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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Chp 152. Double Rainbow

October 31st: Updated with new Pictures!

Featuring my first YouTube video displayed below, this post is a precursor to the many upcoming posts here at “illusionaire” on the breathtaking sceneries of Mizoram. The ILP and RAP may make it difficult for tourists and foreigners to visit Mizoram, but bloggers worldwide cannot be denied such an idyllic view of Mizoram thanks to the internet.
Related Post:
Chp 102. Pics: Sunrise from my Room.
Here you go, the rarely occurring phenomenon of a double rainbow, right here in Mizoram.

I took this short 30 seconds amateur clip on September 2007 from my room with a Sony Digicam. It was right after a brief winter monsoon shower in Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram. The clip, short as it already was, further lost its clarity when I converted it from .avi to .wmv because I’m new at YouTube and I don’t know how to upload .avi files (is it possible to do that?). I then filtered out the noise and superimposed a different music track, one of my all time favorite songs and a song that I feel perfectly matches the scenery: “Return to serenity” by Testament.

Testament – Return to Serenity.

I’m gonna take you
To a place far from here
No one will see us
Watch the pain as it disappears

No time for anger
No time for despair
Won’t you come with me
There’s room for us there

This innocent beauty
My words can’t describe
This rebirth to purity
Brings a sullen tear right to your eyes

No time for anger
No time for despair
Please let me take you
’cause I’m already there

I’m so alone
My head’s my home
I’ll return to serenity

Explanation for a “double rainbow” is given at “The Double Rainbow”.
Every once in a while, if you get lucky, you may see a second rainbow on the outside of the first, brighter rainbow. This is the "secondary rainbow" which occurs when raindrops high in the atmosphere refract and reflect light back to the viewer.

These raindrops are higher than those which cause the "primary rainbow" and are special because they internally reflect the incoming sunlight twice rather than just once.

Updated on 31st October :

Since my dear friend Sowmya was talking about what lies at the end of the rainbow, I thought I will display this other set of pictures taken around the same time as the “double rainbow”.

Given below is a picture of Ramhlun Vengthar Presbyterian Church. Note the magical rainbow!

Of course under the maximum possible zoom, the rainbow doesn’t look as splendor and grandeur as before. It kinda looks more like some weird photo-film exposure during its development or something like that.

I guess to the Christian faithful, the architect, the artist, the naturalist, and the conspiracy theorist, that Church could very well be a metaphor for the mythical Pot of Gold. But be it a doctrine on theology or a secular implication, one can’t help admiring the spectacular scene.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Chp 150. Mizoram: The Church.

Related Reading:
Life in a Christian Majority State: The Truth.
Life in a Christian Majority State: The Denominations.
Life in a Christian Majority State: The Church.

There are 2000+ local Church/Corps/Parish in Mizoram. And from the small balcony of my room, I can see at least 20. For my Mizo visitors out there, I would greatly appreciate it if you can tell me the names of the Church that are not mentioned below, and also correct me if I have made any mistake in labeling them.

My tiny room, perched on the green hills of Chaltlang (Chaltlang South), has one of the best view-points in our locality. That spot has served as a great inspiration when I wrote my poems such as Mizoram, My Mizoram! and other Mizoram-centric articles. It is also the same balcony from where I published my Sunrise Pics from my room post.

Looking around, I decided to photograph some of the Churches that I can see from there. I have zoomed as much as I could and labeled them accordingly. Please do help me out in completing the list. Thanx.

The moment I step outside my room, three Churches are immediately visible below.

1. Ramhlun North Presbyterian Church.
2. Ramhlun Vengthar Presbyterian Church.
3. Chaltlang Baptist Church (I think).

This next picture is a new construction that came up recently. We are not sure if it is a Church or a community hall…

4. ???

On my immediate left, are the Chaltlang Presbyterian Church and Salvation Corp. I was once a member of the Chaltlang Presbyterian Church, until our Church elders decided that there were too many members coming to such a limited space Church (natural Population explosion), so they split us into Chaltlang and Chaltlang South Presbyteries. But till today, many members who are now a part of Chaltlang South, still go to Chaltlang Church, not heeding the elders’ words. Their justification is that since they’ve been a member of Chaltlang Presbytery since its inception, they don’t want to change. The Church elders too simply acknowledged to such wishes. Hence another interesting topic for discussion.

5. Chaltlang Presbyterian Church.
6. Aizawl Theological College.
7. Chaltlang Salvation Corp.

Looking on my right, at the Laipuitlang slope, I can spot two Churches. And then I saw another one, which I think may or may not be a Church. Anybody from that locality can confirm it for me.

8. Laipuitlang Presbyterian Church.

In front of me are Zemabawk and the surrounding areas (Thuampui etc). I have no idea what localities are those and what Churches are they. Here too, I will really appreciate it if you can help me out.


On my far right, beyond Laipuitlang, I see a couple of Churches. Do fill me in on this section too, because my knowledge about those areas/localities are all mixed up That whole area from picture number 15 to 21, is that side of the slope of Aizawl facing Zemabawk.



This next snap, I couldn’t fit any other Church pic along with it because they weren’t coming in one frame. So I am posting it here by itself. I thought it is Ramhlun South Presbyterian Church, but my friend here is saying it is Ramhlun Venglai Presbyterian Church. Which is correct?

22. Rahmlun (Venglai/South) Presbyterian Church.

And last but not the least, my Church

23. Chaltlang South Presbyterian Church.

The small picture in the top left corner is a picture of my Church taken last year. However, as you can see from the new picture, my Church is no longer visible properly from my balcony because of the construction of the Presbytery.

The other smaller picture at the top right corner is a picture of my nephew (cousin’s son)! He along with a couple of other courageous volunteers climbed the precarious zenith of the Church to clean it for the upcoming Easter celebration. If you squint your eyes real hard, you might be able to make out my nephew holding a mobile phone. He called me up and asked me to take a picture of him while he’s up there! And then I cracked a joke and told him to wave at me. He didn’t laugh.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Chp 149. Mizoram: The Denominations.

Related Reading:
Life in a Christian Majority State: The Truth.
Life in a Christian Majority State: The Denominations.
Life in a Christian Majority State: The Church.

