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Chance Meeting with ‘first’ Chakhesang air hostess

Nagaland News

Generation-next must know strength of good human bonding

Nirendra Dev
NEW DELHI, JUNE 22: Think of Nagas and a Naga will be around you. This is what exactly happened up in the air ~ much above sea level.
On board Indigo flight between Ahmedabad and New Delhi, 6E-984, one had a chance meeting with a young Naga air hostess, Ms Dzuthonulu Chuzho!!
I almost asked her, “Tenyimia mey!!” and she would have responded “haa!” Most Nagaland Page readers know the power of that questioning salutation from an Angami or a Chakhesang.
To start with, it turned out to be a memorable journey.
I left Nagaland in 1999. I asked were you born then?
She said, “I am 1995 born”. So…hardly 4-years-old. She is grown up now as a ‘pucca professional’ and so kept on addressing me as ‘Sir’, repeatedly. She knew inside the aircraft, she was doing her job.
She declined to be photographed too saying rules did not allow that; and we took a selfie only when the plane had landed.
Is she among the first Chakhesang air hostesses in India’s highly exciting aviation industry?
She said, “Probably there are some Sir, but I have not met any”. Even I did not.
These air hostess trainings can change a person. Her Hindi appeared better than mine and there was a unique self confidence as she handled other passengers, especially Delhi bound!
Second child of a Census Department official, Dzuthonulu, her colleagues called her Doulo, has a homemaker mom ~ and all her family in Kohima.
Her sister is younger than her and still studying and brother ~ the eldest of the siblings ~ as expected is done with studies and has issues about jobs.
She was not clear about that. “You know Sir, how jobs are?” I did not push the matter further.
She was surprised to know my admiration for Nagamese. “After so many years, you still remember Nagamese so well?”
Probably as a new generation kid, she could not relate how a ‘Non-Naga uncle’ can love Nagamese so much and remember also ~ having shifted to ‘India’ long back.
I felt like telling her ~ those were different days. The Naga-non Naga relationship was one of the cherished bonds ~ if one had lived that sincerely. Maybe her generation has not seen that.
Studying in Kohima, she may not have had many non-Naga classmates. There was a time even Science College students were threatened. That was Kohima of post-ceasefire era, not my era certainly.
I visited Kohima in December 2018 for the Hornbill Festival. The township then had huge ‘non Naga crowd’ around and even a large number of foreigners in and around Kohima.
But some local residents said the number of non-Nagas has dropped significantly in Kohima.
I was wondering, do my local friends love the new scenario. After all, some quarters and a section of neta class ~ always suggested that all problems in Nagaland and Naga life was due to the presence of a cursed community called ‘plain manu’.
When a former teacher and later a senior in his Department got a ‘threat letter’, the old gentleman wept inconsolably.
His children told me later that it was difficult to console him as he never expected such a thing could happen to him.
Turbulent days are behind. But Nagaland still has serious socio-economic issues. It may not be fair to link everything to Naga insurgency or corruption by politicians.
Society has its responsibilities. I still have a few very intimate (close) Naga friends who would not mind fighting with other Nagas if I am harassed unreasonably.
My young air hostess friend’s generation may not know all these. It’s sad.
Some old values must be preserved. We are not that old and were never so idealistic, still it seems that the world was better. It is not only about Nagaland or Nagas; it is everywhere.
The biggest drawback in my writing style is that every time, I try to come back to my journalism and personal experiences. But sometimes these give the message more clearly.
I have a Naga friend, senior in profession and age and in a way a linguist, who knows English, Hindi, Assamese, Nagamese, Lotha and Bangla to an extent. Her Thatcher like feature and curious eyes gave no clue that she was an Information Department official and would be so caring about a friend, younger than her by years.
In the 1990s again, she was afraid, concerned and also anguished to know that I received an anonymous letter of threat.
At a personal level, Nagas would highly value friendship and not betray a close one ~ like your classmates and so on.
But they would not forgive any act of betrayal too ~ even wrongfully perceived one.
She promised me that I would be constantly tailed by her. “You should not go. This is your place”.
But then after some months, she would scream rudely: “You rot here”.
Today, Nagaland is again debating ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’ and words like ‘tenants’ have gained extraordinary power. The story is same ~ the old one ~ ‘exploitation’.
Well, again I take shelter of a quote that came effortlessly on Google: “Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back, and reasons to stay”.
Finally, about our young air hostess ~ as a demanding uncle, I had extracted a promise from her, “No, sir, I will not quit the job. I love flying and meeting people”.
She responded to my suggestion that homesickness is a disease and it would not get to her.