Tuesday, November 18, 2008

U Loh Ryndi: The Founder of the Jaintia Monarch

Once upon a time long, long ago, in a village called Sutnga there lived a man named Lo Ryndi. By sheer ill luck was left orphaned by his parents since he was a child; he gradually grew up only with the grace of his Neighbors. U Lo Ryndi who grew up as an orphan lived a lonely and a melancholy life. He begins his life as a Shepherd of one family in the village and spends his life mostly with the animals in the hills and valleys of the area. Each day he would normally woke up at the crack of dawn and had his first meal of the day consisting of red rice (Khoo pnar) and pieces of “ktung”1. This he had with a couple of fresh chilies and of course few sprinkle of salt. After the rather very early meal, his employer will pack his mid day meal in a “trop” consisting of rice, dry fish, chilies and few crystal of salt again. Occasionally on a local market day, he will get a special treat from his employer and that will sometime be fish, pork or even wild animals meat. When everything is ready, he would take his “Knup2,” “Shaladiang3,” stick and of course his only companion the “Matur 4“and walk to the cow shed to open his cattle. While taking his animals on reaching the outskirt of the village he would meet his fellow shepherd and move their animals together to the valley nearby. Along the way he would practice his shooting skill with his Matur aiming at any birds or squirrels appearing, if he is lucky the burned animal will be an addition to his mid day meals menu. On reaching the spot they selected for their animals to graze for the day, sometime he would be busy making “thri 5” with his knife from a pieces of Bamboo. The pieces of thri came in for many use, sometime he used it to make basket, sometime he made a hat for himself and sometime he would make a “lakynjot 6” to catch birds. At the onset of Spring every year, he would be very happy because now he can collect wild mushrooms to add to his menu of the day and there are also wild berries which grows all along the way and a lot more wild fruits that he can enjoy.
During summer sometimes he would carry a lot of “Khnam 7” to waylay small fish and “dohthli 8” in the small streams that carry water to the paddy fields. When he had a huge catch he would smile and after he barbecued the catch, the remaining he would take home. Summer is also a season of lots of wild fruits and of course lots of leaches and snakes to be careful of. One fine summer day after having his midday meal; he went to the river nearby and after washing his hands and trop he again climbed to the hilltop where he left his belonging. He thought of resting for a while and laid on the green grass with his face towards the sky, he didn’t realize that he dozed out till he woke up at dusk. He immediately called his cattle and took them home. By the time he reached the vicinity of the village it was already dark, from a distance he saw some body walking towards the way he came with a fire torch in their hand. He was afraid because at first he though it was the “Lyngkhooh 9”, but when they were closer he realized that they were somebody who came searching for him.
During off-season (I.e. after harvest) when the cattle were left astray during the whole winter in a tradition called “Dat-rai 10”, he spends his time fishing in the streams and rivers nearby and also collecting firewood for his master. Though his neighbors extended all their help and support, but the prevailing situation tends to make him lived a melancholy live. He grew up feeding and fending for himself till he became a man.
When he grew up and is old enough to stand on his own feet, he left his previous master and his previous profession and naturally graduated to the next and only popular profession in those days - farmer. By that time; he was a grown up young man mature enough fen for himself, though having a short stature, he has a well build body with all his muscles well developed. He lived alone in a hut he made for himself on the slope of a hill and all around it was a garden where he planted vegetables for his daily requirement. Because he had nobody, so he had not inherited anything from anybody, so, he has to start from the scratch. He started to plough and make his own paddy field where he mainly grew crops Rice and Maize. For him life begins, at the crack of the dawn, when he started to cook his early food and packed some for his midday meal and head for the field as the first light of the day. While walking towards the paddy field, he would also carry a scalpel on the left side of his arm and very often he would make use of it to slice cane to thread. The sliced cane comes to many use for him, he would sometime make a basket of it, a cane stool, Knup or many tools that he might need.
There were not many recreations that time, but he personally is fond of fishing, at leisure, he would all alone go angling for hours together and come dusk; he would collect his fishing rod and take the catch home. On one of his fishing outing, he failed to catch any fish even after laying his fishing rod for many hours. He then decided to call it a day and start collecting his fishing gears, just as he was trying to do so, the rod move and he could recognized that it was going to be a big catch. He ran to get hold of the pole and fought to pull her out of water. The fight was such a difficult one that sometimes he was about to loose it, but his determination got better of it and finally he netted the catch. From a distance he could see that, it was as he had anticipated a big fish. Satisfied with the prize catch, he collects his equipments and walk tall with his left hand holding his Fishing rod and on his right hand he carries his catch.
