TODAY -

Cycling Down the Memory Lane *

Homen Thangjam **

Manipur Cycle Club (MCC) 1st Foundation Day on 23rd january, 2012
Manipur Cycle Club (MCC) 1st Foundation Day on 23rd january, 2012 :: Pix by Tiken Thockchom



'Memory is a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.'
Kevin Arnold

The first time I had my "own" bi-cycle was in 1990. My parents had promised to buy me a Hero Ranger if I successfully clear my high school leaving examination. On my part, more than passing the examination, the desire to own one was inspired by a cycle-ride we had undertaken in the summer of 1989.

The cycle-ride was chiefly undertaken to settle a debt of Rs. 350. I had borrowed the money to buy an audio cassette of Motor Head (Peacock brand) at Calcutta en route home during the summer vacation. Our mission was to repay the debt to my school mate at Yairipok.

My idea to settle the debt was warmly welcomed by my friends in my leikai (Kongpal Chanam Leikai, Imphal). They were ready to give up a day's game of hockey in their show of comradeship. However, we faced three major difficulties. First, none of us had our own cycles; forget about Ind-Suzuki or Yamaha Rx 100 or Bajaj Kawasaki, which were the craze of the teenagers at that time.

Secondly, we were unsure of getting consent from our parents as the route we were supposed to take (Ngariyan Hills) was considered to be a site of armed conflict and thus unsafe. Finally, I did not exactly know Zakirrudin's home at Yairipok. In spite these challenges we decided to undertake the journey on borrowed cycles without revealing the distance to the owners and without seeking parental consent. The third challenge, we decided to resolve once we reached Yairipok.

Five of us (Amujao, Subada, Ingocha, Dineshwar and I) started on the journey one fateful rainy morning. The rain and for that matter the distance or other handicaps did not deter us. We were at an age when we thought anything was possible. It was a smooth ride up to the Irilbung Bridge.

By the time we crossed Sandrok, pedaling on the muddy terrain, and started climbing Ngariyan, we encountered our first mishap. We were struggling to remove the stuck-up red mud from our tyres as it had literally ceased the movement of our cycles, then we noticed that Amujao's rear tyre was punctured. We were in a fix. None of us had thought about taking a cycle kit with us.

In fact, it was a faraway idea. There was not any workshop or house nearby except for a hamlet at distance in a pineapple yard. Moreover, riding back up to Irilbung meant we not only had to waste our time but also energy. It was a dreadful situation. Amujao volunteered to stay back but we prevailed upon him and decided to leave the cycle at the hamlet for a night.

The "watchman" at the hamlet warmly offered us some pieces of pineapple. He agreed to our proposal to keep the cycle with him for a night but demanded Rs. 50 for keeping vigil. He said, 'Times are bad'. At least for me, the sweet and juicy pineapple we relished, tasted sour then at the mention of money.

If you ever thought riding uphill is strenuous and a difficult task, then dear fellow cyclist you are mistaken. The worst part of riding in a hill or mountain terrain is riding downward. It needs tact and determination if your cycle does not have a pair of good brakes. This we realized once we crossed the highest elevation of Ngariyan.

Slippery road and failed brakes, on numerous occasions we had to use our feet to change the course of direction or slow down and willfully bump against the walls of the hill to prevent ourselves from falling into the gorge on the other side of the road. This is what I mean by tact and determination. But such maneuvers can harm the rims of the wheels. We found it impossible to carry Amujao in any of our cycles during the downhill ride. He had to walk for more than two kilometres.

Reaching the foothill was a welcome relief. The Rain God had finally plugged the leakage in the sky but it could not do anything about the knee-deep potholes on the road. Wild lilies and lotuses on the roadside canals promised us of good fortune ahead. For a moment we thought we would pluck a few and offer to Lord Govindajee at Kaina, the deity who had helped our king Bhagyachandra tame a mad Takhel elephant and ascertain his identity as the king of Manipur.

But we decided to avoid the diversion and move forward as the sun was already overhead and we were hungry. After a stone's throw, Subada's chain broke into two. We agreed Lord Govindjee played this wicked trick for slighting him! Helpless, hungry and angry, we screamed expletives and let off our steam by pissing in the middle of the road. Two rugged youths on an Enfield Bullet wildly laughed and splashed water on us as they sped away. A black, fat bull tied by the roadside, too, mockingly mooed at us.

