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Aizawl

The grass is really greener on the other side. The other side of a city, of a job, of people, and of a lifestyle. Remember when we were students and were always in need of more money, how we always wanted to do things and go places and meet people? Then we got jobs and even though we could afford to go away once in a while to new places and meet new people, suddenly there was not the time, nor the interest, to do any of these things. Life became a routine of work and sleep and a flurry of housework in the weekends. Well, at least that’s how it was for me.

Living in a different city from my family, I always wished I could be at home, leaving behind the worries of running a household and taking care of myself whenever I fall sick. Then I came home, and I do enjoy the attention and care showered on me, love playing with my nieces and walking the dog in the morning. But I know that  very soon I will long for my freedom and independence, and a quiet house to come home to.

Aizawl is wet, cold, and sometimes hot and humid. In the twelve days since I arrived I haven’t really gone anywhere, except for a shopping trip with my sister and running errands with my brother. All my old friends from my neighbourhood are married and gone, and I’m not really interested to go out and make new friends as of now. Ran into a few old friends from school and college,  haven’t attended church yet, and yes I could see the look on your faces and feel the burn of the branding iron which no doubt will mark me as an unbeliever and unsocial person. Let’s just toss that to the wind for now, shall we?

The streets in Aizawl are still as narrow as ever, the traffic still a nightmare. Electricity comes and goes, the Internet is dead slow, vegetables cost a bomb, and cooking gas is scarce. Pretty girls and boys walk around beautifully dressed, and merchants, not customers, still rule the market. (I met a merchant who told us to get lost, after a spot of bargaining, and the look on her face was priceless when her business partner sold us the item at our price). The local TV channels broadcast Hindi, English and Korean movies and serials dubbed in Mizo. I stopped reading the news, rarely watched TV, and my phone is gathering dust.

Sometimes I would catch myself checking the time and thinking “If I was still working I would be having my lunch now/waiting for the bus/people would be slowly arriving” etc etc. Or “If it was a month ago this would be my free time in the evening and I would probably be at home watching a movie on the computer”. Then I’d discard these thoughts and crawl back into my cocoon.

It’s Friday night, and Day Four of my employment countdown has just ended today. I will be employed for 3 more days and at the end of Day Zero will be officially jobless. A thousand thoughts are running through my head right now. You cannot work at a place for 5 years and leave without a care. Something has to strike somewhere. Good and bad feelings. Nostalgia, relief, sense of loss, disorientation, fear, excitement, anticipation, energy. It’s like all these emotions are poured into my head all at once, each one fighting to be the winner. I don’t know what the future holds, where I will be a year from now. But it is with an open mind that I must step off this comfortable place and dive into the void. Who knows what I will find there.

On my table

It’s an old computer table, not very big but with a very smooth surface. I use it for ironing my clothes and eating my food and keeping all sorts of things. At 8:46 this morning these are the things on the table:

Avon Naturals Facewash -1

Biotique Pore Tightening Freshener – 1

Mineral water bottles – 3

Roll of toilet paper – 1

Makeup pouch -1

Pens – 2

Measuring tape – 1

Lakmé Rose Powder – 1

Cellphone – 1

Pair of scissors – 1

Ruler – 1

Jar of Vaseline – 1

Small notepad – 1

Mirror – 1

Books – 4 (Fifty Shades trilogy and The Secret of the Nagas)

Bottle of Lotion+ Rosewater – 1

Box of Earbuds – 1

Cup of tea – 1

Cheese Sandwich – 1

Harclip – 1

Comb – 1

Crizal soft cloth (for cleaning spectacles) – 1

Vichy Normaderm – 1

Crossword bookmark – 1

At nights when it got too hot he dragged the mattress down and slept on the floor near the big window. The first night was wonderful, but in the morning he was woken by the sun coming through the window, hitting him right on the eyes. That hurt. The next night he slept facing the other way round. Problem solved.

He vividly remembered the night he felt the heat coming through her shirt. There was a wide gap in the bed between them, yet he could feel the steam rising from her back. He got up, soaked a towel in cold water and wiped her neck and chest. That look on her face, the half asleep half smile was something he captured and locked away in his memory, like all the other good things he stored in his private happiness box, somewhere deep in his brain, which nobody else could access.

In the morning she was gone.

True, he never expected her to stay, but he couldn’t help feeling a little disappointed to wake up to an empty house, to find all her belongings gone, including the Shrek ashtray she liked so much. He would have loved to keep that, he could clean it and keep it on top of the TV, and look at it from time to time when the TV programs get too boring.

Ogres are like onions, was always her favourite line. He finally understood what that meant. There were parts of her, layers which he would never know, mysteries he would never unravel. And she made him cry. For the first time in 15 years, he let the tears slide down his cheek and watched the world go hazy.

He lifted the mattress and placed it back on the bed. The big window was open, and the smell of the wet earth floated in. The rains had come. He smiled. Life would go on.

Numb

Returning from a four-day trip with my friends, I was down with slight fever and cold for the past two days. Today is the third day, and though the symptoms have abated (mostly due to a lot of rest), I am up and about now. But cannot shake off this numbness. Numbness in the body, brain, everywhere. Everything is distant, unreachable, unrelatable.Maybe I should listen to this song.

And I know I may end up failing too
But I know you were just like me with someone disappointed in you

Seen

Was waiting at the traffic signal this morning when all of a sudden a screaming fleet of ambulances flew past on the other side. Everyone was quiet, and I bet we all thought the same thing: Did something bad happen at some public place? Didn’t hear anything bad all day, so I’m just assuming all is well.

Seen

Kan thenawmte compound ah naupang pathum in cricket ball an vaw lut a, in neitupa in gate atangin a hau tun tun a, naupang ho chu ngawi rengin kawnglaiah cricket bat nen an ding tham a, ka kalpelh pahin ka nui ka nui mai.