North East India is indeed a paradise unexplored, and one of the best destination for nature lovers ,trekkers and wildlife enthusiast. This includes 7 contiguous states Arunachal Pradesh, Assam ,Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura. Hence also known as Seven Sisters States of India.
This region also host one brother called Sikkim and part of Bengal as Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Koch Bihar. The most treasured and Eco- friendly area in India with vast natural resources and a cauldron of different people and culture.
My “Papa’s love” for hills, landed my family in some hill station or other, almost every summer vacation. But that used to be limited to famous tourists spot, and sunset points. Through discovery and National Geographic telecasts, I was introduced to the rich interior other side of hills, where the tribal group offer a colorful reflection of land and traditional lifestyle. And by the grace of “Travel job” I got chance to see this world very differently.
JOURNEY FROM LENGPUI AIRPORT TO AIZWAL!!
On our way from Airport to Hotel, I saw local people in tea gardens, collecting tender leaves in woven basket, carrying on back. Some tiny and super fast tribal kids climbing and disappearing in hills. The road was also climbing up with steep curves and turns. And, I got totally caught in the dramatic landscape, and tall woods. As, I rolled the window down, my lungs got filled with fresh air. The effect was so pure that I forgot that it’s an official visit.. am in uniform with wings on.. AND , I can’t fly. (read my unplanned visit to Aizawl)Alone in the Cabin and Hills!!
Fortunately! I got to see, ‘a group of Mizo Tribes’ in complete traditional attire. They were hanging a traditional musical instrument around the neck. Until now, preoccupied with myself, first time shared my excitement with my co passengers, flight-deck crew. This was enough to sparkle the prideful smile on drivers face for the cultural heritage and it continued until we reached the hotel. He added, this is the best time of the year , the harvest time, the beginning of Spring which is
THE TIME OF “CHAPCHARKUT FESTIVAL” .
The ChapcharKut is a festival of Mizoram, India, celebrated during March after completion of their most arduous task of jhum operation i.e., jungle-clearing. It is a spring festival celebrated with great favor and gaiety, along with its traditional food, music and the popular bamboo dance.
A group of old, really old mizo ladies passed by us , a life of smile was lightening their wrinkled face. The age was just a number for them . May be the hills keeps them progressing, and the fresh air adds the glow. The traditional skirt called “ PUAN” looked just perfect. I was totally engrossed with my surrounding….and then….
Stoppppp the carrr!!! I want to get down
………I said for the sixth time, in that inaudible voice, which was just heard by the greens and got eloped in the hills.
The car was silent, the flight deck crew dozed off as they continued “this sector” after a morning flight. I was tired too..not physically but mentally, I was.
Finally the car stopped… we reached hotel. The first officer “Akka delhi boy” felt fresh, after his power nap (he announced). The hotel lobby was neatly decorated with some amazing “Driftwood art pieces”, a long colorful aquarium , a little phone booth and a small fire place. Our room key was at the front desk with the two beautiful mizo ladies , clad in saree.
Near to the hotel, I saw a couple of bamboo hut s with small shops of few everyday essentials and some local produce. As my bag didn’t had the stuff for a layover, and even the comb was missing, and the hotel comb is too little to manage my hair in a bun , so I decided to go for a quick stroll and buy whatever essentials is available. The sky looked beautiful in deep orange color .
As, per the protocol , I informed the Captain 👩✈️ and he asked the first officer to accompany me, which he did happily. For me walking uphills in heels and saree was tedious, but manageable. The Delhi boy , was updating about the unpredictable weather of hills , his forecast …the shop might get closed by the time we reach, and also he was concerned about remembering the way back hotel . I was nodding my head and wasn’t getting irritated at all. No……..!! not because I was loving his company , but rather the natural beauty around me…was so engrossing that the company didn’t mattered. So I was good and glad that I came out.
Finally, we reach the shop, which was “not closed”, took a comb, and a face cleanser. Before , I could reach my wallet first officer handed her Rs.100
Me : No, captain!! I will pay.
Captain : Its okay!! Chill!! Doesn’t matter
Me : Absolutely Not !! It matters to me…. I was a bit stern and clear.
I gave her Rs 500, (that was the only money in my wallet). She went in , and returned with a lady , she handed me my stuff and money 💰 back , as they didn’t had the change. She smiled and got busy in arranging things to close the shop… as if nothing happened. I stood there and she said it’s okay Didi ( elder sister) , you are my guest. I was touched to see the purity of mankind.
I , than had no choice than to ask Captain to pay for me. I was embarrassed , after the look which I gave him few minutes back.
This tranquil state, blessed with breathtaking natural beauty is also the home to one of the humblest and most honest communities in India ,the MIZOS. They even have a mizo term for it “tlawngaihna”, that means always being kind, hospitable and helpful to others.
After this sweet experience, I gathered more information about this place and the people. Got to know interesting facts, which will lead to a better India and a better world someday…One of them which I wanted all my readers to know about is the
NGHAH LOU DAWR
This term refers to the shops without shopkeepers, and these shops are seen on the highway about 65 km from Aizawl. The commerce , based on honesty and trust.
