Sialton Official | Notes | Questions and Answers

Sialton Official is a short story about the intense love between a young Mizo boy and a beautiful Kashi girl. It was first published in Mizo in 1973 in the monthly megazine "Mizo Student’s Association Monthly Megazine".

The author of Sialton Official was C. Thuamluaia. He had written this story (Sialton Official) in Mizo, and Margaret L. Pachua had translated it into English.

C. Thuamluaia was a teacher by profession. Also, he was an essayist and a short-story writer. He wrote both in English and Mizo. Margaret L. Pachuau is a professor and head of the Department of English at Mizoram University in Aizawl, India.  

        

Summary of Sialton Official


The story started with the narrator telling us about his past. The narrator was a teacher in Sialton Village, in the eastern part of Mizoram. When he was transferred from Sialton village to the southern part of Mizoram, his family was also accompanying him. On the way to his posting, his family had to stay at Hotel Odyana as he had to visit Aizawl for his official work. After two days, he came back to the hotel. The room they were staying in did not have a large bed to accommodate all of them. So he decided to sleep in a separate room. In the room, his eyes caught a nondescript piece of paper. It was an old copy of the Shillong Times. At first, he avoided reading the paper, but at the same time, the date of the paper enticed him. This piece of paper took him back to his student life. When he was young, he studied in Shillong, Meghalaya. There, he met a Khasi girl named Dorothy and fell in deep love with her. Though she did not belong to a well-to-do family, she was gorgeous and assiduous. They went on dates in a secluded place and in a cinema hall. However, when the narrator’s exam was over, he had to come back to Mizoram, where their affairs and dates had ended.

The paper said that Dorothy had married a handsome man who drank himself to death. It made him anxious, and he blamed himself for not being able to help her when she needed him the most. He cried and shouted, "Dorothy, I still love you the most". Meanwhile, he had not even noticed his family while they were calling him. After that, he went to a bar and drank some rice beers. He stayed there the whole night as he became drunk. In the early morning, around 2:00 am, someone shook him and woke him up, screaming, "Wake up! Wake up! Your family... Odyana...fire..." He leapt up and ran towards the hotel, but he was too late; his family had died in the fire.

After the incident, he resigned his job and wandered aimlessly all over Mizoram. He found himself useless without his family; he even wished someone would kill him. He became an insane man. He often heard his daughter’s voice telling him, "Ka Pa, go on." Eventually, the narrator returned to his village with the desire to devote the rest of his life to the service of others. He visited the Village chief, expressed his new plans, and sought forgiveness. The chief and his wife granted forgiveness gladly and also implored him to become the headmaster of the village school, hoping that the job would put his life on the right track. So, the person once referred to as "Sialton Official" came to be known as the headmaster of Zolawn. The story ends with him delivering a sermon in church. 



QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Q.1. Describe the tragic experience of the author in Sialton Official. Or

”There were dead and I was alive…………alive to regret the fact that I had not been with them in death”. Describe the events that led the narrator to make the statement. Or

Give an account of the events that changed the life of the narrator of Sialton Official.

 When the narrator transferred from the school in Sialton to the south of Mizoram, he was going to his new posting with his family. On the way to his posting, he had to take a detour to Aizawl for two days for his official work, and his wife and his two children, Mama (seven years) and Mami (Nine years), had stayed at Hotel Odyana to await his return. They met the next afternoon and were all happy. He said that "even the mundane sound of his children squabbling over the cutlery was among the most joyous sounds in the world". However, all changed unexpectedly when the narrator saw an old piece of paper from the Shillong Times. He read the insertion, beating his heart wildly.

"Dorothy and her little daughter, due to unfortunate circumstances, entered St. Mary's Convent. In this connection, it may be recalled that Dorothy married a handsome man who later drank himself to death two years ago. Since then, life has been hard for her. She was originally a tea girl of M locality here."

Dorothy was a beautiful Kashi girl and the lover of the narrator when he studied in Shillong. This writing made him worry that his lover was having difficulties. He did not know what he would do at that moment. He went to an inn to have some local beers; he also spent the whole night there in apathy and drunkenness. In the dawn, someone woke him up, shouting, "Wake up! Wake up! Your family... Odyana...fire..." He ran aimlessly towards the hotel, falling and stumbling along the rocky path, calling out, "Nguri, Nguri, don't fear. I'm coming". He tried to rescue his wife and his children somehow, but it was too late; the fire had killed his dear family. It led the narrator to make the statement, "They were dead, and I was alive. I was alive to regret the fact that I had not been with them in death".

