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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Chp 57. Addiction

Addiction. Been there done that.

Its amazing how we never realize how attach we become to a particular thing that we do regular until it’s too late. And I am not just talking about drugs or alcohol or any other habits your folks warned you to stay away from. Stuff that normal human beings do. Simple harmless stuff. Harmless until one day you realize you cannot live without that substance.

Look at me for example. From the very moment that I wake up in the morning, there are two things I HAVE to take otherwise I will go completely crazy. And I am not talking about morning glory. Two very harmless substances that’s available everywhere. One is consumed by every single person in this World, the other by almost every single person in this World.

Water and Coffee. Dear Lord, I just cannot imagine what will happen if there is no water to drink the moment I wake up. Ever since I can remember, the first thing I do as soon as I open my eyes is reach for my water bottle and gulp down atleast 3-4 glasses. When I was a mere kid, my mom used to force me to drink water as soon as I wake up, telling me it will purify my digestive and circulatory system or something like that. Even after they packed me off to a boarding school, she used to call me up every now n then and ask if I am regularly drinking water in the morning. I did that every single day in school and then college. And now, I just cannot start my day without drinking water. If there is no water around to drink when I wake up, my throat becomes parched dry, my head spins around, my vision gives away and I swear I can feel my BP rise drastically. Why can't I be like other normal folks who, if there is no water around to drink when they wake up, can easily go on with their life? Me, my life stops abruptly.

Another early morning addiction of mine is coffee. I guess you can call me a hardcore coffee drinker. Pretty strange actually coz I am a Mizo and Mizos in general are tea fanatics, not coffee. Blame it on my South-Indian upbringing. I just cannot live without coffee. Period. If there is no coffee to drink in the morning, I can feel this really uncomfortable throbbing down my throat, like an uncontrollable spasm pumping and pumping me until that first sip of Heavenly coffee flows down my throat. Only then does the pain stops. Ask me anything about coffee and I will fire back a quick reply. Bean sprouts, arabica, chicory, robusta, estates in Tamilnadu hill stations which cultivates the best coffee, price ranges of all coffee products in the Indian Market, Irish coffee ingredients, you name it. Coffee is my area of expertise. By the way, a brief advertisement. Coffee lovers of Bangalore, please do check out Kalmane Koffee. It’s in Forum, Koramangala, right next to the entrance from the Car Parking on the 2nd floor, opposite that miniature car model shop and Jockeys if I am not mistaken. That place is amazing, selling a huge variety of blends with exotic names like Bluegrass, Cantata, Harmony, Ethiopian, Sidamo, Rich Columbian and Mysore Nuggets. Place is owned by a very close friend of mine Dhiraj Prabhu, real estate developer n entrepreneur running his dad's company Skyline Construction, blood-brother from school days, my Local Guardian while I was in IIM, and a devoted born-again Christian.

Nicotine: Another addiction of mine. I smoke close to 15 ciggies a day. Dad and I never discussed this but mom keeps on nagging n nagging me to quit because she herself used to be a chain smoker once (her nick-name those days was “train engine”) until she caught my eldest sister puffing away years ago. It was then that she realized this was not the example she ought to show, and quit abruptly. Dad on the other hand, still smokes like a chimney, and I guess that’s one of the reasons why he has never fatherly-advised me to stop smoking. My room is the only room in our house where smoking is not prohibited. And my three elder sisters never let this opportunity pass. I'll be playing a game on my comp and one of my sisters would usually come and sit with me and light up a ciggie. And if mom or dad suddenly enters my room, she would slyly place the ciggie on my hand. And my mom would be like, how can you sit with him in his stuffy room with all these smoke, don't you know passive smoking is injurious to health? LoLx. But I am slowly cutting down. Eve once sent me an sms. “I know I don't want you to change for my sake, but please remember that if you live longer, we can love each other longer.” Sweeeeeet . That has indeed been a great motivation for me to try quitting. Right now I am trying to keep it at 10 ciggies a day. By next month, reduce to 5. And eventually, nilch.

