Reached Mizoram on Wednesday. My parents found a wife for me so I got married yesterday and decided not to go back to Mumbai. My wife and I will stay here for the rest of our lives, planting vegetables and gathering fodder for the cattle. Her name is Betty.
Nah, just kidding. Twitter automatically updates my blog feeds, so people who are following me on twitter can read just the above paragraph. Here’s me giving you my large silly grin, in case you got a shock and clicked on the twitter link immediately. Love y’all. Hugz!
Flew from Mumbai to Kolkata on Wednesday and we got bumped up to Executive class from Economy because my friend and I were late! (actually, she was late and I was waiting for her at the airport. Sheesh, women! ). We were reprimanded severely for being late of course, but to be given Executive class because we’re “last minute passengers”, believe me, it was totally worth it! Ah, Executive class – large leg and body space, first class treatment, three-course meal, refreshments after refreshments, movies of our choice, free spa and massage service… errr…
Flight from Kolkata to Aizawl went well too. Hitched a ride home from the airport and boy it was amazing inhaling the pure pristine Mizoram mountain air. The idyllic scenery brought tears to my eyes once again, as I chewed on our local paan for the hundredth time since we landed!
Reached home and my two darling nieces jumped on me immediately. They didn’t have a “Welcome Home dear Uncle” banner prepared for me like they did when my two sisters went home last month, but then again, my two nieces are scared of me as I’ve always been the “strict disciplinarian” while my two sisters are the “two loving and dotting aunties who spoil them to the core”. They hate me because I teach them maths, a subject they hate, and I punish them when they don’t get it right, all because I love them.
Dad is doing great too, thank you all for your prayers. He is bedridden now and has moved into my old room upstairs (the one with the large balcony that my friends claim is the best viewpoint in our locality). He can just about walk to the bathroom 5 feet away, and then it’s the bed for him again. He has this tiny TV set up right next to him, and he still watches the ongoing Election and political debates with the same zeal and passion burning in his eyes many years ago.
Mom still refuses to retire in spite of my sisters asking her to quit as our family is now very well established, because she loves her job too much to give up on it. She continuously grumbles about how much of a pain it is looking after my two nieces, when in fact my sisters and I know deep inside that she actually enjoys being busy. Had the nieces not been there, she would have been bored to death.
As for me, I have moved in to the master bedroom downstairs, in charge of the whole house. Many times I used to wish I had this freedom, where I could invite my friends over for the entire night, partying and doing anything we wanted. It’s a very large house. But now that I am suddenly handed this complete responsibility, all such thoughts strangely disappeared.
Mom surprised me with this large new bed (5 x 6 1/2 feet) in my new bedroom, magnificently carved and looking quite grandeur, that I later found out I’ll have to pay for Seriously, if I was going to pay anyway, I would prefer it to be a little bit bigger, like six and a half by six and a half feet, because I visited my married friends and realized a 5 feet wide bed isn’t that wide when the baby comeths.
Anyway, my friends never stopped making fun of me, joking that the new bed was mom’s subtle way of telling me to please please please get married soon!
The night I reached Mizoram, I went around in my locality meeting friends and relatives. Many of my friends were either married or had a baby, or both. Spent a couple of minutes at every house, and wherever I went, people I met on the road asked me when I came home (Mizoram). See, that’s what I love about our close knitted society – everybody knows everybody, although of course it has its minus points as well – no privacy, gossips that spread like wildfire etc etc.
I also paid my respect to my friends who lost their loved ones during my absence. In Mizo, we call it “in ral” and it is the first thing I always do the moment I reach home. I go over to the unfortunate family’s house, and even if the tragedy had occurred months ago, by going there on the very same day that I arrive, I am showing them how genuinely I feel their pain. It is in our Mizo custom, and I give them Rs. 100/- as my way of helping them continue with their lives. The measly amount is just for formality’s sake and a part of our custom. Our Mizo custom also says the bereaved family cannot refuse that.
I slept well that Wednesday night.
And then the whole of Thursday and Friday I was down with severe fever!!!
Doc said I had an immense stomach infection. He asked me if I overate anything after I reached Mizoram. I told him I overate kuhva hring (our local paan), vawksa rep (smoked pork), hmarcha rawt (grinded Mizo chilly local style) and bekang (fermented beans). The rest of the food, I ate normally. He then concluded it was because of the paan. Damn, that’s two days of vacation down the drain from my already short and depleted vacation. Aaaargh.
And then I finally recovered on Saturday and spent the whole day at one of my closest friends’ house – Opie @ Chanmari. He met with an accident on Friday night. A serious bike accident. He flew off the road @ 120 kmph towards a house off the road on the slope of a steep hill 50 metres below and gate-crashed, literally speaking. His bike was completely totaled, but he survived with deep gashes and bruises all over his body. No fractures either but every joint was swollen up.
His injury was just perfect. Not too serious so that we could laugh at him and make jokes about it later. That’s the thing about our culture. Others may consider this humor to be a bit insensitive or even sadistic, but among Mizo guy friends, we laugh at each other at times like this as long as it is not a grave injury. He and my friends would have done the same to me too had I been in his shoes, and I would have just laughed it off.
The accident took place at 1 in the morning. Fortunately, he looked around hazily amidst blood streaming down his face and realized the house and gate he crashed into happened to be his friend’s place!!! Small world indeed! When his friend’s family woke up worriedly (from the monstrous noise) and ran out dazed and shocked to see his shattered bike burning up in hot blazing flames and furiously spewing out thick dark fumes, OPie apparently sat upright with all his might and coolly said, “ka rawn leng dawn…”
So for now, it’s back to me and dad spending more quality time together. I have a lot of questions I need to ask him too. Internet access isn’t as tough as I thought it would be either, so more updates will follow soon.
My new Aizawl number is +919774396785. Feel free to contact me here. Cheers!
* Ka rawn leng dawn = For my non-Mizo visitors, this phrase means “I am coming over to your house for a chit-chat”. In our Mizo society, it is a very common practice to visit friends at their house. Seldom do people “hang out” at Malls or amusement parks etc. The best place to entertain friends is right at home, and that is why this phrase has a much deeper meaning than somebody merely “coming over”. I guess I can say this is also an intrinsic part of our custom, and the reason why the translated English version is not funny whereas it is extremely hilarious in our language.