From Mizoram, a ‘magical’ voice that plays cupid on Whatsapp

A Mizo crooner has an unusual side job: she’s a self-styled Whatsapp “artiste” whose voice notes are connecting young lovers across the hilly state

To get by most of her life, Melody G Fanai, has worked an assortment of jobs: at 7, she sold fruits on the hilly roads of Aizawl; at 12, part of a Church choir, she released a cassette of Gospel songs; at  23, she taught Hindi to a motley group of Mizos; at 28, she lent her silky voice to the female characters on local television; and today at 30, she is Mizoram’s favourite crooner, often found, singing her heart out at hotels, concerts, government programs, and on occasion, in her own Youtube videos.

But there’s another side-job Fanai does, one so unique that she is probably the only person in the world doing it. And despite that, not many know that from 2014, Fanai has been hired as a professional “Whatsapp-voice-note-artiste” by girls and boys across Mizoram, most in the throes of young love.

Fanai doesn’t quite remember when she started doing it, or how it really happened. It was probably when her friend recorded a clip of her saying “ka hmangaih che” (“I love you” in Mizo) and forwarded it on Whatsapp. Or it was perhaps when one of her students at the LH Hindi School Chanmari in Aizawl, requested her to “record her magical voice” for a Valentine’s Day message he wanted to send his girlfriend. “It’s been so long — I really don’t remember how it started. Maybe it was in 2014. Is it that big a deal?” asks Fanai, bemused at the supposed uniqueness of her serendipitous side-job.

Now, four years later, thousand odd “voice notes” stored on Fanai’s computer tell different stories: of undying love, of warm birthday wishes, of condolence messages, of profuse apologies and of pleas for forgiveness.

This article was originally published in The Indian Express in October 2018. Full article here.