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Remembering, Temsula Ao

These Hills Called Home: Stories from a Warzone is Ao’s first collection of short stories. She speaks about the violence and terror that was unleashed on the lives of a peace loving tribal community in the name of Nationalism.

Padma Shri Temsula Ao (Picture: EM media)

“When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground.” goes an African proverb. And how very true is that! Even if we spend years documenting their lives, there will still be much more things to uncover and relish. Don’t we all at times wonder, oh how I wish, I had spent a little more time with him / her or them to savor the memory?

We had recently lost an Elder, in the literary community and are yet to come to terms with her loss. And at times such as these, we do what we always do. The ritual - We contemplate. We reminisce. We try to hold on to every bit of memory of the person. And only then are we ready to let them go.

Not so long ago, while she was recounting the memory of her mother’s death in one of her poems, she writes;

‘See that keening bird in the sky?

That’s your mother’s soul

Saying her final goodbye.

It is over

Come, let us go home now’ – Soul-Bird, Ao

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