. It was not just a raid but an invasion, because they knew that the Village was not as strong as it used to be after that disaster at Tawia’s Village. The few remaining survivors of that invasion became slaves for the new Chief, who was the youngest son of the neighboring Village’s Chief. From the slaves, he had heard stories about the woman who lived alone in a hut two hills away from the Village. A week after he overtook the Village, the new Chief went with his warriors to see the woman.

He was impressed at her courage to live all alone in the wilderness and at the same time filled with sympathy for her enormous loss. He asked her to come back to the Village with him, even promising her that she would not be treated as a slave under his Chieftainship. She looked at him and cried. Her oldest son would have been exactly his age if he was alive. Calling him her son, she told him that she would not be able to bear the pain of being reminded of all the wonderful memory she once had in that Village. The new Chief understood and persuaded her no further. Soon he left her as she was, with five spears and his own personal dagger for her to use incase the need ever arose. He even promised that he would send someone to her hut once every full moon just to check up with her.

Life went on for her. Years went by, and soon she became a legend. Her fame traveled near and far. She was now approaching 80. Her body started to hurt more easily and there was a deep strange pain within her chest. But still she did her daily rituals with the same ease and intensity. She now had hens and chickens, a small farm the size of her hut where she grew vegetables like cabbages and lady’s fingers, and a cow. Every month, a small sack of rice was sent from the Village to her hut. People stopped talking to her because she never spoke to them. The Village volunteers usually leave the sack of rice at her doorstep without even acknowledging if she was there or not.

Nobody ever talked to her, until two days ago, when a warrior from the Village came to inform her that warriors from Tawia’s village were coming to this side of the land with the biggest raiding party people had ever seen, around a thousand young warriors. It was obvious that they were planning to raid atleast ten villages with that strength. He asked her to kindly come back to the Village for protection as Tawia was known for not showing any mercy to anyone.

She only shook her head, knowing that her time was going to come soon anyway and that she was not afraid of death, just like the way she never was ever since she left that Village. The warrior shook his head and went back to the village with a look of pity in his eyes.

Now, as she stood on the top of the hill all alone watching the massacre in the Village, she felt a deep pain within her. It was not just an emotional pain. Her chest was starting to hurt badly again. She fell on the ground clutching her chest. Somehow she managed to crawl back to her hut with all her remaining strength and got into bed. She could feel life slowly being squeezed out of her. Yet she was not afraid of dying. She smiled and welcomed death with open arms. Outside her hut, there was a commotion. The sounds of warriors ready to kill anything that came in their way. From the sound of it, there were many of them outside. With one last attempt, she opened her eyes to make out the blurry figure of a man entering her hut, a sword in one hand and a spear in the other. She laughed. And with that she breathed her last.

The warrior who had just entered the hut was the Commander of the large raiding party from Tawia’s village. He had heard tales about the brave old woman who lived all alone by herself because of something she had lost. He wanted to see the woman with his own eyes and maybe persuade her to come back to his Village where she would be treated with the highest honors. But fortune be damned, she was already dead when he saw her. He was certain she was still alive as he entered her hut, but the body infront of him was now a lifeless one.

He pitied her for living the life of an outcast. He understood how it was like to be an outcast. He too was an outcast once. He was captured during a failed raid at Tawia’s Village, which took place such a long time ago that he could barely remember anything. But later, he proved his loyalty and bravery to Chief Tawia inspite of the fact that he was not one of Tawia’s people. Soon, he became the apple of Tawia’s eyes and he was promoted to lead his own raiding party. He really wanted to bring back this old lady back to Tawia’s village because he knew how it was like to lose someone. He had watched his own father and two elder brothers die infront of him on his very first raid that lead to his capture, and later he learnt from his captors that his mother back at his Village was killed from a raid by the neighboring village Chief’s son. He missed his family a lot especially his mother, and now looking at the lifeless body of the old woman who lived all alone at the little hut on the brae, he suddenly felt a great closeness to her. He cried.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Chp 87. Independence Day. Woohoo!!!

Nothing can beat the feeling of being a free citizen while laying back on my bean bag enjoying that feeling and watching the Independence Day function on Doordarshan.

