‘I am almost forty,
you better look for someone
younger and pretty.
I don’t have the curves anymore.’
Then, she uncovered herself,
her mountains of boobs
and her unshaved vagina.
I looked at her
and I fell in love
with her soul.
We are happily married
for ten years.
After a long day of work
I decided to have a beer
I sat near the bar counter,
a lady in her late twenties
in a backless sweater
sexy and full of life
bent over and leaned against the counter
‘a glass of martini, please’
we acknowledged each other with a smile.
‘hey baby, let me take care of your drinks’
she gave me a cute smile,
placed the twenty dollars
‘I am nobody’s baby
I pay my own bills
and I take care of myself.’
True Love Keeps Moving: A collection of prose and poetry by Wedekhro Naro is a 112-paged work featuring 7 stories in prose and 20 poems published by PenThrill Publication House, Kohima, Nagaland. In this work, the author moves from the rural towns and villages of his home state Nagaland to Mumbai in mainland India, taking the reader on a journey to faraway Kuwait in the Middle East with stopovers at destinations as diverse as Seoul, Bangkok, Bhutan, Brazil and even Sydney, Australia. The reader gets a sense of the restless energy that grips the narrator who moves from place to place in search of something that appears elusive and out of his reach. Given the title of the book, many would assume that he was in search of ‘true love.’ But halfway through the book, by the end of the last prose entitled “My Twenty Seven Years in One Page,” it becomes apparent that the whole exercise was in reality, a journey of self-discovery.
This debut publication of Wedekhro Naro is a sort of autobiography in huge bites and pieces but a good deal of it is interspersed with characters, situations and conversations that come from the author’s own imaginative and fictional space. It is an indication of his artistry that the reader is never sure where one ends and the other begins. True Love Keeps Moving is the outcome of the pain and trauma he underwent when the girl he loves decides to marry someone else. The author took to writing as a means of purging his feelings of disappointment, anger and grief, which had taken a toll on him. Fortunately, it proved to be cathartic as he discovered how writing was a therapeutic tool that could help him cope with his pain and also to heal. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, one could say that writing this book saved his life in more sense than one.
With this book, Wedekhro Naro has created a body of prose and poetry that will make the reader experience an emotional range that belies his 27 years of age. While the relationship of the author and the girl he loved and lost is central to the concept of True Love Keeps Moving, there are other pieces, which while not contributing to the main plot can be seen as spin-offs or different versions of the true love theme. Here, the readers can experience the euphoria of what it is like to fall in love for the first time (“We were kissing like those people in Korean movies”), the frustration of being friend-zoned by the girl he loves (“She called me best friend while I was trying to be her boyfriend”) and empathise with his heartbreak when he learns of her impending marriage to someone else (“I started to cry bitterly when I heard her voice”). And as we follow the different trajectories of the life of this love-struck boy obsessing over an ambivalent relationship, we get to know a romantic and sensitive soul whose heart is easily won over by a kind act or a gentle word as also by the laughter of friends shared over a meal or a cup of coffee. Here too, we will discover the young man, who finally emerges from behind his travails- albeit, a little bent and battered by his ordeals but still funny, fearless and unflinchingly truthful.
Perhaps there are lessons for young readers to learn from this story of unrequited love. Wedekhro Naro shows that true love means accepting situations which are beyond one’s control, however painful. This is maturity and he has it. Not all true love ends up with the person you want but that doesn’t mean that your love has failed. As the author sees it, love never fails nor forgets: you only need to forget the expectations you had for the person in question and move on with your life. This is evident not only in the prose pieces but also in his poems.
Regarding the Poetry section of the book, a brief evaluation of the historical and cultural context behind the poems may help establish the author’s credibility. It may also help to bring up to date what is currently happening in poetry today particularly, for those readers who are not part of today’s so-called ‘Millennial generation.’ Poets down the ages have always used the language of love to fill all manners of love poems- from sonnet to epic, from ode to haiku. But as a field of creative practice, poetry evolves constantly giving birth to new forms that stand in stark contrast to those written even just a few decades ago. At the same time too, there is a shift in the way young people look upon romantic relationships today which makes the 21st century literary landscape unlike any that has preceded it. This is partly due to the new and even bizarre poetic formats that are now being used and which has literary critics struggling to define the current complex and multi-faceted poetic movement. A rough idea of the different directions in which poetry has divided and sub-divided can be gained from the poetry found in contemporary anthologies and digital texts. These include poetry influenced by the Internet age, written through Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook or through search engines like Google. In other words, the tools of the internet and the network culture of today define certain aspects of the poetic movement at hand. Not only do they reflect the poetic sensibilities and outlook of the millennial generation, they also correspond to the stylistic processes and formats they use. A few basic principles of this paradigm are paradox, juxtaposition and collapse of distance. These principles (among others not mentioned here) may help readers to find some greater understanding of the sensibilities and tendencies of this generation to which our author also belongs.
