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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Chp 110. Mizoram Statistics

I still remember a couple of instances when I was doing some project or the other, and I suddenly need a couple of data regarding Mizoram, like the population, density etc... First of all it was embarrassing because I didn't know it myself since it was my Home State. Secondly, it was frustrating because most of the results I got on Google™ were vague or outdated.

Hence, from the recently published "Statistical Handbook of Mizoram 2006" I am just refurnishing some of the data printed there, so as to help others who might be looking for such data on Google™ (my blog sometimes shows on up the first page of Google search result )

For further inquiry, feel free to contact me at silv_kim[at]yahoo[dot]com if you cannot find the official site/figures that you require. I would be obliged to help you out (In Mizo, we call this "tlawmngaihna" )

State Capital: Aizawl (NOT Aizwal or Aizol or Ijol plzzzz!!!
No. of Districts: 8
Population (2001 census): 888,573
Percentage of Christians (2001 census): 86.97%
Geographical Area: 21081 sqkm
Population Density: 42 per sqkm

Longitude: 92°.15' E to 93°.29' E
Latitude: 21°.58' N to 24°.35' N
North - SouthEast - West
277 KM121 KM
Border Length
International BordersNational Borders
With Myanmar404 KMWith Assam123 KM
With Bangladesh318 KMWith Tripura66 KM
With Manipur95 KM

Population (as per 2001 census)
MaleFemaleSex RatioRuralUrbanRatio

District-wise Stats:

DistrictArea (sqkm)No. of House holdPopulationDecadel Variation 91-01Literacy Rate

Some of the Church Denominations of Mizoram (2005-2006):

DenominationNo. of local Church/ Corps/ParishTotal members
Presbyterian Church of India1093255451255919511370
Mizoram Baptist Church4106072859857120585
UPC (Mizoram)358211362155742693
Salvation Army*207NANA*50005
7th Day Adventist173NANA16858
Roman Catholic17NANA17864
* Denotes the year 2004-2005

No. of Workers and Missionaries sponsored (2005-2006):

DenominationNo. of WorkersNo. of Missionaries sponsored
Presbyterian Church of India1164123724011435
Mizoram Baptist Church32412444461
Salvation Army*248*218*466*296
Roman Catholic45187232NIL
7th Day Adventist6411517962
UPC (Mizoram)678014730
*Denotes the year 2004-2005

Altitude of District HQs of Mizoram:

District HQHeight (metres)District HQHeight (metres)

Weather and Humidity in Mizoram (2005):

Ps. It took me more than four hours to design this graphical representation using Photoshop (MS Excel graph sux) so if you are reproducing this data from my blog, please don't forget to give me the credit!

Important rivers of Mizoram:
RiverLength (KM)RiverLength (KM)

Mountains of Mizoram:

MountainHeight (metres)MountainHeight (metres)
1Phawngpui21579Zopui Tlang1850

Reiek Tlang (1485m) is the only mountain I scaled by foot so far

Chp 109. More than a Thousand Words

Just like how Churches come in all shapes and sizes, gospel songs too come in all styles and genres.

Among the Rock category, nothing can beat my number one band, PETRA. My all time favorite song of theirs is definitely “More than a thousand words”, based on Romans 8:26.

I saw Your picture hanging on the wall
Just an artist rendering that was all
The way You looked down in Your agony
Jogged my memory
And helped me to see

If a picture's worth a thousand words
Then it won't help me at all
Only words are never gonna say
What I feel for You today

More than a thousand words won't say
More than my life will not repay
More than a thousand things I do
Won't make it up to You

Many of my friends place “No doubt” and “Just reach out” as their favorite song of Petra. I love those songs too, but if I were asked to name just one, then that song would be “More than a thousand words”.

All their songs really touch me… but this particular song seem to take that extra mile when it comes to poignancy… it never fails to bring tears to my eyes especially during that phase when I just came out of Camp… I thought and thought… what makes this song stand out from the rest… and then it occurred to me.

