Dear MPV Readers,
We did a thing!
Our first ever event ‘Poetry Reading by Poets of Lunglei’ took place on the 15th February, 2023 at Art & Culture Exhibition Hall, Venglai, Lunglei. The event was held in conjunction with the closing function of the Lunglei Arts Festival, 2023 (more on this later). We had initially invited six poets for the reading, but two couldn’t make it, so we had four poets – Vanlalruata Pachuau, Lalremruati Hrahsel, Vanmalsawmi, and Lalthanliana Zongte who read out their poetry in Mizo and English in a dreamy space filled with artworks by young local artists.
There is something about the sound of poems when they hit the air, something about the pleasurable rhythm of words being read out by the very person who had slowly and deliberately stitched them together. We know it sounds a tad corny, but we feel that we created a little bit of magic in our tiny corner of the Universe with this event. The reading was everything that we had hoped for and more. The place was packed to the brim, overflowing with poetry & art lovers. And what’s more, Lunglei’s very own Alex Hauhulh, and Hadashi of Cassettes serenaded us with their soulful performances. The poems, the people, the laughter, the music, the art, the chatter, the coffee, the calm excitement on a lazy February afternoon – what a dream come true!
Thank you to all those who came, and thank you so so much to the Poets of Lunglei. This is just the beginning.
Some photos from the event:
The Poets. Left to Right – Vanlalruata Pachuau, Lalremruati Hrahsel, Vanmalsawmi, Lalthanliana Zongte.
Glimpses of our gorgeous venue – Lunglei Arts Festival 2023 at Art & Culture Exhibition Hall, Venglai, Lunglei.
The event showcased more than 100 artworks by 26 young artists of Lunglei. Gorgeous, gorgeous art amirite? It’s so refreshing to see such a wide variety of styles, and such a diverse expression of creativity from our local artists. Anyhooo, we are getting sidetracked here, so let’s get to the readings. But before that, just one more photo of the beautiful art on display at the venue…
And now on to the readings…
Lalremruati Hrahsel, author of the Mizo novel ‘Hlimthla’ and a poetry collection ‘Poems Under The Ever-Changing Sky’ started the event on a mellow note by reading three of her poems – ‘Ever-changing Sky’, ‘Silence’ and ‘My Lifeline’. We loved the way she shared her vulnerabilities as a writer and creative, and why she writes not necessarily because she wants to, but rather because she has to, that poetry is her lifeline and her cure.
The lovely audience.
The second poet Lalthanliana Zongte read ‘The Purpose’ and ‘Sleep Paralysis’, two absolutely powerful poems that slowly unsettled us, and left us with a deep sense of reckoning.
Read the last two stanzas of The Purpose to get a sense of what we are talking about:
Now I know that the fight is within,
Inside our thoughts is where it all begins.
So let the thinker think of the bad and good,
But it is you who decide on what you do.
Then I climbed back up the rocky norms
Now wise enough to accept life’s storms.
Don’t we all need a love, more than we deserve?
Yes, and to love is the will of the Father above.
We then had a musical interlude. Singer, songwriter and artist Alex Hauhulh performed his brand new yet to be released single. Alex was also a participating artist at the Lunglei Arts Festival, with his two pencil sketches that flew off the shelves as soon as the exhibition opened.
Our third poet of the afternoon Vanmalsawmi read ‘Impossible Thoughts’, ‘The Odd One Out’ and ‘Introvert’ – three tender and evocative poems that especially resonated with us. Her soft, assured voice carried through the room, probing the audience, at times questioning the very meaning & usage of one of her titles, and in the process reminding us that we are not alone in our questions, and that it is quite ok not to have the answers to them.
The fourth and last poet Vanlalruata Pachuau, author of poetry collection ‘Rambled Ruminates’ read two poems in Mizo – ‘Tukdawl Tawh Hnehtu’ & ‘Thlirtu Au Aw’ and two poems in English – ‘Winter’ & ‘Regina’s Days’. He explained the significance and background of each poem, and took the listeners on a journey through these poems – four pieces that varied greatly in style, but were effortlessly carried together by their architect.
We especially related to ‘Regina’s Days’ a poem with such a solemn mood, yet filled with hopeful longing. The last few lines of the poem:
But when the wet mellow dew
Kisses the horizon hue,
A conviction cross my breast,
Our blaze radiant moon
Is no longer above our golden field.
But as the seasons are a changing,
A new star will be in our galaxy,
And Regina’s Days will brighten
Our new daisy days.
More of our lovely, lovely crowd.
The event ended on an enchanting note with a soulful performance of an original number by Hadashi, who captivated the audience in all her quirky, Björk glory.
And lastly, say hi to MeanPepperVine Editor, Ruati Chhangte, who was a very very giddy person that afternoon.
That’s all folks! We are truly thankful for this journey, and hope to host many more such events in the future. Do get in touch with us if you have any ideas on collaborating with us.
Team MPV – Ruati & Salini