I switched on the TV around 11am. I had just returned from the ground floor of our Apartment, where there was a short Flag hoisting ceremony held. It was a great feeling to be there, standing in attention as our National flag was hoisted and the National anthem was played. At first I was a bit reluctant to go down alone because of a tad wee shyness as I was still pretty much new here in our Mumbai Apartment. But I saw so many familiar faces once I was there: phone booth uncle, milk shop uncle, barber uncle, internet uncle, cigarette shop uncle, and there were many other residents whose face I recognized too. We wished each other a Happy Independence day and then there were sweets distributed. Children of our Apartment who scored above 70% in the recent 10th std exams were awarded. T’was a great feeling indeed.

The Independence Day Parade on TV was just about to start when I reached my flat. The commentary was in English. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think it used to be only in Hindi some time ago right? Anyway, the commentaries were well executed. I think I caught a glimpse of one of the commentator and also from his voice, I am sure it was none other than NDTV’s Srinivasan. He rocks!

There were two commentators. One sucked. Srini seemed to be trying his best to bail him out every time the other guy stuttered or couldn’t find the words to complete his sentences. Sometimes, it sounded like those MBA entrance Group Discussion, where people tried to butt in while the other person spoke, just for the sake of speaking, and eventually when that person managed to butt in and silence the other guy, he realized there was nothing constructive or relevant to the topic that he could talk about .

Anyway, I never realized this before, but the 21 gun salute executed by the Artillery division while the National Anthem played was in sync with the beat of the song! Amazing. It was not just some random 21 blasts from the canons. Every shot fired synchronized with a drum beat of the National Anthem! Very well timed precision triggering indeed.

The personal Body guards of the PM. Man, these guys looked really freaking fit. I’m sure they can run from my Apartment at Andheri East to Bandra and back again in less than half an hour. Dressed in black suits and dark glasses, I was just wondering whether these guys were trying to copy the way the Secret Service Agents of USA guarding the President dressed like. Because I remembered when Mr.Vajpayee was the PM, one of his personal bodyguards was of a mongoloid origin. I don’t know if he’s from Nepal or the Northeast, but that dude was there at the background in most of Vajpayee’s pictures. Tall, fair, bald at the front (yay!), lean and medium built, I’ve never seen him wear dark glasses. He was always alert and looking everywhere while walking behind Vajpayee. He even sat in the same car with the ex-PM on his tours.

The PM’s speech lasted for around 45 minutes. It was in Hindi so I couldn’t understand most of it but I could make out it was pretty patriotic .

Finally, the moment I was fervently waiting for came. The Independence Day Parade. I love watching the Military Parade, where all the various Armed forces of India march in great unison, where all the latest and existing Tanks, Fighter jets and Rockets were displayed with great pride. And then there was also the Parade by all the States of India, each one displaying their unique cultural dances in traditional attire. The particular Parade was not just inspirational but also educational. Man, my heart was skipping a beat as that moment was approaching. But suddenly, the Independence Day Function was over, Doordarshan said thankyou and rolled out the credits. I was like “What the…???” .

I thought I must have missed that Parade while I was downstairs participating in the Flag hoisting ceremony. But then, there was no way I could have missed the entire Parade. And the PM Dr. Manmohan Singh was visiting all the Memorials of past PMs so the Parade couldn’t have been held in his absence. What the hell was going on???? I thought maybe the Parade was cancelled due to Terrorist threats.

And then my sister came home. When I told her about it, she looked at me and said “Idiot, what you’re talking about happens at the REPUBLIC DAY Parade”.

AH!!!!! Silly silly silly silly me. I got my Parades all mixed up. Yes, it was then that I remembered all those display of Arms and Might and Culture happens only at the Republic Day Parade, not the Independence Day Parade. Damn, I suck! Hehe. I should be imprisoned for this. I’ve been watching that Parade every Republic Day since I was a small boy. How did I ever get it all mixed up suddenly this year? As my friend Varasidhi would have said, I’ve just made a boo boo.

Anyway it feels great to know that the Independence Day functions all over India went off peacefully without any incidents inspite of the high alert warning sounded by the Government. India rox. Woohoo!!!

Here is a toast, my brothers and sisters, to all our Freedom Fighters, who had sacrificed their lives so unselfishly, so that we could be free citizens, free Individuals, free Indians, free you and I. Cheers.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Chp 86. What really happened in the IIMB Campus.

The Untold Story.

[ This post is about being honest with your friends and helping them before they ruin their life or career by telling them the truth even if you know they don’t want to hear the truth ]

We all know what goes on inside those hostel rooms of many Colleges, where the students have all the freedom to do anything that they want since they are far away from the prying eyes of the College or Hostel administration. Well, this is one such story….

