Home Coming

Dr. Jayadeva Phurailatpam *

Imphal and adjoining areas as seen from an aircraft sometime in March 2010
Imphal and adjoining areas as seen from an aircraft sometime in March 2010

Sitting in my room, staring blankly out of my window, starting to realise that in less than a month, I will be back in my home state, Manipur.

I should be happy. After almost a decade staying away from home, coming occasionally during limited holidays, asking " how is Manipur?" all the time and missing the home made food ; now that I am going to come back and settle there!!!

But instead, I am having mixed feeling. Why is this? Have I changed?

The memories of leaving home for the first time still lingers fresh. The few chaotic days of packing, checking I have all the adequate stocks by my mother and aunt, getting constant advices from granny to avoid fights (I don't know what she thinks about me!!) and dad's silence tells it all.

Still remember the fear of first flight journey. Acting as I am really enjoying and almost wetting my pants (unfortunately, too freak out to even leave my seat and go to loo!) and thanking god that I safely touched the ground (at last!).

The Indian heat that you experienced when you come out of the flight was indeed a long lasting memory (still hate the humidity though).

We had taken a train after landing in Calcutta (or Kolkata, as of now) to Delhi. The rush and the noise with so many unfamiliar faces when you see for the first was worth remembering. The journey was uneventful and I with dad reached the capital city, New Delhi.

It was a bit of a disappointment as Delhi was not as glorious as they had shown in Dordarshan, but it was not that bad either.

The day was coming when dad had to leave me and go back to Manipur. He gave some money and told to be safe and take help from his friend's son (who was already staying in Delhi for quite some time) just in case.

He hired a cab and left. I kept seeing, until the cab vanished in the crowd. I didn't cry. But I kept standing in the same place for quite some time. Probably consoling myself that, it's just a matter of few years and I will be back home.

I thought I was sissy. Until I met my roommates!! One of the guys, used to hug a goddess Durga framed photo along with his entire family portrait (which I must say was a big family indeed, by the size of the frame) and used to cry out loud almost daily after dinner!

Now if I see, I would have rolled on the floor laughing but 10 years ago I did not. I kept staring at him. Then said it's going to be alright. It's just a matter of time. I met few good friends in Delhi and after a year I had to shift my base to Bangalore. Which I did. Leaving my friends were tough but it was to become a routine in the coming days. Some of them, I still have no contacts with. No whereabouts.

Bangalore was decent and calm city. Good and well behaved citizens. And fluent English speaking 'auto-wallas' really impressed me (No offence, but far better than the so called capital city).

Got admitted to a college. Dad still silent and not expressing his feelings as usual. I told myself again, "Just a few years more and I will be back home". Going to the college was kind of scary at first with many infamous incidents of ragging, already famous in our college.

But ragging, or seniors used to tell as 'getting to know each other' had its own benefits and ill effects. We used to get scared of seniors ragging us but eventually started taking it lightly and was not affecting me anymore.

The usual singing dancing and the midnight dramas are the things they used to do. Not to forget the dress code of formals and singing Manipuri songs!! Manipuri songs indeed with incorporated well improved wordings which obviously the non-Manipuri never understood! All these I was kind of adjusted then already.

Next year, we were in charge of 'disciplining' our juniors. Which I will not tell here in detail (will write a different article on that hopefully!!).

Someone has well said indeed, "how time flies". And in just a blink, it was time to leave the college. I met very good friends whom I still have touch with and a friend who was so special that I could not leave (which ultimately, I got married to) and very respectable teachers whom I still adore.

Again, leaving that place and going for another one was not new for me but this time, my eyes were moist. I still remember telling myself that it's just a matter of few years and then I will kick this f***king place and go to Manipur, my home.

This is it. The time has finally come for me to go back home. The place which I always wanted to return. The place which I always thought about when I feel dejected. The place my parents are waiting for me. My birth place.

But why I am having this mixed feeling after a decade of staying away. This was a new feeling which I did not had when I was younger. But why this self-reluctance? Was I so used to the comforts of outside world that I didn't not want to go back to Manipur? Or was it the horrible jungle rule that I did not wanted to face or the corrupted governance that is in excess in Manipur, the non-existent job opportunity or the arm rule? Now when the time has come to decide my future, I stood in a standstill. I wonder over my future in Manipur as compared to my counterparts in different parts of India.

I feel many youths can relate with me in this topic. Wanting to settle in our homeland and doing something for the state but not getting the opportunity to do so. Is this the fate of Manipur in the future? Is this what they called "Brain drain".

* Dr. Jayadeva Phurailatpam wrote this article for
The writer is MBBS, MD at Bangalore and can be contacted at jax_pheonix(at)yahoo(dot)com
This article was posted on March 16, 2014

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