Photobucket had recently changed their policy and now all the images from my 650+ blog posts are disabled. I am slowly editing them by moving my images to my own server at AWS, but it will take time. In case there is a particular old post you want to see the images of, kindly drop me a mail at and I'll keep that at a high priority. Thank you.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Chp 726. Emptiness

And just like that

you were gone, disappeared from my life.

You were the closest

I ever had to a soulmate, a partner, a wife.

My nights and days

you filled them with overwhelming satisfaction.

Now that you're gone,

I no longer have interests in social interaction.

Without you here

it is difficult to understand what life means.

But this is goodbye,

I'll miss you much, my fermented soybeans.


*An ode to my empty bekang box*


Friday, September 21, 2018

Chp 725. Lushai Hills Headhunters!

So it was just another boring, lonely weekend for me at my apartment, just having my usual bachelor breakfast and bachelor lunch alone. Those of you who follow my food updates on Facebook will know what I'm talking about.

I was just casually browsing through my Facebook timeline, "liking" the profile pic updates of beautiful women from my friend list, hoping that I would one day have the courage to speak to them and that they would become the grandmother of my grandkids…

Suddenly I came across this awesome T-shirt photo posted by Lafikea. The T-shirt had a beautiful design, with the depiction of a Mizo pasaltha on it and the words "Lushai Hills Headhunters" written around the image. Oh man, it was sooo good. I fell in love with the T-shirt immediately and I asked Lafikea if it was possible for me to purchase the T-shirt online.

Lafikea asked me for my mailing address, and within a few days he mailed me the T-shirt, free of cost!

I was excited as hell when I received the T-shirt. As soon as I wore it, my boring single life suddenly transformed! I was no longer surrounded by food and a melancholic sense of loneliness. Instead, I was swarmed by these beautiful chicks who suddenly appeared out of nowhere! Whoahhh!

Where did they all come from? The deal was real! This headhunter T-shirt really did hunted heads well! From then on, everywhere I went, I was like…

Everybody wanted to take a picture of this awesome T-shirt!

Even at home, girls found the T-shirt irresistible. I was having a really difficult time fighting off all the beautiful ladies trying to remove my shirt.

Okay fiiineee, I am starting to make this blog post sound a lot like an AXE advertisement :D But truth be told, I am indeed promoting this beautiful shirt because I received it for free from Lafikea. And for that, I am advertising it here on my blog. Another perk of being a blogger I guess.

The T-shirt is really good, and I love the fact that it mentioned Lushai Hills. For those of you who may not know this, I was born in the Union Territory of Mizoram before it became a State, and before 1972, we were known as the Lushai Hills district of Assam.

The "headhunter" part of the T-shirt also really gets to me as we were once fierce headhunting warrior tribes. It was a tradition to collect the heads of slain enemies, and men who collected the most number of heads had the best chance of finding a suitable wife. Imagine how a matrimonial ad back then would have been like. "Groom wanted. Respectable warrior family looking for a groom for their beautiful virgin daughter. Must be at least 5'6, with not less than 20 heads collected across different raids." :D

By the way, if one Mizo headhunter wanted to borrow one of the heads his warrior mate had chopped off, does he ask, "Gimme head"? Lolz, just kidding :P On a serious note though, our headhunting tradition had been the interest of many notable historians and sociologists across the globe, because apparently, most headhunting tribes also practiced cannibalism, whereas we were one of the few exceptions who collected heads just as a trophy and to prove one's manliness. We also believed collecting heads was one of the ways to enter Pialrâl, our ultimate Heaven, pretty much like Valhalla in Norse mythology.

Hence both the Lushai Hills and Headhunter aspects of the T-shirt are a big part of our Mizo heritage, and I am so damn proud to wear it all across Pune.

Lafikea's shop is called Radical Inborn, and he runs the place with his designer-partner who is a Drawizart artist. They initially started as a customized bike project back in 2014, and from then on, they had been creating a line of really cool and creative T-shirts and sweatshirts along with customized bike parts.

You can have a look at their awesome line of clothing on their website - and even make an online purchase from there (if you are located at a serviceable area).  Or if you're in Mizoram, just go take a walk to Electric veng where their shop is located and you can also order a customized shirt of your desire.

So give a big shout out to Lafikea and Radical Inborn.

The T-shirt that he gifted me costs just ₹ 700, which is a very decent price for such an amazing bundle of awesomeness. It is 100% cotton and bio-washed for soft hand feel.

Trust me, everywhere I went, beautiful women wanted to take a picture with it :)

Seriously though, a big thanks to all my "naus" and nieces for willing to pose for a picture with the shirt and playing along. So this is it for now. I'll be back after hunting a few more heads. :P

Have a great weekend everyone. Cheers.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Chp 724. AMSC membership 2018-19

Yesterday I received my annual AMSC (Arsenal Mumbai Supporters Club) membership goodies for the year 2018-19. Like every year, it was filled with the best stuff ever. Two years ago, I got these awesome Arsenal merchandise. Last year, I didn't get the time to post it on my blog because I was busy attending my niece's wedding in Goa and Mysore, but I did get to post a live video of me unboxing the parcel.