The untold story that really took place during my short term at IIMB, Bangalore. The names had been changed for obvious reasons. It’s up to you to believe it or not, but I just wanted to tell everyone about this because of the consequences it could lead to if it went unchecked. Reader’s utmost discretion requested.

The place: My hostel room, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.
Music playing on my comp: Comfortably numb by Pink Floyd.
People in my room: Me, Mike and John.

Mike: Oh comon, you gotta drag faster than that!
Me: Mannnn shut up, I’m trying my best. I’m not as experienced as you are.
John: Here, pass it to me, I’ll show you how to drag.


(I passed on the device to John and with one sleight of his two trembling fingers, he executed the fastest drag I’ve ever seen. He took a deep breath and dragged the entire thing in less than 5 seconds!!!!)

Me: Wow! I’m impressed!
John: See, that is how you drag it. You’re too much of a pansy, dude.
Me: Hey it’s not my fault. You know I can’t drag that fast.
John: You gotta raise the bar dude. The faster you drag, the more kick you get out of it.
Mike: *cough cough* Open the windows Kim, it’s getting awfully stuffy in here.
Me: Fine. I just didn’t expect the two of you to drop by my room and do this stuff. Where did you buy this shit anyway?
John: You gotta have eyes for it man. Just go to Majestic near the bus stands and you will see many dealers out there ready selling this stuff.
Me: Man, sometimes you scare me dude. How illegal is this stuff?
Mike: Enough to land you in Jail.
John: *laughs* So Mike, when was the first time you ever dragged it?
Mike: I don’t exactly remember, but I sure am hooked to it now.

(All three of us laughed, but it was an uncomfortable laughter)

Me: Right on. It’s really addictive man.
Mike: Seriously. Now I cannot even concentrate on my studies anymore because of this.
Me: That’s what scares me. I’ve even stopped playing outdoor games. It’s taking a big toll on my fitness.

(There was a brief moment of silence. John was the first to break the awkward silence)

John: *Ahem* Anyway… have you guys ever tried dragging other stuff… you know…
Mike: You mean…
John: Yeah.
Mike: No way dude. I heard that’s too risky.
Me: I’m with Mike on this one. I’m never gonna mix and drag.
John: See, this is exactly what I’m talking about. You guys never take any risk at all.
Mike: Dude. You wanna throw away your life? It’s not like we have nine lives you know.
Me: Exactly.
John: Well, I don’t know about you guys but I ain’t gonna live the rest of my life in dullsville. I like to gamble with my life and take chances.

(Mike looked at me I knew exactly what he was thinking. John was way into this stuff and he needed professional help)

Me: Listen, I don’t like to do this but… John, that’s enough of dragging. You gotta leave my room man. I’m so sorry.

(John turned around and looked at me disbelievingly. He knew very well that he couldn’t do that outside my room. Fortunately for me, Mike came to my rescue)

Mike: Dude, Kima is right. Look at yourself. Your eyes are already red. Other guys in the hostel are already starting to talk behind your back calling you an addict…
John: Screw them all. Like I care. It’s not my fault that they haven’t discovered such euphoria as this.
Me: It’s not about them John. It’s about you that we are worried.
Mike: Yes John. Listen to Kima. Atleast the two of us can control our urges and know when to stop.
Me: The other night I was coming back from a group study and when I passed your room at around 2 in the morning, I saw you still dragging away to glory…
John: So you guys are spying on me now?

(Oooh boy. Things were starting to get really out of hand)

Mike: Relax John. Sit down. We are trying to help here.
John: Screw you both. I can take care of myself.
Me: Yes we know you can John. You definitely can. We just wanted to say… you’re not the same John we used to know.
Mike: You have changed a lot John. The moment you first started dragging, you slowly started becoming a different person.
Me: Yes. And we want the old John back. The fun John. The John that used to love nature walk and playing basketball.

(John slowly sat down and thought for a minute. Then he looked up at us.)

John: You guys really think I’ve changed that much?
Me: Yes John. We hardly go out anymore. You’re always in your room or at one of our rooms dragging away. Look, your hands are even shaking.
Mike: Comon John, lets go to CCD and I’ll treat you to a nice cup of hot steaming coffee. It will do you good.
Me: Yeah John. Listen to Mike. Stop this for now.
John: I guess you guys are right. I mean… I have realized what I have become because of this. My grades are starting to fall and I’ve stopped hanging out with other people. I just thought I’ll stop one day but…
Me: It’s ok John. We are there now. We will help you through this.
Mike: Come, the coffee awaits us. Kima, are you coming?
Me: No guys, I’m really sorry but I got an assignment to submit. You guys go ahead. I’ll join you all later.
Mike: Ok, take care then. Come John.
John: Bye Kima.
Me: Bye guys.
John: Uh… before I go, can I have just one last drag?
Mike: No John! No more drag. Come.


