6 December 2023
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The winter in Nagaland ushers in sunny days, clear blue skies and a biting chill. In December of 2014, the air was abuzz with excitement in Kohima, the state capital. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was coming to inaugurate the annual Hornbill Festival. People lined the road from Dimapur airport to Kohima to greet him. The prime minister of India was gracing the Hornbill Festival after a long hiatus.

The Hornbill Festival is a kaleidoscope of Naga culture. Tribes from across the state bring their artwork and handicrafts for display and sale, as well as entertain visitors with their performing arts. Hekani and I reached the venue of opening ceremony on December 1, the inaugural day, well ahead of time. The opening ceremony itself was a celebration of Naga traditions and the Naga way of life. The prime minister spoke with passion and shared his vision for not just Nagaland but for the entire north-east region. I would have loved to spend more time watching the colourful Naga dances, but Hekani said we had to rush to the Naga Chef competition.

On our way to the venue of the Naga Chef contest, Hekani told me that her husband, Alezo Kense, had begun work on…

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Abdul Gh Lone