People here in India look at Christianity as one religion. Stuff like, “Oh he’s a Christian”, “Our professor is a Christian” etc. And when it comes to denominations, some people do know/notice the differences between Roman Catholics and Protestants etc. Because in India we Christians behave as a single entity. Many of us go to Churches that we do not belong to and that does not bother us, after all, we (usually) treat them all to be the same.

I met my new friend Jason over the blogosphere, and when I asked him (casually) about his denomination, he mentioned that he was “denomination-less” and that he believes in all Christian practices. That is the answer many Christians here in India would give today.

I have taken part or browsed through enough Christianity discussion forums on the Net to know that things aren’t like that outside India. Take for example this thread, one of the many such discussion forums. On those forums, one can easily summarize the discussions as:

  • My Church is real and yours is fake.
  • My Bible is thicker than your Bible.
  • My Jesus loves me more than your Jesus loves you.
  • My Christian God performs more miracles than your Christian God.
  • I’m a Christian while you’re just a Bible & Jesus believing non-Christian.

And the list goes on.

I always used to think such incidents never happen in India because we Christians are a minority (2.3% as stated in my previous post), and we all know how important it is to stick together. But then, taking the instance of Mizoram, it is a Christian majority State with various denominations, yet there has never been any incident of such “denomination-bashing” as seen in other Christian dominated Nations. Wars have even been fought on the grounds of different Christian beliefs.

In Mizoram, according to the Statistic Handbook earlier published here [Statistics of Mizoram], the break-down of the main Christian denominations [2005-06] are as follows:

DenominationNo. of local Church/ Corps/ParishTotal members# Percentage
Presbyterian Church of India109351137066%
Mizoram Baptist Church41012058515.6%
UPC (Mizoram)358426935.5%
Salvation Army*207*500056.5%
7th Day Adventist173168582.1%
Roman Catholic17178642.3%

* Denotes the year 2004-2005.
# Rough percentage because I calculated the percentage of the (2005-06) figure based on the 2001 official population report. Since they are all relative anyway, I figured the variation from the actual percentage won’t be that much.

Pastor Greg Albrecht of Plain Truth Ministries mentioned in the Q&A section:
There is no one true church that is incorporated under human leadership. The body of Christ is made up of many parts. That does not mean that all those who call themselves a Christian church are in fact just that. If you care to know more you may click on “Ask Greg” – then under Churches and Denominations where we answer similar questions about the historic and orthodox teaching of the body of Christ – what the basic, fundamental, and core teachings of a Christian church are, and what they are not.

Ironically, one of the core teachings is that the body of Christ is universal, that it is not solely represented in any one human organization. Therefore, any church that claims that it and it alone is the one and only true church has disqualified itself from being part of the body of Christ. Such a church is in fact attacking the body of Christ and calling it less than what it is.
Sure, feel free to disagree. Just remember that any “denomination-bashing” comments will not be published here.

My friend T has an interesting take on why there has never been any sectarian clash among Christians in Mizoram. She said it’s solely because of the YMA (Young Mizo Association) to which each and every Mizo is a member of. It is an NGO which cuts across all denominations and binds everyone together. Now that is certainly a penny for our thoughts.

My theory on the other hand, is that people have intrinsically realized that there is no point in fighting over which ritual to perform, which dress code to follow, which sacrament to take etc. when in fact, it all leads back to the same end result. Another Mizo friend P, a theological student from Bangalore, had his own concept though. He claimed that there are no sectarian clashes in Mizoram purely because there are not many differences between the two largest groups, the Presbyterians and the Baptists (the main difference being “infant baptism”).

Click here [Religion Fact] for some of the other main differences between the major Christian denominations of today, based on facts, beliefs, practices etc.

There are over 9000 Christian Denominations in the World today. To catch a glimpse of how many denominations are present, you can visit World Christian Database. I have taken the data from there and represented it at MS Excel sheet. India ranks second in the World when it comes to the number of different denominations present!

On the lighter side, you can actually select which religion/sect/denomination you want to belong to by answering a simple questionnaire at this fantastic website given below:
Religion Selecter:
“With just 20 questions, our goal is to provide a fun and informative activity to explore world religions and belief systems. We've included a sampling of more than two dozen world religions, belief systems, or belief categories.”
So, just as there are many Christian denominations in the rest of India, like RC, Jacobite, Church of South India, El Shaddai, Adventist, Syrian Orthodox etc, there are also various denominations in Mizoram. The characteristic of each denomination will be updated later here, so do keep watching this space.

With that, I leave you all with a small joke I found at John Mark Ministries. You gotta appreciate the guy who came up with this joke

How many Christians does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: Depends.

Charismatic: Only one. Hands already in the air.

Pentecostals: Ten. One to change the bulb and nine to pray against the spirit of darkness.

Presbyterians: None. Lights will go off and on at predestined times.

Roman Catholic: None. Candles only.

Baptists: At least 15. One to change the light bulb and three committees to approve the change and decide who brings the potato salad.

Episcopalians: Three. One to call the electrician, one to mix the drinks and one to talk about how much better the old bulb was.

Mormons: Five. One man to change the bulb and four wives to tell him how to do it.

Unitarians: We choose not to make a statement either in favor of or against the need for a light bulb. However, if in your own journey you have found that light bulbs work for you, that is fine. You are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your light bulb for the next Sunday service, in which we will explore a number of light bulb traditions including incandescent, fluorescent, three-way, long-life and tinted, all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence.

Methodists: Undetermined. Whether your light bulb is bright, dull, or completely out, you are loved. You can be a light bulb, turnip bulb or tulip bulb. A church-wide lighting service is planned for Sunday. Bring a bulb of your choice and a covered dish.

Nazarene: Six. One woman to replace the bulb while five men review the church lighting policy.

Lutherans: None. Lutherans don't believe in change.

Amish: What's a light bulb?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Chp 148. Mizoram: The Truth.

Related Reading:
Life in a Christian Majority State: The Truth.
Life in a Christian Majority State: The Denominations.
Life in a Christian Majority State: The Church.