We poured our vengeance on the mighty bovine and removed its rope. At the tweak of his tail, the bull fled like a freight train, snorting and kicking, as if to explode his "heat" to a cow at a distance. Taking turns, we had pulled Subada using the bull's rope for a kilometer or two or so, when we were stopped by three burly thangjou-wielding youths on a Bajaj Chetak. If we had not returned the rope along with a fine of Rs. 200, I don't think I would be writing this memoir today.

We repaired our bi-cycles at the Yairipok Bazar. Ingocha and Dineshwar were resourceful. In addition to paying the balance amount of money for repairing, they procured some eatables from the girls who were waiting for their boyfriends at a Singju vendor. Through inquiries we could locate Zakirrudin's house. By that time, I had already exhausted the money meant to be repaid to him. We dropped in, instead, for a courtesy call. Call it divine providence, he was not at home. Their family had gone to Imphal.

We returned by the Indo-Burma Road via Thoubal as we dreaded the Ngariyan route, the tricky Govendajee and most importantly, the burly bull owner. At around 4 o'clock in the evening, we were stopped at the crowded Lilong Bazaar by the two rugged Enfield Bullet riders. They were not only amazed to encounter us again but also to listen to our woeful story of misadventure. They treated us to a delightful meal and advised us to be careful.

Back home our parents and the cycle owners gave us a cold welcome. They had already quarreled, blaming each other's son as the instigator of the trip. We were disciplined appropriately. Moreover, friends who were unaware of the trip accused us of treachery for not informing them. About the bi-cycle at the hamlet, my parents had to buy a new Humber Lady's cycle as the "watchman" had disappeared. We were informed that the pineapple yard never employed a watchman. Five of us were bed ridden for almost a week not from dehydration or exhaustion but on account of flu and asthma.

Cycling down the memory lane, I realize today the trip was possible not because we were strong or resourceful but we just believed in each other. Above all, we dared. We remain comrades with the exception of Dineshwar who has eloped with a mother of three children, leaving behind his wife and three children. Subada is a leading producer of Oyster Mushroom in Manipur.

I am glad he could join a cycle rally to Kalayamyo, Myanmar in April 2001 organised by the Bharat Scouts. He used my Hero Ranger for the rally after needful repairs. As for Ingocha (Rajesh), he died a brave soldier during the Kargil War in a special mission in Kashmir. He is survived by his son and wife. Amujao lived with HIV-AIDS for about two years and finally bade us adieu one rainy morning as we changed his diapers.

This is the misery of life; as one grows older and older, friends become fewer and fewer. But memories that bind the bond make us laugh or cry and give us company even in times of solitude. We are never left alone.

* This is the abridged version of "Cycling Down the Memory Lane", published in Cycle for Life, Vol. 1, January 23, 2012, Manipur Cycle Club.


