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Friday, April 30, 2021

Chp 856. Lockdown Birthday, again.

As we come to the last day of April, here's an important blog update. Earlier, on the 21st of this month, I celebrated my birthday. :D

Last year, I spent my birthday with just my family at home because our whole country was under a lockdown. Back then, we were living in extreme fear of the pandemic and there was absolutely no question of meeting up with any friends or relatives to celebrate.

This year, things were starting to look better. Life pretty much bounced back to normal in Mizoram, except for the few mandatory rules like wearing a mask and sanitizing oneself, and so I thought my birthday this year would be a bit different, you know, like we could at least order a nice dinner from some fancy restaurant or something like that...

Ahhhh it was as if the hands of fate decided to play a mean prank on me, because on the 20th of this month, ONE DAY before my freaking birthday, our State government imposed a lockdown! :D This was the first lockdown since the long series of lockdowns last year when the virus first entered India. Lolz, talk about luck!

On a serious note though, it was a necessary step. At the beginning of this month, the total number of CoVid-19 cases in Mizoram stood at 4000+. [source: DIPR Mizoram, 1st April 2021.]

And then the second wave happened across India and as of today, the last day of April, the total number of CoVid-19 cases in Mizoram had jumped to 6000+ [source: DIPR Mizoram, 30th April 2021.]

That's a whopping 50% increase! The number of cases in Mizoram during this month alone is HALF the entire cases between March 2020 and March 2021. Dayyyym! Delhi High Court last week was absolutely correct to call this ongoing CoVid-19 second wave a "tsunami and not a wave".

Anyway, coming back to the less depressing topic of my birthday, some of you may know that I've been staying at our farm since October last year. Our farm is secluded and free from the pandemic, with enough farm-work to keep me busy the entire day, and I would have continued staying there had it not been for my birthday. Because of my birthday, I came down to Aizawl 2 weeks ago.

And of course you all know how the rest of that story went. Sudden lockdown. Back to square one. :D

But there is one very stark difference between my lockdown birthday last year and my lockdown birthday this year, and that is...

Yes, with Lalani in my life now, my lockdown birthday this time was much more colourful than last year's lockdown birthday.

For starters, when I got back home from our farm, there was this special gift basket from Lalani delivered to my house, an early birthday present, consisting of various supplements I require at the farm! :)

Last year, I was single (or "sangle" because it is past tense, according to the book of Lalani) but this year, nothing can beat the satisfaction and joy of being wished by the love of your life on such a special occasion. The sweetest birthday wish ever.

So how did I spend my birthday?

Well, here's the irony. I came down to Aizawl from our farm to spend my birthday at home, but on the eve of my birthday, we received the sudden news that the Khanghu (Climbing wattle) stems we had ordered a long time ago were to be delivered the very next day! Of all the days. We had to plant them immediately once they were delivered or else they'd die, and so, on my birthday, I reluctantly went back to our farm, lolz!

First, the sudden lockdown imposed a day before my birthday, followed by the sudden work requirement at farm on my birthday, it was as if somebody up there didn't want me to celebrate my birthday. :P

Since we were under a lockdown, I had to go to our Local Council office to get a permit to go to farm. The queue at the LC Office was very long.

Many requests before me were rejected by the Council, like the ones who had to attend a wedding or family function etc., and so I kept my sanitized fingers crossed. Luckily for me, when it was my turn to sit in front of the chairman, I stated my reason and I was granted permission immediately! Apparently, people who had farm-related work were kept on high priority as it involved agriculture for self-sustenance.

Of course people can lie while stating their reason, but the advantage of being a small community is that everybody knows everybody, and so they'll know immediately if you're lying.

And so off we went to our farm on my birthday. My sister too came with us because she didn't want me to work alone on my big day.

We took Snowy along too for the trip. :D

Once we reached our farm, we sorted out our Khanghu shipment immediately.

