Kuvelü and Alüne Tetseo (December 1994, Kohima)
All of us started out pretty young. Mother would seat us down and lead in singing and we would follow suit. We were permanent fixtures at all school functions, dressed up in our miniature versions of the traditional costumes and called forth to present bouquets to Chief guests and guests while everyone else were in drab school uniforms.
Mother used to dress us up in traditional wear for fancy dress competitions and we used to be embarrassed. As kids, we wanted to be dolled up as princesses of fairy tales not realizing that we are tribal princesses in our own right. However, this realization came much later.
Mother painstakingly wove all our skirts, beaded our necklaces and taught us all we know of what is our culture and tradition. We learned how to play the tati and picked up the dance routines and complexed footwork by a routine of coaxing, pleading and sulk sessions from mother and father.
Little Mercy decked up for a school function.
It got easier in time when School dance festivals were organised and everybody had to participate in the cultural dances and folksinging. We easily took on the roles of instructing and sharing our knowledge and formed our groups. School performances inspired Television appearances at the local Doordarshan Station and soon, invitations to bigger stages and state level programmes came in.
We never had a chance to name ourselves. People just started calling us the “Tetseo Sisters” and the name just stuck. But come to think of it, it may not be perfect but it fits and we are happy to be called so.
And so we are the “Tetse-o Sisters”