In memory of Mezolhi-U Chirhah

In memory of Mezolhi-U Chirhah

Samhita Barooah

I woke up with a frantic phone call from my friend in Chizami village. She said that the news is not so good. “Ase died,” she said. I could see my numbness gripping me. Ase as everyone addressed, Mezolhi-U Chirhah was my land lady in Nagaland where I lived for months together for field work. But she was much more than just a land lady. She gave me shelter, food, care and support throughout my work. Being a farmer her knowledge of the farming practices was immense and she practiced it every day even in her eighties. She would always keep everyone around her happy and safe. At the age of 80+, when I met her 2 and half years back she walked around her neighbourhood, climbed steep slopes and did homestead farming, grasscoat weaving and firewood cooking very easily. My best memories with her are in the kitchen space where she would look at the photos I took in any community programme and showed them to her. I could perceive the joy in her eyes as she relived her memories through those photos and conversations. She met her age group friends in the neighbourhood regularly which gave them great happiness. Ase was a folk singer of great repute who represented her village in different occasions during her younger days. She managed to survive many conflicts during her lifetime and sustained her family with great resilience through farming and weaving. She leaves behind her daughter, daughter in law, grand children and great grand daughter and a host of relatives and a bereaved community. Today on her day of departure towards heavenly abode, I pay my tribute to her undying spirit which touched many lives. May her knowledge and experience enlighten millions of people around the world!