Wedekhro Naro’s poems serves to remind that millennials perceive language differently. Although his structural and linguistic preferences are not as radical as those poets who revel in the textual linguistics developed for use only on the page (a pattern called ‘Internet Linguistics’), it is clear that technology has infiltrated his outlook and influenced the way he expresses it. A case in point is his peculiar use of punctuations and capitalisations or the absence of them in some instances in defiance of traditional standard practices. This shows that he is using a certain textual representation to replicate emotion that one normally cannot derive from regular grammar. A thematic element that he appears to share with other millennial poets is not just their briefness but also the expansive fusing of opposites as in poems such as “Aduo.” In other poems he reveals the weird and awkward, strange and absurd comingling of irreverence, which is another characteristic of these poets. For only a millennial poet could write a love poem as quirky as “The Bride, Groom and Me” or a poem idiosyncratically titled “Romancing with God” and pass it off as a love poem.
For some readers Naro’s poems might even veer between confessional ramblings and sentimentality, just escaping either description. He has so much to say, associating freely, wildly, switching between lingo and more formal forms of diction. His poetry is essentially prose lines broken up and arranged in column format without any formal architecture or occurs as run-on lines that blur the difference between prose and poetry. But perhaps it is wrong to look for stylistic sophistication from a genre of this type that is supposed to speak the words your heart could never say; where the usual conventions and limitations don’t apply. And his poetry is surely a way into language when it gives us hidden gems such as the exquisitely poignant “One Rainy Day” or lines that these that linger in the mind: “Darling, I shall be telling my children/that you travelled with others/but you walked with me” (Senolu). The bravest thing for a poet to do is when he writes about love directly, plainly and honestly. And Wedekhro Naro’s poems introduce us to a world full of weird and wonderful language expressing fresh thoughts about romance and the art of loving. He shows how Cupid may have his bow but his arrows don’t always shoot straight.
True Love Keeps Moving is a work, which announces every aspect of the author’s self with so much candour and uncovers the trauma and hilarity of the everyday. His prose is like an extended conversation with an old friend or one between the narrator and the world in which he finds himself: a world confusingly sad in terms of the way some relationships fail or falter but also one where there is the love of family and the family one makes among friends. There is an openness that is disarming, a sincerity and integrity in the way he tells his story. Amidst the angst and anxiety, the bouts of depression, emotional breakdowns and moments of weakness and vulnerability, there is also empathy, affection and most of all, a sense of humour that strikes a deep chord within the reader who is warmed by the shafts of comic sunlight and the author’s signature blend of self-deprecation and humour. This marvelously truthful compilation is but runs self-possessed, dark, funny, bitter, playful, restless and completely entertaining. The collection, as the title itself suggests, is about further possibilities, about revising, reinventing and reimagining our relational modes. For even as his stories depict the distance between self and others, and between self and society in a world where people can meet online and entire relationships can be played out on Facebook but still remain complete strangers, he still shows that ultimately, what is important for our survival is the real connection between people. This concept of relational interdependence is at the heart of Wedekhro Naro’s writing. His idea of love is more than romantic or sexual: it is a radical understanding of caring and being cared for. As such, his book is in part an elegy for the past and a love song for the future.
The author is a former HoD of English Department at Kohima College
And it came to pass; pool party turns out to be real. The whole pool was booked exclusively for Al Bandar team because they are rich, filthy rich, yes you read it right. The DJ team set up their area; the grilling team and the beverage team were all ready, but the pool was still empty. Out of nowhere, a lady in bikini – Intan walks in like everyone, but boys will be boys, they swing her into the pool and the party begins from there, bodies flying into the pool unwillingly. No one is spared except the boss, by the way who wants to be in trouble, right? But they still regret for not pushing him accidentally into the pool. The two beautiful sexy ladies who came with their favorite jeans were not forgiven; they were thrown into the hell of pool too.