I love to write. I love describing things with words, however amateur I may be. I use vocabs as a tool to express my feelings, a weapon to slice through intangible situations, a means to transport people into my magical World filled with imagination and illusion... And the part of the song that goes like, “Only words are never gonna say, what I feel for You today. More than a thousand words won’t say…” felt like the lever of a dam that opens up to let a thousand tonne of water gush out…

Some songs can touch us so deeply that we just cry, songs that are played on a specific occasion. I cried on our School graduation day when I was saying goodbye to my “brothers” of more than 5 years, because I’ve shared so much with them… The songs that made me cry then were “We’ll be together” (Grease II OST), “Driftaway” (Motley Crüe), “C U when you get there” (Coolio) and “Goodbye” (Air Supply). Vitamin C’s “Graduation” wasn’t released then, otherwise it would definitely be on that list too.

When my good friend Francis passed away, the songs that brought tears to my eyes as I thought of him were “A Place Nearby” (Lene Marin), “No one but you – Only the good die young” (Queen) and “Dust in the wind” (Kansas).

I guess am feeling similar emotions again when I play this song by Petra over and over again on my Winamp…

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Chp 108. A special Valentine's Day post

14th February
Valentine’s Day, Aizawl.

The two steaming cups of hot cappuccino remained still on the round coffee table, revealing no signs of movement from its original position, a subtle hint that the two people sitting face to face across the coffee table were here for reasons other than drinking hot beverages.

It was a cold cold winter’s day in the city of Aizawl, the kind of weather that would force even the most hot-tempered shrew to revert to mere facial gestures during the heat of an argument. But inside the warm comfort of “David’s Kitchen”, the atmosphere was far from bitter and cold. Couples all around the restaurant were in each other’s arms, listening to the track of “Faithfully” by Journey while whispering sweet nothings to each other. Yup, couples were indeed cozy everywhere… everywhere but that round coffee table where the cappuccinos were untouched.

“You’re kidding right?” John’s wounded stare penetrated deep inside Nancy’s dark eyes. Although he knew she was telling him the truth, he thought maybe, if he probed hard enough into her eyes, things would change, and that somewhere deep inside her head, something was making her play a prank on him. A cruel prank.

“No John… it’s true. I’m so sorry…” Nancy’s trembling voice was undoubtedly convincing.

“First you kept me waiting for hours. Our date was for 11am. Now it’s 1 freaking PM. And now you tell me THIS…” John could speak no longer.

“Believe me John, everyday I tried to tell you, but you have no idea how difficult it is for me to…”

John exploded. “You mean after all these years… after all that we’ve been through…” Overcame by a sudden overflowing emotion of utmost betrayal, John abruptly stood up, spilling the two hot cappuccinos all over the coffee table. Other couples around them stopped cuddling and stared at them.

“John…” Nancy pleaded, but John was no longer listening to a single word coming out of her mouth…

As John got up from his chair in full fury, everything around him closed in. He felt intoxicated. suffocated. sick. betrayed. giddy. cheated. He had to get some air, pronto. He wasn’t even sure how he managed to walk outside; he didn’t care. It was only when the cold Aizawl wind hit him sharply on the face that he realized he was no longer inside “David’s Kitchen”.

“Taxi” he screamed out. As he furiously jumped inside the first taxi that stopped by, he heard somebody call out his name from behind. It was a meek voice. He recognized that voice too damn well; he didn’t turn back. “Chanmari West”, he yelled.

As Nancy stood all alone infront of “David’s Kitchen” watching the white taxi disappear around a curve at Chanmari, tears uncontrollably rolled down her cheeks. She froze. Two passersby noticed her plight immediately and inquired with the utmost concern if there was anything wrong. She forced herself to smile at them; something that required all her strength to do so, dried her eyes quickly and started walking in the opposite direction towards Zarkawt.

For the next two weeks, John was devastated. He couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t eat. He even lost faith in God for a few days, ridiculously blaming Him for everything.

Nancy had been the only girl he ever loved. They had been classmates right from Kindergarten all the way through College! They knew each other inside out completely and had been inseparable even when other young boys of their age group were fighting with the girls to show their repulsion for the opposite sex.

Even when adolescence kicked in, John and Nancy were like two prime numbers: undividable. Hence their respective parents were not surprised at all when they revealed to them that they were madly and deeply in love with each other. That was during their High School.