As I watched the two of them disappear from my hostel room, I felt relieved in a strange way. Finally we told John what we’ve been trying to tell him for the past few days. He was extremely hooked to it and he really needed to stop. It’s true, his grades were definitely affected. He used to be one of the toppers before, now he was in the bottom 20 of the class. Anyway, I lied to them about the assignment submission. I wanted to continue dragging. Hell, I’m not addicted to it like John was, but I just wanted to finish what we started.

I walked back into my room and contemplated on what had just happened in here the past 10 minutes. Just thinking about it bought a small smile upon my face. Man, some of the things John said were really crazy. How could anyone mix and drag? It was just too damn risky. Mike was right, we don’t have nine lives, we have only three.

So I sat infront of my computer again, this time trying to drag the “eggs” faster into the “nest”. It was a new pirated computer-game John bought recently and I really sucked at it. There were many different types of eggs and you just had to keep dragging one particular type into a nest before the time runs out. In between, if you dragged a different type of egg into the nest, you could lose a life. Ahh, that’s what happened once, during my time at IIMB.

Cheerios!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Chapter Interlude: “Mumbai Mirror” fattens :-)

Ever since I moved to Mumbai, I had been a regular reader of the “Mumbai Mirror”. Today, on the front page, the Mirror printed in large bold letters: “MIRROR JUST GOT FATTER”, boasting of the number of pages increasing to 60 from the usual 48. I was like, “Cool! More news and articles to read”. But then, as I turned the pages, I found out that the 12 additional pages were just “classified pages” which usually appear in the “Your Connect” supplement section of the usual Mumbai Mirror . Very misleading indeed.

Anyway, the theme of today’s news definitely seemed to be about racial slurs, profiling and stereotyping because of the recent racist remark made by commentator Dean Jones who called South African cricketer Hashim Amla a “terrorist” because he was a Muslim with a long beard. Various similar incidents that had happened before in the World of Sports were once again highlighted. And not just incidents in sports but also in the film Industries like comments by Mel Gibson, Bridgette Bardot and ofcourse our very own Rimi Sen who said “Rohit Shetty is amazing as a director, he can even make a Black African look pretty”. When this news first came into light a couple of weeks ago, we had a good discussion about it at Pickled Politics. The discussion is still going on even today, with one dude “R” blatantly supporting her saying that “it’s just a matter of personal opinion and that even he finds all “black people” ugly and this is not about racism” lolz. Some of his comments were so absurd that I decided not to waste my time replying to it. Because other commenters had already replied to his previous comments, but the dude just kept coming back with more and more ridiculous theory of his own. I really pity what goes on in that small mind of his.

One news in the Sports section that really made my day. Manchester United Premier Cup, the biggest Under-15 tournament in the World, just saw India’s Mohun Bagan, which included a couple of talented young Mizos like Malsawmzuala and Lalrozama in its squad, lose to the home team. But not without scoring first blood. Mohan Bagan scored the first goal, silencing and shocking the entire Stadium. Hahaha. The goal scorer was another Mizo, David Lalrinmuana, who scored in the first minute of game time! But unfortunately he had to leave the game before half-time due to an injury. Although Mohun Bagan lost, it was indeed nice to see my arch nemesis Manchester United concede a goal to an Indian, a Mizo. Muah ha ha ha. Being an Indian and a Mizo, I just felt as if I personally scored that goal . Anyway, it’s good to see India slowly rising to the level of top International Football Clubs. Very soon, there will come a day when I can cheer for my own Country at the FIFA World Cup. Go India!

“I have a dream, that one day…”


Sunday, August 06, 2006

Chp 85. A "new" discotheque called "Poison"

Déjà vu of good ol Bangalore.

It’s 3 in the morning here in Mumbai. Sunday morning. We just came back from a Disc. We were having an awesome time there, when the DJ suddenly stopped the music, announced on the mike that the cops were there, and with that, everything stopped.

Just like Bangalore!

Ah!

The only reason why I stopped clubbing while I was at Bangalore was because of the 11:30pm diktat declared by the cops (and cultural police). So we shifted to rave parties conducted on the outskirt of Bangalore city. But driving all the way back to the city early in the morning completely exhausted from the dance floor grinding and sleepy like hell could definitely make someone think twice about partying again.