The problem with smoking is that, after most of us picked up the habit of smoking, one place where we always smoke is in the loo while we're crapping. One reason is to subdue the smell and another reason is, it just feels so damn good to smoke “under pressure” Hence, every time we crap, we smoke. This became such a strong habit that, there are actually times when I'm happily smoking and suddenly feel like crapping And this really looks bad, especially when I'm with my gurl in a cozy posh restaurant or on my way to Church.

Apart from all that, there are various other stuff I am addicted to. One of the first things that come to my mind is “Puchhkas”. But then, I’ve already dedicated an entire post to Puchhkas so enough of that for now. KFC Zinger burger? Well, honestly, I think that is just a passing phase, although it does feel a lot like addiction. There had been many incidents in the past where me and my frens would drive for hours just to devour a zinger burger at the local KFC joint. How can one tell the difference between an addiction and a passing craze? This is how I figure it out. Masked gun men armed with AK-47s grabs me by the hair and gives me an option. My life or KFC burger. I would definitely go for my life. But if the choice is between my life and the juiciest, tamarind and jhaal and chaat masala dressed, mouth watering scrumptious puchhkas, I fear I might go for the latter!

Flirting is another thing I feel most people are addicted to, if they have been doing it many times before. As for me, I seriously feel flirting is embedded deep within my genes by now. By flirting, I am not necessarily talking about casual sex talks, that leads to brief necking n pecking, that in turn leads to uncensored action under the bed sheet (or on the back seat of your car or in the bathroom of a night club, which ever you prefer). Clean flirtatious fun. When I broke up with “N”, I was on the worst rebound of my lifetime. Flirted like a wild beast on heat, yet afraid of any commitments that came along my way. Now that I am once again sane, and in a very serious committed relationship, I still find it a bit hard to let go of old habits. I mean, I don’t cheat on my girl. No way Jose. But there are times when I am hanging out with my girl’s girlfriends and suddenly I am like teasing them flirtatiously, like a brief compliment or a dirty joke sandwiched in the conversation… They are all harmless ofcourse, but sometimes I wonder why I do it. When Eve n I started becoming serious, a very close fren of mine in B’lore “M” who is now in Mizoram told me, “Once a flirt, always a flirt”. I argued with her saying I know myself well and that I will never hurt Eve. It was then that she told me something that will forever stick to my head. “Flirting need not be necessarily about cheating. You have the habit of replying to every god-damned thing that others say in your own sweet but smart-assed way. That’s one of the reasons why people love to hang out with you coz you make them laugh. And you understand women really well compared to most guys, which makes you say all the right things at the right time.” Ok ok I am blowing my own trumpet way beyond the legal limit. But I swear those were her exact words. Gentleman promise! (ok, I don’t know what that means. It’s what my girlfriend taught me recently, and it’s supposed to mean something like a promise guys should never break. Never heard of that term before. I think its some North-Indian lingo coz after all she’s from Delhi) its like how Chandler Bing finds it really hard to let go of an occasion to let a smart comment pass.

Apart from all these, I think there are a couple of other things I am really addicted to. But let’s save that for another day. I am dying to hear what all you viewers are addicted to. Could be anything right from a cartoon network channel to a hindi kasauti soap. Do let me know so that we can have a good discussion regarding it. Ciao.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Chp 56. Mizo Nite Bummer

Does being rebellious mean that one must rebel about anything?

Well believe me, I have no intention of speaking out against our Bangalore Mizo community, but I really could not let this one pass.

Last nite we had our first Mizo culturals after a gap of 4 years. It was conducted by the MSA (Mizo Students Association) and not the BMA (Bangalore Mizo Association) as most Mizos perceive it to be.

Check out the people there claimed the function was a big success. From my point of view, all I can say is huh???

Let us just backtrack a bit and look at the entire building up process of this event. According to a certain unnamed source (who may or may not be reliable), the MSA was formed a couple of months ago after some of the students protested that the BMA is not doing enough for the Mizo students (There is a huge Mizo population in the employment sector) and that with the number of Mizos in Bangalore reaching close to a thousand or more, they felt that the BMA alone cannot look after everyone. Hence a new association specially dedicated to the students was created. Ofcourse it will never be as powerful as the DMZP (Delhi Mizo Zirlai Pawl) but atleast it is a good initiative.