From then onwards, John and Nancy grew even closer and closer. Inspite of all the years of companionship, neither John nor Nancy could sleep without spending a few hours together during the day. Soon, both families started making the wedding plans, much to the two lovers’ delight.

And now, Nancy confessed to John, on Valentine’s Day, a few months before their wedding day, that she met somebody else, and had been seeing him behind his back for more than 3 months now. To add fuel to the fire, Nancy even mentioned that she might be pregnant with her secret lover’s child!

John was beyond remorse initially. He could not talk to anybody coherently. But slowly, time became a great healer. He started socializing again, with help from close friends and family. He heard from his cousins that Nancy had left the City that following week, probably with her lover, and was rumored to have shifted to Kolasib, the adjoining district.

He still had occasional nightmares for a few more weeks. He hated anything that reminded him of Nancy. Hence he hated everything. But slowly, the wounds healed. The scars remained but he found ways to conceal them.

A year later, he met Donna. She was nothing compared to Nancy, but atleast he started smiling again. As Donna became more and more involved in his personal life, John started believing in love again. Donna understood what John went through and even though she knew she would never take Nancy’s place, she could fill some of the void Nancy left behind.

3 years of romancing later, John and Donna got married.

John and Donna lived happily from then onwards. They had four wonderful children, all bubbly and cheerful. John was contented with life and it's blessings. But on extremely rare occasions, he still used to wonder how life would have been like if it was with Nancy instead of Donna. He had absolutely no idea how Nancy is doing, for he made no attempt to contact her.

It had been more than 40 years later, after his retirement and all his children were married off, that he happened to clean up his messy old cupboard. From the bottom of the randomly cleaned pile of old documents and files, he dug out his old faded photo album!

With wrinkled fingers, he turned the pages carefully. Every photograph in it were of him and Nancy, right from when they were kids climbing his father’s cherished jackfruit tree to the time they graduated from School and College together. Oh he looked so stupid in those old-fashioned pants and shirts, while Nancy seemed to look as fresh and beautiful as ever. He suddenly felt this tremendous urge to cry.

After an hour of spending a very emotional time alone, he decided that he should atleast see her one last time. He wanted to see who the guy was that stole his soul mate away from him. He wanted to shake the hands of her children. He wanted to spend time with Nancy again, just like old times! Atleast they owe each other that, he muttered.

2 days later, he arrived at Kolasib. It didn’t take time for him to locate Nancy’s house, for he found out that she had a relative at Kolasib, a cousin.

Taking a long hard deep breath, he knocked on her door.

A young lad of around 18 opened the door. John looked at him and wondered if he was Nancy’s son.


“Hi. I am a dear old friend of…” The dear old friend part came out of his mouth with such an ease that it even surprised him… “of Nancy. Is she around?”

“Huh? Maaaa, there’s an old gentleman here looking for Aunty Nancy.”

An old woman came to the door, ushering John to step inside. After John introduced himself, the woman exclaimed, “I knew you would come one day. Nancy told me about everything…”

The word “everything” still felt like a spear jabbed through John’s heart, even after all these years!

“Sit down please… John.”

As John sat down, Nancy’s cousin continued… “I’m afraid Nancy is no more…”

John suddenly felt an excruciating pain deep within him, as if he was struck by lightning a hundred times. He asked immediately, “When? How?”

“It was a long time ago. More than 40 years ago. She felt sick…”

“What sickness? And what happened to her child…”

“John, before Nancy breathed her last, she made me promise one thing, that if you do come visiting her one day, I must never tell you anything else, other than the fact that she died. I’m sorry John…”

John sat alone for a long time, not believing what he just heard. He cried again, lost in time, memories of him and Nancy running around the hills filled his senile head…

“Can I atleast go through some of her old stuff? Please please? I’m sure she has a lot of things I will remember…”

Nancy’s cousin could feel the desperation in John’s voice, and knowing it would do them no harm, she led John inside her bedroom. Under her bed, she kept a small trunk. Inside it were Nancy’s belongings. John started crying again, as he remembered many of the dresses in that trunk. On the side of the trunk was a small box covered with a plastic cover. He gently uncovered the box.