This year, what made my AMSC parcel even more precious was, renowned Mizo celebrity and the current Secretary of Mizoram Football Association Tetea Hmar came over to my apartment last night and he was the first person to pose with the goodies! :D

Tetea Hmar was completely overwhelmed by the stuff that AMSC had sent me, and when I told him AMSC is an officially recognized club by Arsenal FC and members can directly buy Home match tickets (in London), he decided to switch his fan loyalty from ManUtd to Arsenal right there itself. :D

This is the 10th year since AMSC was created, and I am proud to have been a premium member for 7 of those 10 years, even though I have now moved to Pune from Mumbai. The only thing I dearly miss are the weekly match screenings in Mumbai where paid members get free entry and % discount on drinks. Cheering for Arsenal along with other Arsenal fans on a giant screen inside a pub booked exclusively for AMSC was definitely the best way to spend the evening.

Like every year, the AMSC goodies this year too included the usual annual calendar, with Arsenal match dates and opponents clearly mentioned on all the months.

The next item was an Arsène Wenger signature neck-tie with the abbreviation "AW", as a tribute to what he had done for the club. Even though he may have a lot of haters, nobody can deny his record and passion for the club. You will be missed, Le Professeur. Salut.

This next item is my favorite because plastic bags had been recently banned in India, so this jute bag with an official AMSC logo will serve a good purpose. :)

And then there were three cute stickers including that of the famous Arsenal clock at Highbury, which had been moved to Emirates Stadium to honor the glory days of Highbury.

And here is my new AMSC membership card for this year, along with two previous membership cards. I thought I'll censor out my membership ID number but then again, I realized people will not be able to do much harm with it since I haven't linked it with my Aadhaar card, so… :P

Overall, this had been a great year and much thanks to AMSC for all the goodies. This year Arsenal is going to win the League, so here is to every great match. Wooohoooo! :)


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Chp 723. Backpacking across Northeast India

North East India – the part of our country that many of us didn't know much about because of the lack of information in our school syllabus and news outlets. Thankfully, today's generation has a lot more content about the North East in their curriculum than our generation did. Plus, there is the internet now.

These days, whenever I meet new folks or go to social events, people ask me about the North East and they express their desire to visit the place. And I try my best to help them out in any way that I can. One of my old blog posts "Travelling to Mizoram: A tourist guide" has currently more than 10000 views so far, and I have been contacted by a lot of people regarding that post, including my former boss' dad! It was only after we spoke that we realized I was working in the same organization as his daughter, who was my copywriting boss back then, lolz, small world indeed. And one of my answers on Quora to the question What are the "things to remember" before I start off to travel in Northeast India? is currently the top-voted answer with more than 40k views. I try to be as proactive as possible in the online world.

The sad thing about visiting the North East is that, there are not many travelogues to be read online. Yes, a few good articles are out there, about travelling wanderlusts who had flown to Mizoram and experienced our unique "tlawmngaihna" culture. But memories like that shouldn't be limited to just a few Facebook and Instagram updates or a blog post link that people will share for a short while before it fades to oblivion.

No, the beautiful North East is more than that. If you want to truly discover the North East, backpack across the region! Get in touch with the locals living in far desolated hamlets and not just the urban gen-pop living in the capital cities. Admire the tranquil beauty of raw undisturbed nature and experience the diversity of North East India that many Indians consider to be just one entity.

As Mark Twain once famously wrote, "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts", when you backpack across the Northeastern region, you will not just see but experience how different we Northeasterners are from each other, be it our language or traditional customs.

And this is why I wanna give a big shout out to Abhijeet and Navita Deshpande. They not only run a popular web portal Backpacking Series filled with travel content on how to backpack across the North East and other useful advice, they actually DID backpack across the North East themselves!

They have published their backpacking experience across the North East and it is available at Amazon and a couple of other e-com sites like Flipkart, Google PlayStore, Apple iTunes, Infibeam etc.

The Paperback version costs ₹ 449 while the Kindle version is available at ₹ 131.

Now, I was one of the lucky ones to receive a free copy of the book from Abhijeet because he wanted to know my opinion about the content. One of the perks of being a blogger I guess, lolz. Well, I have read the book and I simply love it!

Everything is narrated so well, right from the start of their journey with their personal first-hand experience on the ground to planning for their next destination. Even though I am from the North East, there were many places they had gone to that I had never been before, and it made me want to re-discover my neighboring states as well.

Regarding the section from the book about Mizoram, there were a few spelling errors on some local places, words and names, but that is fine, as the book is not written by a localite. Such minor errors make the journal even more authentic. But if I was to give my critique, then I guess it would be the fact that Abhijeet didn't talk about his experience of getting an ILP (Inner Line Permit) to enter Mizoram. Even though he mentioned about the ILP a couple of times and where one can get it from, it would be very helpful for aspiring backpackers to know what is the exact process of getting an ILP, whom to approach etc. to make it an even more descriptive first-person narrative.

By the way, I am so jealous of Abhijeet and Navita because they had even gone to Rih Dil, considered as "the biggest lake in Mizoram, which lies in Burma" :) Yeah one has to actually cross the Indo-Myanmar international border to go to this lake, which plays a pivotal role in our Mizo folklore. I've always wanted to go there, and they beat me to it. Rih Dil is on the top of my bucket-list, and it is my dream wedding destination.