So after moving to Mumbai, I expected a different scenario. After all, one of the most memorable parties I ever had was at Avalon, Bawa International, which went on till 5 in the morning.

Anyway, after being in Mumbai for nearly two months now, I’ve been to only drinking Pubs and dancing Pubs (As my friend P would elegantly put it, there’s a big difference between “drinking Pubs” and “dancing Pubs” . According to him, girls at “dancing Pubs” are genuinely hot, while girls at “drinking Pubs” become hot only after a couple of drinks. Lolz.)

Finally, last night, we went to a night club. The place was called “Poison”, owned by DJ Aqeel and Dilip Joshi, the same disc that Sanjay Dutt was rumoured to be interested in buying, which was closed down due to licensing problems. It recently reopened, just a couple of weeks ago. We called up the Management in advance to ask if collar-less tee-shirts were allowed. They said yes.

( Ps. Never make the mistake of going blindly to a particular night-club for the first time, wearing tees, even if it is a really expensive designer T-shirt, because many of these Clubs have a very strict dress code. Happened to me once in Cal. Went to CCFC, and “T” and I were wearing tee shirts. They didn’t let us in because of that. And because of the two of us, the rest of the gang, all 10 of us, had to forgo the party plan)

There were 7 of us last night. Three couples and a lone stag. Yes, that was me. The stag. Anyway, I didn’t mind being the stag. Nothing new in my department .

The place “Poison” was amazing. Situated at Bandra, waterfield road, it was 1000 bucks per stag and 1500 per couple, complete cover charge! We actually had to stand in a long queue to get in, just like those night clubs you see at “Sex and the city”. Lots of bouncers with headsets, and the women everywhere were dead on hot. (Ps. Guys! Don’t wear a black shirt - black pants combination to this place unless you want to me mistaken as a bouncer or a waiter).

The actual place was at the basement. As the management stamped a seal on our hands, an usher lead us down a long spiral neon lights decorated staircase. The dance floor was huge. Lots of fancy disco lights and smoke special effects. As I walked around the place, my masculine mind made a quick involuntary survey: Male to female ratio, 1:2. Cool!

As all of us moved from one place to the other, “warming up”, I was disappointed though. There were no UV lights . An awesome place like this, especially since it was an “underground” club, had no UV lights. To me, UV lights really give that underground effect and theme. Why am I making such a big fuss about UV lights? Because last night, I finally got to put on my “Brylcream UV Gel” I applied the gel on the tip of my spikey hair and wanted to know how it would look under UV lights. I even wore my white tee-shirt (for more UV effect) with a single word “MIZO” displayed at the back . But alas, no such UV…

But later, our group went to the more private section of the Club and never stepped out from there again throughout the rest of the night. The music playing on the main dance floor was mainly Bollywood and commercial, which definitely did not strike a chord with me.

At the private section, there was a different DJ. He played only Hiphop. The sound system in that enclosure was equally amazing. There I was “leaning back” to Terror Squad and “Shaking that” to Eminem and Nate Dogg. Some of the ladies made sure their “Hips don’t lie” to Shakira, and boy that was not a metaphor I just used. I “rompe rompe” to Daddy Yankee while clutching my fourth or fifth pint of beer.

And then at 1am, the DJ suddenly switched the music from Hiphop to House. So after that, I just sat down, quite tipsy from the drinks and still enjoying the night. I mean, I love dancing to Hiphop, but when it comes to Trance and House, I enjoy more just sitting down on the comfortable “vibrating” sofa and moving my body to the rhythm. Space Buddha and Royal Gigolos don’t exactly see an eye to eye with my dancing shoes .

After sometime, I thought, what the heck, it’s been such a long time since I partied like this. So I got up, went to the dance floor and moved my chinky white ass to the beat of Global Deejays and Avancada. At around 2am, the music suddenly stopped. DJ announced on the mike that the cops were there and that everything must close immediately. Just like that. Atleast in Bangalore we used to get a warning, and then the DJ played the last song. Here, everything just abruptly ended . Bummer…

There were indeed a lot of F words from the crowd. But the DJ just smiled, being used to this kind of reception from an angry frustrated inebriate crowd, and from then onwards, it was just lights everywhere. Bright white lights. Suddenly you could see each other’s faces clearly. They smiled. I smiled back. Made an Internationally recognized gesture with my hands and lips that meant “great dance, you” and then walked back to my table, making sure they could read the “MIZO” written at the back of my tee shirt .