Inside the small box, undisturbed by moisture and age, were photographs of him and his dear Nancy! They were not as faded as the ones he had at home because of the airtight wrapper. There was also a small bundle of letters, letters that he wrote to Nancy all through his life until that fateful day she ran away with somebody else. He cried and cried again.

And then he noticed a small crumpled paper at the side of the trunk. Something seemed to make him pick it up. As he softly opened the paper, his hands started trembling… his knees gave away and he collapsed to the ground. Everything around him started shaking and spinning… his blood pressure rose alarmingly. And then everything became so clear to John… so lucidly clear… as if it had just the previous day when he was sitting with Nancy at “David’s Kitchen”….

There never was a child involved. There never even was another guy in the picture! The piece of crumpled paper was a diagnosis report from Aizawl Civil Hospital, stating that Nancy was dying of blood cancer… and a doctor noted that there was nothing they could do save her… the date and time on the small appointment sheet was 14 Febraury 11am... That was the reason why Nancy was late that day…

Monday, February 12, 2007

Chp 107. The true value of friendship

Lately I’ve been feeling tall. Extremely tall.

I feel as if I’ve grown a few inches taller! But strangely, all my pants still fit me perfectly. And then I realized why I am feeling this way.

It’s because I’ve been hanging out a lot lately with short people!

What happened to my usual gang of tall friends?

Ever since my exuberant experience with the Lord, I’ve been going to every Church service possible. And my usual gang of friends, well, let’s just say, they do not consider Church attendance a very important part of their Christian life, although most of them turn up on Sundays. Hence on weekdays, for the night services, I go to Church with a different set of people. Short people.

But does that mean I stop hanging out with my old set of friends? No. They are the most amazing bunch of guys I have ever known, and they’ve been my friends since childhood. Just because they do not see the good Lord the way I see Him does not make them any less of a friend. During my “peniel", one of the most persistent requests I made to the good Lord was not to give me that “Holier than thou” attitude if I ever undergo a transformation.

Our gang of friends, well, we’ve been through a lot together. We used to party together, get drunk, experiment on strange “stuff”, and sometimes sit together at Church and giggle at the good people dancing in the Church consumed by the Holy Spirit. Ah, we were so stupid then.

And there I was, sitting in Church with the same set of friends for the first time since I came out of Camp. I think there was some discomfort in the air around us, but I don’t know if it was because of them or me. And then the song started, and everybody started singing and clapping and dancing… I closed my eyes as I clapped my hands and sang… and I felt this great call from within, urging me to do what I really felt like… at first, I was shy, thinking, what will my friends think of me… but as the chorus of the song filled the Church…

Vân ropui, Eden thar nuam chu,
Lungngaih awm tawh lohna hmun chu;
Aw, engtik nge ka thlen ve ang,
I chatuan lalna ram, êng mawi nuam tak chu?

(Glorious Heaven, the new Eden of total bliss
Where there is no longer sadness/loneliness,
Oh, when will I reach that magnificent Place,
Your eternal Kingdom, with its bright lights of splendor?)

It was at THAT very moment that all thoughts of shyness and hesitation disappeared. I just didn’t care what my friends would think of me. I stood up, something that I never did before, raised my hands, clapped, shouted praises to the good Lord, SCREAMED OUT HALELUIA and sang with all my heart with tears streaming down my face, right there in the midst of all my friends! Ah! I’ve NEVER felt that complete in my entire life. Maybe my friends around me were laughing at me, I just didn’t care. All that mattered was our Lord, Almighty father.

And you know what? After Church, none of my friends even commented on what I did. We continued talking just like we used to, as if nothing strange or different happened. Nobody teased me about it. From that day onwards, I became a regular “one who dance” guy. And boy, it felt GREAT!

Now I truly understood what “M” meant when she told me “A true friend is someone who will not make fun of your beliefs or shortcomings.”