My idea of a perfect wedding day is not in a Church in the heart of Aizawl but on the banks of Rih Dil, surrounded by loved ones and close friends, where the beautiful bride walks towards me under the willow by the lake as YZTP band plays a cover of Tim McGraw's "My best friend", while cousin Hriatpuia is probably passed out at a nearby boat on the lake from drinking Burmese beer one too many!

And the Mizo traditional bride price would be much more, from the meager ₹ 420/- to a whopping Ks 9020/-, if we consider the current exchange rate of 1 INR = 21 Myanmar Kyat. :D

Anyhoo, I'm digressing a bit here. Coming back to the book, I really recommend you get it. And you can even get a free copy if you write about your experience on visiting the North East and post that at their website. For more details on that, visit this link.

So do get this book, for all of you who are eager to explore the North East, and this is not limited to just people from outside the North East. There are a lot of interesting tales from other Northeastern states in this book, which I'm sure you would love to experience even as a Northeasterner. This book will also give you an idea on how much budget you'll have to spend, as Abhijeet and Navita mentioned their expenditure at every location.

Do let me know know if any of you are partaking on this. It's gonna be a lot of fun. Cheers!

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Chp 722. Being different at work

I recently wrote a short blog piece about the Corporate world, giving a few advice to the youth of Mizoram, and I really appreciate all the positive feedback I have received for that post, muchos gracias to you all.

In this post too, I would like to write something about the Corporate world, but this is a very lighthearted article, not something you may find helpful. It's more about a funny personal experience of mine.

So the other day, I looked at one of the Mizo WhatsApp groups I was in and saw some members chatting about their work place in Delhi and Bengaluru. One member complained about the lack of Northeastern people in his office, especially at senior management level, while another member joked that "being the only Northeastern person in her office sucked because she stood out among other Indians and hence was easily noticeable if she happened to reach office late or was absent". :D

Lolz, that is quite true indeed. If I was in a work environment in Mizoram where every employee is a Mizo, except for one who is, say, a Sardarji, then yeah, he will be very visible in office too. I may not notice Sanga or Manga slyly stepping in late, but a late Gurpinder Singh will immediately be noticed by everyone :)

But jokes aside, apart from standing out physically, if you think people not noticing when you are late or absent is a good thing, then you are quite mistaken my friend. It just means that you do not have a significant role in your organization and hence, easily replaceable. Instead, try to be that someone who throws the entire project in chaos for falling sick and taking a last minute leave. The more red flags you raise and blockers you create due to your absence, the greater is your value to the team :D :P

Anyway, coming back to this topic. If you, as a Mizo or a Northeasterner, feel singled out because you’re the only person from the North East in your office, don't be disheartened. Instead, grab all the advantages you can!

Here are my stories.

Four years ago, our company got acquired and we moved from Mumbai into our new company's Corporate office in Pune. And by Corporate office, I don't mean just the main head office but also the fact that our office building is situated in one of those exclusive Business Centers shared by other private companies as well.

Beautiful, innit?

In the above building, our organization occupies two floors, while seven other companies have an office space as well. Hence, we can act like a boss only on our two floors, while the rest of the areas like the lobby, escalators, parking area, smoking section, cafeterias, etc are all publicly shared with employees of the other companies.

Now, in all those 4 years that I've been working here, I've noticed I'm the only one from the North East. I have seen a few Mongoloid people now and then at the smoking section downstairs, but they are clearly South East Asians, and since I don’t see them for a long time and then suddenly appear continuously for around a week and then disappear for months again, I'm assuming they're visiting partners from their offshore companies.

The good thing about being significantly different from everybody else is that people remember your face. All the lift operators of our Business center (four escalators in total) easily know my face :D The moment I step in the lift, he presses my floor without me having to say anything, whereas for my colleagues or employees of other companies, they have to make the effort to tell the lift operator which floor they're getting off. I know it's not a big deal, but it feels quite… relaxing :P

All the security guards of the two main gates too know who you are. Since there are eight different companies with around 200-300 employees each, we all have to show our employee ID cards before entering the building complex. Those who forgot their IDs have to wait at the security office until their respective HR or Admin comes down to sign them in. Well, I have forgotten my ID a couple of times but the security guards have always allowed me to enter without any hassle. :)

Employees from the other seven companies also get to remember your face. There had been at least more than 10 occasions the past 4 years when I'm at a pub or partying with friends and some nicely dressed woman or man approached me and told me she/he too worked in the same building as me at so and so company. And we chill and laugh and stuff.

But here’s the best part about standing out and being recognized by everybody at work - getting a drop to work. :D

So I live around 15 minutes walking distance from office. I usually walk home from office, but I take an auto on my way to work since I don't wanna reach office all sweaty and stuff. While waiting on the main road for an auto (which is really difficult to find during morning rush hour since my destination is so near and hence 80% of the autos refuse to ply), my colleagues who happened to drive by would stop and give me a lift. And they would drop me in front of our office gate while they drove a bit further to the parking section.

