People often walk up to us at shows and after performances with a burning question, "Are you all really sisters?" Yes. We are. The next question is usually on who is the eldest or who is youngest? and then follows the guess work and the laughs. There is also the frequent case of mistaken identity to our great amusement and several hilarious incidents which we will keep to ourselves for the moment.

Four sisters growing up together is absolute chaos. Mother and father have endured much and so has our poor brother, caught in the middle. We have always held that girls are more low maintenance compared to boys and our brother vehemently challenges that. Our rejoinder is that between the four of us, we always have the option of hand me downs and sharing; and the argument is won.
Who's the fairest of them all? :D
We are the same blood so we do have a lot of similarities but we also have our distinctive ways too, which makes us wonder if we are really related at all sometimes.
We all love Kohima's scrumptious pork momos and we are all suckers for Naga King Chilli Chutney. We love all things girly and pretty but we draw the line at being duplicates of each other.
Naga King chilli in Mother's kitchen garden.
Growing up in the green laps of nature tucked away in a corner of Kohima, we siblings enjoyed the freedom of open spaces and exploring the jungles for a major chunk of our childhood. Sadly those greens are mostly replaced by concrete structures now but the memories remain.
We climbed many trees, bruised our knees, mimicked the cicadas, hunted elusive wild cats and conquered the jungles with carefree glee. And then we grew up.
School and Sunday School were so much fun with so many co-curricular activities and musical events which shaped us into the confident performers we are now. And of course, mother and father's undying patience which has seen us through the years.

For many years, we have performed for the pleasure of it and the exposure we gained is considerable but what many people don't realize is the amount of effort and investment that has gone into each performance/appearance; how painstakingly our traditional jewelry have been restored, our costumes have been put together and the hours of devoted practice. Sometimes we really feel underpaid and under appreciated. We do hope our people will learn to truly appreciate our original Naga Music by supporting folk artists and giving them the attention and financial support they need and deserve.
Crazy practice sessions
A typical practice session would be quite entertaining to watch. They say artists are sensitive people and we are indeed a sensitive lot; squabbling for the most comfortable seat, poking fun at the one who misses a beat, sulking when one is critiqued, getting distracted halfway and going off in a different direction till mother brings us back with a sharp rap, and the usual playful antics which gets us a resounding lecture from father. Numerous cups of tea, generous slices of ginger to chew on and gallons of hot water fuel these sessions.
Getting all decked up for an appearance.
And then the mad rush to get ready on performance days. Heels flying all over the place.
Tatis getting a polish and the final tug. Mekhalas in place. Replacing missing earrings. Scrambling for a nice spot in front of the mirror. Green room glitches and pins and tucks to avert a wardrobe malfunction. The ride arrives and mother is trying to get heard above the din. She is reminding us to smile and someone is screaming for the song sheet and time is running out. We should be on our way already. Laughter, frowns, pep talks and we are ready to go.

Warm up and vocalizing inside the car. We arrive at the venue.
An agent comes to get us to where we should be. After the usual wait, it is our turn.
Tetseo Sisters on stage.
Tetseo Sisters take the stage. Cue. Eyes locked on each other. Smile. We take a deep breath and sing our hearts out. Silence.
Applause.
And we are off the stage. A job well done.
Just another day in our lives. Until the next show, we head back to our lives.
To being a student. A daughter. A friend. A dreamer. The girl next door.
And to being sisters - on and off the stage.
The Tetseo Sisters.
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2 comments:

rakeshsharma says:
at: 19 July 2011 at 07:14 said...

Hi Tetseo Sisters,i proud to you for with a traditional way u r forward your soil flavor to all over the would...keep it up...

Anonymous
at: 31 October 2011 at 07:45 said...

hey u guys are really doing a wonderful job....was searching for some materials on Naga king chilli...and loaded to this page of yours....must be the Naga king chillis in your mother's garden....