Marriage of Our Bobo

U.I. Singh *

Ladies carrying the Pheiruks for Heijingpot before the marriage ceremony
Ladies carrying the Pheiruks for Heijingpot before Marriage ceremony in Manipur :: Pix - N Mangi Devi' book

Like my one time most efficient boss Mr BK Das, who is from Kolkata but now permanently settled in Mumbai after retirement from banking service, I am also habituated to sit long hours in the bank. Despite his busy schedule, my boss gradually took interest in marriages and he was also a match maker for some of his staffs. As I am also interested in marriage counseling I am telling a simple story about the marriage of our Bobo.

As for me, my own marriage coincided with drawal of my first salary as a bank employee so it was felt, later on, that if I postponed it for a year or so, it would have been much better. Anyway, past is past, we must not rely too much on the past.

In Manipuri society, we have constantly to look into the so-called danger of an established custom. Sometimes, there is conflict between the same caste and creed. In another word, societies in the whole world, do not necessarily decline and fall, as we individuals do. If a person is always content with his pas achievements, he will go on the road that leads to nowhere but certain death.

No one is immortal. What we should try to find in our life's journey is survival technique in accordance with the prevailing situation. In a poor state like Manipur, if on the experience of the past failures, do don't constantly look after social change and economic generation, devising fresh starts giving birth to new ideas, there will be always uncertainties.

For the British, who conquered the whole of India after Mughal period and also continued to dominate the whole world, as they were traveling far and wide, they believed that before actual marriage in this Universe, all the marriages were first taken place in the heaven. If the marriage is between two different religions their belief is really trustworthy and beneficial.

Even if there is love between a boy and a girl and even promise to get married and the parents also accepted their proposal, if the Lord Almighty does not blessed them in the heaven, their marriage will not be successful. It may be because of this belief our Bobo also, as if there is no girl in Manipur, marriage a girl from far away country called Japan. Like Manipuri Meiteis, Japanese people have only 80-90 Yumnaks (Surnames).

When the great king of a hilly sovereign kingdom of Indian sub-continent started rearing 200/300 cattles engaging many servants, his beloved daughter who returned to the royal place from far off capital city of Hindustan where she was pursuing study could not understand why his father purchased a so many cattles and so she politely asked the reason to her beloved father.

The king said, "Don't be a fool, my dear sweetheart! You are now really grown up and highly educated. Very soon you will be married to a suitable bridegroom. On the day of your marriage, all the people of my hilly kingdom will come and take part in the grand feast to be arranged in the royal place. That is why so many cattles are rearing now." The young princess who is enlightened through education about divine power was rather embarrassed to learn that the cattles would be slaughtered on the day of her marriage.

So, she started a novel plan of washing and cleaning the famous temple of god and goddesses situated within the royal palace compound during early morning when nobody woke from sleep. At first, the monks of the temple were wondering when they found the temple and surrounding areas in neat and clean condition every day. When one of them woke up early in the morning to find out the person doing the work of cleaning the temple, it was noticed that the person was none but the learned and enlightened princess of their royal family.

When he was asked about the reason for doing the work of a sweeper, she disclosed the intention of her father who is talking about entertaining the entire population by killing 200/300 cattles on the occasion of her marriage. Her service of washing and cleaning is to atone to the gold almighty of the impending mass killings of animals.

Even if she belongs to a royal family of meat eating, because of her education from an early age at the capital of Hindustan her diet and out outlook are very different. This is really happening to many well to do families who sent their children to far off places for education. Because of her devotion to gold almighty, all the monks gave her the boon to live not only one but four generations.

It is all the same in case of our Bobo, who married with a Japanese girl, even if there is different food habit and different culture. As far as practicable, there should not be any distinction whether the head of the family was a maharaja or an officer or an average person, every family member should try to maintain cordial relation irrespective of income and wealth. As far as practicable, the spirit of social unity should not be disturbed whether one worships Sanamahi/Malem Leima or whether another family is in favour od Gautam Buddha or Lord Krishna or Prabhu Jesus.