At these shops,vegetables, fruits, flowers and other produce are kept for selling with a rate list and a container into which customers can put the money. People can be seen going through these items nonchalantly and then grabbing whatever they need before putting the money they owe into the containers lying beside the items.
On our way back, both of us were quiet… the sun was setting and I was just thinking whom to thank for this beautiful day!!
SUNSETS……, are the proof that no matters what happens , every day can end beautifully !!!
HOTEL ROOM AND ME
I have been doing layovers from quite some time, but always with a colleague.I have never stayed alone in hotel room before . And after spending a beautiful evening with the nature, as I opened the door of my room, realized the other facts of this day. The heavy long curtains hanging from the balcony door was giving the room a heavy feel, and the crew bag which was meant for AP duty was of no use. I switched on all the lights but still the room looked gloomy. Ordered a tea and a sandwich and got rid of my heels. My feet was hurting after all the walk,” Thanks God I am not operating tomorrow’ I told myself.
The bell rang and my aromatic tea ( the aroma of tea leaf 🍃 from the garden was still there in me) . I switched on the tv and asked the boy to hang DND before leaving. All the regional channels were coming, and I was in no mood to explore more on tv, so stepped out in balcony with my cup. Nothing was visible than Mr. Delhi’s waving hand….his room was right in front but in the other wing.
Uffff!!! Not Again!!
With a wave back, I sooo wished to hang a DND there too. Didn’t wanted to pretend play anymore so came in, and called up mom, the soothing voice which has never failed in refreshing me….no matter how messed up I feel !! Couldn’t chat long as the line was disturbed …got disconnected.
Went for a quick shower and changed into whatever I had!! The bed was comfortable, and I was tired.. but sleeping at 8 pm means being awake at 4 in the morning , which was not a good idea.
Just than room extension buzzed , it was Captain Edger. He wanted to inform me about tomorrow’s flight details and hotel check out time. A very soft spoken and a perfect gentleman, from Argentina in his late 50’s . I so wanted to talk to him more.. but he hung up.
Now the menu card and hotel magazine was the only thing to read , so I thought of ordering dinner. Menu card was loaded with the best chosen cuisine from Assam, Mizoram , Nagaland . The food here is rich in vegetables , meats and bamboo shoots. Over the centuries bamboo shoots has become the quintessential part of north eastern cuisines, but for me the smell of it , is overpowering and unusual. I remember someone carrying bamboo shoot pickle in handbag once , left the entire cabin with its strong smell.
So, after scrolling the menu , I ordered just rice and yellow dal. In about half an hour the knock on the door, and the food is there …I thought.
I opened and….whom do you think was there???
Yes !! It wasn’t the food , it was Mr. Kumar akka “Delhi weather”….! Ohh my god!!
Why is he here? My ear became hot and without thinking anything else, I said one second ☝️ to him , and closed the door back , since my shorts were really short and I didn’t wanted to give him any wrong indication, I quickly wore my uniform saree, opened the door and got outside of the room… and than in all this rush and hush .. forgot to take my room key with me.
I was already pissed 😤 to see ‘him’ there and the room key added flavor to it.Imagine ME… half sleepy, untied hair, with room foam slippers , and in somehow worn Saree. I am outside my room with him and the door is locked .
Ohhh.. I don’t want anymore events today, I said to myself !
He was standing there looking at me.
First Officer : Still in uniform? You didn’t changed ?
Me: Somehow managing my anger !! Why are you here??
First Officer: I am having a bad headache and wanted medicine. You said, you always keep one. I told the house keeping to get it but your DND stopped them, your room phone was busy. I ,came was out for some fresh air so thought of asking you, I am sorry.
I recalled giving him the excuse of my headache and medicine (that I carry always ) , from his never ending conversation , while on way. He looked disturbed, I felt bad. We got the duplicate key from the reception , and I gave him the medicine.. he went! Hope he gets better soon , I wished.
Overthinking is a problem created by us.. we create complicated question , and than try to solve it , in even more complicated way. At first, we don’t need to create questions and even if a question exists we don’t need to solve it everytime , we don’t need to know the answers always!! We don’t need to stress, analyze and overthink .
We should just LET IT GO , and believe me sometimes these questions have simple answers. I was stressing myself unnecessarily, for everything..since morning.
I smiled and had my rice – dal ( lentils) which had a strong smell of bamboo shoot in it. I don’t know why do they love these shoots so much??
But, no more questions..so, I closed my eyes…with a smile , it was indeed a beautiful day .
A day in Aizwal !!
So for all of you who are with me in this journey….Let’s stop finding answers for all the questions around us !! It’s the time for you…
TO BE STRESS FREE, TO BE HAPPY, TO BE POSITIVE… wishing you all more power and more positivity!!
See you in my next page!! Till then sit back, relax and enjoy life!!
Happy landings !!