Back at our table, all of us were trying to use up our remaining coupons. We didn’t care what drinks we got, we just wanted to finish the damn coupons. My friends told me the place usually close down around 4-5’ish, so I was earnestly trying my best to plan out the rate at which I was spending my coupons. But when they suddenly announced that they had to close at 2am, I still had a freaking 300 bucks worth of coupon left. S had 650, D had 700 and J had 500 (Remember these guys had 1.5G worth of coupon each while I had 1G). I went to the Bar with the total 2150 bucks worth of coupon and told the bar tender to give me anything for that amount. Lolz. Now that is something I won’t be saying again in a very very long time . Damn…

I don’t even remember what the drinks I bought back to our table were. All of them were “parceled” i.e. drinks served in paper cups so that we could carry them outside as it was closing time. The place outside the Club was swarming with party people. Black was clearly the main colour theme most of the Ladies were wearing. There were definitely more than 400 people that night. We formed a “human train” as we walked outside through the crowd as it was very easy to get lost in that sea. Finally we all hugged each other goodnight and went our respective ways.

Thinking back now, I really did have an amazing time at “Poison”. Too bad it had to close down early, but I think it was definitely worth the monetary value (and trouble of applying UV gel carefully on the tip of my spikes even though that did not pay off ).

Inspite of the occasional floods and other disasters/tragedies that are prone to the city, here’s to Mumbai’s high spirit of a great night life. Cheers.

- Mizo(hic!)an

Ps: For all the party goers out there who likes to search the Net first to read about the review of a particular place they are planning to go to, feel free to use my post as a review for “Poison”, but I must warn you that 70% of the time, I was inside the Hiphop/House enclosure and have nothing much to say about the main dance-floor section outside. My ratings to that particular Hiphop section: 4.5 4.0 / 5.0 (There weren’t that much of a disco light effect inside compared to outside, and the floor was not slippery at all, hence I couldn’t do my occasional moon-walks after suddenly getting carried away with the music ). And oh, the cost of a pint of beer: Rs.150/- which is ok I guess.

Cheers again.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Chp 84. Mizos: The Lost Tribe of Israel or just a Lost Tribe?

Once again, Mizo Jews are on the news. Two days ago, TOI reported on it’s Front-page about Mizo Jews in Israel ready to fight the Hezbollah, right under the headline that screamed out “Israel kills 34 children by mistake”.

“Mannn, not again” was the first thought that came to my mind. Once again, Mizoram came under the limelight. Once again, the “Lost Tribe of Israel” theory resurfaced. Once again, we come across familiar names like Bnei Menashe and the children of Manasseh.

It was around 6-7 years ago during my Engineering College in Coimbatore that this news about Mizos being the Lost Tribe of Israel first made headlines all over India. Ofcourse many Mizos were already aware of this theory by then but it was only when Israel stepped in that the Indian media finally considered it worthy enough to print on their newspapers.

It was at that moment that every Mizo studying outside Mizoram who had non-Mizo friends became the laughing stock of their entire circle. I was the butt of all jokes for almost a month or two. The harshest of them all were my Christian friends, who never spared me for a single moment.

Like for instance, we were all eating together at a restaurant, and they would ask me to say Grace since I was now much closer to God than them. And when it was time to split the bill, my friends would pay for my share and when I protested, they put on a very serious face and say “Oh comon, how can we make you pay? After all, you’re the lost tribe of Israel.” And then they would all burst out laughing after that.

Sometimes when I went over to their room in our hostel to hang out, as soon as they saw me coming, they would all bow down mockingly, even addressing me as “Your Holiness”. And when I get more marks than I deserve at a particular paper, my friends would sarcastically say “It’s not a fluke that you got extra marks. It’s because of Divine Intervention. After all, your great grand father is Abraham himself.” And once again they would all laugh their asses off. Sometimes when I order my favorite dish, pork, at a restaurant, my friends would all put on this theatrical surprise facial expression which deserves an Oscar award and they would all exclaim in great unison “Kima!! Pork!!! Lost Tribe of Israel!!!! Blasphemy!!!!!” Aaaaargh…

Ofcourse all those jokes were in good fun, after all, we were the closest of all friends. But deep down inside, I used to hate those Mizos who claimed to be the “Lost Tribe of Israel” with all my heart. How could they embarrass me? How could they not realize how stupid this whole theory is?