Now here's the thing. Since my colleagues wore full-face helmets, other than a few people whose body structure or clothes or bikes I recognized, most of the time, I had no freaking idea who dropped me! :D

Yeah… :D

If I'm standing on the pavement waiting for an auto and a biker with a full-face helmet stops in front of me and points to the back with his thumb, I just hop on, no questions asked. Lelz.

I mean, I kinda feel bad asking him who he is or demanding that he removes his helmet first :D Also, this is a very easy way to kidnap me if you want to (ladies, are you reading this? :D )

Anyway, the main point I wanna mention in this blog post is this - so this happened around a year ago. As usual, I was just standing near the main road waiting for an auto when a biker slowed down and stopped in front of me. He gestured with his thumb, telling me to hop on. I did.

We drove in silence and in 5 minutes we reached office. He stopped in front of our office gate and I got down. I still didn't know who he was because of his helmet, and so like I usually do, I patted him on his back and said thanks. His helmet nodded.

As he drove towards the parking section, I noticed his employee ID badge hanging around his neck. It said "EXUSIA"! Lolzzz. He wasn't even my colleague, he was an employee of one of the seven other companies in our office complex!

Till today, I wonder who that nice guy from Exusia is, and want to thank him again.

So yeah, sometimes it may get a bit lonely when you're the only Mizo or Northeasterner in a large work environment, but it comes with its own perks as well :) Cheers to you all, and hope you have a great day. Until next post, ciao.

Friday, August 03, 2018

Chp 721. Mizo Facebook Group Meetup

Nilai zanlaiah min rawn phone… oh oh oh oh oh oh oh…. Engdang mah sawi lovin…

Jesse opened his eyes wearily and reached for his phone. The incoming call ringtone resonated across his bedroom to the catchy rhythm of "Lungtat Par".

Mi bum hmang i lo ni… *click*


His voice was hoarse because he had a late night discussing with his Facebook friends about today's Lunch Meet-up.

"Good morning Jess!"

It was Cindy Ralte, also known as Cyndy Etlar on Facebook.

"Wassup Cin. I mean, Cyn." Jesse quickly corrected himself, since they all call each other by their online names.

"Phew, for a sec there, I thought you mispronounced my name." Cyndy replied.

Cyndy was an admin of the "Mizo Shoo Lovers" Facebook group, which had often been mistaken for the more popular "Mizo Shoe Lovers" group.

"So are you going to today's "All Mizo Facebook group admins" meet-up?" Cyndy asked.

"Yup," Jesse replied.

The "All Mizo Facebook group admin" group was a Facebook group consisting of all the admins of various Mizo related Facebook groups. Just as Cyndy was the admin of "Mizo Shoo Lovers" group, Jesse was the admin of "Mizo group meet-up" Facebook group.

"What about you?" Jesse asked.

"Oh, not me," Cyndy replied, "I am only a member of that admin group. Today's meeting is for the admins of the All Mizo Facebook group admins group. You're so lucky, the only reason you're an admin of that admin group is because you're the admin of a group meet-up group!"

"Jealous much?" Jesse teased jokingly.

"Get lost. Shoo shoo shoo!" Cyndy retorted and hung up the phone.

As Jesse put his phone down, he snickered at how members of the Mizo Shoo Lovers group really love to shoo away other people.

He took a quick shower and got dressed for the lunch meeting.

When Jesse reached the restaurant, Liana was already there. Liana was an admin of a Football discussion group.

"Good afternoon, Lianalex Ferguson," Jesse said, wishing him by his Facebook profile name. "Didn't you have to go to work today?"

"Afternoon to you too," replied Liana. "Ah yes, I did, and my office work for today is already done."

Jesse really envied Liana because he worked at Manchester United Die Hard Fan and he seemed to be free most of the time. Jesse wondered how much salary he must be making in a week at that place but he refrained from asking such a personal question.

"GGMU!" Liana suddenly uttered.

"Huh?" asked Jesse quizzically.

"Nothing, nothing," replied Liana while feigning a fake cough. "Force of habit…"

"Urrrmm… okay," Jesse said. The awkwardness around them was deafening.

Luckily for him, Sangi Chix arrived at the restaurant a few minutes of silence later.

"Hellooo boyyyys!" she said in a sweet melodic voice, but before Liana or Jesse could even reply, she was already busy taking selfies with her phone. After all, she's an admin of the "Mizo Instagram and Facebook model" group, and she was known to post at least 50 different selfies every day on her IG and FB accounts.

"I love this restaurant so much," she expressed while she continued taking selfies without breaking a rhythm.

"Yup, their burgers and rolls are really good," Jesse replied.

"Oh, I wasn't talking about the food," Sangi remarked as she batted her eyelashes in front of her phone's front camera. "The lighting in this restaurant goes so well with the Valencia filter."

Jesse rolled his eyes.

The next to arrive was one of Jesse's oldest friends, Mamuana, the admin of "Mizo Cycling fan" group who also went by the name "Sangboihi-pa Mamuana" on Facebook.

It had been a trend among the Mizo community to mention the name of their kid in their profile names. Like how one of Jesse's friend B.Ramhluna was known as "Mami leh Sanga-pa, sawn Michaela-pa, zep nangin Azuala-pa, hriatloh laia Rinchhani-pa, fimkhurloh vanga Kimkimi-pa, ruih em em vanga Johana-pa B.Ramhluna" on Facebook. His name was considered to be the longest Mizo profile name.