India is a secular country, with the majority being Hindus. According to the 2001 census of India, Hindus constitute around 80.5%, followed by Muslims at 13.4%, and Christians at 2.3% [source: censusindia]

2.3% of Christians would be around 24 million. Kerala has the highest number of Christians (6 million) followed by Tamilnadu (3.7 million). All in all, 10 States have a Christian population of over 1 million (Mizoram ranks 13th in this break-up).

Percentage wise, there are five “non-Hindu majority” States in India: Punjab (59.91% Sikhs), J&K (66.97% Muslims), and three Christian majority States: Nagaland (89.97%), Mizoram (86.97%) and Meghalaya (70.25%).

There are various articles on the Net lambasting the Christian Mission here in India. Many people still firmly believe that the terrorism in North-east is sanctioned by the Church, and that non-Christian organizations like the Naxalites and ULFA are actually funded by Christian missionaries to kill those who won’t convert to Christianity. You can find such articles at Crusade Watch and Christian Aggression websites.

In order to prevent such debates and discussion regarding those topics over here, these series of posts will be based only on Mizoram, land of the Zo Braves, and my home. Comments regarding other neighboring Christian States or RSS propaganda etc will be disapproved of, and may even be deleted.

One main reason why the Church of Mizoram has flown under the radar of most propaganda is because the Church has always been in favor of being a part of India since Independence [source: Embattled Frontier]. In 1947 when we got Independence, the various Churches of Mizoram (back then, not a State or even a UT yet) proclaimed that violence must be avoided at all cost, and peacefully become a part of India. The Mizo community obediently obliged. Other ethnic groups (Nagaland, Tripura, Manipur etc) on the other hand refused to become a part of India from the very beginning. Hence Mizos actually became “Indians” long before most other Indians of “Princely States” [Refer Manorama Year book 2007, or “Constitution of India” by DD Basu], although ironically those are the same people who are not accepting us as Indians today merely because of our looks!

Then what’s with the Church of Mizoram sponsoring “terrorism” and “ordering every Mizo to kill Indians”?

Those are just baseless propaganda spread by you-know-who trying to make this great Country a 100% you-know-what Nation. Plus, they probably got us mixed up with the on-going problems in other North-eastern States, after all, I don’t blame them for their ignorance, considering their shallowness and narrowness regarding such issues.

Sure, Mizos did rebel against the Indian Government once, but that was way after we agreed to become a part of India. Every scholar, researcher and historian who made a study in those areas knows the real reason why the Mizos rebelled. It had nothing to do with Christianity.

Mizos rebelled because the Indian Government never paid heed to the Mizos incessant plea for food during the Great Famine (1958-60) that occurs every 48 years in the Mizo Hills due to the large multiplicity of rats caused by the flowering of bamboos. Bamboo, as we all know, constitute around 30% of the forest cover in Mizoram.

The Indian Government back then did not take any action, and scores of Mizos died every passing day. One unconfirmed report stated the number of deaths to be more than half the population of the Mizo tribes back then, while another popular saying is that, when the Mizo representatives met the Indian Government officials, they were crudely asked why we require food since “we eat each other” anyway… I may dismiss the second statement as just hearsay, but one fact was obvious: None of the Mizos wished to remain a part of India then, regardless of what the Church asked them to.

The MNFF (Mizo National Famine Front) was formed by Pu Laldenga in 1960 to battle the famine, and he easily won the heart and support of every Mizo. The MNFF became the MNF (Mizo National Front) in 1961, an underground movement with a separatist agenda from India, converting the Mizo hills into the bloodiest revolution the North-east has ever witnessed.

The magnitude of the movement was so immense that unlike other places in the North-east which saw a fair amount of people not supporting their respective movements, Mizos witnessed a more or less total resentment towards India, with memories of India’s laissez-faire attitude towards them during the Famine fresh in everybody’s mind. There was nothing the armed force could do against such totality, except bomb the entire area like a full-fledged war between two Nations. Hence Mizoram earned the infamous distinction of being the one and only Indian Territory to be bombed by the Indian Air Force.

A news quote from, which is now defunct after it split into, can be found here at
“In the afternoon of March 4 1966, a flock of jet fighters hovered over Aizawl and dropped bombs leaving a number of houses in flames. The next day, a more excessive bombing took place…” Hunter and Toofani fighters were deployed for the Aizawl bombardment, which became the first and only aerial attack India has carried out against its own people. The fighters came from Tezpur, an IAF air base in Assam…

“The Indian Air Force deployed Hunter and Toofani jet fighters to carry out the mission; it was the first time India used its air force to quell a movement of any kind among its citizens. Goa was a different story, it was a move to drive away the Portuguese…”
Of course, would a person who firmly and stubbornly believe in the “Missionary conspiracy theory” ever believe all that? Nah. To them, it’s only a case of crazy gun-wielding Christian priests shooting up all non-Christians in a guerilla warfare Rambo style, and that the “famine” and “air force bombardments” in Mizoram are just fictions and lies created by the evil Missionaries so that they can convert the whole of India into evil Christianity.

Hence this series of post is only for all my friends and other broadminded individuals out there, regardless of any religious background, who might be interested in knowing about how life is like in a Christian majority State here in India. These posts are not about Christian ideology/doctrine posts (for my non-Christian friends and secular readers), but rather just a simple look into the life and custom in Mizoram.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Chp 147. Eid Mubarak

Happy Eid-ul Fitr !!!! Or as my blog friends Marzie, Emila, Zublin, NAFASG Team and the others in Malaysia and Singapore say it, Happy Aidil Fitri !!!!

It isn’t Eid yet here in India until tomorrow (Oct 14th), but nevertheless I would also like to wish all my other Muslim friends here in India right from school throughout college, including all my friends from Hyderabad a wonderful Eid Mubarak. Enjoy this weekend!

I love exposure. I love mixing with different communities and understanding them. Because it is only when we don’t understand others, that we start stereotyping and assuming what they are not.

I’ve had my fair share of Muslim friends here in India. But it was only after I moved to Hyderabad and had Arab neighbors, that I realized what I knew about Islam then, was only that they don’t eat pork, slaughter goats during “bhakrid”, wear a “kufi” white cap on some occasions, and say their prayers too loudly in the morning over the loudspeakers of a nearby Mosque, waking us all up. That was it. Because my Muslim friends and I never used to discuss about religion. Never. Maybe it was India’s secularism at work, or the sensitivity of the nature when it comes to religion here in India, who knows. But it was always like, “Hey I’m a Christian, you’re a Muslim, so do you listen to Iron Maiden? Cool, even I don’t like Manchester United.”

