It is not about the weight of money

Louriyam Bebica *

reparation of food on Sajibu Nongma Panba Cheiraoba in Imphal on April 04 2011
Preparation of food on Sajibu Nongma Panba Cheiraoba in Imphal on April 04 2011

- Keinone, why such a scene in your family today? Is there a special Cheiraoba?

Seeing such Singju Mayan (different edible leaves with which we made a kind of chutney) in large quantity forced everyone to raise this question.

Abok (grandma) Loli who came to my neighbour's house for her pension's update also asked my mom with a smile yet confused.

- Oh, Edomcha (aunty) we are making Singju for orphan kids, who are in Kanglatongbi. Nanao and her friends are going there today. So, I'm making my contribution.

- Good, good. What about the rest? Haven't you contributed?

- Almost everyone has done it. So, did you come for pension update?

- Yes, is Romeo (my cousin bro) there? Could you call him out if he is there?

- Sure, please have a seat. I will call him here.

My mom went to call out my bro. In fact, everything abok stated was very true. In the morning of that day (3rd June, 2012), my family was acting as if there was a Cheiraoba.

Usually I woke up at around six-seven thirty in the morning. I'm a complete epitome of lazy bird. LOL. On that day, I could not sleep. I woke up early and started folding the cloths (pant, shirt, skirt which I collected from my kid bros and sis) that I planned to give to those kids. To my surprise, my big aunty (Enembi) was also awaked. She called me from behind my back giving me a puff of my heart beat.

- Nanao, did you check the biscuit. Just check if rats have attacked or not. If that happened then I will go and buy another since we still have time.

- Enembi, it's very much in normal shape, no rats have attacked. So, you can go and sleep again. It's just 3.30 o' clock.

- It's ok. I can't sleep. Nanao, makes sure that every kid gets the same amount of what you are planning to give.

- Humm....

My kid bro was also at home from boarding for his summer vacation. He is more lazier than I. So, my mom often said that God has sent the perfect brother and sister. After some minutes, he also woke up and came to my room bringing one more pant.

- Che, you take this as well.

- This one?

I asked holding the pant he gave me.

- Yes.

- But, isn't it your favourite one? You still wear it, right?

- Yes, but you take it. Let them also wear new ones. For me, I can create a Tsumani anytime and let mom or aunty buy another one. So, you take this.

- Ok.

Nodding my head, I gave a smooth smile. I thought he was still my little one, but he made me realised that he is forwarding towards puberty.

My neighbours seemed to be in dilemma just hearing the commotion and rushing walks in our family. Mamma was busy preparing Singju, my aunt keeps on checking her biscuit, my dad went to buy Khoiruman and my little bro, walking up and down, was checking on our activities. When I told them, about the condition of those kids, they were more interested than giving some possible contribution. After seeing them in such environment, I realized I am so different from the rest of my friends.

But still I am a branch of this family tree.

There were times they scolded me that it was not the right time to get involved in this kind of work. I can't blame them. They are concern about my career. They thought it will affect my study. But the truth is if I didn't do it, it will disturb me more. I won't able to do any activities in my life. About the right time, it's we who decides not our career or location. I did what my heart says to do. While waiting for the right time, waiting for getting a stable job with huge salary what if I happened to meet with an accident and die? My soul gonna nagged me for not fulfilling her only desire. Future is so uncertain so I am doing what I feel is right to do at this moment.

My whole family came to drop me. Unlike the previous meeting I was so eager to reach there. When we reached the kids were already inside their class room. After taking down the medicines, biscuits, sweets, khoiruman, singju, cloths, etc, I let my mom set her feet inside that class room. I could see the expression on her eyes filled with tears that were almost beginning to flow down when she saw those kids. So, they decided to move out from there soon.

I am being selfish here. Though I love the rest of the kids so much, my heart was more attached to my prince. He hardly spoke. He understands Manipuri when I speak but replied me in his own mother tongue (Kuki). This act fails me in my assumption that only two couple who speaks the same language can express their feeling more than those who speaks different languages. For us, there is a total communication gap through language. But our love speaks for each other. I tried to carry him wherever I go around while arranging things.