Anyway, when Jesse saw Mamuana, he cringed a bit, because he still remembered that embarrassing moment when he tried to send a message to Mamuana but instead got mixed up with the name "Sangboihi-pa Mamuana" and ended up sending the message to another Facebook friend "Mamuana-nu Sangboihi" by mistake. The fact that they were both using a picture of their kids as their profile pics made it harder for Jesse to realize his mistake.

"Shall I send it to you?" Jesse had asked the person he thought was Mamuana. He was talking about a new mountain bicycle he had purchased recently, which he had nicknamed as "Monster" because of the extra large wheels to tackle rough off-road terrain.

"Send me what?" Sangboihi replied, puzzled to receive a message from a Facebook friend she had never interacted with before. She was a single mum who was living the mingle life.

"A picture of my Monster of course!" Jesse replied obliviously. He wanted Mamuana's expert opinion on his new bicycle.

Sangboihi decided to play along because she didn't expect somebody to be so brazen, and so she replied, "Okie, send me the picture."

"But I must warn you," Jesse replied, "My Monster is hugeee!"

It was at that moment that Sangboihi immediately blocked Jesse.

Jesse never understood why he wasn't able to send any pictures of his bicycle to the contact after that because he was already blocked, until he saw screenshots of his conversations with Sangboihi posted at various Mizo Facebook groups.

"Shameless Mizo men, always assuming a woman is easy and open to casual sex if she is a single mom!" The headline screamed. And the worst part was that Jesse's FB profile name, which was "Jes de Pelican" back then, was not censored so his inbox was buzzing with activity until he had to finally deactivate his account.

All those angry mails he received for a fault he did not understand, including long lectures from relatives left a big scar on his online life.

It was only months later that he finally created a new account, this time using his real name "Jesse" as his profile name. He only added a few cousins and childhood friends initially, those who knew him well, and from the current admin list, Mamuana was the only one who knew about his faux-pas past.

Mamuana high-fived Jesse as he pulled up a chair besides him.

A few minutes later, Mafaki arrived at the restaurant. Known as "Mafaki News" on Facebook because she was the admin of three popular Mizo News group, Mafaki was the mother of all Mizo related breaking news.

"Wassup everyone!" Mafaki expressed.

"Wassup Mafaki News!" chorused back everyone.

Mafaki News beamed with pride. Little did she know that people called her "Mafaking Nuisance" behind her back, because she had this habit of posting "breaking news" on her FB groups without verifying any facts. Like that one time she published a hoax post about WWE wrestler John Cena having Mizo roots, or the other time she posted a fake news about salt becoming scarce in India, leading to a state-wide panic with people stocking up on large bags of salt.

Yes she had been criticized many times, but she still continued to post "news" without verifying any facts because she wanted to be the first one to post the news in case it happened to be true. Hence the reason why she earned that quite distasteful nick-name.

"By the way, have you guys seen the Netflix series Sacred Games?" Mamuana asked.

"I have, and it's awesome!" Jesse replied. "It's as good as Narcos. In fact, most of the plot is inspired by real life events in Mumbai. That one scene about the prostitutes, that location is close to an actual brothel where the police once rescued a couple of North Eastern girls including four Mizo girls who were falsely lured to work in Spas from Mizoram."

Suddenly, all their phones pinged in unison.

They looked at their phones to see it was a breaking news notification from one of Mafaki's news groups. The message read: "BREAKING NEWS! Four Mizo girls rescued from prostitution in Mumbai inspired the TV show Sacred Games!"

Everybody looked at Mafaki across the table.

"Oh comonnn!" Jesse protested, "That's not what I said, and you promised not to do this… news update thingie during our Meet-up!"

Mafaki grinned, "Sorry sorry."

"Somebody grab her phone away from her," joked Mamuana.

The next to arrive was Michael Dominatrix. Jesse found him really creepy, and he wasn't alone, judging from how the others were uncomfortable around him. The weird thing about Michael was that, he's an admin of both "Kristiante nun dik zirna" and "Mizo nula saruak pholanna" group, two extremely conflicting groups.

As Michael pulled his chair and sat down, he asked the others, "Hey, have you guys seen the latest leaked pictures of Manuni of Zarkawt?"

Whether the others had seen the pictures or not, they all just nodded uncomfortably.

"She's really hot, you should check it out!" Michael continued, "Anyway, now that we're all here, let us pray before we start our lunch session."

Liana raised his hands and was about to say something, but Michael had already started his prayer.

That was what Jesse never understood about Michael. He opened his eyes slyly because it felt so wrong, and noticed Liana was doing the same too. Liana looked at Jesse, shrugged his shoulders and grinned. Jesse did the same. All the others were genuinely closing their eyes as Michael prayed, except for Sangi who was still busy taking selfies, which she uploaded to her Instagram story with the hashtag - "Prayfie".

Once the prayer was over, everybody responded with an Amen.

"Weren't you about to say something?" Mamuana asked Liana.

"Oh yes, actually, all of us aren't here yet," Liana said, looking at Michael, "We're still waiting for our newest admin member Mapuii."

