Sunday, August 7, 2016

We Were Friends

And will always be..

Sometimes I wish I had spent my childhood in a single place and have a hometown where everybody knows my name, with lifelong friends who are like families. But then there is always an upside to moving around a lot - you get to meet new friends all the time. And over the years of moving around, I am lucky to have met and gotten acquainted with amazing people. This post is a tribute to all the friends that I have met along the way. I have mentioned only a few of the meaningful friendships that I had encountered as a kid. But there are so many others who have played a significant role in my life and for that, I want to thank everyone who has ever been a friend. 


1. The first friend that I can recall was Richard, a chubby-cheeked boy without whom I could not survive for even a day. I remember one day he had a tooth removed because of which his mouth was swollen and couldn't speak. I was sulking so much because I couldn't be with him that day. And I found out when I went home this year that Richard is no more.  We lost touch as soon as he moved away and had a brief connection with him again when we were teenagers. I am terribly sad to know that he is gone cos' he still holds a very special place in my heart.

2. Pu Saichuha - I had a unique bond with this old man who lived all alone in a tiny house with no one to support him. I think he lived on a small old age pension that the govt. provided him with. He used to get free biscuits from some kind people from the social welfare department every month, which he used to share with me. And as a friend, I used to hoard vegetables and rice from our kitchen and give it to him whenever he had little to eat. Grandma told me recently that once, I had collected wood scraps from the church while there was some construction going on so that he could use it as firewood :P.

3. Zuitea was the one who gave me a permanent scar on my right cheek. I can still recall the incident. He was trying to get inside the house and I pulled the door from inside while he was pushing. He won and as soon as he came in, he clawed at my face. I don't remember him much as his family moved out of the neighbourhood pretty early but I used to curse him so much for the scar during my teenage days:)

3. And there were the two Tetes. We were all neighbours and I can vividly recall us enjoying a big bar of dairy milk that was bought with the 100 bucks one of the Tetes stole from her mom. We had the time of our lives:)

4. Richard moved out and Zualtea & Family moved in. My fondest memories of Zualtea and his brothers involved stealing fruits from our garden, playing hide and seek, sliding down water pipes and stealing 'Red Cow' (the household brand for milk powder at the time) from the top of our kitchen cabinet. I still remember on our first day of school at Southern Flowers School, Zualtea cried and kicked his legs the whole time because he didn't want to be in school. He eventually had to quit for a year. (Sorry Zualtea, had to talk about this:)

That's Zualtea, all grown up now:) BTW he is single

5. And then came Hruaitea. The first day that Hruaitea moved in, I had a fight with Zualtea and Beng Beng. So, I knocked on Hruaitea's door and invited him to partner with me in fighting these guys. His mom or aunt was feeding him food at that time and I was told that he would join as soon as he finished his food. And then I remember going back to Zualtea's house screaming something like this - "Ka thianpa lo awmthar huai deuh a awma, in chak lo viau ang" (meaning: I have a new friend who had just moved in and he is very brave, we will kick your arse). The irony of it was that Hruaitea was quite a weak and fragile boy who fell sick a lot. For a long time, he was one of my closest friends. He was the de-facto groom and I, the bride whenever we played 'weddings'. More on that here.

That's Hruaitea and me in pink in the early 90s

6. Mamuanteii -  Mamuanteii & I were introduced by our moms when I was in Class 1 at LKM school. She was in Class 2 at that time. We became totally inseparable. The term 'best friend' used to be a sacrosanct word reserved only for her. The funny part was that she was stick thin and I was super chubby. We got teased a lot for that - Laurel and Hardy, Stick and Ball etc. Although I moved out of Lunglei very shortly, we remained in touch through letters for the longest time. And I visited the town almost every Christmas so it was almost like we still grew up together in a way. Like, she taught me the theory for my first kiss thanks to which I was quite a pro when the real thing happened:)

That's Mamuanteii, she's the mother of a beautiful girl now

7.  Ruatfeli - She may be Maruati for many but for me, she is still 'Ruatfeli'. This girl and I have seriously lost touch because we no longer have the same friend circle and we have been living in different places since class 8. Maruati and I met as freshers in St. Maria School. We were classmates and also from the same church. Her home was my weekend home and we transitioned together from being crazy about barbies, hating boys and playing house to being crazy about Boyzone and Backstreet Boys, and having mad crushes on boys.

