"Tsakha tiyo, Zhole rüle tiyo mo" is the title of a Li we sing.

Our forefathers in their infinite wisdom have coined the phrase which can be translated loosely as "As you sow so shall you reap". "Tsa = seed"; "kha = to give/sow"; " zhole = leisure"; "rüle = lethargic and lazy"; "tiyo mo = unfed/won't bring food" thus the phrase means "Leisure does not bear fruit but tilling the soil and sowing the seed will keep you full". And so they lived their lives, industrious, routine and yet happy.
Off to the fields.....a long walk ahead.
Our ancestors understood the subtle and volatile characteristics of nature and could interpret and make forecasts by reading the signs available to them in their immediate surroundings. The birdcalls, animal movements, wind and rain......were all messengers.
Getting down to business....a fire is lit.
Most of the Li sung while working have short stories with a moral lesson to be shared. Li while providing a natural rythmn for the motion of work is also a means of passing on life's lessons.
Li talks about the importance of timely work and brings in elements of nature as examples.

The cricket sings "mütsü tsü! mütsü tsü! (lazy lazy lazy lazy)" while the ant works hard in summer and store food for the winters. The summer bird mocks the crickets singing "Khüsatato! Khüsatato! (you will starve to death!)" and finally makes a meal out of the cricket. While the other lazy crickets actually starve to death come winter.
Where do we start?
Our ancestors lead simple rudimentary lives and it was hard work most days but they also derived every pleasure out of it. Young people learned early on the dignity of labour. A sense of cooperation and community work pervaded. Young people in Morungs (Ce thi ce) formed work groups (Müle/Peli) and worked in each other's fields in turns. Daily chores of collecting wood and fetching water from the jungle, the main duty of morung dwellers, was thus a fun event with friends, laughter and songs and life was good.
Some work and some play.
Lunch was usually a brief outdoor event. Breakfast was proper morning affair in the wee hours even before daybreak. Friends and workgroups gathered and were off to work in the fields as the cock crowed. Wages were usually in measures of grain/corn/meat -a generous mound of grain in a specific basket called 'Jhorha' (equivalent to a kilo)'. A day's work would earn a person four Jhorhas. A couple would earn eight Jhorhas, equal to a 'Sürhakho (a closewoven basket)' and  A lunch of rice, dried meat curry and vegetable stew was usually provided by the employer, cooked in the working shed out in the fields. A less wealthy employer would provide a lunch of rice and vegetables.
The way it is done.
The agricultural season can be roughly divided into different phases and stages. The first phase is sowing and has four stages. First comes the "Khuho tü" which involves clearing the old fields, burning the cast out twigs/plants and tiling the soil. This happens from November to Febraury each year.
Sign of times: Nature's alarm clock.
"Tsakha tü" is the period of sowing seeds in a special germination area in the fields. This happens around March-April. Elders say our forefathers depended on the arrival of certain birds especially the "cuckoo bird" to signal the time to sow.
Bringing in water from the streams to the rice fields.
Once the seeds germinate, it is time to transplant the young rice plants into the rice fields. This is done after embanking the fields with earth and churning the rice fields with water; the process is called "Tükhu künu". In the mean time, people also weed their vegetable gardens and add manure to cornfields and support structures built for growing bean/squash/cucumber and pumpkin plants to ensure a good harvest. Haste is made to finish all the transplanting work before the summer solstice in June.
Taking a break.
The end of the planting season culminates in the summer festival of "Khuthonye" in July. This is a time of thanksgiving for successful completion of rice plantation and a time to appease the spirits of fertility and prosperity asking them to provide a bountiful harvest. It is a time of feasting and merrymaking to regain one's energy after all the hard work. Time for celebration before the next stage of work sets in.
They do find time to pamper themselves.