Because back then, our thoughts were very limited. The only reason why my friends and I found this theory extremely preposterous was the fact that we Mizos were of a Mongoloid origin. And we had never heard of a Mongoloid Jew then. To our much limited minds, we couldn’t just imagine a “yellow man” with “slit-eyes” skilled in martial arts to be a Jew. (Jew-jit-su? )

But it was only after my graduation and many researches later (read: Googling) that I found out one’s race or religion has got nothing to do with one’s origin. When people migrated from one place to the other thousands of years ago, years and years of different settlements, civilizations, inter-cultural marriages and environmental adaptations could indeed change one’s facial and physical appearances. It was then that I came across terms like Sephardic Jews (Jews from the Mediterranean regions of Europe, Africa, and the Middle east), Mizrachi Jews (Jews of Central Asian or Middle Eastern origin or descent) etc. Black African Jews like the Lembas carry “The Cohen Modal Haplotype” marker in their genes. It was indeed possible for a person of Mongoloid origin to carry the Y-chromosomal Aaron (the supposed chromosome that all descendants of Aaron should share).

Around 5000 Mizo Jews in Mizoram and Manipur claimed to be the Lost Tribe of Israel. Mizoram, with around 90% of it’s population Christians, often referred to as the Last Bastion of Christianity, where the Church is more powerful than Politics or the Government, where the word of the Church is the final word, where a large portion of a person’s income goes to the Church, where not a single shop or recreation establishment is open on a Sunday, where hundreds of Mizo missionaries are sent out all over the World to strengthen the Word of God, had definitely opposed to this claim.

On one extreme end are the likes of Dr. Biaksiama, ex-Finance Officer in the Central Govt who is now a notable researcher in Christianity, who exclaimed that this revelation about the Lost Tribe theory is the work of the Devil and that all Christians are put to a test. Quote Pu Biaksiama: “We need to deal with this seriously, with earnest prayers to God. This is an instrument of our greatest enemy, Satan, to burst asunder Mizo society and its religion. Christianity is at stake here and we should never take what is happening now lightly”.

And on the other extreme end are Organizations like the “Chhinlung Israel People’s Convention” who vehemently believe in this theory and even invite Rabbis from Israel to come to Mizoram to mass-convert the people. Fortunately for the Christians, the Govt Of India has disallowed this from taking place, putting its “Anti-Conversion” Bill into effect.

And in between these two extremes are the likes of Pi Zaithanchhungi, a respected researcher in Mizo History, who said “Since the history of the Mizos is shrouded in mystery, as they had no written form of their language before the Missionaries came, it is very difficult to trace their origin. However, the oral traditions that had been handed down from father to son gave many clues as sayings and rituals pointed to many similarities that are practiced by the Jews”. She further said that, the Mizos, as the tribe of Manashe, wandered towards China where they settled for many centuries. Escaping from the yoke of the Chinese monarchy, they wandered down towards Burma, and from there they settled in present Mizoram around the 15th century AD. She stressed the fact that being one of the Lost tribe is not about religion but rather about knowing our origin, and that one does not need to migrate to Israel or change one’s religion because of it.

And then there is the Media involved too. These people play a great role in influencing the opinion of the rest of India. Every now and then, a journalist would go to Mizoram to “investigate” this claim. They always write about the interview excerpts they had with the Mizos there. It’s funny that the ones they interview always happen to be someone who supports this claim. I have many friends and a huge family network back in Mizoram and know for sure that there are many many Mizos out there who don’t believe in this. Yet they never interview this majority. The ones they happen to interview are always Mizos proponent of this theory. After all, I don’t blame the Media as their main intention is to dig up stories regarding this and sometimes hype up things a bit, but atleast can they also please point out that it is not in the mindset of every Mizo to believe that he or she belongs to the Lost Tribe of Israel?

Before the Welsh Protestant Missionaries came to Mizoram around 1894, we never had a written form of language. Everything was passed on orally from father to son, from Village Chief to his subjects. We were head-hunters then, much feared by the other tribes around us. There were many inter-clan rivalries too resulting in frequent raids and wars. A hundred years later, the place has developed at a rate that surprised everybody. Mizoram is now the second highest in literacy, where Education is one of the top most priority within the State. With education came the power to reason, and soon, many people started questioning their origin. With almost everybody well versed in the contents of the Holy Bible, they started finding similarities between the customs followed in the Old Testament (practiced by the Jews today) and their old Mizo customs. Similarities such as the circumcision of new born males, levirate marriages, strict laws regarding menstruation, building of altars, the sacrifice of animals, burial customs, marriage and divorce procedures, a belief in an all-powerful deity and the symbolic presence of the number seven in many festivities. Hence this lead to many people believing that they belong to the Lost Tribe of Israel.