No discussions on religion, ever. But Hyderabad changed all that.

I still remember one of my first discussions with my Arab neighbors in Hyderabad. We were discussing about Christianity at the YMCA Basketball court @ Secunderabad (where we used to play everyday), and when I mentioned “Jesus Christ”, Hyder immediately muttered “salallahu alayhi wasalaam”. I was familiar with that particular sentence by then, which means “Peace Be Upon Him” (PBUH for short), a term they use every time they mention Prophet Mohamed’s name.

It was then that I found out other differences and similarities between Christianity and Islam. Soon we all moved in together to a gigantic 3 bedroom apartment in Masab Tank next to Mehdipatnam. I learnt a lot from them. Differences between the sunnis and shias, traditions, namaz, haraam, the position of Jesus and Mary according to Islam, hajj, halaal, shariat, jihad etc I love learning about other cultures and religions, and no, all that never shook my belief and foundation in Christianity.

When we speak of Islam, most of us immediately think of extremism. I loath fundamentalism of any kind, be it Islam, Hinduism or Christianity. And I will certainly stay away from such people. My Arab friends were definitely not the extremist kind.

When I first told my mom that I was moving in with my new Arab friends, she got quite a shock. After all, she had never had a Muslim friend in her entire life, and the only news she had seen on the TV in Mizoram about Muslims are suicide bombers. See, that’s exactly the point I’m trying to make. Lack of interaction gives rise to delusional stereotypes. It was only when I convinced her about how much more I will be able to concentrate on my studies in my new apartment that she finally gave me the green signal.

Living with Arab roomies was a great fun. We laughed a lot. And oh, we had a really tough time searching for an apartment initially. India boasts of secularism, but in Hyderabad, a Hindu looking for a flat to rent in a Muslim dominated area or a Muslim looking for a flat in a Hindu area will see a very low success rate. That’s reality, folks. And I had a first-hand experience on that. In a way, I think we Christians are the luckiest group here in India when it comes to apartment leasing. Nobody hates us or is felt threatened by us

My roomies were Hyder (Iraq), Alaa (Syria) and Mohammad (Yemen). Amazing bunch of guys. I still remember one really funny incident back then. Our apartment, as mentioned before, was in a strictly Muslim-dominated area. Everybody knew I wasn’t a Muslim but since I was with those guys, nobody really cares. So one day my roomie Alaa left his mobile phone at home as he left for work. We were on the fourth floor, so I rushed to the balcony and I could see him just about to leave at the apartment gate. I shouted as loud as I could without thinking what his name actually sounds like, “Alaaa… mobile phone… Alaaaa…” And then I suddenly realized what I was shouting and saw all the stares from the people on the street and I was like “OH SHITTT”. Fortunately, nothing happened, but my best friend Kini, another Muslim, still takes my trip about that incident even today.

Why am I reminiscing so much about those Hyderabad days? Because it is Eid and I had a really really really good time during Eid back then. Everyday during Ramadan (Ramzan), all the other Arab friends of my roomies would come over to our apartment and they would cook this really scrumptious meal to break their fast. And I would be the official taster, to see if the food they are cooking is too salty or not, too spicy, too sweet etc. And after they say their prayers and eat the dates, we would all sit in this huge circle and eat all the dishes we cooked. I of course would eat the most, shameless me, even though I was the only one not fasting. Hehehe. I really miss those days.

The other Muslims in our apartment, the Indian Muslims, actually didn’t get along very well with my Arab roomies though. Because that was during 2003, the Cricket World Cup. All the Arabs of course cheered for Pakistan, so in order to muster support I would call over Pawan, Kini, Akram, Adonica, and all my other Indian friends to cheer for India, and we would all have these harmless fights and taunts every time India or Pakistan plays. One day, I was in the lift alone with Syed, one of my nice neighbors in that apartment. He asked me directly, “Do you like them?” and I was like… “Yeah… why do you ask?”, and then he told me about the way they would cheer so loudly for Pakistan and that it was because of Muslims like them that people in India think all Muslims cheer for Pakistan.

That is deep!!!

Makes you think a lot huh? Especially after that recent comment by the Pakistan Captain Shoaib Malik urging all the Muslims in the World to cheer for Pakistan, which was of course taken in extreme bad taste by the Muslims of our great Country. It’s funny how some people declare themselves to be a spokesperson for a particular community without even considering the welfare and opinions of the others in that community.

Anyway, I will leave my racial topic posts for another day. Right now, this is a joyous post dedicated to all my Muslim brothers and sisters wishing you all a wonderful Eid. I hope you eat lots of Haleem I don’t know if there is Haleem in Malaysia & Singapore, as I read it is a Persian dish brought to India a long time back [source: wiki] Me and my friends were crazy about Haleem back in Hyderabad (Paradise, Abids) and Bangalore (Fanoos) during the month of Ramzan. You can find the recipe for Haleem here. It is really tasty, but fills you up pretty quickly. Shawarmas too go really well with Haleem. Sivayyan is another Eid dish I really love which you must try if you can get your hands on it.

Have a great weekend once again everyone, and Insha’Allah.

This Post is also specially dedicated to Mr. Mohamed Elias of Trichy, Tamilnadu, former Indian National Basketball player, and my personal Coach & friend for over 10 years, transforming me from the scrawny, bespectacled, “always looking down while dribbling” basketball player wannabe, to the dunking, energetic, ever-sharp, “one of the most feared point-guards & 3-pointers” in South Indian basketball (during our era). Sir, you have made the greatest change in me and here is wishing you a fantabulous Eid Mubarak.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Chp 145. Be careful what you post…

…even if you delete it immediately! Big Brother records everything once you click on that “publish” button.

Sure we have heard numerous advices about putting any incriminating photographs on the web, because anyone can lay their hands on it. But what about blog posts? Yep, that is also vulnerable to our spying eyes.