** Homen Thangjam contributes regularly to e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at homenth(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on February 24, 2012.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • MU: Students protest[25 Sep] :: Gallery
  • Lamyanba Hijam Irabot :: Read all about
  • Art Exhibition by R & V Art House
  • My name is Kom, Mary Kom - II
  • Electrology as career option
  • When Autumn Came :: Poem
  • Against 48 hrs bandh: Thadou Students
  • Leadership / Media seminar at Dimapur
  • Demise of a dream
  • Traffic menace: Ring road, flyover promise
  • Ringui Village, Ukhrul :: Gallery: Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #4: Gallery
  • Chinglai, Chingmeiren :: eMing
  • Autonomy on a leash
  • Manipur: Past & Present (Vol.1) :: Book
  • Cry of a Dying River - 46 :: Poem
  • NSS Cell at Assam Don Bosco University
  • Shattering the dream of Irabot
  • Pandey, Pandey all the way : MU crisis
  • World Bamboo Day #1: Gallery
  • Financial aid to AMWJU member, K. Bipin
  • Meitei-Naga Relationship
  • The concept of Langban Tarpan
  • Today is Sunday :: Poem
  • Papaya and health
  • In tiger territory
  • NEUFC Fan Park at Sarusajai stadium
  • BSE, ANPSA donate to CMRF (Nagaland)
  • 45th AMWJU Foundation day : Gallery
  • Protest crackdown at MU: Gallery
  • Lai Lik Lei & their debut "Esei"
  • Diversity, Race & Gender-Based Violence
  • Cross Border Human Trafficking : Review
  • Imphal Municipal Council Bye Laws, 1998
  • Protest held against crackdown at MU
  • Stop Terrorising the MU Campus
  • Mob violence at Manipur University
  • Facts about Nagaland House at Kolkata
  • Midnight raid at MU
  • ..bridging cultures of Assam, Manipur
  • Tuilha Kol waterfall #2: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Rally against Mob Lynching #2: Gallery
  • Beyond the tragedy of Tharoijam
  • Jarnail's tryst with Manipur :: Review
  • Who killed the looter? (Short Story)
  • Heart OPD & Echo Screening Mission
  • Call for protest against MU crackdown
  • The farce continues at MU
  • Heikru Hidongba #1 : Gallery
  • Heigru Hidongba (Boat Race)
  • Get down to business
  • The Eternal Moment :: Poem
  • Why is oiling good for the hair
  • Jobs at SKY Hospital
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Creating Future Media Leaders in NE
  • Understanding Communist ideology
  • Suspended but drama not over yet
  • Arrested for molesting student in Mumbai
  • Manipuri Diaspora in Myanmar #1
  • Krishna Janma @Mahabali #2 : Gallery
  • Naga-Kuki Conflict: ..Kuki aggression
  • Tibeto-Burman Languages : Book
  • Indian Judiciary no more a caged bird
  • IGAR (S) calls on Governor of Manipur
  • Spirit of Irabot still runs in Journalists
  • Concern should be about mob mentality
  • Tribes, Art & Soul of India #1: Gallery
  • Rally against Mob Lynching #1: Gallery
  • 'Sahnit' an honour or a disgrace
  • Irabot : Socio-Political Challenges
  • Training employees for better governance
  • Blue Ocean :: Poem
  • Sextortion: Making money from shame
  • Condemn murder of Neiphretuo Metsie
  • Social lacunae
  • BJP on poll drive at Imphal, Kohima
  • Mary Kom lost 2 kg in 4 hours
  • Historical Evaluation of Puya Meithaba #2
  • Felicitation of Sportsperson: Gallery
  • ICJ: Investigation of Extrajudicial Killing
  • Legal profession as career option #2
  • Loktak Down Stream HE Project (2x33MW)
  • Protest against mob lynching at DU
  • Ripples of Music :: Poem
  • Memo submitted to CM over lynching
  • Poems of Peace, Resistance ...
  • Helicopter Schedule for Imphal-Jiri
  • Mirabai recommended for Khel Ratna
  • Martyrdom of Haipou Jadonang #3: Gallery
  • Manipur State is still winning..
  • Gazetteer of North-East India :: Book
  • Sunfeast Cup Football Tournament
  • Trip down memory lane
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Folk Song :: Poem
  • The Endureres at Dwarka Half Marathon
  • Main accused in cop slaying nabbed
  • Naga talks not confined to Nagaland..
  • Trekking to Dzukou Valley #1 : Gallery
  • Rest in Peace Humanity
  • Ph Banti's artwork 'Trafficking of children'
  • Cry of a Dying River - 45 :: Poem
  • Buddhism is not a religion
  • Jobs at R-Square Design
  • Candle Light at DU over lynching
  • Society as a reflection of govt
  • Mobocracy : Shame on Manipur
  • Kuki Black Day @CCpur : Gallery
  • miAoIbgi pNTuH :: Seireng
  • An opinion on Tharoijam killing
  • How Manipur lost internal autonomy, Kabaw
  • Admission for PhD at Tripura Univ
  • Meefam ST at Nambol, Khangabok
  • Importance of Forest & Environment
  • Deep social divide: Two different folks?