"That's correct," Jesse said. "We were discussing about this late last night, you didn't participate in the discussion, Michael Dominatrix."

"Oh yes, I was kinda tired, I was up late practicing a song for our KTP choir," Michael replied.

Finally, a good side of Michael, Jesse thought.

"And then I watched porn and went to sleep," continued Michael.

Arrrgh, so close, Jesse sighed as he mentally face-palmed himself.

"Anyway, speaking of last night's group discussion," Sangi spoke out, "Somebody was more excited than usual…"

Everybody looked at Jesse and grinned. Jesse blushed.

It was no secret among the admin group that Jesse had a crush on Mapuii ever since she became a part of the admin team last week. He had never met her in real life or talked to her privately, so he was quite excitedly about today's lunch.

And as if to speak of the devil, a feeble voice near the restaurant counter asked, "Urrrm… excuse me, is this the "All Mizo Facebook group admins" meet-up?"

"Yes yes of course," Liana and Mafaki answered together. "You're Mapuii right?"

"Yes," Mapuii replied, "Nice to finally meet you all in person."

Mamuana immediately got up from his seat and offered Mapuii his seat so that she would sit next to Jesse. Everybody giggled.

As Mapuii sat down, Jesse introduced himself.

"Ah, so you're Jesse," Mapuii replied, "While coming over, I realized the two of us are the only ones with our actual names as our profile names."

"I guess so," Jesse replied with a grin.

"Well, it's not like he had always been using his actual name earlier," Mamuana joked. Jesse wished he could kick Mamuana's legs under the table.

But Mapuii immediately caught the joke. "Hey you used to have a different profile name before too?" she asked Jesse excitedly.

"Urrrmmm… well… kinda," Jesse uttered.

"Me too," Mapuii replied, building a quick bond with Jesse. "I used to get trolled a lot, it was my fault for randomly accepting friend requests of people I didn't know, but now that I have created a new profile with a different name, things feel so refreshing. What was your earlier profile name, maybe we have crossed paths back then?"

Jesse hesitated a bit, "You tell me yours first, and I'll tell you mine."

"Okay…" Mapuii replied with a twinkle in her eyes, "Earlier, I was known as Mamuana-nu Sangboihi."

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Chp 720. Corporate advice to the Mizo youth - 1

Since I haven't blogged in quite a while, and by blogging I mean writing some serious stuff instead of just updating my blog with pictures of food :D I thought I'll write a series of posts giving advice to the youth of Mizoram about the Corporate world.

I don't know whether you'll find these posts helpful or not, but having seen a lot of Mizos crash and burn and head back to Mizoram, some of these pointers might prevent you from committing the same mistakes they did.

This series is especially for the freshers in Mizoram, including those who have recently moved outside the state for higher studies or better job opportunities. During my short vacation back home, I met a lot of really bright students who were much more ambitious and self-aware than my generation was, itching to take a bite off the Corporate pie. Unfortunately, they lack in industry exposure, and so I hope this post will help.

I'm not going to pen down some of the general advices and common gyaan about Corporate life here in India, because in this series I want to focus on just our Mizo mentality so that this article is as relevant as possible to the youth of Mizoram.

First of all, what is a Corporate office? Technically, it is the Headquarter of a large Corporation, but these days, we just refer to any large business office that is "corporat'ish" in nature as a Corporate office, you know, those large professional-looking, centralized-AC, private offices with cubicles and multi-layered boss hierarchy where people working behind large computer screens wear suits or at least formals while carrying ID badges and signing-in via biometric machines and stuff.

The right Mizo term for this would be, "Company a thawk" :)

Keeping nomenclature aside, the work environment in such a Corporate office is very different from, let's say, working in a Government office in Mizoram.

Now I am not belittling the Government and Public sector in anyway or saying that working for a private firm is more valuable. Every job is as important as the other as long as we work diligently and devoutly. But from what I have observed so far, people working in Govt offices and Public sectors tend to be a bit more lackadaisical and carefree in their approach, and this is where I want to warn the youth of Mizoram because I have seen a lot of Mizos come down here and commit the same mistakes and go back home with their heads down.

First and foremost, dear tlangval and nula of Mizoram, keep that mentality of "seniority" locked away in a trunk and throw away the keys. Unlike in Mizoram where promotions and pay scales are based on "seniority" in most of the sectors like government offices and even medical and education sectors, that is not how things work in the private sector.

In the Corporate world, your promotion and pay grade are based on a lot of factors like your performance evaluation, skill set, team work, communication ability, managerial skills, etc etc. "Seniority" plays a very small factor (Yes, "experience" plays an important role but there is a tiny difference between seniority and experience).

And these are the fields where you'll need to focus on if you want to survive in the Corporate world.

Starting from the very beginning of the day - always be in time for work. If you're working in a BPO or for those companies that provide customer support or sales, you probably won't have an option of going late because you have a company cab picking you up every day at a specific time. But when your company does not have that facility, then it is your responsibility to reach office in time. Believe me, your tardiness will be noticed, if not by your colleagues or reporting manager, then by the HR team.