But what about blog posts that you wrote out of a brief moment’s anger or passion, and then realized immediately after publishing it that it is too embarrassing, and deleted immediately? Hell yeah, THAT is also available to us!

You don’t need to be a tech wiz or a freckled hacker to read such deleted posts. Simply subscribe to their post feeds, and viola, you have the power to black-mail such people! lolz.

My good friend BlackWhite (Jimmy), the Admin of made such a post 2 days back. When I read his post through my bloglines feed, I laughed my ass out and immediately went over to his blog. But he had already deleted his post by then.

Given below is his deleted topic. However I would advice you not to do such a thing to people you know. I’m only doing it because Jimmy is like a brother to me, the brother I never had, one of my closest friends, and we take each other’s trip this way. It may be considered a very mean thing to do on my part by people who don’t know the extent of my relationship with Jimmy, but trust me, this is how we pull each other's legs.
I crib a lot about the time I spent in Poona. Whenever I'm asked about that place, I have a smirk, and a smile in my face.
"Poona's a great place, I loved it!'s a different thing, but I was quite lonely out there :)"
"Oh, you didn't have friends or what?"
"Yeah, kind of...I was quite lonely out there" *weary smile :)*

Now that's what 'I USED' to think of loneliness as...No friends, no family next to me.

When I think of it now, I guess I was never lonely, i JUST 'felt' lonely and I was making myself THINK that I was lonely...Why? I was missing a person who never missed me. Sad eh?
That’s his deleted post. The link is this but you will only get a “Page not found 404 error” if you click on it since he deleted it.

Why did he delete it?

Because of the obvious reason that people like Jimmy belong to the category of males who consider being sentimental as feminine, and that a guy shouldn’t say all those stuff because it’s against the very principle of masculinity and machismo.

Don’t blame Jimmy. Blame the system.

I laughed at him because it was soooooo not him to write such a “senti” and “cute” post. But if we can look beyond the humor of all these, there is the serious issue of him being lonely. The internet revolution brought people closer to each other, and so let us show him that as an online community, he shouldn’t be feeling lonely or sad all alone in his little pad in Chennai.

If you are a regular reader of my blog, then please drop in at his blog nohiddendepths and leave a short message, just a short, simple and sweet message to cheer him up, and let him know that there are caring strangers all around ready to make him smile any time.

You can leave the comment on his latest post, or his shoutbox. Tell him that missing somebody who doesn’t miss him back is painful, but it’s also natural for people to experience that. Tell him that’s life. Also tell him that there’s nothing wrong in being “senti” about one’s love and emotion, even for a guy. Show him love, brothers and sisters.

I would greatly and deeply appreciate it if you do that. The mizohican graciously thanks you in advance.

Over all, there is another important lesson to be learnt from all these. Never mix alcohol and blogging!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Chp 144. Designing a Template

I’ve finally updated my template. Also finally upgraded to the new blogger template. I stuck with the classic template because for an old-school HTML/XML designer like me, I am more comfortable with the direct commands and functions. The new template (widget friendly) has a lot of commands I don’t understand.

But after a lot of hesitation and surfing on tech sites, I realized that the new template is way much more powerful than the simple classic template, and cautiously clicked on the upgrade button three days ago. I spent the next three days browsing through various templates, and testing each one, but eventually selected a blogger “official” template.

After a lot of visualization and “virtual designing” and planning in my little head, I finally selected the “Rounders 4” template design by Douglas Bowman. My good friend Sundancer is using the exact same template, and below is a snap-shot of her blog:

One might wonder how my blog came to this from that! I will explain the process briefly, but first, a song! To be sung to the tune of “November rain” by Guns & Roses, one of my all-time favorite songs, this altered lyric of mine says exactly what’s been going inside my head these past 3 days. Try singing along. Lolz.

When I look into my blog,
I can see a code disarray.
But darlin’ when I decode you,
Don’t you know I feel hopeless.

Cause no scripts last forever
And we both know platforms can change.
And it’s hard to add a widget,
In a blogger classic template.

We’ve been through this such a long long time
Just trying to fix the bug.
But language always come and language always go
And no one’s really sure what to use today,
Coding away…

If I could take the time to compile my own,
I could rest my hands
Just knowing that it’s like WYSIWYG,

So if you want to blog now
Then darlin’ upgrade your template
Or you’ll just end up bloggin’
With limited options and no track-back.

Do you need some scripts… for more traffic
Do you need some scripts… for enhancement
Everybody needs some scripts… for more comments
Don’t you know you need some scripts… for more visits.

I came across this really hilarious “10 Commandment for bloggers” while I was browsing randomly on template upgrade topics. It’s from Dummies Guide to Google Blogger (Beta) :
The Ten Commandments for Bloggers:
  1. You shall have no other blogs but me.
  2. You shall migrate to the new Blogger, for it is a land of milk and honey.
  3. You shall not misuse the name of Google your God.
  4. You shall upgrade to the new template to seek salvation for your blog.
  5. You shall submit your blog to the search engines and ping them after every post.
  6. You shall not delete a blog lest it be taken over by spammers.
  7. You shall not copy-paste old blogger templates into the new Blogger layout.
  8. You must not steal content even though you may be “inspired” by it.
  9. You must back up your template BEFORE and AFTER any changes to it.
  10. You must not be envious of your neighbor’s blog or his template.

Converting/modifying Blogger template.

First of all, the “Rounders 4” template is tricky. The curved/round edges that you can observe in Sundancer’s blog, are actually image files (transparent .gif files) as there are no HTML commands that will execute such a command.

So the first problem was, when expanding the width of my template, the image files do not change in size. I use a width of 900 pixels because the Google analytics report of my blog showed that around 80% of those who visit my blog use a screen resolution of more than 1024x768. Hence why use a template with width meant for 800x600 screen resolution? With more width, one can add more/larger elements at the side and shorten the vertical height.

But after I expanded the width, because of the round .gif images, the entire layout became very ugly. The .gif images are used as a background image using the wrapper command with “no-repeat” option.

So the first step was to identify all the image files in the “Edit HTML” page and remove/replace them. Below is a list of the “curved” image files in a “Rounders 4” template.

You can either remove them or put a design of your choice in its place. Just remember not to put large image files as the space used for such images are small. Otherwise you will have to expand the padding of each function, which again will make your blog more ugly.