The fun part was when they all act like kids, playing with balloons in the pool. Water volley ball and water zumba was introduced by Al Bandar that night. It was a real party without alcohol but who needs it when your colleagues are there for you to get drunk in happiness and laughter. It was the most amazing gathering so far in the history of Al Bandar besides fighting against the sand storm. The sad part was when two of their colleagues couldn’t be there due to family emergency back home. They remember them too as they have decided to push them (including Cosimo) into the official pool during winter when the temperature will be just minus, just be ready that’s all, no pressure.
It’s very difficult to express through writings so let the pictures and videos do the talking. Don’t miss the fun. Watch the videos and zoom the pictures too.
I have come to a point in my life where I am no longer afraid of losing you. I am headed to a place and baby I wish you were there. But now, I am completely okay if you are not there at all because baby, I know enough heartbreak to stop expecting. I used to be so afraid if I arrive and you won’t be there in the end, and you’ve said enough to let me know that you are afraid too, if I’m not where you end up. But baby, I love you enough to let go of you. I love me enough to be completely okay with me as I am. And one thing you can take from me is this- that you should love yourself enough to be okay just as you are, without a company on the front seat of your car.
I have learned to walk alone, to work alone, to be alone.. But that sounds all too paradoxical because I’m never actually alone. I have my Saviour’s promise that broke down all my walls. So you see, I can never be alone in my singleness because I am in deep communion with my King. The King that gave me a purpose, the King that assured me a destiny. As my desires slowly shifts from you to serving my King, my prayer is this- that baby I pray daily that we are headed to the same direction, pursuing the King of all Kings and the Lord of all Lords.
Because I am adamant and convinced that no man will ever measure up if his heart is not in love with my King.
Jesus has set the bar too high for me- a man loving a woman because I’ve tasted how Christ loved the Church. And unless you’ve tasted His love, how can you point me to my King for the rest of our lives?
Aduo Keduoneinuo Solo
(This letter, written by a beautiful friend of mine who is having a major breakthrough in her life. It was a struggle and it takes time but she is overcoming the obstacle day by day through His grace. She also wrote one article which was posted earlier in this blog – RELATIONSHIP GOALS she wrote this during her transitional period. I posted her articles on my personal blog because I don’t want to keep those beautiful words unread by someone who might be having the same issue like us. One can also relate this article to my own WHY I DON’T HAVE A GIRLFRIEND?, it’s about how I struggled and move on by forgiving myself. Like she did, I’d also written a goodbye and thank you letter to my ex. It’s not easy to write to someone whom you are going to meet them often in life but telling them ‘we are over.’
“The best gift you can give to someone is to let them go and be themselves, even when you know it’s hurting you so much. You let them go not because you hate them but because you love them so much… I promise you baby you will enjoy the journey without me.” I really appreciate her for taking a bold step by choosing a healthy and righteous relationship.)
I am damn sure my local church members will not be surprised to see me asking this question. There will be a gossip or talks about me, because they haven’t seen my name in the tithe list. They will never find my name there because I stopped giving tithe. My dad one day told me if I ever thought of giving tithe to our church. I don’t know why he asked me this, maybe as a father he wants to show me the right path or maybe he wants my name to be listed in the church list so that he can at least show to his friends that his son who works abroad had given this much amount to the church.
The pressure goes high when I got a job in 2014, people started asking me if I ever tithe or give donations to the church, even my best friend started to ask me. I questioned myself why people are so much into my money which is just a few thousand bucks. It’s very interesting to know that I stopped giving tithe as soon as I got a job. I am sure many of my church members were surprised too, because when I was a student, I always give my share of tithe whenever I earn anything during my weekends. I was a religious person for sure. I never knew God will bless me even if I don’t give tithe. I thought I got job opportunities during weekend because I was sincere in my giving to church. At the end of the year you will find your name in the church report list, that Sunday will be only a day of reports on financial things. You compared your amount to your friends and families; you are often lifted up for been the highest donor.