Ultimately, what is counted in the society is not the faith in a particular sect but it is the social harmony in the society and well-being of the individual family members. The marriage of Bobo and my distant daughter-in-law namely Sukho was done at Officer's Club at Lamphelpat. The room where the Nam-Sangkritana was performed by six ladies was not very big but sound proof and thus very enjoyable by the invitees present. Fresh Rs 10 notes and Manipur Chadar and shawls from the market were abundantly offered to the lady singers and those two Mridanga players.

On the other hand, just like Japan's Princess Kiko, our Sukho as really talented and she performed her part of going round the bridegroom several times and final garlanding were done like a trained person. If compared with the elder sister of my friend Sanamatum, who as a bride could not keep her head high in front of the crowd, our Sukho's performance was really very good.

Both the bride and bridegroom are not very young, and figure and height also almost the same, the only difference is one is Japanese and the other is Manipuri Meitei. If Sukho did not come to South India for her Engineering course, then there is no chance for their meeting. Now both of them are Engineers doing engineering work in a private firm in Japan.

It may be due to my birth at the fag end of Second World, I am always praising the Japanese people for their hard work and world class products like Maruti cars introduced by late Sanjoy Gandhi with Japanese collaboration, Japanese cameras, badminton racket, and toys for children, etc.

I am in good relations with those two Japanese experts who came to the bank and met me for the Sericulture Project and purchase of silk cloths from Manipur with Sukho, the bridge and her younger sister, who came for the marriage ceremony. On the other hand, it is also a fact that because of appearance and Second World War and death of many Japanese soldiers in Manipur, we are having some sort of emotional integration, as well.

There is also a very interesting story of how much Japanese women loved their husbands. May be, due to the death of many Japanese soldiers during the Second World War better known as Japan Lan in Manipur. During winter season, the wife of a Japanese male will wear Kimono on her back for the male member of the family to step down from bed before touching the cold floor by his feet. This is a rare show of obeisance by a wife to her husband. In course of time, there may have been changes in their behavior.

Though not very tall and born in our poor Manipuri family, it is very clear that our Bobo is really loved by Sukho. This is known from the fact that before their marriage, she was sent to America for six months' training by their Japanese company. She did not like those rich and tall Americans.

On completion of her training, she came back and married with our Bobo. By chance, her training in America had coincided with the attack on the twin towers by the men of Osama Bin Laden; I can't imagine what would have been her fate. But by the grace of god, Sukho had already to Japan by then and joined with our Bobo.

As they are very industrious and there is no such word as 'leisure' in Japan, both of them did not get much time for marriage ceremony. It is also a fact that there is no Bandh or Blockade in Japan. If there is any demand for the workers, it will be shown by wearing badges but their work will continue.

Thus, the grand feast of the marriage ceremony which was to be performed on the fifth day of marriage was also done on the night of marriage ceremony itself and both husband and wife left Manipur for Japan on the following day. Even though, they were having fresh passports, security people at the airport insisted on producing the old passports as well. But they were finally permitted to proceed as the aircraft already arrived at Imphal airport.

As time passes, their marriage has completed eight years and by the grace of god they are blessed with two sons. According to my presumption, the zodiacal sign of our Bobo is more powerful than that of Sukho and hence no daughter so far.

If there is a social group, the institution of family is to be found definitely. The marriage may be with the same caste and creed or it may be among different castes or even with a girl from Maharashtra of Japan. As in the case of our Bobo if the husband and wife are working in the same business company or university, the marriage will be lasting despite having hiccup from time to time.

Now, the sole duty of Bobo and Sukho are to make their two sons and good citizens of the world produced by Indo-Japanese collaboration. All of them are now living at their work place, i.e. Japan. Our Bobo's mother, who is my sister-in-law, had also gone to Japan and after staying there for three months, she came back to Imphal only recently.

She has seen the neat and clean city of Tokyo in Japan. There is a lot of difference with our Imphal city. Let all of us try to improve our domestic surroundings, public places and our market place as it is done in other developed countries. There is indeed a need for a change. A new world will be inherited by our youths. This is natural phenomenon. Every day is a different day for the youths.

* U.I. Singh wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition)
This article was posted on June 10, 2012 .

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