The first thing that struck me when I met Thangpuii, a 62 years old woman was her hopeful eyes. She had dashed out of her vegetable shop to wave at us when she saw us passing by. The little shop was adorned with colourful, fresh vegetables as people in Mizoram love colours on their plates. There was a small wooden house carefully kept at a corner in the shop as if telling a withered story. As we started talking, little had I imagined that I would come across such a beautiful tale of love and hope. While talking to Thangpuii who had been running this vegetable shop for almost a decade what I could not ignore was the apparent companionship between her and her husband. In the middle of conversation their eyes would meet and smiles would float across. At times they would complete each other’s sentences and giggle. It occurred to me before too that sometimes the less you could understand words the more you could decipher the feelings with which they were uttered.This has been nearly an alliance of four decades with celebrations, struggles, failures, victories, tears of joy and despair. Now the alliance has brought them to this little shop made of tin walls and wooden floor where the couple battles hand-in-hand with struggles. It was rather cute to know that even before they started this shop the couple used to work as guards together in a church. While Thangpuii is an enterprising woman who thought of starting the business, her husband is quite an artistic personality. There was a time when he used to weave traditional Mizo hats with bamboo shoots; he even championed a state level competition in 1986, the passion and twinkle in his eyes while telling this was reflected in his wife’s eyes too. But as age slowed him down he looked for alternate ways to feed children. Thangpuii proudly shows a wooden toy house made by her youngest son who learnt it from his father.While telling story of their life they poured out their heart across us. It was not easy to raise six children and neither it is easy to spend the old age working for each meal. They reason that their children are struggling themselves so they do not expect anything from them. “It is enough that they can take care of their families” says Thangpuii with a smile brightening the air. The couple lives in a rented house, runs their business in a rented shop but leads a free life where they have a lot to look forward. Thangpuii had recently expanded her shop and started keeping milk packets with the help of loan that she got from Milaap. They might move slowly but they would not cease moving. Thangpuii and her husband shows that no matter what the situation is, sometimes a hand firmly holding you does not only sail you through life but makes the journey even more endearing.
Mr. & Mrs. Thangpuii’s tale of hope.