A Tribute to My Unknown Brother

I write this article in the loving memory of my most beloved brother Khriesaneiphi Noudi who left for his heavenly abode on the morning of 17th July 1984.
My brother Khriesaneiphi Noudi was born on 22nd May 1980 and he passed away on 17th July 1984. He lived for only about 4 years and 2 months. During these 4 years and 2 months, we lived, played and existed as brothers-in-arm here at our home in Kohima Village. At the time of his death in 1984, I myself was only about 7 years old and therefore the memories of my brother Khriesaneiphi which have been with me for all these years are neither much nor very vivid.
Nevertheless, these memories of my brother Neiphi which have been with me all these years are amongst my most priced possessions and treasures. I can still remember holding him in my arms in our kitchen while my mother was busy cooking. I can still see him playing with his toys beneath my father’s bed when my father was deep asleep in his afternoon nap. I also remember playing marble games with him in our house corridor and courtyard here in Kohima Village. And the times that I played hide and seek with him and my other brothers are the times which I miss and cherish most in my heart.
However, everything came to an end when this most beloved brother of mine breathed his last at the Naga Civil Hospital Kohima on the morning of 17th July 1984. He was admitted to this hospital two days earlier with an unknown ailment. Despite the best efforts of the doctors, the cruel hand of destiny snatched him away from me.
That very morning my beloved brother’s body was brought from the hospital to our home in a Mahindra jeep that belonged to an uncle of mine. I saw my father stepping down from the jeep with my brother’s body and my whole world collapsed then and there. As mentioned, I was still too young to understand the real meaning of death. But for once I knew in my heart that my beloved brother Neiphi was gone and that he would never come back. That afternoon my brother’s funeral was held at 2:00 pm after which he was buried here in my father’s compound Kohima Village. And in the evening I saw something in our kitchen which I had never seen before. I saw my father crying inconsolably. This was and is the first and only time in my entire life when I saw my father crying.
The death of my brother Khriesaneiphi in 1984 was also the first time when I saw and experienced death at such close quarters. Life on this earth is not at all rosy and there have been many times when I felt hapless, dismayed, discouraged and disheartened. But never in my life have I felt more hapless and disheartened than on 17th July 1984 when my beloved brother Neiphi died and was buried right in front of my very eyes.
This sudden and unexpected departure of my beloved brother crippled and handicapped my whole family for years and it took us several years to recover and be healed from this deprivation.
My brother Neiphi was the most healthy and good-looking amongst the six brothers that we are. He was always lively and jovial right from the start. And in the last 27 years or so since his passing away, I have always yearned for his presence by my side and to see his face and hear his voice - but I know I never will again. The truth is that, in the last 27 years or so, I have not even heard anyone mentioning his name except on a few occasions by my father and mother.
People who know me or my family well will say that I am a person who has four brothers. And in a way they are right because I do have four brothers who are well and alive today. However I would like to consider myself as someone who has five brothers and not just four brothers. In other words I would always prefer to refer to my late brother Neiphi in the present tense and not in the past tense. This is so because even though my brother Neiphi is no longer with me physically, he continues to live in my heart, in my mind and in my memory. There has never been a day, a morning or an evening when I did not think about him or miss him.
If my brother Khriesaneiphi was alive today he would have been a young man of about 30 years and probably married with children of his own. And we would have been living and working together shoulder-to-shoulder as brothers and responsible citizens of Naga country. However, this was not what fate had in store for us.
It has been almost 27 years since my beloved brother Neiphi passed away and in all these 27 years I have always wanted to do something in his name and in his memory. If I was a man with influence in our government set-up I would have launched a benevolent programme or a welfare scheme in his name and memory. If I was a rich man with lots of money, I would have opened a school, a restaurant or a shopping complex in his name. If I was a songwriter I would have written a song and dedicated it to him. If I was a poet I would have written a poem in beautiful words in his memory. But I am none of these. Therefore I thought the best way to pay my tribute to this beloved brother of mine would be to write an article in his name and in his memory. This is why I write this article. As I write this, if my beloved brother Neiphi is looking down from above, I am sure he is happy to see that his elder brother has not forgotten him in all these years.
Finally, even today whenever I see the old photographs of my beloved brother, I fail to stop the tears from rolling down my cheeks and many questions begin to stare me in the face. I begin to ask myself why a harmless, innocent and helpless boy like my brother Neiphi had to be snatched away from me at such a tender age when he had not even began to live life in the real sense.
Yes, there have always been unanswered questions but I find comfort and peace in the faith that my beloved brother is waiting for me at my Savior’s feet on the other side of the river and that one day I shall meet my beloved brother Khriesaneiphi Noudi again never to part again.
“….the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord” – Job 1: 21.