Many BMA and BMCF (Bangalore Mizo Christian Fellowship) officials objected to this but anyway the notion was passed and a new Organization was formed. And to gain publicity and recognition, MSA decided to conduct a Mizo Nite here in Bangalore. But it wasn’t politically correct to call it a “Mizo Nite” so it was changed to “Chapchar Kut”. Chapchar Kut is a harvest festival of my State, similar to Onam and Pongal, which is celebrated with much pomp and gaiety back home.

So, various students all over Bangalore started practicing and preparing for this grand event. Bangalore is lucky to have a couple of celebrities like pop singer Mami Varte and gospel singers Nunu-i and Zorina Pautu studying here, who are extremely famous all over Mizoram (and maybe the North-east). And apart from that, there are also many amazing guitarists playing for various bands in Bangalore. And to top all these, Michael M.Sailo, the hottest rap artist in North-east was invited as a celebrity guest.

A couple of my frens were really busy with the publicity, going from one part of town to the other with posters and tickets. I was also assigned 10 tickets to sell to my IIM frens. But unfortunately, only Amol, Tommy, Anand, Nitya and Anita could make it. Monu, Shubha, Ankita, Amra etc all had one more exam on the 1st of March.

Anyway, the first sign that the function was doomed to flop was the fact that it was held on 28th of Feb 2006. A freaking weekday! Many Mizos had to take leave from their work and a couple of Mizos from Chennai, Mysore, Mandya etc who were planning to come for this occasion had to cancel it. And why was it held on a Tuesday? Because it was the only day our chief guest, Dr. R.Lalthangliana, the Hon. Minister of Education of Mizoram, could be free.

And so time came n went. 27th Feb. The eve of our function.

Phillia was participating in the fashion event and needed to go shopping. I had the car with me because the previous day I went to Church with Teii, Zorini, Saii etc followed by MSTa’s farewell party and since Amol and the rest were busy with their final exams at IIM, nobody was utilizing the car. So I went shopping with Phillia and her mom, bought earrings that will match the gown she’s going to wear (which we searched for nearly two hours! Women!), and finally dropped them back. After that I picked up Arimteii and Somteii from Lifestyle, and went to Vasant Nagar to pick up, guess who? Michael M.Sailo!

I was like his special entourage! (Actually, more like a chauffeur). I had to take him to the special dinner function at Koromangala conducted by the MSA. The other guests and all the office bearers of MSA will be there.

So I reached Vasant Nagar and Arimteii went inside to call Michael. I waited by the car like a good puppy pet. Man, when Michael came out, his first reaction was, hey where have we met before? I was like, what the fuck, he remembers me! Actually we met once on Christmas day 2005. I was in the hospital visiting my niece who was down with meningitis. Michael n his bro came and paid a visit to the Children’s ward with sweets etc and it was a brief intro. And here he was, recognizing me. How cool is that!

So I took Michael to our destination. He was a really nice guy. We talked about hiphop and Bangalore life. One thing that I have noticed: Most mizos, if they know a little bit about a certain celebrity or person, like if they have met him once or twice or talk to him, they always act as if they know that person so well, as if they grew up with that person and have been through many things together… well, I ain’t one of those people. Here sitting in my car, was Michael, a celebrity I really admire, and yet a complete stranger to me.

Anyway, when we reached our destination, the entire Ramthar Veng Cultural Troupe was already there. We had a brief introduction, get-to-know-each-other thingie, followed by a grand buffet dinner. After dinner, I dropped Michael at Forum coz he said he had to meet “somebody”. We were all curious as Hell to find out who this somebody is And then I took Arimteii, Thaari, Shirley, Esther and Puia to the airport to welcome our honourable Chief Guest who was supposed to arrive at 10pm that night. The other guys came in a couple of bikes.

We were all waiting for him with a welcome banner, bouquet etc, when we learnt his flight was delayed! Aaargh. Just as any other normal mizo would do, we just huddled together and cracked jokes to pass time. Somebody came up with a “hur mu keh” joke which everybody used over n over again. We really had good fun. Hriatpuia and somebody got engaged in a cock-fight and people around us stared at us, after all it was 1am in the middle of the airport. LoLz.