That's Maruati, sitting pretty in a church
8. Rinnungi, Zuazuali and the entire Agriculture Complex Gang - These girls and I lived in the same complex and our parents were good friends as well. So, while I used to spend most of my weekends at Ruatfeli's, most of the other days were spent with them. We did a lot of Miss Contests, played cards and group dances together. Oh! And who will forget those wonderful fishing trips. We also had epic Christmas Carols and Eve celebrations in our complex as all the parents were quite fun-loving and bonded really well. I think this era was my most happening childhood memory ever!

Rinnungi & Jerry on their Wedding Day

Zuazuali - Zuali Khiangte with Snaden

9. This is where I met Joy and Raisa. The three of us really bonded over the movie 'Now & Then'. We were so influenced by the movie that we tried to live like the girls in the movie. We formed a group called 'Zany' and even had a theme song: I think it went something like this - We are the Zanians and we believe in God, One for all and all for one is our theme (Uff, how I miss these girls). BTW we had a code name too, and boy names at that. I don't remember exactly why though:)

Raisa is happily married now

Joy - she still has the prettiest smile ever :)
10. Basuklin, my classmate/benchmate/soul sister at Sunny Dale school (1998). We were quite the mean girls of our class. Basuklin - I don't know where you are but if you ever come across this post, I want to know how you are doing.

Stopping here for now as beyond this, the stories are not as cute.


Saturday, November 14, 2015

My Grandma the Rockstar

Spoke to grandma after almost 2 months and I got reminded of how lucky I am to have one hell of a woman for a grandmother. She deserves all the blessings in this world! And no, she did not win an award or started a multi-billion dollar business. 

Grandma is the strongest, most resilient and hardworking woman that I’ve ever known in real life. I am not just saying this not because she’s my grandma but because it’s true. Here’s why: 

The daughter of a Baptist pastor, grandma had a conservative upbringing and a not so luxurious childhood. She was educated up to 6th standard (I don’t know why she didn’t study further but I’m going to ask her next time). As she grew up, she used to work very hard to help pay for the education of her brothers most of whom went on to become very successful by the standards of Mizoram. 

And then she got married and started a life with my grandfather in Lunglei. Just 20 years into their marriage, grandpa passed away leaving grandma and their 7 young children behind. She supported the family with her small tailoring business and took up a job as a crafts teacher in a govt. high school. I bet she did a good job. Today, she beams with pride telling me that a lot of girls that she had taught in high school now make a living out of weaving and tailoring.  The irony is that I have not picked up any of these skills from her:)

In addition to her job, she was always up for other avenues to provide for her children and grand children. She always had a full-fledged vegetable garden and at one point a farm, and then then there were the mini pig and poultry businesses. She doesn’t have it in her to be calculative or business- minded but damn, the woman is hardworking. 

Another thing that I wanted to point out about her is that she is very thrifty. She always makes sure that she spends her money wisely, hardly treats herself to the good things in life. This is because life has been difficult for her and she’s not had anything easy. Till today, it’s very difficult to convince her to part with old clothes, old things in general. But when it comes to her kids, her grandchildren and the society at large, she is super generous. Tell her that you like something in her wardrobe, she won’t rest until she gives it to you. As a kid, I remember that there was always a share of fresh garden produce reserved for neighbours and relatives.  And I used to be in charge of distributing them:) 

She’s now retired, almost 70 now. She still runs a tiny poultry business, a full-fledged kitchen garden and owns all the cooking responsibilities in the house. I don’t think she’ll ever rest. 

Oh did I mention that she survived cancer?

Thank you Lord for grandma and the long life that you've given her! 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Midnight Thoughts #1

I think I’m developing a mini insomnia! I’m finding it incredibly difficult to put down my phone before I go to bed at night. It’s not like I’m chatting with people nor am I actively communicating on Facebook. Maybe I should start writing again... 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Delhi Diaries

It's my first non-work, non-academic related visit to Delhi so I'm planning to document (almost) my entire experience in this trip, just so that I can store the memories well & have something to read when I become old and forgetful:)

Night1: Landed at 9:47 PM & enjoyed every bit of the cold Delhi air that bit me. Poo Poo picked me up at the airport & we headed straight to South Delhi to pick up Margaret. Got a little lost, met Nunu & Elkin after a lonng time. Had a glass of Goan port wine and headed to GK2 for a drink but could not find a place:( Got the first taste of Delhi spirit when a guy incessantly honked at us when the car stopped for just two seconds due to technical failure. I also felt a little wary whenever I saw a group of guys staring at us, mostly owing to the infamous rape & molestation stories which NCR has been attributed with. We headed to GK2 but sadly most of the places were shutting down.