Khanghu (Climbing wattle) is a delicious Mizo vegetable usually boiled, fried or made as broth (Bai). It can also be used to wish somebody a happy birthday. :P

I will soon write about my experience of planting Khanghu and what procedure to follow in order to cultivate them (along with information on other farm vegetables). Once we were done planting all the Khanghu stems, we did other important farm tasks, like clearing and burning weed, collecting some of our fresh produce to take back home, and watching the workers work. :P

My sister made maggi for all of us in the afternoon.

Once we had our fill, one of our hired farmhands, Pu Marina, suggested that we should do something wild and exciting since it was my birthday, something that I had never done before so that I would remember that day forever! And so it was decided that we would break into our neighbour's farm to pluck Sarzuk (Grapefruit).

After much thought and hesitation, I said what the heck, and decided to take part in the shenanigan :D. Breaking into a private farm is illegal, but then again, we were just going to pluck Sarzuk that were going to ripen and break off anyway.

The only problem though, was that the particular neighbouring farm we were breaking into, belongs to Pu Lal Thanhawla, the former Chief Minister of Mizoram. :D Ahhh, so exciting! I was already making up excuses in my head, in case his guards catches us, like "Please spare us ka pu, as it is my birthday" etc etc. We climbed across a steep cliff in order to go around the barbed wire fencing separating our two farms. One slight misstep could lead to a certain death.

Finally, I stepped inside Pu Hawla's farm for the first time with this deep sense of notoriety and anarchy, like as if I was the infamous outlaw Jesse James about to rob a train or something. :D :P

We got to work immediately, plucking as many Sarzuk as we could find. Zorema was fast and moved like a pro. That was definitely not his first time breaking into somebody's property. :D

Here are the "birthday" Sarzuk we plucked that day. Yummm!

Once we were done with our "criminal activity", we headed back to our farm. Here's a glimpse of Sakawrhmuituai mountain from Pu Hawla's farm.

And here's a view of our farm from Pu Hawla's farm. Notice our burnt land, there was soooo much drama involved when we were burning it (Jhum cultivation) last month, I'll write about those funny experiences on my blog soon too.

On our way back to our farmhouse, I stopped by at our dragonfruit plantation section to mark the height of our tallest dragonfruit. My babies were growing up so fast! :)

And of course here's the permanent mark of my undying love for Lalani etched in concrete for eternity. :D

Finally it was time to head back to Aizawl.

Back home, there was this amazing surprise birthday cake ordered by Lalani waiting for me!!!

Such a thoughtful and cute cake! Lalani had designed it in the form of "Dampa Tiger Reserve", in remembrance of our trip there 2 months ago (in case you haven't read my previous Dampa Tiger Reserve blog updates, please do so).

Lalani even instructed the baker to include images of "Tonton Friends" in the cake! Tonton Friends are our favourite comic strip together. It's like how some couples have "their" song, we have "our" comic strip. She also ordered some butter cookies with Tonton Friends design! This is sooo adorable!

Yuta and Bella are the two main characters of Tonton Friends, and they represent the two of us because there are so many similarities between these two characters and us. Also in the picture above is Dobby, our son. *kisses*

In case you haven't come across Tonton Friends, here are some of their comic strips.

My sister and niece too ordered this awesome birthday cake for me. Apparently they wanted to put an image of my "hunter boots" on top, but since the baker couldn't make it properly, they decided to use these shoes instead, lolz.

So eventually, I ended up having two amazing birthday cakes, courtesy of people who mean the most to me.

Cake cutting time.

My niece Pensy enjoying the tasty cakes.

We had a simple family dinner after that. We invited our cousin Dr. Mash too, because she is leaving for ZMC hospital again shortly to attend to all our new CoVid-19 positive patients.

My birthday meal. :)

A wonderful end to a beautiful birthday. But that was not all. The next day, my birthday gift arrived from Dehradun!

It was supposed to arrive exactly on my birthday, but due to the sudden lockdown imposed in Mizoram, it got delayed by a day. Lalani felt extremely terrible that I received it one day late, and I had to reassure her many times that it was perfectly fine. God I love her so much!

Here are the gifts that she had carefully selected and sent to me.

Yup, a proper camping and trekking gear! I love these sooooo much!