  • Kuki Black Day: Kukis Will never forget
  • R & V Art House's First Art Fest 2018
  • Celebrating International Literacy Day, 2018
  • Born a Kuki, die a Kuki :: Poem
  • History of North East India :: Book
  • Will SimpliciTB make TB treatment simpler
  • Meefam chathaduna ST gi issue..
  • Dipankar Talukdar- Mr Model of World Star
  • System error- who will fix Broken Window
  • Reshuffle Talks : Say No to Yes Me
  • India negotiating vehicle pact with Myanmar
  • Chalwa Village, Kangpokpi #2 : Gallery
  • Thien & its downfall in Zeliangrong #2
  • Is FA a self exposed daylight robbery?
  • Nation Needs Small Farmers
  • Who is programming you ?
  • Bandhs as dissent & survival of laziest
  • Looking for Raju :: Poem
  • The cry of the 2nd class citizen
  • Bharat Bandh in Imphal
  • Historical Evaluation of Puya Meithaba #1
  • Sit-In: Naga Peace Talk #2 : Gallery
  • Naga-Kuki conflict: Search for definitions
  • Mega Marathon Manipur : Download Form
  • Legal profession as career option
  • Guv felicitates 5 JAK RIF for flood relief
  • Stored Anger :: Book Review
  • On stepping into the 20th year of TSE
  • Sept - month which reinstated our courage
  • Krishna Janma @ISKCON #2 : Gallery
  • Empty :: Poem
  • Lets beat littering - plastics pollution
  • NEHU Seminar : Urbanization in India
  • Jobs at JCRE Skill Solutions
  • Declaration of Naga Collective Spirit [Sep 8]
  • Akanba Khongjangidamak Yathokpa Loire
  • Support for STDC from UMA, Assam
  • 'Deplorable power supply in Nagaland'
  • Tryst with destiny - Should we accept ?
  • Stand off at MU : Impact on LS Poll
  • Exploring the enthralling Tuilha Kol
  • Kamesh Salam : Outstanding Green Activist
  • The Valley Of Brahmaputra :: Book
  • Development of road database
  • The inner page story :: Poem
  • Kakching WW-II Memorial Run 2018
  • STDC public meeting at Langathel Keithel
  • Maibi Jagoi at Sangai Fest : Gallery
  • My poll without prejudice to anyone
  • MEETAC - Mission for streamlining TK
  • Conditions leading to Marxism
  • Heart Camp at Khelakhong, Thoubal
  • Cyber bully: Crime that follows you home
  • Bhupen Hazarika : Tribute at London
  • AEP & Importance of Myanmar & NE
  • Political pandemonium
  • Students central to MU issue
  • Landscape from Koubru #2 : Gallery
  • Leishangthem Robert for Mr. World 2018
  • Oinam Shilla Chanu at Mrs India Earth
  • North-east Frontier Of India :: Book
  • Thien & its downfall in Zeliangrong #1
  • Cry of a Dying River - 44 :: Poem
  • JRF Post at Mizoram University
  • Honours to Bamboo; a ubiquitous gift
  • Case of hunter now being huntedr
  • Chaklam Khongchat Numit #3 : Gallery
  • Women Empowerment & judicial Activism
  • Narin Chenggum - wild edible mushroom
  • Flying Star at your lips :: Poem
  • Out of the box thinking
  • Call centre fraud: Vicious vishing attack
  • Changing India & its impact on Manipur
  • MU stand off gets uglier
  • Tikendrajit : The Lion of Manipur #4
  • Krishna Janma @Mahabali #1 : Gallery
  • Eastern Frontier of India :: Book Review
  • Remembering Radhakrishnan ..
  • Moments to cherish :: Poem
  • Glimpse of the Buddha's teaching
  • NH7 Weekender Express Editions
  • Rejoinder to NDPP from NPF [05 Sep]
  • Mental equation
  • Are teachers teaching ? Apt, timely poser
  • Sirarakhong Hathei Phanit @Ukhrul : Gallery
  • Sit-In: Naga Peace Talk #1 : Gallery
  • Globalization, Act East Policy & Manipur
  • Review on anthology of Parthajit Borah
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Child Friendly Police Stations proposed
  • ADBU Goes Green with Solar Energy
  • Convocation of Assam Don Bosco
  • Fetal Echocardiography - Seminar held
  • Rejoinder to NPF from NDPP [04 Sep]
  • Divide, divert and rule will not work
  • FA, MU crisis : Issues before LS polls
  • Krishna Janma @ISKCON #1 : Gallery
  • Komrem Student Day @Bangalore : Gallery
  • September Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • The Coils of Pakhangba :: Book
  • Exhibition @ Art College #2: Gallery
  • AMWJU Sit-In-Protest : Gallery
  • Jangou Rah : eRang Classic
  • The Story of 40 Pineapple Suckers
  • Yumkhaibam Nanao Eramdam Yaourakhre
  • Ningol Chakkouba Celebration in Delhi
  • Martyrdom of Haipou Jadonang #2: Gallery
  • Chaklam Khongchat Numit #2 : Gallery
  • The World of Kuki People :: Book
  • Martyrdom of Haipou Jadonang #1: Gallery
  • Dolaithabi Dam , Senapati : Gallery
  • Eid-Ul-Adhaa Festival #2 : Gallery
  • Dr. Jodhachandra Sanasam : Sahitya
  • Shougrakpam Bijaya :: A Profile
  • Disputed Myanmar Border Pillar : Gallery
  • Dzuko valley #4 :: 360 Panorama View
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS