I am interested in handicrafts. Most of the weaving and knitting in North-eastern states, like Arunachal, is done by girls and women. Once I was knitting alone at home. So I decided to go to my neighbour Aunt Amrit’s house. I took my knitting with me. When I reached there, I saw that she too was knitting. “Asima, come, come,” Auntie greeted me. I went in and sat besides her. “What are you knitting?” she asked me. “A sweater, auntie”, I replied. She asked me about my school. I told her that school life is joyful. “Auntie, please tell me about your childhood”, I asked her hesitantly.
Aunt Amrit was silent for a few seconds. “Oh, Asima, my childhood was all sad”, Auntie began softly. “When I was small like you, I stayed in your uncle’s rented house with my parents. My father and mother worked as peasants. My father used to drink heavily and take opium by borrowing from others, even though we had no money for buying food. Father used to take on loan a bull for farming from Kimso, a farmer. But one day my father sold that bull to get some cash. When Kimso heard about it, he came to my father and demanded the money. But my father started telling his problems and begged the owner to give some time. “I would return the money surely within 6 months.” The man agreed. But even after six months, my father could not give back the money.”
I was only three years old. As expected, the bull’s owner came, and ordered my father to give back the money. “Or I would take way your child.” Saying this he took me in his arms. “You can return the money in one year. Otherwise, I will keep this girl as my child.” Hearing this my mother burst into tears. I didn’t know what was happening. “Why was my mother crying?”, I was wondering. Kimso took me to his home.
But even after one year, my father could not return the money, so the owner adopted me. That’s how I became a Mishmi.”…When she finished speaking, she began to sob. Then my eyes too filled with tears. We both cried a lot.
“Auntie, sorry for asking” I said softly.
I looked outside. It was getting dark. I said, “May I go?”
OK… Go safely”, said Auntie, as I rose up.
“It was a sad story.” I spoke.
Aunty smiled, as she waved good bye to me.
Ms. Asima Dellang
cl. VIII, APNE Library, Wakro- 792104
Lohit dist., Arunachal Pradesh