I stopped tithing when I start to question the authority. What benefits do I get by giving my ten percent of my earning? Why would God wants me to tithe when everything I have is all His? Why God wants my money? So many things came into my mind and I decided to stop. I do research on tithing, but I couldn’t find anything that is relevant to my mind. I would often get the answers like, ‘you should give back to God because He is the provider.’ ‘If you want a treasure in heaven, then start giving tithe.’ ‘Tithes are for God and you shall not steal His money.’ The fact about tithe is not only about money, it includes everything of your earning or livestock. “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.”- Lev. 27:30. When I saw this verse, I was totally damaged. Because I thought tithe is something to do with cash. I failed miserably in doing the cash thing and now the verse is saying everything from the land. It discouraged me, but that doesn’t stop me from finding my answers.
When we look at the New Testament, we find that it’s through the grace of God that we are blessed and saved. God never demands anything from us; He just supplies all our needs. Whereas in the Old Testament we find that God is a demanding God. I always put this question back then, why should I tithe when God is not asking me anymore in the New Testament. I ask one of my facebook friends –Selie about tithing things, and it really touches my heart, here is what he says,
“1- Collection on Sunday for the Church in Jerusalem: On the first day of the week, each of you should set aside some income and save it to the extent that God has blessed you, so that a collection will not have to be made when I come. 1 Corinthians 16:2
The principle of OT tithing is incorporated in the NT: Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple eat food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar receive a part of the offerings? In the same way the Lord commanded those who proclaim the gospel to receive their living by the gospel. 1 Corinthians 9:13-14.
The point in the NT is to give liberally and not just 10% for mission and for the glory of God. The need to give for the gospel and extension of God’s kingdom is much more vital than during the time of the OT. So it’s not only a matter of tithing financially or materially, but going beyond tithes by giving even our time and energy for the gospel.
We are saved by the grace of God through faith in Christ. Faith is always active. We are not saved by tithing or good works but our faith overflows into good works”
I sure many of you will agree with me to the above statement because nothing is clearer than the Word of God itself. So, I believe it’s not where you give but it’s whom you give to. We need to give so that people who are working for the good news will live by it. Pastors or missionaries cannot live without their basic needs, so it’s our duty as a church to provide the needs so that they can travel or provide necessary things to God’s children.
A reminder to myself, I need to give more, not because my church wants new building or new car but for the extension of His kingdom. Amen!
The simple reason why I don’t have a girlfriend is because I am not ready to take any responsibilities; and I am not settling soon. Girls, don’t be offended by my statement. Yes, I really want to have a girlfriend in my life but it’s not the basic needs. It’s just a desire or say a new trend of the modern society. There were times in my life when I used to get jealous of young couples, who were so much into each other. Other times I feel lucky that I am single because you are not bondage to anything; you are free to do what you want. You spent more time with yourself, and question yourself, ‘Why am I still single?’
I jumped into a relationship half a decade ago; actually I was the bad guy trying to break someone’s relationship. I never knew a small hello will make a big impact in my life. There was this girl in my college whom I started to like, and not too long, we were talking and messaging. We met face to face, and I was totally mesmerized by her beauty.
I told myself that I am not falling in love, but my heart won’t agree with me. It was only a matter of year, and I am upgraded to the level of boyfriend. I was like her direct reporting manager. I took control of the relationship, and it’s a crazy journey. I knew she have a boyfriend, but I won’t give up on her. I was her trouble maker for five years. There were times when we’re just ourselves and the world is only us. I don’t remember how many times I’ve asked her hand. She would sometimes say yes and sometimes no. I waited her for five damn years to let her break up with her boyfriend.
We’re the craziest couple in the whole world in those five years, she considered me as her best friend, and I considered her as the love of my life. She never give up on me, this is one reason it keeps me going after her. I have seen her having a hard time with her boyfriend and my heart was a safe haven for her. I thought she love me, indeed she does as a friend but never as a lover. On the other hand, I assumed that she love me, though I knew she don’t. I just don’t want to disappoint myself.
I was told by my parents not to give up on the things which I love, but I think they were wrong to some extend sometimes. It’s best to give up when you can’t hold on anymore. After a serious research, I decided to give up on her. I totally disconnected her from my life. She is now a stranger who knows all my ups and downs. I still miss her, and I often whisper her name when I closed my eyes in prayers.
I regretted that I jump into a relationship which was never mine, now, the result is I am disconnecting her from my life whom I thought will be the love of my life. If ever I approached her as a friend back then, I know we will be the best friends forever. I regretted that I considered her as my girlfriend; I regretted that I broke her relationship many times; I regretted that I have wasted her time; I regretted that I couldn’t be her friend; I regretted and regretted.