So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish. Now you don’t have to be a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fan to understand the relevance, especially since my last blog post was about fishing in Mizoram. After 20 days of bliss in Mizoram, my vacation was finally over and now it's back to the grind here in Pune.
I have already written three blog posts regarding my visit back home, about going home, taking part in our traditional Mizo Christmas and New Year feast, and fishing in Kolasib Mizo style. Here are a few more updates, and I'll also be updating a few other topics in the upcoming days.
Reaching home after almost a year, the first thing I did when I got back was visit daddy’s grave. Mom made a new flower assortment with "fresh" plastic flowers for decoration.
Went to the grave with my sister, niece and driver, where we cleaned the old decorations and gave it a quick makeover. We placed plastic vines around the tomb, nailing them tightly on the artificial turf.
I also planted a really late wreath on my dear friend and bro Mapuia’s grave. Better late than never. Mapuia passed away on November last year and our group of friends conducted an official memorial service for Mapuia earlier this year, which I'll blog about later. As of now, these flowers served as a memory of how much I'm gonna miss him...
As Oscar Wilde once said (The Canterville Ghost) - "Yes, death. Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one's head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no to-morrow. To forget time, to forget life, to be at peace." Our Chaltlang cemetery had this definite feeling of peace and aura of serenity around the place as other people too turned up to spend a quiet and peaceful moment with their dearly departed friends and family members.
Another thing that I did immediately upon reaching home was wait for the garbage truck early in the freaking morning. That is something I can do only in Mizoram :)
Unlike most metros in India where we usually leave our garbage bags outside our apartment door and somebody comes to collect them, or leave them at a garbage bin near our house where a garbage truck comes to collect it later, in Mizoram, the citizens themselves are directly involved in disposing of their garbage. Every alternate morning, garbage trucks drive across different localities, ringing their bells "ting ting ting ting ting". They have designated stops on their routes, and people come out whenever the truck comes by and pass their garbage bags to the garbage-men on the truck.
Early morning garbage disposal time is also the perfect time to catch up with neighbors and trade local gossips :D This time, I had my two wonderful nieces helping me with the garbage disposal. Here is us waiting for the garbage truck. Garbage-fie!
Another unique thing about Mizoram is our annual "No Vehicle Day". Every year, just before Christmas and New Year, a large portion of the city is declared a "No vehicle zone". On such days, people come out on the streets, the main road, and walk around with friends across the city in the middle of the road. On this day, people also put up roadside shows, roadside food stalls, parade in uniform, sing carols etc.
I too decided to experience the "No Vehicle Day" walk again. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find any friends to accompany me, and so I walked alone, walking this lonely road, the only one that I have ever known, don't know where it goes, but it's home to me and I walk alone...
Here is another lonely but cozy picture - my sister's cats. As it was really cold, they were always there in front of the electric room heater. I eventually ended up taking a selfie with them as well :P
And since it was cold, my mom gave me a surprise Christmas gift! An electric blanket! I had never slept in one of those before, and it was extremely effective. Thank you mom for this.
The first night though, I didn't sleep well at all as I kept having nightmares of being electrocuted. I wonder why? :P
The next day on Christmas, before the Church service started, we all went to daddy's grave again to spend some time there.
Yup, our Chaltlang cemetery is extremely beautiful on Christmas day. I didn't manage to capture it on my mobile phone camera, but I also saw a lot of people from my locality who were cleaning and decorating a neighboring grave that didn't seem to have visitors. That moment really melted my heart. Nobody, not even the departed, should feel alone or left out on Christmas.
Here is one last shot of our Chaltlang cemetery.
I also got to attend my first "Project Z.E.R.O CosPlay" event held on the rooftop of Millennium Centre. But then, I was a bit late, and so didn't get to see most of the costumes. But I did see them all again when those pics were uploaded on Facebook.
Below are my five favorite CosPlays of that day. Do click on this Facebook link - Project Z.E.R.O 2015 Cosplayers to see the rest of the beautiful participants. Don't forget to "like" their page as well.
I too got motivated with all the cosplays and ended up buying a short katana and a dao (which you might have seen in my previous post) at the venue. I got the katana at a good bargain of 2500 bucks, while the dao was hand crafted by a Mizo bladesmith and it cost me 500 bucks. The shopkeeper told me, "He chem hi chu Mizo pa siam ngei a ni" which translated into "This blade was forged from the deepest circle of hell using the blood of a dragon and tears of a virgin". :P
Dressed in my black suit and the katana and dao in my hand, I was living the fantasy of cosplaying as a Yakuza gang member! :)
Speaking of Yakuza and things that are not spoken of in public, I finally got to see what a "liquor permit" looked like. For those unaware, Mizoram came out of prohibition last year, with the implementation of the MLPC (Mizoram Liquor Prohibition and Control) Act. That means sale of alcohol is no longer illegal in Mizoram, but it can only be sold (by designated outlets) to only those people who own a liquor permit card.
While attending my local Church Christmas and New Year service, many of the sermons laid a lot of stress on the evils of alcohol, and that parish members who owned a liquor permit card should not be allowed to hold any Church offices or responsibilities, like conducting prayers or even collecting offerings during a service.
The liquor permit card is like a Passport that allows the owner to buy a specific number of alcohol per month, and every time he or she purchases alcohol, it is marked clearly in the book and stamped by the concerning vendor.
Here it is, the infamous liquor permit card. Owner's details have been censored to protect her privacy.
So basically, those people who own a liquor permit card stand on a long queue in front of the designated outlet to buy booze. When I went home this time, all alcohol outlets were closed down because of Christmas and New Year (hence the reason why many of my friends "stocked up" in advance), but just to get a feel of what it's like to stand in such a line, here is me standing in front of the MIFCO outlet at Millennium Centre. :D
Apparently, the spot where I'm standing above is where the queue usually starts once the counter opens :)
So I guess this is it for this update, do continue watching this space for more Mizoram vacation updates coming up in the next few days.