My dream vacation in Mizoram is almost over now. I have spent a lot of time with dad too, and I don’t feel that guilty anymore leaving my family and heritage behind to earn my living thousands of miles away.
Being on a vacation in Mizoram is actually not that much of a vacation. In fact it is kinda like work. Apart from looking after dad and doing house chores, meeting up with friends (friends I grew up with, old school friends, online friends) is compulsory too. And I have already attended four funerals and there’s a wedding I have to go to tomorrow. Four Funerals and A Wedding indeed, unlike the popular movie.
To make this post brief, here are my thoughts on a few observations –
1. Cost of alcohol in Mizoram.
Yeah yeah, everybody knows alcohol can truly never be banned even if you’re living in a Total Prohibition state like Mizoram. We Mizos just love taking a sip from the forbidden cup, don’t we? The cost of illicit booze in Mizoram is around 500 bucks for regular brands like McDowell and Royal Stag (which shoots up to 1000 bucks during Xmas/New Year).
When you break the law by buying something illegal at such an outrageous price, sometimes the same booze that you get every day in Mumbai actually tastes better in Mizoram, at least psychologically, due to the forbidden apple syndrome. But this time, things are different. With the recent 60-70% hike in alcohol price in Mumbai, the cost of illegal booze in Mizoram and legal booze in Mumbai of the same brand are more or less the same now, if not even cheaper! Suddenly, all the fizz is gone.
2. Invoking God’s name in every Goddamn thing
I was listening to Pu Zoramthanga’s speech on Remna Ni (Martyr’s Day) a few days ago. I found it quite disgusting. Politics and policies is one thing, but unabashedly using God’s name to gain political mileage is lower than the lowest of all things low. It’s natural to criticize opposition party members. Hell, I’m even ok with all the mudslinging and backstabbing. But to say stuff like “The MNF are God’s chosen people”, and “To criticize the MNF is to criticize God. Any Mizo doing is an enemy of Christianity”, in front of a Christian majority state is downright shameful and nauseating.
Are we that naïve? When I discussed this with my friends in Mizoram, they said they are now used to such statements from politicians, regardless of which party they belong to, and not many people take them seriously. I seriously hope so! Doesn’t the Bible say, “Thou shalt not use the Lord’s name in vain”? We used to joke about how all politicians will go to Hell. Looking and what’s going on in Mizoram, do you still think it is a joke?
3. The Bastardization of Mizo language
Ctng cuan xom cy ly miy cyiy xxy ywh yyyyy. - If you’re not a Mizo, you won’t understand this. And if you’re a Mizo, you still probably won’t understand this. This is how the Mizo youth of today speak on Facebook and via sms. And strangely, they seem to understand each other. I thought I was the only one who despised this uncouth behavior, but upon reaching Mizoram, I found a lot of my friends here criticizing this “language” too.
Well frankly speaking, much as I hate people raping my mother-tongue, I think this is just the way the teens of today rebel. Comon, even when we were their age, we have all done something to rebel against society and be a little bit anarchic, right? I don’t think it is fair to moral police them and criticize them openly. If anybody speaks to me in that strange tongue, I just ignore them, plain and simple. They think they’re uber cool talking like that. I’m sure they’ll get over it one day, just like how we got over our bell-bottom pants and self-recorded tape cassette collections. Let them have fun. Yyych llych cuan myau byau cyau piau.
4. Traffic Jams in Aizawl
Maybe because I have read so much about the horrible traffic jams in Aizawl that when I finally got to see it, it wasn’t as bad as I expected. Not at all. In fact I loved it! Compare this to Mumbai traffic jams and you will know what #FML really means. And in spite of the traffic jams in Aizawl, people still drive politely, giving way to other cars and pedestrians, with nobody honking their horns or fighting for road space. It’s beautiful.
And my friends in Chaltlang told me it takes them forever to reach Dawrpui due to the traffic jams. Urmmm… why don’t you just walk? From the time I arrived in Aizawl, I’ve been walking almost everywhere and its fun. You enjoy the breathtaking scenery, you bump into old friends and relatives, you move faster than the traffic, and it’s also a good exercise especially for people like me. And then my friends told me I find it fun only because I don’t live here and that I won’t be having this cheerful attitude if I was living in Aizawl. Hmmm… difficult to argue with that because I live in Mumbai. It’s like asking you if you were a dog, would you prefer rock music or hiphop? I’m not, so I won’t know.
5. Hanging out with my homies
Gone are the days of excitedly reaching home from the airport, spending some time with my family, and then visiting as many friends as I could that very night. Now I have to call up my friends first to see if they’re at home or free to entertain friends. Because most of them are now married, and many of them have kids too, so life is definitely different now. Even during daytime, all of them are working, so it’s very difficult to meet up with friends for lunch. Couple of years ago, all I had to do was send a short sms and my friends would be at the rendezvous point even before me.
I also attended my nephew’s birthday. My bro-in-law is a member of “Aizawl Thunders”, a Bullet-only biker gang. As expected, a lot of Thunders came for the birthday party, but what’s really funny was that, beneath all the leathers and modified bikes and long grungy hairs and machismo, they were just typical dads, running to their wives and kids whenever they called out their names, sometimes feeding them and other times changing their diapers. Lolz. But they’re a really funny bunch of people, hilarious and bright, and I look forward to spending time with the gang again.
So this is just a short update from me. I have taken a lot of pictures, and I’ll post them once I reach Mumbai because the net connection at home is not very good. Cheers, I gotta sleep early because I have a wedding to attend tomorrow.