Ode to Iei
out of greed, man cut iei, the largest tree on earth,
forever we broke divine law with nature
as the tree toppled so did out connection to ancestors and heaven.
in crisis, we remember iei, our original error
in our dreams iei haunts us…
remember how iei came before us, but we chose to not see
in our dreams, iei makes us see…
an ode to the stories that our ancestors carried in spoken word. this animation is inspired by the creation myth of the Khasis, i remember it like this:
A long time ago, God allowed humans to descend onto the earth from the heavens on a golden-bridge made from tree roots. In total there were seven families who decided to settle on earth and nine families who stayed back in heaven. The bridge was easy to climb so there was no sense of separation. The seven set their homes on the sunny side of a mountain by the bridge to heaven. There also happened to be a gigantic tree on the mountain. Some of the earth-dwellers felt they needed more land and sun-light. They hated the tree. They could take wood from the commons forest, ri raid. But it was not enough. The tree, the iei, was important to the earth and its animals. Everyone lived in harmony until the earth-dwellers grouped together to cut down iei. Everyday they would cut its branches, but it would grow back by morning. They keep watch one night, to see a tiger licking at iei’s stump, regenerating iei. So, the earth dwellers broke their axes and laid them on the stump. The next night the tiger’s tongue gets wounded and he doesn’t lick anymore stumps. The greedy earth-dwellers celebrate, they cut all of iei, breaking divine law with the heavens. As the tree toppled over, the bridge disappeared. Stranded on earth, the earth dwellers, seven families, seven huts, hynniew trep, the Khasis.