Soon my friend Dr. Amarjit and his friend Rockson arrived and they got down to arranging the medicines. 'M so thankful to them that they didn't say a word to me though I didn't lend my hand. I was organising a health camp and I was doing nothing to arrange it. I was more into carrying my prince and talking to the rest of the kids. In fact, I didn't even notice when Dr. Jugindro (M.O. in charge of PHC Khurkhul) joined them. When they were headlong into the medical camp, my other friends Amit and Priyo were busy making Halwa in the kitchen. 'M so glad that I'm bless with such type of friends whom I can rely, for any kind of support.

Though the previous days were raining heavily, the sun shined on us on that day. 'M surprised at the sun too. Every time I go there, he shows his power.

Despite being sunny and hot, Arun (one boy from the orphanage) was wearing sweater. When we asked him to remove it since it was too hot, you know what he replied

- No, I can't remove it.

- But why?

- Bcoz, the cloth inside is too short. It reached only till my chest.

- Ah !

We got no more words to say to him.

When we distributed the cloths I brought, we could give to only few and left out so many kids. I just kneeled down and begged them to give me more days so that I can arrange cloths for them as well. To convince one boy who didn't get the cloth, I said

- See honey, his (another boy) pant is torn. So, let's give this pant to him, ok?

- But cheche, my pant is also torn.

The boy retorted, showing me his pant that was also torn and hanging at his knee.

I didn't know what to say and how to react. So, I just turn back and try to control my tears. Many organizations, individuals, Government come to give lakhs and lakhs of rupees to those who cracked the UPSC examination or who got ranks in class-X or XII.

What about these kids? Don't they need any of our support/attention bcoz they couldn't crack UPSC or top in exams? 'M not against the support and encouragement we gave to those people. But my plea is that those kids also need our support.

If I happened to organise a picnic, I'm sure there will be many people who will come forward to join me whether it rains or not, they won't cancel their plan. They will rearrange their busy schedule too. However, in this case, many people expressed their willingness to join me but decline at the last hours. Some said that something important comes up; others said it is not the right time though they wanted to join and blah... blah. My answer to them is it was never your priority to join so, you are busy, and the right time never comes till you make it right.

The problem is you pretend to like it but actually you don't. It is the truth. Else, you can always join us until and unless you are dead or stuck on bed unmoveable bcoz of some sickness. You don't need superman's energy for spending time with those kids. It is not about lifting the big stones or walking miles. So if you can walk and sit then you can always be there with them.

Some people laughed at me when I go from door to door asking if I can have their kids' used cloths. I stitched them if there is some torn out portions. I give a damn at their mocking or gesture. Bcoz I know what I am doing. When my prince said "Thank you, cheche" giving me the reaction that he likes the pant I gave him, all the cynical views of those people just disappeared.

Their lives are confined within their class room and the room where they live in. They haven't seen anything outside their world. So, I wanna take them out one day for an excursion. Bcoz god has given them the eyes to taste and appreciate the beauty of Loktak Lake, enjoy watching the agile movement of Sangais in Keibul Lamjao, see how those monkeys; birds play around happily inside the cages of Zoo, etc. It will be kind if anyone can help me doing this. I don't want in terms of thousands or lakhs. Let's say you can contribute Rs. 30/-, Rs. 50/- or Rs. 100/-. It is not about the weight of money but the weight of people who are willing to help them.

Lastly my whole hearted gratitude to Dr. Jugindro, Dr. Amarjit, Milan Khalling, Amit, Priyo, Abhi, Rockson, Langamba, Arun, Satyajit Usham, SR. Marson Anal and everyone who supported me in organizing the free health camp on 3rd June, 2012.

"Never think it's not the right time, bcoz time is in your hand"

* Louriyam Bebica wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition)
The writer can be contacted at bebicalouriyam708(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on June 13 2012 .

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