Mizoram: it’s still the eighties here

mizoram
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its still the eighties here….

“…….yaad aah raha hai…tera pyaarrrrr….” bappi da booms over the speakers of the local sumo taxi service from champhai to aizawl……time seems to have stood still somewhere in the eighties….along with the music of bappi da, the mizo state seems to have either time travelled back by two score and ten years or has halted the time machine maybe in the 1980s…..although the mizo state is fully literate and use of condoms kind of “safe sex” is the mantra that echoes over the hills….

bad roads
bad roads

physical communication system hits rock bottom literally…national highways are remnants of broken bitumen resembling “kuchha” roads or “khuds” of the Anglo British era…..with distances being connected through “baileys”, the almost forgotten military olive green hanging bridges….

BAILEY BRIDGE

somewhere nostalgia reigns supreme as the early morning mist rolls over the lush hills of scrub vegetation intermittently interspersed with patches of “jhum” or the slash and burn cultivation….

aizawl

the mandatory twelve year re cycle period of these patches being maintained is questionable as the major secondary vegetation of bamboo is being cashed in as the only cash crop that the state exports to regions outside…..reducing the secondary forests to minimum cover for any fauna, if at all prevalent in these parts….the local markets though offers a full palate of venison of all kinds together with wasps…bees…larvae…eggs et al….

LOCAL MARKET STUFF

the air is clear….carbon footprints are at a minimum…..the clear chilled water of the springs can still be gulped at the source……candle fitted water filters are still in use and the mineral water bottle menace has not yet hit this part of the country……except the occasional vodafone and airtel 3G service billboards….the all India brand mela is almost obscure …government programmes on AIDS prevention and anti addiction seems to receive more public space than the refreshing colas of the Indian heartland……

SAFE SEX POSTERS

…..a brush of the new millennium resonates to the sounds of the slender stilettos at the capital town’s biggest mall…”the millennium centre”….latest fashion in clothes…watches…bags…lingerie….bagels…cheesecakes….cafe lattes….but not a book shop in sight…so much for the 100% literacy demographics….trade and commerce however remains just as a route for legal and illegal trading across the neighbouring Chin region of Myanmar….be it betel nuts or imported low grade cosmetics which makes its inroads into the mainland and to various online portals through this forgotten and forsaken state….

imported cosmetics

but something hangs heavy in the air of remoteness and remorse….personal integrity reigns everywhere in the form of unmanned roadside kiosks

UNMANNED AIZAWL MARKET

selling organic vegetables like oversized canary yellow cucumbers and undersized dark green pumpkins…..

GREEN PUMPKINS

which is cut into quarter pieces…steamed and served with a sprinkling of salt….as a part of the inborn hospitality prevalent even in the farthest villages of the state……

the mizo land boasts of a huge number of administrators from the cadres of the Indian civil services serving the country in different regions…..yet the state remains an island….probably somewhere in the heartland of India, it could be an issue of exclusion or regional isolation….or maybe somewhere in the heartland of mizoram, it could be an issue of inclusion or about regional identities….

mizoram

“kahan hum kahan tum…hue tum kahan gum….” bappi da continues as the mist rolls over the hills again….

#somewhereintheheartlandofmizoram

#eightiestilldate

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