Yes and After
Mizoram first came into my horizon in 1971, though for a fleeting moment. At that time, I hadn’t imagined it would be eternally intertwined with my life. The occasion was a month long Bible study programme organized by UESI at Clarence School, Bangalore. I was at the end of 2nd year BA. Part 1 exams were on. But after the first two papers were over, the ministerial staff of Kerala colleges went on a strike and the exams were postponed for a couple of months. That made the Bangalore trip possible for me. [Thanks to the perennial strikes of Kerala, I am what I am today.]
There were two people connected with Mizoram at the camp. Both UESI staff workers. Ronald Adhikari received me at Bangalore East station on that misty morning. [Those days Bangalore was still cool in May.] Many years later when he came to stay in Aizawl, I came to know that his mother was a Mizo. The other person, Arthur Hope, used to be Kawnpui High School Headmaster during the fateful days in 1966. He had once been taken by MNF to the jungles to be shot. But that hadn’t dampened his love for the Mizos and the Northeast.
In one of those classrooms of Clarence with the background sound of the passing trains Arthur told us that Christian teachers were needed in Mizoram. In my heart I prayed: ‘Lord, if you want me to go there, I am willing.’ It was just between the Lord and me. No human knew about it. Camp over, back to college, strikes and studies, I coolly forgot all about it. So it was left to Him to do something about it. And he did it in a cool headed way.
1975: Having finished studies, I was on the lookout for a job. An ad from Mizoram was brought to my notice. Interview at Mizoram MP, Sangliana’s residence in Delhi. Three Mizo gentlemen formed the panel. Lalfakzuala IAS was one of them. I never discovered the other person’s name.
Sangliana shot the first question. How did you hear about Mizoram? I was more or less prepared to answer questions from English literature, but not this. Quickly my mind went back in time. Where did I first hear about Mizoram? Rewinding stopped at 1971 Bangalore. “Some years back a gentleman by name Arthur Hope told me about this place”, I tentatively started. Pat came Sangliana’s next question: “Do you know Arthur Hope?” “What kind of interview is this”, I wondered. Hesitantly I again answered, “Yes.” End of interview. Reason? When Arthur was in Kawnpui, Sangliana was school inspector and they knew each other very well. More than the governmental connection it was their faith that had bonded them. So, somebody who knows Arthur well has to be a good choice. For the next ten minutes, Sangliana told me how Mizoram was like Hardy’s ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’.
I came out of the ‘interview’ [or chat, was it?] with a strange feeling. My prayer at Bangalore came clear to me. I had said yes to the Lord. He took my ‘yes’ at face value and started working on it. In the interim, a new college got started, an ad was placed in ‘The Hindu’ for the post of a lecturer in Mizoram, for the first and last time. That happened to be the only paper my brother living in Madras read. [I had no access to any English newspapers then.] Chances or divine control?
Be careful about saying ‘yes’ to the Lord Jesus. He takes you seriously.
Labels: Travel's Travails