Fair Price Shop:)
After a couple of hits and misses, we finally landed at Shalom, which had an amazing terrace lounge. The other floors were fully packed & the people were already too wasted for our sober selves. Unfortunately the terrace was shut soon after we reached & we left after a glass of wine.
At the Terrace of Shalom
Day1: It feels so good to cozy up with a heater & a blanket in this cold Delhi weather! Feeling lazy but I've got places to see & stuffs to do while I'm here:) Current task: Plan my Delhi Itinerary... & googling 'stuffs to do in Delhi'. In today's Intinerary - Sarojini & Janpath. I'm going to hunt for my big fat Jhumkis:)


Saturday, May 4, 2013


Last night's incident at Paradise restaurant in Hyderabad where a street flower vendor was manhandled by a security guard aka bouncer was quite a shocker. I have often heard about Paradise from my friends in Hyderabad and was on the list of my must-visit places the next time I go to the land of Biryanis. Of course, it's off the list now as I can always sacrifice a good Biryani for bigger things such as human rights. I might change my mind if the management team of Paradise apologise to the flower vendor in person, in front of the public, pay her a hefty compensation, put the bouncer behind bars, take action against others in the team who were present or aware of the incident and did nothing! All in all, they need to re-educate everyone working there about the basics of security management and that violence is not the answer to everything.

Priya, a witness has helped in getting the matter reported to the police and threw a light on it though her blog and that is how I came to learn about the incident. According to her, the vendor was setting shop on a roadside close to the restaurant and apparently, customers of the restaurant were also buying flowers from her. While she was minding her own business, one of the restaurant's security guards aka bouncers came and asked her to leave to which the woman obediently walked away.

This is Priya's account of the incident: "Even as she began to walk away, the bouncer pushed her to the ground–yes on a road where traffic flow is quite heavy; snatched her basket of flowers, tore them and began to hit the woman. When we along with the other customers started to scream and run towards the bouncer hitting the woman, he pushed her again to the ground, and ran inside the Paradise garage. We were quite enraged at this point and ran inside the garage only to be stopped by other bouncers who told us to ‘get lost’ and one went to the extent of saying that the woman was beaten because she was ‘drunk’ and ‘misbehaving’. By this time, a considerably big crowd had gathered all of them demanding for the bouncer to be handed over. Not only were the other bouncers and security guard protecting the culprit but they went a step ahead and threatened customers to leave or forfeit their cars which were in the garage. In a matter of seconds, the bouncers also began closing the garage doors and had barricaded one of the entrances to the hotel. A so-called Manager appeared on the scene, behind the barricades and told us to leave, saying “You are making a scene out of nothing”.

Another witness, Chandrasekhar commented, "Yeah! It was so unfortunate. I was there yesterday night standing at the signal to turn green when this scuffle/incident happened. I saw the guy in safari pushing a lady down and after sometime running into the parking lot. I parked my bike and enquired with some people and then a lady flower vendor told me that this is very usual thing that happens with them quite regularly."

As told to Priya, one of the hawkers, Lakshmi said, “They push us around, spoil our flowers and sometimes even grope us. We put up with it because we have no choice and have to do this for a living.” 

Based on these statements, it looks that like this was not a one off incident and Paradise seems to have a history of such unfriendly incidents in the past. 

Below are some of the comments made by customers who have experienced or heard about unpleasant things at Paradise:-

Robin - "I had been aware of couple of minor unfriendly incidents at Paradise, however, this one is absolutely horrendous. Not going to visit Paradise anymore and will try my best that none of my friends go there as well." 

Navin - "This is not the first time the bouncers have showed their high-handedness towards customers or other people. They think paradise is a autonomous entity in that area and these people are giving protection to this so called citadel by behaving insanely. They even come and shout on the motorists even if they stand on the road. Dare, to argue with them and these beefy jerks will threaten you with dire consequences. This all happens because management also believes in high-handedness and they support these bouncers. A year or two ago, a bouncer started arguing with the customer over some parking issue. In the heated argument the bouncer started hitting the customer and other bouncers also joined and similarly like this case the bouncer ran into the garage and others closed the garage door and barricaded it. Later, what happened nobody knows. So this is an age-old practice of hitting people and running in garage, as they the know the management by hook or crook will save these so called knights of this egoistic citadel."

