Thursday, April 29, 2010

Manipur Memoirs 1

i stood at Langka
and watched endless green
merge into mountains
the crimson horizons fired the eastern skies
sun was hiding somewhere beyond Letha
in the deep valley of Kabao

it was a land of revolution
and malaria
it has high number of drug edicts
and drug abuse AIDS cases
i was told
so wear bullet proof
don’t forget chloroquinine
and avoid contact
i had smiled at them
with fond memories of Binny Chongtham , Sharat Sharma
and of David Thongjom and T Oikendrajeet Singh

i baptized myself with Sekmai
with Iromba
as I sat with Sharat
in his house at Shenjemai
laughing my heart out at the ignorance
of educated elite
as i urged him to take me to see Ratan Thiyam
We ate burgers at King Burgers
Egg Parathas at airport road
and wandered till late night
on the forbidden streets of Imphal

i walked into a liberated zone
not far away from Imphal
on way to Maring Khunao with sister Amita
where her husband was undergoing holistic treatment
as the RPF flag fluttered i could sense
the brave lady panic
those were the days of hatred
there were Nagas then
and Meteis
Manipuris were lost

i could see blood in the eyes
of the white clad protesters
as they walked up to Lamkang Khunao
shouting slogans of freedom
i stood with few uniformed men
as a hypothetical watershed between the estranged brothers
they walked up to me
and turned back
and some shouted warnings of dire consequences to me
yet the same tormentors welcomed me
to Dusehera celebrations
as a part of their fold

i played cards at streets in Palel
and worked out in the local gym
played football with young and restless
defied all security procedures
sipping tea at local stalls in Kakching
i tamed drug peddlers
and handed them to Mira Phibis
attended Kuki Church
and Naga Wedding
never for once i felt an alien

i was fired at
in the jungles Kwaktha by the Myanmar Border
as i led a relief patrol to the village
By UNLF they said
as i laid on ground with a Kalashnikov spitting hatred on me
what i am going to die for?
i fired back then paused
what i am going to kill for?
if i die ,
or if he dies
the distrust will amplify
so i told to cease fire
as the assailants retracted to Mintha
they turned back and looked surprised
and ceased firing too
i lived that day
and someone else also lived

I stood at Senam
and looked at the gilded valley
in the glow of setting sun
smoke bellowed form villages
as another day drew to close
i wondered
how many will die
and how many will kill
some for revolution
some for republic
and breed hatred

the valley is closed
bounded by Barail, Patkai,Mizo-Chin Hills
the water stagnates in Loktak
the time has come to transcend the barriers
let hills be dwarfed by human resolve
and waters flow free
let us be bonded by broad bonhomie
and by the blood we have lost

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