He resigned his job after the incident, as he could not focus on anything without his family. He wandered aimlessly like a madman. At last, he decided to live the rest of his life as his daughter wanted him to. He became the headmaster of Zolawn and served his life and others as a teacher. In this way, the events that changed the life of the narrator

Q.2.How does the author remember Dorothy in Sialton Official?                 

 The author remembers Dorothy "as fresh as those days of spring when the allure of romance with his beloved played havoc". A piece of an old news paper from the Shillong Times recalls his beloved Dorothy's difficulties and hardships. He is shocked by the news; he doesn’t know what to do at that moment, so he screams, "Dorothy, queen of the days I loved". Even time has not erased her memory from his heart. He remembers every aspect of her being—"her attire, her physical features, her personality, and most of all, her delicate forehead fringed with the curly locks of hair that so suited her and her lovely smile". He remembers the way she tied her hair with a yellow silk scarf and the thick gold earrings. He can still recall the red and white shoes she wore on those days. Dorothy has seized his heart and soul completely. He says that he can see Shillong through the portrayal of Dorothy. He feels happy when he is with her because he has never experienced being in love with someone else. He cannot think of anything, not even his own family, when he is with his beloved. He considers Dorothy an angel and the most beautiful girl in the world.

 

Q.3.Describe the relationship between the author and Dorothy as narrated in Sialton Official. Or

Give an account of the love story between Dorothy and the narrator in Sialton Official.

 The love story between Dorothy and the narrator in Sialton Official was fond, intense, and unforgotten. They met when the narrator was studying in Shillong. Dorothy was a beautiful and assiduous Kashi girl. Though both of them were in intense love, Dorothy could control her emotions while the narrator sank into her feelings. He stated "I tried to reach for the stars without climbing, while she searched for the stars with the help of a ladder"

They went on dates in secluded places, sometimes in cinema halls, and together they watched the movie "Do You Love Me?" starring Maureen O’Hara. But their relationship suddenly changed when the narrator had to come back to Mizoram. Thereafter, they could not manage time to meet each other. Probably Dorothy already knew that they couldn’t live together, as she once said with a full sigh, "Ah! If only fate decreed that I were a Mizo girl". On the other hand, the narrator could not forget her, even after many years of separation.

               

Q.4. Why did the author of Sialton Official spend the rest of his academic session in Shillong with a heavy heart?

In his student life, the author was in love with a beautiful Kashi girl in Shillong, Meghalaya. He wanted to meet his lover, Dorothy, when his exam was over, but he could not. He went to her friend and asked about her. Her friend replied that Dorothy was to be married to a local Kashi youth. Hence, Dorothy declined to meet him. Knowing this, he was extremely upset and devastated. Since then, the author has spent the rest of his academic session in Shillong with a heavy heart.

 

Q.5. What caught the eyes of the narrator of Sialton Official when he read the ‘Shillong Times’?

When the narrator had read the "Shillong Times," his eyes caught the insertion:

  "D, if you could see my heart, it is bleeding now. - D".

And, when he read the paper thoroughly, his eyes caught another insertion on the right-hand side of page three: 

"Dorothy and her little daughter, due to unfortunate circumstances, entered St. Mary's Convent. In this connection, it may be recalled that Dorothy married a handsome man who later drank himself to death two years ago. Since then, life has been hard for her. She was originally a tea girl of M locality here."

 

Q.6.How did the narrator lose his family in Sialton Official?

On the way to his new posting, the narrator and his family were staying at Hotel Odyana. When the narrator went out, his wife had been waiting patiently for his return home after the children had slept. After waiting a long time, she did not notice when she had slept, forgetting to turn off the lamp. Then the fire started detecting in their room and then the whole house, but because they had been so deeply asleep, they were the last to wake up, and all of them were burned to death on the fire.

 

Q.7. What brought about the change in the life of the narrator at the end of the story?

The narrator, after losing his family, became like a madman and started wandering aimlessly. He could not carry on his life anymore, as he found himself like a paltry thing without his dear family. He often heard his daughter Mami telling him to move on, but he couldn’t. In the end of the story, he decided to start his new life as his daughter wanted him to. He went to their village Chief to seek forgiveness for the offences he had committed. The chief and his wife happily forgave him and offered him the job of headmaster of the village school, hoping that this job would change his life. Then he became a head teacher and started working for the betterment of both his life and society.

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