But enough of this for now. For once let us stop debating whether this claim is actually true or not. Let us look to the future and try to discuss the various possible consequences. A recent test conducted by notable researchers including the late Isaac L.Hmar at the Dept of History, Manipur University, said the test results were negative and no evidences were found that would indicate a Middle-Eastern origin. So what if there is another DNA test done and the results this time actually say we are indeed the Lost Tribe of Israel?

Will I suddenly denounce my belief and faith in Christianity and convert to Judaism? No! Will I migrate to Israel? No! Will I denounce my Indian citizenship and become an Israeli National? No! Will I voluntarily join the Israeli Army in its mission to protect Zion’s interest, bombing and killing hundreds of innocent people in the process? No, never! Will I suddenly stop eating pork? No bloody way! (Kima sings: “Pork-ing till I die” )

No offence intended to my Jewish brothers, but Christianity and India is what made me what I am today. Suppose you are a small boy with loving parents that means the World to you. Your parents had shown you all the love and affection they possibly could, protecting you and nurturing you as they prepared you to face the World alone. They taught you everything from what is right and wrong to compassion, love, forgiveness, sharing and caring, and family values. And then years later when you are all grown up and still following the principles that your parents had imbibed within you, you suddenly discovered that you were adopted, or that your father was not your real biological father. Does that make them any less of a parent? Do you suddenly hate them or stop practicing what they taught you? No. To you, everything they had taught you still matters. To you, your dad is still your dad, even if he’s not your real dad.

Similarly, I have too deep a connection with Christianity and India to ever denounce them. All the wonderful memories I had at various places in India with my Indian friends will never be erased from my mind. I will forever cherish them by continuing to be what I am today: An Indian Mizo Christian. But although I don’t believe in this theory and used to find it ridiculous, now I have a much different opinion (after all, opinions change from time to time). It would be nice to know that our ancestors indeed did descend from the lines of the Bnei Menashe tribe. This has nothing to do with Israel or being a Jew. The fact is, it really sucks to not know where you came from or what your ancestors were like. It’s as if we were created in a Laboratory somewhere around the year 1400-1500AD and multiplied from then onwards. We’ve got nothing much to inscribe in our history books, except for folklores and folk tales. Doesn’t matter if we are the descendents of Manasseh or Genghiz Khan or Atilla the Hun. As long as there is hard evidence showing who our ancestors really were, I am a contented man.

Because a man without a past has got nothing much to cherish about. He got no past mistakes or experiences to learn from, hence his future becomes uncertain. It’s like driving a car blindfolded on an unfamiliar road; unlike other drivers around you who have been here before, you have no idea where the next speed-bump is because you’ve never been down this road before and nobody you know has ever been here. You just drive blindly through it, hoping not to run into any bumps. Although it scares you, deep down inside you know that your future generation can atleast benefit from this and learn where the bumps are from you. Better late than never. You become a Maverick Pioneer. You may not have a past but atleast you can be the past for your future generation. Just make sure it’s a bloody good past; don’t screw this up for the sake of your children and their children.

The bottom-line is, whether we Mizos are indeed the Lost Tribe of Israel or not, one thing is for sure: We are still pretty much lost on our origin . Maybe one day we will find out if our ancestor really is Manasseh, son of Joseph, son of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham.

Until then, this is me signing off.

- Kima, son of VL Rema, son of Zabanga, son of Zaneiha, son of Vanhlira.

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Some Interesting reads :
>> The above mentioned Bnei Menashe and Manasseh on Wikipedia.
>> Found: A Lost Tribe of Israel by Claude Mariottini, Professor of Old Testament, Northern Baptist Seminary.
>> The Lost Tribes of Israel A sequel to the above post by the same author.
>> An in-depth article on this topic by the late Isaac L.Hmar. RIP Bro.
>> The Blood of the Jews: Genetic connection.
>> One of the earlier news (1999) about “The Lost Tribe of Israel” I dug out from Google.
>> Long Lost Jews by Michael Freund, Jerusalem Post Magazine, March 2002.
>> Last year’s news entitled “Controversy over Mizo Israeli descendent”.
>> Glossary of Jewish terms including words like Sephardim and Mizrachi.