Bindu - "Yes one of the bouncer misbehaved with my husband too this happened 2 yrs back and when this was reported to the head security official in the Paradise -Even he started using slang”fuck off” and stuff.. My Husband reported this incident immediately to the nearby Police stn and gave a written complaint on the security head. He was called to the stn, but he was given a royal treatment as even the police officials go and have biryani there, it was really frustrating. The security official started arguing that he never used such bad words with my Husband. Me and my husband stopped going there and even we started suggesting friends not to go there as there is no proper treatment by the security guards and management. As of now we have informed students of universities like UOH and OU not to encourage their business instead there are other better places like cafe Bahar, Bawarchi , Victoria and many who make great biryani.
Yes Paradise is no more!!"

The Paradise team responded with a not so convincing apology claiming that this was the first time that such an unfortunate incident has happened there. They also did not assume responsibility for the incident, claiming that it was unfair for them to be accused. The message was addressed to the flower lady and Priya & her friends. I wonder if the apology will ever get to the flower lady:)

This is a brief indirect re-post to help spread awareness about the incident. Please help spread the word!

Use #boycottparadise if you're posting about the incident on twitter. 

Read more about the incident on Priya's blog here

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Going Solo

It's hard to believe that I have been living alone for almost six months, and surviving it! People who used to know me back in boarding school and undergrad days will know exactly what I am talking about - how chicken-hearted I used to be when it comes to being alone in the house at any point of time, especially at night. I remember having my own room for the first time when I was in 11th std - I used to start the night at my room only to find myself waking up in mom's room the next day. During my undergrad (Grace Home) days,  I used to go room to room, begging and coercing people to stay overnight with me whenever my roommates were away. Hospitals used to (and still do) creep me out the most as they host so many deaths. I don't know how exactly I've come to reach a stage where I am actually living all alone but I believe it was a gradual process. I think it started the day I gathered all my guts to visit 'Scary House' and face my fear. Since then, I have progressed from staying alone in the house while my roomies were on a night out, to having my own room during post grad days, to living in a semi-independent flat adjacent to my aunty's and finally to where I am today, living independently in a 1BHK flat.

I remember how nervous and doubtful I was when I first made the decision of living alone. Although there are certain perks to it, I was really worried about my safety, where I would run to in case I get scared at night or have a medical emergency. Thankfully, my anxiety got reduced when I found out that there was a Mizo family living downstairs, who by the way have been so awesome. Here's a big shout out to Aunty Nuteii - my new BFF, Siama Sailo and Marley Sailo! :).

The first few weeks, I found myself celebrating my new-found independence which involved having wine and cheese in the company of myself after a hard day's work whilst watching sitcoms back to back. I didn't want to leave the house even on weekends as I immensely enjoyed the quality time spent with myself. Sometimes, I would pile up dirty dishes and throw my clothes everywhere, soaking in the feeling that I didn't have to be concerned about anyone's feeling other than my own. When it came to doing household chores, I was very content with the fact that I didn't have to expect someone to share the workload.

After a month of going solo and loving it, boredom slowly sunk in and I found myself craving the company of people and getting really depressed about being alone, doing everything alone and for myself. As a result, I was exchanging a lot of phone calls with my besties, speaking for hours and hours with them discussing the most random of things.  

Now I am at a stage where I have wholly adapted - living alone has become a normal thing - nothing to be dreaded or celebrated. The weird part though, is that I find myself sharing a peculiar relationship with my flat and the things that I own. It has become extremely difficult for me to stay overnight anywhere else. Even on nights when I am out till late, I make it a point to retreat back to my pad. I missed my bed terribly while I was away in Mumbai for two weeks. Weird huh?!

When it comes to dealing with security concerns, there are certain precautions that I take religiously. Whenever I am out for a long time, I keep the door open as I enter the house and lock it only after looking around and ascertaining that it is intruder free. I barely move out of the bedroom once I secure the door for a safe trip to dreamland and hence make it a point to keep all the essentials with me before getting ready to bed. Also, I keep the door wide open whenever somebody comes to deliver things at my place and I never blindly open the door to whoever knocks. 

I am not sure if I'll continue with my 'solo' stint for long but one thing I can say for sure is that it's a luxury that one must indulge in at least once during single-hood. To make things easier for those of you who have not had the solo experience yet, I am listing out the pros and cons of based on my experience:-

  • You can walk around naked in the house (Not saying that I do it:)).
  • You only need to buy the stuffs that you like - eg: you no longer have to buy that vegetable you so hate but your roommate loves.
  • You can be really messy/ a cleanliness freak if you want to.
  • You don't have to worry about who does what - division of responsibility.
  • You can bring as many guests whenever you like and switch back to privacy mode when you wish.
  • You dictate the choice of music in the house - what, when, when not.
  • You don't have a 24/7 agony aunt/ cheerleader and that sucks. Imagine coming home after a bad day or a great day at work with no one to talk to, or after a major shopping spree with noone there to help you justify your case or admire your fresh loot with.
  • You shop, cook, eat and clean for yourself and that gets boring over a period of time. There's no one to compliment your cooking and help out with the dishes.
  • Living alone is expensive.
  • Low level of security.
  • The longer you live alone, it gets more and more difficult to adjust to the thought of living with other people again.
Whatever it is, for now here's a toast to "Going Solo" and independence!


Saturday, April 13, 2013

My WOW moments at Lakme Fashion Week, Summer/Resort 2013

It's been more than a week since I've recovered from the hangover of  Lakme Fashion Week Summer/ Resort 2013 and this post is long overdue. 5 days of glamour, parties and not to mention hobnobbing with the who's who of the Indian fashion and film fraternity; it was a week well spent, thanks to ZOVI! Another bit on the ZOVI Gen Next program coming up soon on the blog.

One major challenge that I faced on a daily basis was to find the perfect outfit which could easily transition from day to night, comfortable for running around, yet suitable to be spotted at the front row in. It was a smart move to ditch all my sky high stilettos for my faithful Zara sling back wedges and Dorothy Perkins hi-top sneakers at the final stage of re-packing. Sadly, I had to give up my Zara wedges right after the fashion week as it gave up while I was taking a walk towards Joggers Park with my friend Satprem. It was an over utilized wardrobe essential that has served me for almost a year and I am going to miss much:(. You can get a gist of what I packed for the fashion week here.

Anyhoo, wardrobe talks aside here goes my list of my WOW moments at Lakme Fashion Week, Summer/Resort 2013:

NAEEM KHAN - Naeem Khan was the man who delivered my first WOW moment! It was a show that I had personally highly anticipated, not because I've a huge follower of Naeem Khan nor any designer for that matter but due to all the hype around him and his long list of celebrity clientele, some of whom are my favorite fashion icons. Of course,I am a convert now after seeing the show and I am delighted to admit that I have been officially bitten by the Naeem bug. When the show started, I was gasping with awe for every piece that was showcased. The intricate details, the perfect blend of Indian embroidery and Western cuts (especially the ones on Velvet), the stunning sequinned numbers and the immaculate finishing. The only issue was with the fittings as the dresses were too long for the Indian models because of which many of them tripped or almost tripped and most of them looked very uncomfortable. Check out my top picks from the collection below. My favourite is the red embroidered Kaftan dress.

MUNKEE SEE MUNKEE DOO - The name itself made me curious enough to not want to miss the show and I am glad I didn't. The collection was a breath of fresh air centered around sheer, fluid fabrics and clean geometric cuts. At the end of the show, out came the cutest designer duo - Teresa and Utsav who both looked so young that it was hard to believe that they were behind the wonder that I had just witnessed. I made it a point to shake hands with them and congratulate them when I met them outside later. Watch out for this duo as they are definitely going to be the next biggest thing in the Indian fashion industry.

SWAPNIL SHINDE - I was bowled over by Swapnil's psychedelic, fierce and unique collection. Futuristic shapes, metallics and an interplay of pop colours and classic monochrome checks dominated the collection titled "Alice on Acid". As I was doing a bit of research before writing this post, I came to learn that Swapnil has done a 6 months internship with Versace which he won for being the first runner up in the reality TV show Lakme Fashion House. He has rocked the Indian fashion scene since then with his dramatic and spellbinding creations. Can't wait to for his Winter/ Festive 2013 collection as I have a feeling that it will be yet another pleasant surprise!

You can watch all the shows on LFW TV here. Hope you enjoy my favourite shows too:)