On reaching home, because it was too late and was very tired, he decided to postpone preparing the fish till morning and kept it on the wedge, which hangs over the fireplace to keep it dry. The next morning came and his mind was pre-occupied with the work that he planned to finish during the day or may be due to kind of divine intervention, he completely forgot about the fish lying on a bamboo ledge over the fireplace. On reaching the field he remembered about the fish, but he then though that he could always cook it during the night, there is no rush it will still be there on the wedge over the fireplace when he returned.
As usual he was returning home from his field after sun down, but on reaching home, lo and behold! He was surprised to see the some body has clean up his house while he was away. How can it be? Who would do me a service? He was trying hard to think it over who could have done him the favour, but he has no answer. On the second day, his mind was preoccupied with the thoughts of some body that came to clean up his house, so he totally forgotten about the Fish, but on returning home that evening, he saw the same thing happened. His house was spot less clean, he was baffled by what had happened in his house. He then decided to find out for himself as who could this secret admirer be who came to clean up his house while he was away in the field. He was definite that he had no Well-wisher for he lives a forlorn life.
He was puzzled by the incident, so he decided to play a trick to enable him to find it out for himself. The next day as usual he picked up his spade, other necessary tools and finally took his Knup and hanged it over his back and walked his way out. He pretended as he would walk straight to the filed but he returned mid way. He took shelter on a spot where he could peep and have a good view of the whole house. He waited for sometime then to his utter surprise he saw the beautiful young girl that came out of the basket where he kept the fish. At first he could hardly belief his eyes but after wiping his eyes he saw the young damsel took the broom stick from the corner of his kitchen and wiped it clean as if she has been instructed to do so. The scene of a beautiful young lady came out of his fish basket left him awestruck, he cannot think what to do but his instinct got better of him so he immediately moved from where he was hidden towards the door and force him self inside the room. Inside the room, the young lady was caught unaware and he quickly got hold of her and holds her tight. He could not understand whether it was sheer curiosity about the wonder that he had just seen or it was love at the first sight that made him hold her tight and not to let go. He asked her who she was and what was she doing in his house? At first she was reluctant to tell him her secret but he was so persistent that she finally succumb and told him every thing about her.
She was a Mermaid a Fairy that he caught from the river and it was divine intervention that he kept forgetting about her. She also told him that when he married her, their Children would be the originator of a new Dynasty and their children’s children will be the Royal progeny. She then also adds that the moment she saw a broomstick at the verandah of any house she will disappear. Since then they live together as husband and wife and it was so peculiar of her that she seldom venture out of their humble hut. They lived together many years and she bore him children. It is customary that a husband should take his wife to his relative and he too persuades her to visit his distant relative. With out a second thought she refused point blank to his request, she was shy no doubt but that is not all, she had this premonition of an impending threat that she could not explain. She tried to make him understand, but he won’t listen finally a woman herself she has to give-in to her his request. How ever she reminded him about the broomstick.
He then immediately went to his relative and explained to them very clearly about the broomstick. On the appointed date he then took her with his children to his relative, though she was shy yet she accompany them to the relatives house. The moment she reached their destination, the relatives greeted her but there was a broomstick in the place that it should not have been in the first place. She ran as if she had seen a ghost, her husband saw the broom and realized what has happened, he too followed her immediately, he tried to speak sense to her but to no avail. She ran towards the river Waikhyrwi and as soon as she reached the bank of the river she jumped into the river immersed into the deep and never to be seen again. Poor Man he then went back home and took his fishing rod and made sure he carried the lucky one, he fished and fished for days together but no she will never bite again. A promise has been broken and she has to go. After trying his luck for many days, he decided to call it a day and went to his children and devoted his time in caring for them. Since then the offspring of ka Li dakha and u Lo Ryndi are believed to be the descendant of the Sutnga Dynsaty the rulers of the Jaintia Kingdom.

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