On my side-bar, the “box” lines that you can see surrounding it, is a small image file I designed, which I pasted in place of the image file below.

The banner image file at the top of my blog (Mizoram scenery), is again used as a background image in the header-wrapper section and it is not an image that is inserted directly. I replaced the file given below with the above banner.

Likewise, the banner at the bottom of my page follows a similar step. Apart from all those files I replaced, I stuck with the four files given below because they really go well with my layout.

Once all that is done, modifying the other HTML codes is not difficult. I use javascripts for the “mouse roll over” button above and also for the drop-down menu. And of course I can still use all my CSS scripts from my previous blog (classic) template.

Now the problem for me starts. I still have no clue how to modify the widget commands that looks like “[ b : widget class]” or something like that. My friend “Sercop” (Henry), a computer science engineering student, said he will help me out with it, and I plan to use most of his wonderful scriptings which you can observe at his blog

Just remember that your template design is as important as your blog content too. It’s like eating ice-cream in a 5 star hotel. You enjoy the ice-cream AND the ambience of the hotel. Sometimes an ice-cream may be too good that you don’t care about the ambience, but never-the-less, a good ambience will always score extra brownie points. Peace.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Chp 143. Mizo Jokes

Ever wondered how some of the popular and clich├ęd English jokes would sound like if taken into our Mizo context? Here is a compilation of some of the more popular ones like knock knock jokes, how many does it take to change a light-bulb, waiter jokes etc.

My non-Mizo friends won’t get the real meaning of these jokes as they are Mizo-centric, hence a friendly advice to skip this particular post. Sorry

For the others, I sincerely hope you enjoy this.


Why did the chicken cross the Aizawl road?

Answer: Because the traffic jams guaranteed its safety.


What do you get if you cross a Mizo and a video camera?

Answer: A celebrity!


“Waiter, there’s a fly in my Mizo soup!”

CYMA: From today onwards, every YMA branch member will take turns guarding every soup and making sure no such fly falls in it again.

SRS: Any fly that falls into a soup again will not only be severely beaten up, but also kicked out of Mizoram.

MZP: We shall declare a statewide curfew next week to protest this grave insult to the Mizo soup. We are also investigating to see if the fly was a Mizo fly or a non-Mizo fly. Meanwhile we urge all non-Mizo flies not to fly outdoors for their own safety…

MHIP: We shall create public awareness by putting up posters and notices all over the city informing the citizens about the serious offense of flies falling into soups.

MUP: These youngsters today are so spoilt. We used to walk on foot from Lunglei to Aizawl everyday in search of work, just to earn 1-2 rupees to drink one decent bowl of soup, any soup, and today they are complaining about a bloody fly in their soup.

MPCC: We are not surprised. With the evil MNF leading our beloved State towards total chaos, expect more than just flies in your soups.

MNF: This is the work of the evil opposition MPCC. All they can do is disrupt the smooth working mechanism of the State by putting flies in our soups, just to pull our party down from power.

ZNP: Because of MNF, you have flies in your soup. With the Congress, you’ll probably have soups in your flies. Vote for us and we promise you: No flies, just soup.

PRISM: The fly is in the soup because of the corruption of the politicians. They are all so corrupted that even the flies in their soup are corrupted. We shall investigate this matter by filing an RTI on where the fly came from and how it ended up in that soup. If necessary, we shall even ask the CBI to step in.

H&FW Dept: Its ok, no need to worry about the fly in your soup. But please be careful about the soup because it is a breeding place for the malaria-causing female Anopheles mosquito. Now how do we protect ourselves from Malaria? First we must make sure that…

Aryan from Fly in your soup? I’m not surprised. That’s because you Indian Mizos are so stupid and backward. Over here in my country Australia, the flies in our soup are much more advanced and intellectually superior. They have an IQ of over 100, and are not only toilet-trained but also soup-trained, hence earn much more than the IAS/IFS officers of your sick Country. You Mizos sux. You Indians sux. Australia is the besttttt.


Knock Knock jokes:

“Knock, Knock.”
“Who’s there?”
“Mami who?”
“Mummy’s smooching Uncle John at the park, daddy, come quick.”

“Knock, Knock.”
“Who’s there?”
“Atea who?”
“At your country, do you rudely let your guests wait outside?”

“Knock, Knock.”
“Who’s there?”
“Sawma who?”
“Some ah win, some ah lose, yah cant win ‘em all.”

“Knock, knock.”
“Who’s there?”
“Mafaka who?”
“Ma’fucka open the bloody door, I am so gonna kill you!”

“Knock, knock.”
“Who’s there?”
“Sanga who?”
“Sang a song for you at the hotel last night, where’s my tip?”

“Knock, Knock.”
“Who’s there?”
“Kima who?”
“Kheema mutton and sheekh kabaab for sale, would you like one?”


And finally, how many Mizos does it take to change a light bulb?

Well, let’s see. 5 electricians, 10 linemen and 20 jugelis from the P&E Department hovering around the light-bulb, arguing about how to change the light-bulb and who should change it. But first, there is an important carrom-board match to be played…

30 members from the local YMA group volunteering to change the light-bulb, all at the same time. The situation became worse with the arrival of more than 100 members of various neighboring locality YMA members, all trying to be the one to change the light bulb, for tlawmngaihna’s sake.

100 students from a reputed college in Aizawl shouting slogans and demanding that since they were the society’s youngest intelligentsia group, they should have the honor of changing the light-bulb. However, an inspection revealed that 99 of them were not enrolled with the particular college, hence were turned back.

200 Mizo celebrities fighting among themselves over who gets to change the light bulb, so as to push up their popularity ranking. More animosity was observed especially between the Icons and the Idols, and also between the “senior” celebrities and their “look-alike” celebrities.

300 engineers from the Engineers Association marching towards the light-bulb to change it to prove how good engineers are, only to clash with 300 members of the BCA Association who were also there to prove their qualification and to show that they can do anything that the BE’s can do.

