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Phengphehlep tial mawi,

hnunglamah, hmalamah, hnunglamah,

kawng tluanin!


The butterfly



By Rema Chhakchhuak

The first time I saw you,
You were bending
Because of the heavy load you carried.
You were stooping like an old man.
You were ugly and disgraceful,
A sore to the eyes.

People laughed at you,
And I laughed with the mockers.
So you are the self-proclaimed king,
A king of the universe?
I couldn’t find a more hilarious matter,
And I laughed at the thought for days.

Then I met you.
I saw your eyes
which were burning with compassion.
I couldn’t turn away
from such see-through eyes.
You pierced through my soul.
You opened my eyes to see a kingly face.

You are beautiful and I am ugly.
You are pure and I am dirty.
Then you washed me with your blood.
I have never felt so clean like this.

A log for a pillow
in a farm hut,
aching body.

A dark hazy night
no moon in sight
and no stars shimmer.

Strange companions,
we are all aliens
in the end.

Frost bitten hands
shivering body.
I pity myself
in a darkened hut.

(Remembering an 80km hike from Chayangtajo to Seppa, 2002)

a farm hut

Before Sunset @ Ko Lanta

peacock, originally uploaded by Rema Chhakchhuak.

It’s been nine years.  Upon reaching Aizawl for the very first time just before dawn, my then 4 year old nephew uttered just one word in Mizo, “Ehe!” This could mean a lot of things to do with surprise or astonishment yet it mostly meant at the time to comment on the beauty and splendour of the lights of Aizawl city as seen from the cliffs of Thuampui in the wee hours of the morning.

A friend living in a beautiful coast exclaimed how he was ready to pay to live on a hill-top city like Aizawl.  Such a spectacular scenery for free, absolutely no cost all the time, would be a dream come true, he reckoned.  This clearly was simply a case of the grass being greener at the other side of the fence.  Give me the beach any day.  Or may be not!  To return home to the hills after a long hiatus, yes, to behold the Mizo hills again after years of absence, with all its splendour and majesty was something I have not really taken into account.  I realised and appreciated in a new way how the hills are truly majestic and just marvellous!   And the most surprising thing was people didn’t even realise it.  We often take for granted the most significant things in our lives!


It’s 5 in the morning: couldn’t resist to click away even at the hour only to get back to bed!


Noonday view of Aizawl


Aizawl on a hazy day: time stands still here


Aizawl: Cloudy Day


Making a mark


River Mat


River Khawthlang Tuipui


Due to the ‘new’ Lunglei Road, built with loans from the World Bank (therefore, World Bank Road, you see), the average traveller travelling to Lunglei must climb the famous ‘Mount’ Hmuifang without exerting any muscle at all.  This I reckon is a travesty.  I am not saying that the hills are sacred with sacred spirits on them, but that to build a road on the hills forever changed the landscape and thus the natural beauty.  Someone in the Tourism Department of the State government had some bright ideas about how to build a tourist resort and thus spoilt the beautiful hills forever.  Trouble is no one came to me for advice (yeah, I know), and I’m not sure if people even realised how the beauty of nature had been raped and destroyed, never to recover again.

I am saying that they should have left the hills alone, and let the road be built somewhere else, not through Hmuifang hills, of all places.  And instead of shamelessly destroying the most beautiful spot on top of the hill, it would have been better to build the ‘resort’ somewhere else, thereby providing potential tourists and hikers a place to hike and beautiful picnic spots.  Now, that’s talking non-sense as it’s never going to happen now.  I am aware of that too, yet I can’t help but feel frustrated at ‘their’ thick-headedness or whatever you call it!

The road is only a few years old yet the maintenance leave a lot to be desired.  Potholes abound numbering as much as the missing road signs which I am told are stolen by people along the road to be sold as scrap metal.  Scrap metal?!  They should get a life.  Or am I too naive in blaming them?  Could that be the work of pranksters or drug addicts?  I don’t know.  But I sure am upset at the way they don’t even care or love their own land.  Strange things are going on here!


Approaching Hmuifang Hill on the main highway


This is where they paved paradise


To put up a parking lot


Building the resort at the most beautiful place in the area


Only idiots think they can improve upon the beauty of nature


For Lunglei: A view from Tlabung Road


A view of Lunglei from Serkawn: Cloudy day


A view of Chaltlang from ATC


Aizawl on a hazy day


A golden afternoon


Before sunset


Just before dusk

Welcome to Mizoram!