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.


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