400 Grade A Officers taking a mass casual leave demanding a hike in their salary if they change the light bulb. 600 Grade B Officers rallying behind the Grade A Officers, ready to go on an immediate strike too if the Grade A Officers’ salary is increased and theirs is not. Meanwhile, a large crowd of Grade C and D Officers was seen marching towards the light bulb…

700 traffic police officers deployed to oversee the security. Most of them had to hitch a ride to reach the place, so eventually they bought along 700 people who were driving their two-wheelers. Seeing the large amass of two-wheelers, the entire members of “Aizawl Thunder” and “Lunglei Lightning” rallied in full force not to be out-done by the “small time” bikers.

The entire “Shop Owner Association” of RV and Phunchawng hovered around the light bulb, ready to do “business” with anyone who came that day to change the light bulb. The entire members from the SRS kept a vigilant eye, ready to catch such people in the act. The entire volunteers from the Human Rights Commission carefully watched the SRS members who were keeping an eye on the bootleggers, making sure no human rights is violated in case the SRS catches the bootleggers in the act…

LPS network immediately conducted a new reality show “Mizo Light Bulb Icon”, where the contestants were eliminated every week by a panel of judges who had good experience in changing light-bulbs, and the winner gets to change the light-bulb. ZoNET followed immediately with a similar reality show “Mizo Light Bulb Idol”.

5 Cabinet Ministers from the ruling party with their secretaries and secretaries’ secretaries and secretaries’ secretaries’ secretaries, along with more than 1000 supporters, making an hour long speech on the importance of the light-bulb for the development and welfare of the State, and how they will change it and replace it with a much brighter light-bulb for all the people of Mizoram, but eventually doing nothing to change the light bulb.

6 MLAs from the opposition with more than 2000 supporters now making an even longer speech criticizing the Government for its inability to keep its promise regarding the light-bulb, and how they will really change the light-bulb if voted to power (only if voted to power). Another MLA member protesting the ruling party’s complete failure to change the light bulb and that a Presidential Rule should be imposed in Mizoram in order to save its people so that the light bulb can be changed.

100 members from PRISM following the Ministers and MLAs and observing the light bulb from a distance to see if there will be any black money involved in changing the light bulb.

500 members from MICLUN also watching the entire scene and furiously writing down on a piece of paper all the names of the politicians and government employees who were engaged in pocketing the fund meant for changing the light-bulb, ready to publish it in the next day’s newspapers.

1000 members of the ZTOA, ACBOA, TOA and ZMCOA all fighting with each other over which mode of transport (Taxi, Maxi Cab, Bus etc) should ferry all those people who came to change the light bulb. Chaos and mayhem everywhere.

2000 members of various Church denomination groups spread around the light bulb, singing and dancing while announcing on their respective loudspeakers that some of those who came to change the light bulb were living in sin and that they could redeem themselves right there near the light bulb itself.

3000 members of MMI marching around the light bulb, protesting that most of them cannot even afford a light-bulb, and warning that if the Government does not give them new light-bulbs, there will be a revolution in Mizoram.

5000 students from the MZP charging into the already chaotic situation, stating that as students, they should be the ones to change the light bulb, and threatening that any failure to prevent them from doing that will be met with dire consequences like curfews and rampages. 5000 students from the MSU rushing in from the other direction demanding a similar request and threatening the Government with the same consequences.

10,000 out-stationed Mizos of various unions and associations like the DMZP, DMWA, CMWA, KMZP, BMA, MSA etc from all over the Country voicing their utmost concern at the ongoing situation at home and each association coming out with an official report on who they think should really change the light bulb. Of course, each report differed from each other.

20,000 residents of Southern Mizoram protesting that this was just another Aizawl attitude of ignoring people from the South and that it should be somebody from the South who change the light bulb, even going to the extent of demanding a UT status so that they too can change their own light-bulbs.

30,000 people from Lai, Mara and Hmar District Council marched in protest around the grand spectacle, demanding that it should be a person from their ethnic group who makes the change, otherwise this was just another example of the State government’s ethnocentric attitude towards considering only those who speak Duhlian dialect as a Mizo.

50,000 other people joined the crowd, expressing that we shouldn’t waste our time with such a trivial issue as the light-bulb and that there are more important issues in Mizoram than that. Of course each had their own “vei zawng” on what is most important and no consensus was reached, adding more disorder to the already chaotic gathering.

1,00,000 jobless people sitting all around the grand assemblage in groups, eating kuhva-hring and smoking cigarettes, while passing comments on all the people inside fighting to change the light-bulb, and making funny jokes and anecdotes about them.

The remaining people not in any associations, groups or unions, decided to form a new Association called the “Light Bulb Changing Association”. Their agenda includes:
1. Creating a better Mizoram for the Youth.
2. Protecting the Mizo culture and identity.
3. Eradicating poverty and corruption from Mizoram.
4. Improving the Educational infrastructure and quality.
5. Ensuring fair polls during elections.
Unfortunately, changing the light bulb is not included in the agenda of the “Light Bulb Changing Association”.

Eventually, how many Mizos does it take to change a light bulb? More or less the entire Mizo community! Isn’t that just swell?

Monday, October 01, 2007

Chp 142. Nepali: A racial slur in India?

I can bet my treasured Arsenal jersey that one of the most googled keywords in India and Nepal yesterday was about what the RJ from Delhi commented about our
new Indian Idol Prashant Tamang, that sparked off a riot in Siliguri resulting in at least 60 wounded.

Nah, none of the prominent news sites mentioned about the exact comment. They only mentioned about the incident, and that the RJ had apologized… The reason why none of them printed the statement was obvious: Why unnecessarily pour more fuel into the racial fire already burning since time immemorial when Mankind was created with different racial features.

I finally found the statement at one of my subscribed feeds Sepia Mutiny who in turn obtained it from BPO Tiger.

Quoting from the above site, this is what Red FM RJ Nitin supposedly said:
Aaj Prashant Tamang ‘Nepali ladka from Darjeeling’ [Today Prashant Tamang, Nepali boy from Darjeeling] has become Indian Idol [laughs sarcastically] and we have a [cricket] match tonight so we need to guard our house / malls / restaurants by ourselves as there will be no Nepali people to guard these place and whole night we need to say Jagtay Raho [stay awake].” The RJ also added that all the Footpath Momo shops will remain closed as Nepali guy has become Indian Idol.
I also found this article at another feed I subscribe to, The Great Indian Mutiny, written by mutineer and founder Chacko (Jacob Joseph), where he asked the “Nepalis/Gorkhas to GROW UP” in his post Gurkha Humour, that came off as a very insensitive article to the Nepali community. The consequence was quite expected: More than 220 replies to his post so far, most of them abusing and cussing Chacko and calling him a racist pig etc.

