I followed the approach of my plane towards the Lengpui Airport in Aizawl keenly. Its wonderful to land amongst the hills..The drive to Aizawl from Lenpui was about 1 1/2 hours and a young Mizo taxi driver approached me and proceeded with my baggage towards his van.I started speaking to him in Hindi and I was given a blank look.I asked him "English or Hindi?" ."English please Ma'am" was his reply.
Biker dude shot from far above(my room)
Aizawl's skyline is dotted with numerous churches and as we wound up the hairpin bends,the bustling city greeted us.Aizawl is another bike crazy city. Both men and women are extremely fashion conscious and don't mind paying hefty amounts to stock their wardrobe with the latest clothes and accessories, from Gucci, Fendi and D&G copies, impeccably replicated from Bangkok,Hong Kong, to the smartest boots and stilletos which have featured in Vogue(atleast immaculately copied). Women are stylishly smart and walk around in boots with Burberry-competing trench coats.(It wasn't winter when I was in Aizawl but it had gotten pretty cold due to the rains).The booty is however overpriced in Aizawl as compared to its counterparts, Shillong and Kohima. But of course very very worth the money if you had to shop for the same things back in Delhi or Mumbai.
Young women own fashion and accessory stores and I was first greeted in Mizo before they realized I wasn't a Mizo.Then they would rumble on in English. I tried to bargain a lot but its pretty useless. The maximum they'll bring down the price is a 50 bucks on a pair of shoes.I picked up yellow stilletos,criss-crossed ballerinas, a royal blue bag that reminded me of the Lady Dior and a couple of tops which were neo-styled. A young gal about my age showed me a couple of rings,earrings and chains at her store and as I was trying to recollect where I had seen similar stuff,she read my thoughts and said "Aldo?".That was it..!
I stayed at the Hotel Ritz in the executive room with the best view.The number of pictures I've taken of the same view in its various hues, tints and cloudbursts is not funny.I would just go on clicking and the next second I would realize I haven't captured the vista enough. Tinntinnabulations from far away churches, another of my favourite tunes in the world,sounded so exotic with the clouds bursting into my windows and the soft strains from 'Wavin' Flag' drifting in from the lane which was far below as the hotel stood on a winding road few 100 meters above the lane below. The populace is football crazy or rather the'd be called 'football fanatics' with incidences of people punching their TV screens if their favourite team lost!Though the city closed down by 9pm(shops by 5:30pm), the football frenzy went on until the 'wee hours' of the famed early north east Indian nights.
Food habits are very similar to Arunachal and Nagaland with lots of smoked foods,pork,bamboo shoots and boiled vegetables. I sampled the curries with fish and chicken and went about the town on foot. Its a wonderful way to get to know a place that way.Theres a whole new pleasure in it..I saw a tiny fast food joint with a couple of stools as seaters and a non-northeast Indian man and Mizo woman behind the counter.The menu was simple:
Egg Chicken Roll
Pork Roll(If I'm not mistaken)
Each for about a 30 bucks.The joint clearly had a large clientele as both the young and old crowded in and stood by the side walk to await their orders.A middle aged man walked in(he must have been a Marwari) and asked for the veg roll.The man who was frying the wraps behind the counter dismissed the order saying "Veg nahi milega"(U won't get vegetarian food here) in an exasperated tone. The man looked around lost,and headed out of the joint;clearly he'd come in seeking the famed rolls..
I picked up a roll and was impressed..Theres a small cafe near the Chanmari Church called Glenary's which is a cosy hangout.I met Mimi there who's a pretty Mizo belle with an air of friendly consonance .We caught up over coffee and she apprised me with city trivia and all things Mizo. The aroma of warm ginger cookies and the glass panelled walls that provide a view of the street make it a comfortable haven to admire the rain and people busily moving up and down the street. The lanes are pretty narrow and the traffic jams in the city are a common sight especially in the market areas.
I had to push off to the airport early next morning.My taxi driver(who had driven me to Aizawl) had requested me to call him for the ride back.He had very politely confirmed with me the previous evening via a text message -"Miss,its tomorrow morning 7 am,Ritz Hotel.Right?".Sure enough he arrived on time as I was checking out.The airport staff arrived with the keys to the airport 15 mins after I had arrived at the airport.We'd passed them hanging onto a rickety bus on our way there.Slowly one passenger after another arrived and my driver bade me goodbye"Please come again Ma'am,and I'll be here when you come next" :)