And you may not even get a warning from the management for reaching late. This is where you must grow up and realize you're not in school or college anymore. Your manager is not your principal, he/she may not reprimand you for regularly coming in late. I have seen my own fellow Mizos taking advantage of this and they started going late to work on a daily basis. And then suddenly one fine day, they received their termination letters and that was it. Bye bye. Time to book their tickets back to Mizoram.

Don't ever make that mistake. Be dedicated to your work.

Also, in Mizoram, once you've land yourself a good government posting, you are set for life. It is almost impossible to get fired once you're in the system, unless you do something extremely bad, like turning up for work drunk every day or having a large scale corruption case, and in such situations too, you'd probably only get transferred and not terminated. In the Corporate world, there's a possibility that you'd still get fired even if you met your target.

You have to continuously walk the extra mile if you want to keep your job. As Secretary Elizabeth McCord tried to make Blake handle new responsibilities in "Madam Secretary" (season 4, episode 21), she quipped, "Either move up, or move out". That's what the Corporate world is all about, you are expected to grow and contribute more to the growth of the organization.

And in most occasions, you will have to take such initiatives on your own. Nobody is going to spoon-feed you what to do. The more you try to take on new responsibilities on your own, the greater you'll become an asset to your organization.

Just give it your all. Coming back to the point about reaching office in time, don't just be one of the firsts to arrive, try to be one of the lasts to leave too :)

I know the above point I just made is debatable, because you must have heard a lot of wise words and speeches about not being stuck to your workstation and that you should also take time off to appreciate the finer things in life like your family and friends.

Maintain a healthy Work-Life balance. But of course things are not always in black & white, and balancing work and life is much tougher than you can imagine…

By the way, when I spoke about spending long hours in the office, I am not talking about just sitting on your ass there until you have clocked out. Of course you will have to complete your designated tasks (that is a no brainer), but don't just work hard, you must work smart. And that is a topic I will cover in another post, because for now, there is an important topic I really want to address, and that is about our Mizo ATTITUDE.

The most frequent complains I have heard from my fellow Mizos working in the Corporate sector is this – "My boss is an asshole".

Yes, bosses can be assholes sometimes. But from all the complains I have heard so far, there had been many times when I realized there is something wrong with the attitude of my friend rather than his/her boss.

As a Mizo brought up in Mizoram, you may harness a few attitude problems against non-Mizos. You gotta shelf such attitudes here. If you can't stand being reprimanded by your boss just because he or she is a "Vai", then I'm sorry to say the Corporate world isn't for you. This simply means that you are not emotionally strong and mature enough to take on the tough Corporate world. Believe me, it is a dog eat dog world out here, you will not survive with such an attitude. Change that.

I have been working in the Corporate sector from more than 10 years now, and never have I had an asshole boss even once. Yes, there may be times when I felt my boss was a bit incompetent, but an asshole? Nope. The thing about the Corporate world is, even if you get shit on from your boss, remember that he/she is also getting shit on from his/her boss. The domino effect. Most of the stereotype bad bosses you'll see are in TV shows, which we find hilarious. But in the real world that is very unlikely to happen.

If you truly have a bad boss and nothing can be done about it, then just move out of the organization. There are plenty of other offers around in this booming economy. And with that, I want to cover the last point for this particular post - Moving out of your comfort zone.

I don't think I am wrong to state that most of us Mizos hesitate to move out of a surrounding we have grown accustomed to. I have so many Mizo friends working in various BPOs who continuously complain about their current work, but take no further attempt to look for a new job since they've been working for a long time there. Just get out of your comfort zone, man :)

I'm not saying I am an ideal example, but I not only jumped to a different company, but I moved to a different industry altogether! After years of experience in the Advertising industry, I suddenly moved to the Gaming industry with a completely different job profile! Yeah, it's possible to do that, and many people do that all the time.

So with that, I hope some of you will find this blog post helpful, and I'll try writing another part to this later if the response is good. And I sincerely hope people take this in a positive way and not try to spin my words like, "private company a thawklo ho chu min van hmusit ve" because I know many people are capable of spitting out such venom :) Feel free to ask me any queries you may have. Until then, cheers.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Chp 719. The Adventures of Tubby - season 5

Previous seasons:

In this second part of our back-to-back season of the Adventures of Tubby, things are looking real good for Tubby as she gets to experience new cuisines she had never tried out before. Have a look and let me know which is your favorite episode this season.

Season 5: Episode 1

China Toss, East Avenue, Mulik Palace, Kalyani Nagar, Pune.

Burmese Khao Suey Prawns Rice: ₹ 409

My favorite Burmese cuisine from China Toss, my favorite South East Asian restaurant (that is affordable :P Malaka Spice is my favorite but it is too expensive so I don't order from the place regularly). I've had Burmese Khao Suey from other places too and none of them can beat the one at China Toss. I love the number of different ingredients and condiments that comes along with this dish – roasted garlic, fried onions, coriander and peanuts, with rich creamy prawns curry. Adding our roasted mizo chilli flakes on top of all that further increases the awesomeness!

Season 5: Episode 2

Chinese Room, East Street, Camp, Pune.

Barbeque Spare Ribs: ₹ 335
Corn Crispy Crunchy: ₹ 240

I was a bit hesitant at first because Spare Ribs usually cost around 450 bucks and above. Coming across a restaurant where it was just 335 bucks seemed like a dream. I ordered from the place nonetheless, and I was not disappointed! It was awesomeeee. However, I was expecting corn-on-the-cobs to go with the ribs, but all I got were some soggy pieces of corn (even though the name clearly said "crunchy"). But I'm ready to ignore all that because of the economical cost of the ribs. Good stuff.

Season 5: Episode 3

The Noshery, Rahoul Terrace, Lane Number 7, Koregaon Park, Pune.

Creamy Mushroom Pasta with Bacon: ₹ 330
Herb Chicken Popcorn: ₹ 220

Awesome creamy mushroom pasta from "The Noshery". I highly recommend this place. And the pasta cream blended so well with my roasted mizo chilli flakes while the herb chicken popcorn melted right in my mouth. Though it is a little bit expensive, the value for money is good, and the whole package was delivered in cute little boxes.

Season 5: Episode 4

Pind Punjab, Gera Park View, Kharadi, Pune.

Dal Makhani Meal: ₹ 150
Amritsari Chole Meal: ₹ 150
Desi Ghee Gulab Jamun: Complimentary.

Gulab Jamun overload, lolz. I got a free gulab jamun with the Dal Makhani meal combo, another free gulab jamun with the Amritsari Chole meal combo, and finally a third Ghee gulab jamun free because I am a Zomato Treats partner, lolz. The roasted mizo chilli flakes went well with the two meals, though I did not try them with the gulab jamuns :P The stuffed kulchas were extremely filling.

Season 5: Episode 5

Boteco - Restaurante Brasileiro, Power Plaza, Lane Number 7, Koregaon Park, Pune.

Leitaa a Pururuca: ₹ 695

I decided to pamper myself to a lunch from expensive Boteco one day, and went for the "Leitaa a Pururuca", which is a Belgian Pork belly roasted in wood-fired oven and served with Apple puree, Spanish croquettes, and sweet & sour sauces. The pork even came with Cracklings, which we call in Mizo as "Sa-er fu" and it was freaking delicious!

Season 5: Episode 6

Sassy Teaspoon, Sanskriti Lifestyle, Lane no 7, Koregaon Park, Pune.

Spicy Chicken Sandwich: ₹ 125
Chutney Cheese Sandwich: ₹ 95
Rainbow Pastry: ₹ 160
Hazelnut Macaron: ₹ 60
Rose Macaron: ₹ 60

Spicy Chicken Sandwich, made even spicier with my Roasted Mizo Chilli Flakes. And the Chutney Cheese Sandwich was super dillu! The Rainbow Pastry was above average, and then there were the super awesome macarons that made me glimpse a piece of Heaven with every bite. An unforgettable lunch indeed. I really love the packaging too, as the food came in a bag shaped like one of those Mall shopping bags so everybody stared at me in office, lolz.

Season 5: Episode 7

The Taste With Spicy Twist, Sakore Nagar, Viman Nagar, Pune

Egg Kothu Parotta: ₹ 120
Chicken Kothu Parotta: ₹ 130

Kothu Parotta - This was our favorite roadside snacks back in Montfort. Shredded parotta continuously cut and beaten up on an iron tray with a steel spatula while mixing other crucial ingredients like eggs, onions, and other spices in the same rhythm. They are available only at authentic Tamil and Malayalee restaurants here in Pune and you will not find them at other South Indian restaurants like the Udipi restaurants (Sree Sagar, Sai Sagar, Shiv Sagar etc).

Season 5: Episode 8

Bubsterr's, Silver Oaks Society, Floriyana Estate, Kalyani Nagar, Pune.

BubSterr's Pork Overload 10" Inch Slice Pizza: ₹ 270
The Classic Hot Dog (Chicken): ₹ 150

Bubsterr's Pizza. I am in a love-hate relationship with this outlet. I love their toppings, especially the Pork Overload, but I hate their crust because it is too damn thick. I look forward to the day they will make thin crust slices. Until then, yeah I will have it maybe once a month.

Season 5: Episode 9

The Bawa, Nandgaon, Viman Nagar, Pune.

Jardaloo Ma Pork: ₹ 320
Steamed Rice: ₹ 60
Salami Poro with Pav: ₹ 144

One fine day, I took a deep breath and decided to try out "Jardaloo Ma Pork" for the first time. It is a traditional Parsi cuisine and the reason why I was a bit hesitant was because this dish is apparently made from apricot! Yeah that's right, apricot! I have never tried out an apricot curry before, but hey, you'll never know if you don't give it a try right? And so I went for it. It was slightly sweet but super awesome! That yellow round stuff you see in the pic above, which looks like potato, that's the apricot. Yummm.

Season 5: Episode 10

Chutney's, Siddhartha court, Dhole Patil Road, Pune.

Cheese Pav Bhaji: ₹ 115
Pav Jodi (2): ₹ 30
Kanda Fry: ₹ 30
Single Pav: ₹ 8

For the season finale, I give you Pav Bhaji! I don't think I need to add any details about it as we all know what a Pav bhaji is. Yummylicious stuff :)

So, until the next adventures of Tubby, take care, and do keep visiting this post now and then for other updates which may or may not be related to food. Have a great weekend and enjoy the World Cup. Cheers everyone!