When any community is attacked online, members of that online community react to the post usually after somebody comes across it from somewhere on the net and posts it in that particular community’s discussion forum. Happens with my Mizo community too. I did a little sleuthing of my own, and I think in this case, the main source of commenters at Chacko’s post came from this particular thread “Foul comments against Nepali community and Prashant” from The Darjeeling forum.

By this of course I don’t mean to criticize the members of that forum or anything like that, and am simply trying to point out how that particular post became so popular over-night. There can be other sources too, just as how any site “dissing” the Mizo community will see an immediate retaliation from members of,,,, etc Mizo discussion forums. In today’s cyber age, almost every community has their own online discussion forums, and yes, we all guard our community’s honor fiercely.

I am quite surprised at Chacko for that article of his. I too might have joined the bandwagon calling him insensitive and maybe a racist, had I not made an acquaintance with Chacko earlier. I came across him when I was writing my article Ethnocide: the Great Hibu Fiasco, protesting about IPS Hibu’s careless remark in his booklet/guide about us NE students “dressing provocatively and eating our smelly cultural delicacies”. Chacko commented:
Great post, we should have you on the Mutiny (that's incase you were wondering) :-)
People like Chacko do belong to the category of thinkers who fight against racism and seek a World void of any discrimination. I know he’s not a racist and stand by him, but in this particular post of his, he got careless and maybe didn’t do his homework well. He missed out on the real issue on why the Nepali community considers the RJ’s statement as an extremely derogatory slur.

Even though every community in India has their own undesirable stereotypes, the minority community (read: Indians of a mongoloid origin) will react much more harshly to such stereotypes about them compared to the rest of India, simply because of the fact that we are an extremely insecure lot, and that should never be mistaken as us not having any sense of humor.

The insecurity stems out from the fact that we are an extreme minority in India, the incessant racial abuses and slurs we face everyday, the fact that no matter how much “sense of belonging” we try to have with India, the attitude of most Indians seem to say otherwise, and last but not the least, no matter how much we assimilate with the language, culture and traditions of India, our facial features betrays all that and we are still looked upon as foreigners.

And Nepalis face the brunt of all racial abuses in India.

Mizos too have been abused a million times with the “Chinky” slur by Mainland Indians wherever we go, apart from the regular “Nepali” chants, just because of our similar racial features. And any Mizo who has been outside Mizoram for a long time will take it as an offense to be heckled a “Nepali” by Mainland Indians. This is not because of the word "Nepali" per se, but the way in which that word is uttered at us. There is a vast difference between “Hey you look like a Nepali” and “Oyee sala Nepali”. It’s all a matter of semantics.

Because in the second sentence, we all know too well what people actually infer to when they use the word “Nepali”. Somehow, people equate that with being a watchman.

Dear readers, you may not be insinuating all that when you use the word “Nepali”, probably because you are refined and brought up in a dignified manner. But if you have spent enough time on the streets or know such people who do, then you will truly know the ghastly hidden meaning of the word “Nepali”. Such insinuation is totally uncalled for.

And that’s exactly the nerve RJ Nitin touched with his seemingly “harmless” joke. Nepalis reacted in full fury because they are tired of that “Sharma” and “Bahadur” tag of being a gate-keeper or watchman. Because in India, calling somebody a gate-keeper (chowkidaar) is not just about a menial occupation. It relates to a whole lot of other factors like looking down upon him, treading over him, treating him as an inferior object, a third class citizen or even a pile of crap, and occupying the lowest rung in the social ladder. The practice of the jajmani system and the now-banned evil practice of untouchability still exist in many households even today, indiscrete as they may be. Yes, we all know too well how servants are treated in this country.

I find it ironic why Nepalis are associated with such a derogatory insult, when in fact they have one of the World’s bravest and most gallant armed forces, the famous and renowned Gurkha Regiment. How come the word “nepali” is never used to imply bravery? Especially when they play such a huge role in the defense of India…

I also find it strange and sad why people of Nepali origin in India who share a much more similarity with mainland Indians in terms of religion, language and culture, compared to most of the tribes in NE India who are a diversified lot of Christian, Buddhist and Hindu backgrounds, are treated with such disgust and animosity. It is as if the mere word “Nepali” itself has become a racial slur here in India.

All that builds up to the gross insecurity of the Nepali community, and that is one of the main reasons why they reacted in such a way to statements made by the RJ and also by Chacko. It’s not about not having any sense of humor or not growing up. It’s never about that. That sense of humor died a long time ago when the first Nepali was recruited as a gate-keeper or lured into the sex trade in India. And since then, Nepalis worldwide have been endlessly trying to break away from that stereotype.

Sikhs are crudely labeled as stupid in our Country. Yet, you and I know how clever most of them are. We have a Sikh PM, Sikh Army Chief, and Sikh leaders in the corporate world, Sikhs in the sporting world, Sikhs who have climbed up the social ladder in every walk of life and whom everybody respects. They have broken away from their stereotype moulds, and today, many Sikhs laugh at those “Santa & Banta” jokes. But just because they can take such jokes, don’t expect the Nepalis to laugh at “watchmen” jokes. There is a vast difference in their social standings here in India, just as how those “Santa & Banta” jokes would have never been funny for the Sikhs during the Anti-Sikh riot of 1984.

Even if a Sikh can take a sardar joke or a marwari can take a “kanjoosi” joke, it would be in our best interest not to take it for granted that Nepalis will take a “watchman” joke. By expecting others to behave the same way as we do is nothing but the highest form of ethnocentrism, which often crosses a line with Racism. And once we reach that point of racism, everything becomes ugly, for racism only begets racism and there’s no end to it unless one side stops.

Every culture is different from the other and the most important thing is to respect each other’s peculiarities and oddities. After all, diversity is what makes India unite and there is no unity if one does not respect such diversity.