Catching 'em fishes and snails.
Beef, Pork and Chicken are the season's flavour and the fortunate hunters bring in their wild catch and add exotic flavours to the festivities. It is also time for crabs and escargot (snails) to make an appearance on the farmers' menu. Nagas, young and old alike enjoy the variety of fishes and edible snails which flourish in the rice fields and young people spend happy times fishing and gathering snails.
There is always something to laugh about.
With the rains, the edible variety of ferns and plants flourish. People gather them and cook them with rice to make a Naga delicacy called "Galho". Galho is a mixture of greens, rice and sometimes meat, seasoned with salt, chilli and fermented soyabean sauce (axone) and accompanied by chutney of hot naga king chilli. This makes for a seasonal but delicious filling lunch.
The little ones tag along too.
After a hard day's work.
Homewards we head
After a day of hard work in the fields, people head home with their baskets filled with the available seasonal greens, fruits, the catch of the day and perhaps planning the night's meal while singing out to friends to finish their work fast and join them on their way home.
Happy, fulfilled and with a song on their lips.
Living life, one day at a time.

Content copyright Tetseos ©All rights reserved, Photography by Tetseos. Do not use any images without prior permission.


Jeremiah Duomai says:
at: 9 August 2011 at 16:39 said...

Very nice!

I thought 'Galho' is an Angami word!

Tetseo Sisters says:
at: 12 August 2011 at 18:50 said...

It is a common word for both Chakhesangs and Angamis.... actually all Tenyimias in general :) ....let's just say it is a Naga name for a Naga delicacy.

Adrasteia says:
at: 17 August 2011 at 21:51 said...

Brilliant concept..... beauty and talent overload.... *thumbs up* keep it up.... :)

Tetseo Sisters says:
at: 19 August 2011 at 00:19 said...

Thank you Adrasteia.
Do keep visiting and sharing your thoughts with us too.
We love the feedback.

at: 19 August 2011 at 01:09 said...

If only all the farmers are as beautiful as you all, i'd leave the city any day and become a farmer:)
Appreciate your efforts of getting in touch with your roots.

Tetseo Sisters says:
at: 28 August 2011 at 01:03 said...

:) Thank you. You are too kind. I'm sure there are many beautiful ladies in the city too :D

at: 31 August 2011 at 23:57 said...

totally loved it!!!! refreshing..takes me back somewhere...appreciate the effort put into it too,,

Tetseo Sisters says:
at: 3 September 2011 at 15:25 said...

Hello Longri,

Happy to hear you loved it.
Do visit again.
Will keep you posted.

at: 1 October 2011 at 07:27 said...

this is a great endeavor for preserving and promoting the rich heritages.keep it up...thumps up.

amoskrome says:
at: 27 October 2011 at 20:08 said...

the cultural practice of our forefathers since time immemorial remain afresh in our heart through ur updates..... Thank u Kuku n sisters.....

Tetseo Sisters says:
at: 31 October 2011 at 01:15 said...

Thank you Anonymous. We're just doing our bit :) Need your support.

Thank you Amos Krome.
Glad you stopped by.

Your support and feedback keeps us going. Hiyohey!
God bless us all and let us all do our bit to make it better for all of us.

Unknown says:
at: 10 January 2012 at 09:12 said...

Such a pleasure reading it. And the pics, simply magic. Feeling so proud being a Naga. Thanks for that. Keep it up guys. My best of wishes are with you. ;-)

at: 7 June 2012 at 08:28 said...


I just stumbled upon your site and got intrigued by your singing.

I do not understand Naga language but can appreciate your voice.

You all have a good voice and are beautiful too. I hope you can make your singing as popular as regional songs of Maharashtra (Laavni) etc., so that a broader section of Indian society can appreciate it.

Keep it up!

Tetseo Sisters says:
at: 9 June 2012 at 12:25 said...

Dear Anonymous,
We're glad you stumbled upon our site :)
Thank you for your kind words and we totally hope we can go the distance with Li.
Thank you for the encouragement.


mangbuhril says:
at: 16 March 2014 at 13:01 said...

wow, glamorizing the old ways in the field in that idyllic settings, it's a delight to watch.. that's what we should all be doing -keeping our identity intact while embracing the new ways..