Lockdown Tales: Mizo Youth’s 3,000 Kms Ambulance Journey From Chennai-Aizawl With Friend’s Body

Raphael Malchhanhima with Chennai: Jeyandran, 41 and Chinnathambi, 51 - Sakshi Post

AIZAWL: Nationwide lockdown, a 3,000 plus-km road trip from Chennai to Aizawl, an ambulance with two Tamil drivers, and the mortal remains of his best friend! This is how one could sum up the journey of a youth from Mizoram who had his story to tell during the lockdown in the country.

Raphael Malchhanhima set off on a journey by ambulance from Chennai to Aizawl, a 3,345-kilometre path by road, accompanying the body of his friend Vivian Lalremsanga, who had met with an untimely death of due to cardiac arrest in the southern state of Chennai last week.

The Mizo Welfare in Chennai did everything in the process of Vivian's death, but they were not finding a way out to get his body to be flown back home due to the COVID-19 lockdown and suspension of all domestic flights.

Then a close friend of the deceased, Raphael Malchhanhima, son of a Missionary who hailed from an obscure little village called Hmawngbu in Mizoram turned up and started the journey with an ambulance team accompanying the body of Vivian.

On April 26, Malchhanhima set off on a journey that would last more than 84 hours through five states: starting in Tamil Nadu, through Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal, Meghalaya, Assam, and then finally Mizoram.

Accompanying him were two drivers from Chennai: Jeyandran, 41 and Chinnathambi, 51. The drivers would alternate at the wheel every eight hours, with Malchhanhima tracking the GPS.

Many people say, it would set a record of the longest ambulance ride ever. After they entered Mizoram right up to Aizawl they were met by loud cheers and claps from the locals as the news of the road trip had gone viral in Mizo social media. At Aizawl, when they arrived, a quick funeral service was performed with family members present.

Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga tweeted: “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! You’ve just shown what every Mizo heartbeat means when it comes to the term “Tlawmngaihna”!”

The drivers were honoured with traditional Mizo shirts and will set off for Chennai on Wednesday.

Though the Mizo people's ethical practices encourage acts of bravery and self-sacrifice for the good of others, it is still a rare and inspiring deed that Raphael has set an example especially during the COVID pandemic when fear and panic envelops the country. (Inputs from TNIE)

Also Read: Lockdown Tales: 4 Migrant Workers On 1,600-km Bicycle Journey From AP To Agra

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