Two years ago, I had the opportunity to spend an entire day shopping with a family friend, M. She was what everyone would call a “nula fel”. I still remember I was a bit nervous that day, because other than the fact that it was the first time I was alone with her, there was also a great contrast in our lifestyle. She was extremely devoted to God, caring, helpful, never uttering a single cuss word, always smiling and cheerful, abstaining from kuhva, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, alcohol etc, pure at heart and definitely a virgin. One cannot help giving such people their profound admiration and respect; they seem to have this divine aura around them. She’s now happily married to a Pastor, serving the good lord at Charachandhpur.

What amazed me that day was, when we paid her closest friends a visit, I was expecting them to be pretty much like her… you know, all the goody goody stuff. I was wrong. So wrong. Her best friend “S” was an unwed mother, uncertain about who the father of her 4-5 months old baby was. Her other friend, also called “S”, turned out to be someone I knew from Bangalore! Not personally, but I’ve seen her a lot at Pubs and Discs back then, partying wildly with Middle-eastern students and alcohol, but not crossing that line of promiscuity.

Later I asked her how come her friends were so different from her, and she just laughed. She told me that those two girls had been her close friends since school, and that there is more to friendship than having similar lifestyles. “How they lead their life does not make them any less of a friend”, she told me, while adding, “but yeah, I do pray for them every night, hoping they will turn more towards God.”

Back in School, our dormitory warden Brother Montfort always used to say, “Identify the bad elements among you, and stay away from them. Do not even mingle with such people”. Hence, when I became a “bad element” later in life, I always used to think the “good elements” were avoiding me. Now I realized all that was just in my head, and that in reality, a good Christian NEVER forsake a fellow Christian friend.

In Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, Paul wrote, “If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed. Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.” [2 Thessalonians 3: 14-15]

Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.

Amen to that.

Even though I know I am definitely not qualified enough to preach His Holy word to others, one thing I can atleast do is to try making my friends experience what I am going through right now. Hence, everyday, although it takes me just 5 minutes to reach Church, I start off from home 30 minutes early, so that I can visit all my friends on the way and invite them to come with me to Church. Ofcourse so far, no success except on Sundays, but still I will keep trying, and trying, and trying. Not forcefully, but just a humble invitation coated with a genuine smile.

Remember that popular born again song “Great Change”? We used to sing it in school when I was still studying in Mizoram (1985). It goes like this (Don’t freak out, my memory is not that good! I just happened to dig out my old school song book just the other day )

Chorus: Great change since I was born (3)
There’s a great change since I was born.

1. Things I used to do, I do them no more (3)
There’s a great change since I was born. [chorus]

2. Books I used to read I read them no more (3)
There’s a great change since I was born. [chorus]

3. Songs I used to sing I sing them no more (3)
There’s a great change since I was born. [chorus]

4. Place I used to go I go there no more (3)
There’s a great change since I was born. [chorus]

5. My dear brother, what about you too? (3)
There’s a great change since I was born. [chorus]

The song is about being a born again, and not doing the things we used to do before. However, the song does not mention anything like “Friends I used to have, I have them no more”. Instead, it gently puts forward a request to our friends to rethink about their lives. And I strongly believe that is what we should all do. Never let go of your friends. Grasp them tightly, never letting them stray afar, and lead a life that will make them want to lead such a life too: A good Christian life.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Chp 106. A blessed long distance relationship

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, they say. That’s what two people in love experience all the time. This is a special post dedicated to all of us who are in a relationship, especially a long distance one.

Long distance relationships are complicated. There need to be a great amount of understanding among the couples in such a relationship. Some of the more common issues I’ve heard are: [The names are entirely fictional and any resemblance to real people is completely coincidental].

John calls up his girlfriend Mary and tells her that he’s going out with a friend and colleague, Jenny, for tea. Mary tells him that it’s okay and that he need not inform her about all these “silly things”. So the next time Jenny invites John for tea again, he didn’t tell Mary. At the teashop, Mary’s friend Teresa saw John and Jenny together, and calls up Mary immediately. Mary then calls up John and scolds him for not telling her about them and accuses him of two-timing her and being a flirt, and eventually dumps him.

