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

Friday, September 28, 2018

Chp 727. Free meal from Swiggy

How to get a free meal from Swiggy? I just got one the other day! :D

So here's what happened. Remember I wrote about working in a large Corporate Business Center, where we share the same office building with 7 other private companies?

There are two public cafeterias in our office building, and the food is really good too, and cheap (60 bucks for a chicken thali), but most of the time I order my lunch from Zomato or Swiggy and have them in the private confines of our office pantry room because being an introvert, I feel much more relaxed eating alone than in the midst of strangers from the other 7 companies.

In fact, I was such a regular Zomato customer that when I blogged about switching from Zomato to Swiggy, Zomato immediately responded and even paid me a surprise visit at work and gifted me awesome freebies and hampers! They assured me that my problem of delivery boys refusing to come up to our office floor to deliver the food would be solved soon.

Well, that was a year ago. Today, sadly, things are still pretty much the same. When we order from office, on an average, the number of Zomato delivery boys who do not come up to our office floor is around 70-80%, whereas that number for Swiggy would be around 20-30%. Having to go all the way down to the ground floor (that too during lunch rush hour when all the elevators are packed) and then walking all the way outside to the main gate to collect our food and then going back to our office floor can be a very unpleasant experience.

The two reasons why these delivery boys don't come up to our office floor is because either they (claim that they) don't have an ID, which is mandatory to enter our office complex, or that they (claim that they) don't have a helmet, as one must wear a helmet to enter inside the gate. This is our office building's CSR activity to promote safe driving among the employees and visitors.

Now most of the time, I'm sure these deliver boys have those required items (Zomato and Swiggy had both assured me that all their delivery boys have authentic ID cards). One of my colleagues even saw a delivery boy hiding his helmet as she went outside the gate to collect her food. In most cases, the delivery boys were just too damn lazy to come upstairs. And of course we cannot shout at them or order them to come up because YOU DO NOT mess with anybody delivering your food. Ever. Unless you want extra ingredients in your food, if you know what I mean.

So, yeah, that is why many of us prefer Swiggy to Zomato because they have a higher rate of making doorstep delivery.

Now the only time both Zomato and Swiggy cannot come upstairs is when there is a construction going on around our office building premises. This happens like once or twice a month when the visitors' parking space is occupied with raw materials. On such occasions, it is not Swiggy or Zomato delivery boy's fault since there is no space for them to park inside and they cannot just leave their bikes on the road. Hence, we have to go down to collect our order.

So last week, after placing a lunch order through Swiggy, I was in the middle of a conference call with our European team, when suddenly my phone rang. It was the Swiggy delivery guy.

"Sir, there's no place to park the bike inside, you'll have to come downstairs," he said.

Unwillingly, I dragged myself out from the conference call and went down to collect my food. There were around 4-5 other Swiggy delivery boys on their bikes outside the gate, all waiting for people from our office building to collect their lunch orders.

Being such a regular, I knew most of them. They waved at me and smiled. I responded accordingly. And then one delivery boy opened his bag and gave me my lunch packet. I said thank you and smiled, giving him the usual 10 rupees tip, after which he turned around and drove off to his next destination.

I too headed back upstairs, and after a few minutes I re-joined my ongoing conference call.

And then my phone rang again.

I hesitantly answered.

"Sir, I am still waiting, I have many other deliveries to make!" the voice said urgently.

I was like, WTF, I already came down and took my order. And he was like, no sir, I still have your order with me. And so I opened up my parcel. It wasn't what I had ordered! Lolzzzz, I had taken somebody else's order!

I went downstairs again, carrying my wrong order. I met the Swiggy guy and told him what happened. He laughed his ass out as he handed me my actual order. He said that poor guy was definitely going to get penalized. I asked him for that delivery guy's number, he said he obviously had no idea who that person was. And I couldn't call him because I only had MY delivery guy's number. And that delivery guy would have HIS customer's number, not mine.

I asked the security guards at the gate if anybody came down looking for an order and they told me "a sir" was there and he was angrily speaking on the phone and then went upstairs again. I asked them if they knew which company he worked for and they said no.

I asked my delivery guy if he could take the food back to the restaurant but there was no bill attached so we didn't know where it was from. Plus he said he had other orders to deliver. I asked him if I should leave the order with the security guard at the gate in case that other delivery guy returns and he told me the chance of that happening is very unlikely as everybody had a lot of orders to deliver.

"Just enjoy the free food", he told me and laughed once more as he drove off.

As I went back to my office floor, I started piecing together the series of unfortunate events that occurred. The first Swiggy guy probably called his customer but he took a long time to come down (like I said, afternoon lunch rush hour at the elevators) whereas I was really lucky to get a free space at the lift immediately without waiting. My Swiggy guy probably didn't expect me to reach down so quickly, so everybody assumed I was the first guy's customer. And since I am such a regular, they don't usually ask for my name. That was the main cause of this whole screw-up.

I even tried to reach Swiggy helpline via their app, but you know how unfriendly their app help section is. Unlike Zomato where you can chat directly with an executive, at Swiggy you have this whole bunch of answers to various questions, and after selecting the appropriate query can you only chat with a helpline executive if you are still not satisfied with the answer, and unfortunately "I have taken somebody else's order by mistake" was not on that list of queries. It wasn't "wrong items delivered" either since I did receive my correct order.

Screw it, I said, I was not going to go through so much extra trouble just because their app is not user-friendly enough. Later that night, I had the free food for dinner :D

So, to the dude working at Sky One who ordered an amazing Puri bhaji meal with other items on 18th September 2018, I owe you one. If you ever come across this blog post, reach out to me, Kima, working on the 7th floor. Your next Puri bhaji meal is on me.

Cheerios for now.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Chp 726. Emptiness

And just like that

you were gone, disappeared from my life.

You were the closest

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

My nights and days

you filled them with overwhelming satisfaction.

Now that you're gone,

I no longer have interests in social interaction.

Without you here

it is difficult to understand what life means.

But this is goodbye,

I'll miss you much, my fermented soybeans.


*An ode to my empty bekang box*


Friday, September 21, 2018

Chp 725. Lushai Hills Headhunters!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great weekend everyone. Cheers.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Chp 724. AMSC membership 2018-19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Chp 723. Backpacking across Northeast India

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Chp 722. Being different at work

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are my stories.

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

Beautiful, innit?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yeah… :D

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

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

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

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

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

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

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