Friday, January 2, 2009

Exit the 8, Enter the 9

New Years used to remind me of dusts and puddle I once onsidered part of my childhood life. Incidents of fights that happened then had, by the grace of God, never left permanent scar on me or my opponents.
I'd revered people who have the courage to face situations all alone. And I rated myself as one of the boldest and most stupid fight. My early days in this world was marred with fights I never wanted to take at first instance. Such fights, for me, were just ego fights than physical ones; if I cringe in fear I'd have to bear with punches from my back anyway. Which is why I prefered to take punches head on. And I fought on. Secondly I took fights because I didn't want to be labelled a coward. Actually I didn't want to suffer the punches from my back of someone's elder (by hardly two year) brothers and close relatives. The irony was that I just couldn't consider them as champions. Therfore I had to swallow the hard fact that a third, fourth or fifth party's merciless punches or fancy side-kicks, would eventually conclude the fight whatsoever. Before accepting the challenge. My immediate sibling is a sister who is senior to me by about 4 years. She was seldom aware of the fights I used to be in, nor did I want her to know. She used to talk. I'd rather fight my own battle.
Even in the midst of coward challengers there were a handful of relatively bold and beautifuls. I still remember some of them as much as I remember the C-y-Bs (Coward yet Bellicoses). A name that deserve mention in my personal pages is a certain Mister Hangbo. A scoundrel, hand-to-mouth existence type of person, I supposed. I knew very little about the dirty fellow. When we both were grown up I used to spot him atop rock-laden Shaktiman trucks. Yes he must have been from a really really poor background. And we exchanged customary 'dammaws' gestures.
It so happened that a plot of swampy barren land was wrested by owner of the adjacent land by constructing a brick fencing. The children used to walk upon the brick fencing. Even I sometimes walked on the fencing wall. And there a quarrel broke up between me and that son-of-a-bitch. Not a very honorable thing to do. Also I was reluctant to pick a fight with some one whose credentials I knew not and who looked more like a street urchin than a school kid. Yet I challenged him from a distance upon an elevation which was dry. He wanted the fight to be held near the fencing. I wanted him to come over the elevated surface. To my relief I failed to summon him to where I was. I returned home unscathed, unstained.
As I compared the challengers I came across in my village and the current challenger, I figured some distinctive feature in him; he didn't seem to count on rations of helping hand. The challenge was spontaneous and the decision, independent. Only that the challenge took place in his territory.
Three Weeks Later
On the request of a certain aunty, I went to buy mix (a mixture of buzia and bunia) from a restaurant. Chin a class III student was with me. Someone I didn't know, was following me. After I ordered the mix, he began to present his point. "Lawmpa zanlama ka lawmpa toh nang ki hau hilou maw? Tun amah zong a um vele" My friend if I may remind you, you have had a querrel with my friend some days back. See that boy is ready now. The boy stood by the door of the restaurant. I was feeling uneasy.
Eversince I came to Lamka to study, I never engaged in serious quarrels because I came across there just about the same tribe of people I had encountered in my village - bold in packs, coward and dangerous. And if something happens my parents would be in jeopardy.
The medical treatment involving intravenous injection of penicillin was going on. And my arms still ached with pain. Besides I was accompanied by a minor boy. If I had a choice, I would have opted out the smart way. But the fact that I was in a fix didn't lessen any chance of my being labelled a coward if I surrender. I had to face the challenge. Still I was working on ways to avert the fight.
Hoping that he could be scared away, I raised a finger infront of him and growled as threatening as possible, and said, "Did you really mean you challenge me to a duel".
I was close enough to sense the heat of his body. He was muscular, taller than me, and dark. But I reckoned that in case of losing a fair fight, he might not come back with a brother or a relative. Something I was sure of: his friend wouldn't help him. Eventhough it would be quite a task flooring him. I liked him!
The fixer led us to a tiny open space close to the fencing where the querrel started. I pressed the two packs of mix in Chin's hand and instructed him to make up any story about me but not to mention the ensuing fight to ladies folk. I was feeling sorry as I watched him run obediently.
The challenger was removing his shirt, trouser and shoes. He just put them behind him. His friend was standing at a distance betting with a grown man who happened to pass by and took interest in.
Like a pahelwan wrestler, my opponent was naked except the underpant. And he took position like a kungfu artist. As I stepped forward he lifted his foreleg, stepped back a pace, and again advanced forward. Inching closer I made a circular movement of about 35 degrees to my right, to put us in a more even surface. As always the first punch came from my opponent, a direct hit on my left cheek. The momentum was remarkable. But he didn't hit my eyes, so I was saved from experiencing balls of sparks flying off. Thereafter he, like any other amateur fight, swung about in an unorganized rhythm. I was able to deliver blows just enough to assert myself. While he hit the air with zips of hysterical fists, I happened to step on a pot hole. As I lean forward some his punches landed on my face. Immediately I stepped back, held him back and landed him a punch. Then and there his unbalanced torso fell forward. And then lo! and behold! He nosed the ground with a thud.
At a time policemen in Hindi films would have reached the spot where incidents take place, ladies folk, some with combs still stuck in their hair, others still holding rubber mugs arrived. And I found myself in the arms of my sister.
Eventhough my opponent fell down on the ground, I had a bleeding lip. And so the fixer declared his friend a champ.
The man who passed by and witnessed the fight disagreed, "Azou hih e"
"Azou e"
"Azou hih e"
"Azou e"
"Azou hih e"