Culture & Society

The Storyteller Of Maoting

And amidst all the contrasting differences that co-exist, there are the storytellers; the voices that refuses to be shunned by the world. They are poets whose words are forged by the struggles of their land. So, yes! You must take those journeys when life gives you that chance.

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Nagaland landscape
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It was around 6:30 pm on a Saturday evening when I called up an old friend of mine from Oting. I was stationed at Maoting for the night and I called him to ask what would be the best time to visit Oting on a Sunday. When he was made aware of my current whereabouts, he seemed surprised. He asked if the village was something so out of the ordinary for me and my friends to be journeying all the way there to document a music video. His comment being, “please do send me a link of the video you guys are shooting. I’m curious to see what the place is all about.”

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In all honesty, I think I was more surprised to learn that he wouldn’t know of a village that existed not too far from his own village. His question reminded me of a line written somewhere by Chinki Sinha, about how you sometimes take that journey to meet a poet. And I might have missed out on a very good opportunity to give him this answer back then. But if I was asked the same question again, perhaps my answer would now sound something like this:

Sometimes you know you have to take certain journeys, regardless of how many times you are being warned of how bad the road conditions are, or how long the journey might take. You take that journey despite of the fact that you’ve never travelled such long distance on two-wheelers, or the fact that the place you are supposed to be in is on the complete opposite direction from this one. You take that journey for the storytellers and their stories. You do it because you know there are places that hold certain truths and lessons that the world might have forgotten; things that we need to remind ourselves through time. And perhaps, that story is about life, about us, humans and our truth that we tend to ignore most of the time. It’s the story about people living below the margins, about our struggle as a race stuck between the past, present and future.

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We are all time travellers here, living through different timelines. We see the progress made by mankind in the field of science and medicines. We also see people living in the most remote places without even having any access to proper schools or medical facilities. There’s a land with national highways connecting states, few miles away exists a land with roads that ceases to exist when monsoon hits.

And amidst all these contrasting differences that co-exist, there are the storytellers; the voices that refuses to be shunned by the world. They are poets whose words are forged by the struggles of their land. So, yes! You must take those journeys when life gives you that chance.

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Nentong Konya, an upcoming singer/rapper

I met the storyteller. I also met his father. And I realized that there are certain gifts that are being passed on through generations; gifts that comes with certain responsibilities. His story may not be one that I can write about without missing out on certain experiences that only he knows best. But I convey my sincere respect to brother Nentong for what he has been doing with his art of storytelling through music. I was never fully aware of all the struggles faced by the people of Maoting- a village formed not too long ago; nor did I realize how sometimes we end up taking so many things for granted until we see someone else walk miles just to avail a portion of the things that we have(education/medical facilities/basic necessities, etc). But it is because there are people who are willing to be vulnerable and tell their story to the world, that there is always a ray of hope for mankind. I hope there will always be more storytellers for every Maoting.

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