Linda and Matt are deeply in love with each other. Linda told Matt “Let us be honest with each other and tell each other everything” to which Matt obediently said yes. Later on, Matt heard from the grape vine that Linda went out for a movie with her ex-boyfriend Pete. Matt called her up and asked “Why didn’t you tell me you went out for a movie with him? I thought you said we must tell each other everything?” to which Linda replied, “How can you expect me to tell you everything? For the love of God, give me some space here! I can’t take it anymore, you are suffocating me” and with that she hung up, broke up with him and got back together with Pete.

Stacy called up the love of her love Nick, “Darling, a dear dear old friend of mine from School and College days has just landed in my city. I am so excited to meet him and catch up with old times. We are going to…” Nick rudely interrupted,
“Him? You mean it’s a guy?”
“Uhhh.. yeah… what’s wrong?”
“Tell me this, are you sleeping with him? Are you? Are you?”

And then there are those dudes who call up their long distance girlfriends every minute, wanting to know where they are and who they are with. A boyfriend concerned about his girl is cute, but inquisitiveness to this level is the heights of insecurity.

Looking at the above four cases, it would be easy for any outside onlooker to comment that they never loved each other. But these are actual problems that occur between two people in a long distance relationship who love each other dearly. Most of us are an insecure lot, especially when we cannot see our loved one with our own eyes and must rely on what he/she tells us.

And that is what long distance relationships bring: one of the greatest ironies of Love. For the more we love somebody, the more we are supposed to trust that person. But instead, for most of us, the more we love somebody, the more possessive and jealous we get! Ironic indeed. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why many renowned psychologists do not believe in a thing called Love.

And sometimes, even short distance relationships do not work out if there is no trust. Is there any such thing as a long distance and a short distance relationship? Yup indeed there is. And that is our relationship with God. Our Lord is high up there in Heaven and in our hearts at the same time. And in His case, the same rules apply: If there is no trust and faith, our relationship with God will falter eventually.

How similar is a long distance relationship with God and our loved one? Very similar. Some of us cheat on our long distance girlfriend/boyfriend by flirting or sleeping with somebody else, things that our loved one would definitely not allow. Similarly, we cheat on God by doing things that He would not allow, like stealing, accepting bribes, blaspheming the Word of God etc.

Another similarity: Don’t you enjoy talking with your long distance boyfriend/girlfriend over the phone? You talk to each other for hours, unproductive as it may be, talking about anything ranging from your neighbor’s cat to a funny incident that happened at the Mall. Likewise, in our long distance relationship with God, we (should) enjoy talking to Him, praying whenever we feel like, not just to ask Him for favors but just to have a chat with Him, thanking Him for everything that He did for us and asking Him to keep protecting all our loved ones.

In the end, any relationships, especially long distance, will have a much higher chance of working out if we ask for the good Lord’s blessings. Love is one of God’s greatest gifts to Mankind. Right from loving our neighbors to loving somebody in a special way so that we may multiply and spread our seeds, they are all God’s Commands.

Many of us, influenced by M&B novels, mushy love songs and magazines like Cosmo and Vogue, tend to make the mistake of giving our all in a relationship with someone. When you give it your all, be prepared to fall down hard if the walls come crumbling down. I learnt it the hard way. But now that I have Jesus in my heart, it's funny, but all other “worldly” emotions seem to play a minor role, like those background singers in a Robbie Williams concert.

There is nothing wrong in a Christian youth to fall in love, but we must be careful about the way we love somebody. Do we love somebody so much that we sometimes fail to think about anything else, including Jesus? Do you think God would appreciate what you do with your loved one? Is it a healthy relationship? These are just some of the few questions we need to ask ourselves. I consider myself extremely lucky to be in a relationship with someone who understands why neither of us can give it our all in our relationship.

Don’t get me wrong, by saying that we must not give it our all, I do not mean we are not serious with each other. Ofcourse we should be serious with someone we love, but always let the Love of our Almighty Father have a higher priority than the love for any mortals.

And at the end of the day, be it a long distance relationship or “short distance”, always pray for your loved one. Pray for him/her and for Almighty Lord’s abundant blessings, and if it is truly His wish, everything will work out perfectly for the two of you.

Praise be the Lord.