TODAY -

In the line of Fire, I was lucky to be alive

Sanjit *

Army patrolling in the Jungle
Army patrolling in the Jungle



With the recent exodus of North Easterner form major Indian cites, some of my friends got the perfect excuse to come back home for a brief period. It was needed a welcome break for my friends who were working of various MNC in different cities of India. Back home, I along with four of my childhood friends planned for a trip to the picturesque Koubru Leikha in Senapati District.

Ro** , a BE graduate was driving the car; he works for an MNC in Pune. Vi** sits in the front, he is preparing for his Civil Services Exam in Delhi and I along with Le**, a B.Tech Graduate sat on the rear seat. Nothing was officially planned for this particular trip. It was an idea of a moment that we decide to proceed for the trip. That makes the trip even more special. The plan was to enjoy a day at Koubru Leikha and get back home before the sun sets. After all days a numbered for the my NRM friends (Non Residing Manipuri's, that what I call them) who are on a short trip back home, thanks to the NE exodus but they will going back to their respective places sooner if not later

On the way to our destination we had a short halt at Sekmai Bazar to pick up some snacks for breakfast and chicken meat with other material to prepare lunch at the river bank. There we met an old friend of ours, Dr. Ma** who happens to be a Medical Officer , He was on his way to his office. We invited him to join us at Koubru Leikha after his office work. He gave his affirmation about his presence at the river bank. After picking up our stuffs we continue to our destination only to reach at around 11am IST.

The water at the Sekmai River was swift that particular day; Ro** was adventurous enough to check the depth of the water, which was up till his waist. He forced us to find a spot on the other side of the river. Only then we could start preparing for our lunch, Vi** was the head cook, I helped him in preparing the ingredients. Ro** and Le** assist Vi** in starting the fire. We finish preparing our meals in just a couple of hour's time.

Only then we could jump in the swift river to have some fun, in the heat of excitement all our cloths got drenched. We continue having fun for another two hours in the fast flowing Sekmai River. After that we dried our cloths on the river bank, meanwhile Dr Ma** join us after completing his office work. Only then we had our lunch late at 4pm. We could leave the spot at 5.30 pm only after our clothes completely dry.

We were behind our schedule plan of getting back home before dusk; naturally Ro** was driving fast then to make up the time. It was completely dark when we reach Sekmai Bazar, we drove even faster to reach home a little early. I cautioned Ro** that "it's better to be late than never" just for the record, then he got a call from his mom, asking where he was. When we were approaching the Old Air Field, Koirengei area, we were stopped by some policemen to frisk our vehicle.

As we were on speed and Ro** was attending a call from his mother, he could not stop the car on that instant. The Security Forces raise an alarm to intercept our vehicle and were on position to shoot as us. Ro**, in nick of time pulls the brakes of our vehicle and we stopped right in front of a heavily armed group of security forces.

We were told to step out of our vehicle, hands in the air, as if we were armed militants. The commander came running, with weapon in his hands asking who our driver was. Before we could clarify anything in front of the officer, he gave a blow to Ro**.

Then he thundered "noi akhoigi AK na kaplakpada kadaida chendoino" (where will you hide, in front of our AK's), noi kayamna phaoba machano (who do you thing, you are) noi khara kapthokpada kanana kari haidoino (no one will say anything, if we shot you dead).

What would you do to defend yourself when someone is dictating terms with you with an AK-47 in hand, threatening to shoot at you. Our only fault was that, we couldn't stop our vehicle when they asked to.

We were in God's Mercy, that very moment. When, Le** tries to give an explanation to the officer that we were returning from a reunion, we were greeted with kicks on our butt. The high handedness of the security forces in our states is nothing new, but when that happens to you in person, it is like cat and mouse game. They play the game as long as they wish too.

My Blood Pressure was not normal; I believe it's the same for Le** and Ro**. But we didn't panic even for a single moment and continue to cooperate with the security personals. The days beautiful moments, all fade away with that incident. My mind was restless- at one point I was saying to myself "this is not how I would like to die" "love you mom & dad" "Even if I face the bullets, I will never run" "I wish to become an IPS officer and teach these arrogant security personal a lesson to respect humanity" "no wonder, why young men joined the militants because of police torture" "a bandh or a general strike for our death" is this what our live is worth for. I could remember the scene of the movie John Rambo, right in my eyes, all this thought were running high in my mind.

In continuation the security officer asked Ro**, who he was and what he is studying, Ro** told that he is a BE graduate and currently working in Pune. The officer again asked where he stays, Ro** replied that he is from MLA Quarters. On hearing that, the office left us without saying a word. Then came the constable's consoling us to drive properly at night and let us free without further questioning.

That was when I thought, things could have been different had Ro** not say that he is form MLA Quarters. What about other ordinary citizens without an MLA tag in their addresses, they might be facing more serious consequences then we did.

That was when I realized how great Irom Sharmila is and her selfless sacrifice for the oppressed citizens of our state. My admiration of her grew a thousand times more. No wonder, why mothers feel unsafe about their children's security in our state. For us we only thank ourselves, to be alive to tell yet another story of our autocratic guardian.

There are no golden rules on how to escape death, but one need to stay calm, be composed, not to get panic by situation no matter how deep the trouble is and remember, to stand your ground if you are think you are right and always stay away form trouble.




* Sanjit, a Freelancer, wrote this article for e-pao.net
This article was webcasted on September 26 2012.


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