Finally Dr. R.Lalthangliana arrived around 1:40am. We shook hands with him, had a brief moment of speech making and gratitude for waiting for him this late. And then he left in his official State car. I dropped everybody back and reached home around 2:30am. Was completely exhausted.

The next day, D-Day, woke up at 9, picked up Phillia and took her to Mami’s place. Mami Kawlhring is one of the designers who were supposed to perform that day. Since she was the senior most mizo designer in Bangalore, she had the luxury of using the hottest mizos as models. From her place, I transported Mami and her models to the event location. St.John’s Auditorium, Koromangala. And then I went to IIM to pick up my frens.

We reached the venue around 7pm. The event has just started. When we entered the hall, Mami Varte was performing. Tommy loved her voice. Who wudn’t? We found a place to sit, and I was glad everything was going on so well. Until our Chief Guest came on stage and blew up everything.

He started his speech with “Since there are only 10% non-mizos here, I will make 10% of my speech in English and the rest in Mizo”. I mean, what the *beep* was that????? He’s not only insulting my non-mizo frens and all the other non-mizos present that nite, does he also mean to imply that 90% of those present who are mizos, don’t understand English???? Yeah maybe he was trying to win the hearts of the mizos by being patriotic to the mizo language. But duh! This is Bangalore, not Mizoram. Plus many of us invited our non-mizo frens so that they can learn about our culture and traditional dances etc (and also because the MSA need to get back some amount of cash for all their expenditure). What’s the point if the medium is in mizo? And our honourable Minister spoke n spoke n spoke for nearly an hour in mizo. Amol and Tommy slept and I am sure many of the people that night, non-mizos and mizos, found it extremely boring. No offence dear Minister, but sometimes, one must adjust to the surroundings accordingly. That marathon speech of yours really put off the mood of most of the guests. Later when Mr.Sangliana came on stage, he asked the audience how many didn’t understand mizo, and nearly 50% raised their hands. So he spoke in English. See, that is exactly the reason why he is elected as an MP in Bangalore while the only place you’ll ever find recognition is in Mizoram. No offence intended.

Nunu-i and Zorina Pautu sang in Mizo. Wasn’t a great hit among the non-mizos but never-the-less it was much better than a 1 hour long speech in mizo. The Cheraw and Chawnglaizawng dances performed by the Cultural troupe kinda really made the audience sit up and watch in amazement. Sammy’s martial arts performance was a big hit among the non-mizos. Everybody was awestruck by his raw talent. The same goes to Michael M.Sailo who always managed to pump up the crowd. The greatest hit that night was the Fashion show. Three great designers, back to back, showing off their creations one after the other, using the hottest mizo girls in Bangalore as their models. Everybody just loved that. But one rotten apple is enough to spoil the whole basket. If only the speech had been shorter or in English…

During the break, my frens and I went to Tamarind and Enigma which is located just a stone’s throw away from the venue. After that, I guess I was completely pissed off for some strange reasons, and decided to go back to IIM campus with my frens. But later changed my mind coz going back from campus to home the next day seems an arduous task. I really needed some time alone that night. Personal reasons.

Thus ended our much talked about “Chapchar Kut” nite. To some people, I guess all the sacrifices they made for this event paid off, while others were disgruntled a bit. Even though there were many rooms for improvement when it comes to organizing, I guess over all it wasn’t such a bad event, considering the fact that the entire event was handled by the student community. Kudos to them, especially Nu Rini (Senior Advisor), Thamawia (President), Samuel (General Secretary), Puia (Asst GS), Arimteii (Treasurer), Shirley (Asst Treasurer), Thaari (Secy, Information n Publicity), Atea (Secy, Cultural, Games n Sports), Esther (Secy, Fund raising) and other executive members like Papari, Robert, Terence, BZi, Jennifer, JKa, David, Dana, Isaac, Mimi, Zawmpuii etc…

Hoping to see another “Chapchar Kut” next year.