Can you see me? You probably can't because of the camouflage! :D

Looking forward to so many camping trips with Lalani in the future with these clothes and accessories! I sure am so lucky to have a girlfriend that loves and cares this much. What started off as a day I thought would flop because of the sudden lockdown and farm work, turned out to be the most memorable day I had spent in a long time. Thank you so much for everything. *kisses*

Here's to many more wonderful birthdays in the future, and hoping Mizoram and India recover from this tsunami soon.

I'll be updating my blog regularly from next month onward as I already have a lot of interesting topics lined up for you, so do stay tuned. Until then, take care everyone. God bless.

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Chp 855. "Wearing Mask While Driving" rule

As the second wave of CoVid-19 hits India with the highest recorded infection rate reported almost every day for the past one week, many states have started issuing new restrictions and even curfews again.

Delhi too declared a 10 PM to 5 AM curfew yesterday, which will be in effect till April 30th. The state also issued a mandatory mask rule while driving or travelling inside a vehicle.

This rule covers every vehicle and every person, so even if you're driving alone inside your own car, you'll have to wear a mask. And of course the outrage was expected. "WHY DO I NEED TO WEAR A MASK IF I AM ALONE INSIDE MY CAR!!???" the good people of Delhi cried out, with the usual MC's and BC's thrown in between the words of course, after all, it won't be Delhi without those :D.

Yeah I know, it sounds stupid to wear a mask when you're the only one inside your vehicle, until I realized why this rule makes sense.

I've been living in Mizoram since the outbreak of CoVid-19 in India last year. Our State Government had issued this same "Driving with mask" order back in March 2020, and it is still in effect as of today! Hence, we've been driving with our masks on (even when we're the only one inside our vehicle) for more than a year now.

We too complained and questioned the logic initially. Why do we need to wear a mask if we're the only one inside our car and the windows are rolled up too? At a quick glance, it may seem silly to do that. Some people even compared this rule to being locked up inside your house alone and still having to wear a mask.

That's a cute analogy, but not quite correct.

First of all, your vehicle may be a private vehicle, but once it plies on a public road, it has to follow the rules of the public, just like how you have to follow different traffic light and road sign rules, so comparing it to a private room inside your house is not exactly accurate.

Secondly, the role of a mask is not just to prevent you from being infected, but to prevent you from infecting others. You may be driving from point A to point B with no passengers around you, but the cops do not know that. They don't know if you've just dropped off somebody, or you're about to pick up somebody. They're not the oracle.

And they can't just stop every single vehicle and ask for your driving itinerary or medical history like whether there were anybody else in the car or if you had been vaccinated or had a recent positive contact etc etc. Not only is that a waste of resource and time, but it also increases the risk of transmission. The police are also our frontline workers too and they have to be extremely careful all the time.

Hence, the safest and most viable solution is to just have a blanket rule that covers everybody, regardless of whether you're driving alone or not.

Initially, we Mizos too found this pill hard to swallow. But we followed the rule obediently and got accustomed to it. And as of today, Mizoram has the least number of CoVid-19 patients or deaths among all other Indian states.

Of course it would be wrong to solely attribute the reason why we have a low infection rate to this "driving with mask" rule, as we also followed other rules strictly. But it is one of the many struggles that got us to where we are today. Obedience pays off in the long run.

Now if you have a personal issue against wearing a mask in itself, then that's a different issue. If you're one of those people who believe CoVid-19 is a hoax or masks are ineffective or vaccines are spawns of the Devil orchestrated by Bill Gates, then you're probably wasting your time reading this article, and I'm wasting my time too for trying to change the mindset of a conspiracy theory nutjob. But if you're one of the more sane and logical people who wears a mask in public anyway, then I must say it only takes a little bit more effort to wear it when you're alone inside your car too.

I know it sounds silly at first to wear a mask when you're driving alone, but hey Delhi, if Mizoram can do it for one year, I'm sure you can do it for one month too. Trust me, the result will far outweigh the effort. So let's follow the rules and continue fighting this pandemic together.

Take care everyone. Mizohican out.