My beautiful angel, my bok

Porcia Soubam *

Once upon a time, she was worried about my well being...
Once upon a time, she held my hand so that I could take the baby steps...
Once upon a time, she fed me...
Once upon a time, she made my bed...
Once upon a time, she fought for me with others...
Once upon a time...

I started fitting in the role she played for me and suddenly she left us on the last October night of 2014, leaving behind myriads of memories for me-some bitter, some sweet. There are things I regret not having done for her. There are things I have done to fulfill her small desires. When she wanted to step out of the gate for a walk, I held those wrinkled, but lovely hands to support her. There was a child within her. Maybe she thought I would agree to her naughty desires and I did! No one wanted her to step out of the house for fear of slipping.

Fruits made me more attached to bok. Away from the glare of my parents and my siblings, I served her favourite sugar-rich fruits, all forbidden, every evening the last few days before she left us. It was forbidden because of her sugar level. But I enjoyed slicing apples and cleaning grapes for her. Like a woman suffering from morning sickness, her craving for fruits start the moment everyone's away from home. She would order her waitress (bok ki Thoi) to serve her. And, I, the dutiful granddaughter, would do the needful.

Staying in Imphal for the last two years was really a boon in disguise for my bok. She needed company and I happened to be the right companion. Afternoons and evenings were spent gossiping with her, we talked nineteen-to-the-dozen about anything and everything. At 94, an illiterate, she had the best memory card-fully loaded with the births and deaths dates of my neighbours.

People may say she has lived long, but my inner voice says she wanted to live for a few more years. She had the zeal and enthusiasm for life. On her deathbed also, she never seemed like she would go away. Who to blame? The doctors who didn't knew the basics of treating old-aged people or her destiny. In seven-eight days she became weak, in an hour after her dinner she left us.

There are words I can't forget of her trying to come to terms or rather imbibing the modern technology. For charging her mobile, it was put light in the phone. And she regrets being illiterate! How I wish I knew how to read and write...I would be reading newspapers, putting on and off the TV to while away my time. Better sense prevailed now. I should have taught her the basics long time back when she was more strong and not on support-stick.

At her age, all she wanted was company. I now regret escaping sometimes to avoid talking to her as I was also in the midst of my other affairs. If only I knew she would leave us so suddenly, I would have sat beside her and talked with her till my jaws came apart. How much she wanted companionship? If and if is all I can think off with remorse in my heart.

She was so hungry for companionship that she would sit near the gate, a quarter of it open, and waited for people so that she could call out and speak to them. It had reached to such an extent that the neighbours hurried their steps to ignore her. And after she passed away when they came to pay condolences on her demise, instead of being obliged and grateful, I hated them.

When she was alive, they didn't have a few seconds to acknowledge her presence and now they are shedding crocodile tears and remembering how lively a person she was. There's the concept of fair-weather friends and friends of sad moments. For me, at sad moments like her death, I never wanted white-clad ladies and gentlemen making their presence for the 12 days. It's a stark reminder that she is no more and awakening my already heavy heart every single day. Why do we glorify people after their deaths?

She herded the family like a colonel. From my dad to my siblings, every day we had to report to her that we are back safe and sound, otherwise there was mayhem. She would put on a big face, sob or shout late at night whether so and so has returned home. I would say my bok was the perfect watchdog. For years she guarded our home, we never needed a lock.

She deserved a century, but fate took her away. She was envious of the old grandpa (her age) of our neighbourhood. He was still walking up and down the street. May be she desired to live longer than him...regularly she popped her life-saving pills and abstained from dinner for the last 10 years. At mornings she would sometimes savour up her favourite dish to her heart's content and later she would be guilty. The foodie in her sometimes overcame her strict diet regime and she would crib, but the desire to live overcame everything.

On her last birthday, we got a cake for her. That moment, was happiness personified for her with tears of joy. And not to leave aside the mobile phone as a birthday gift. Using the speed dial of her phone, she connected to her stars-four daughters and her Sun, my dad. My parents set deadlines for returning home for my brothers, and my dad was subject to a seven pm reporting time by bok. My mother never ever called dad to ask where he was after his office hours. It was bok who was the time-keeper for my dad, checking out as if he was a teenager. Is it because my bok loves dad more than my mom loves him? If only there was weighing machine for love!

I can proudly claim that I was her favourite. We were more like friends and partners-in-crime. Whatever naughty desires she had, I almost fulfilled everything. I never had the heart to say a no to her. So, when she left, of all my siblings, I was the one who felt the lost most. Her memories reverberate every day, when the surroundings become silent after I shun myself from the digital world.

She may be a withered flower, all dried up, but she was conscious of her looks. On her last trip to the hospital, she still cared that she didn't comb. At 94, she wanted to presentable and present. But for me, even if she is not presentable, I want her to be present. May be I am living in a world of illusion! I wish she comes in my dreams to banter again. There are many things I want to share with her.

If tears could build a stairway,
And memories a lane, I'd walk
Right up to Heaven and
Bring you home again
Bok! You had many things to say...

* Porcia Soubam wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on December 05, 2014.

* 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 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.

  • Laija (Film Scenes) #1 :: eRang
  • Ningol Chakouba @ Dubai #2 : Gallery
  • Countdown to Manipur Polo International
  • Education for 21st century jobs
  • The corrupt tiger
  • Can you stop falling rain :: Poem
  • Scholars translate celebrated Nepali..
  • Of harassment at Imphal-Moreh Route
  • Need for a strong Opposition
  • Lamklai Kummoi Maring Fest #2: Gallery
  • National School Games- Fencing: Gallery
  • We want the ring...
  • The Queen's Heart :: Poem
  • Education of heart: Heart of Education
  • Mao - The Revolutionary
  • Discussion on India-Vietnam Relation
  • Sangai of the Sangai festival
  • Jarnail in his element
  • Tough road awaits Sarita in World Boxing
  • ACAUT says NNPGs unable to rein..
  • State has no say in ILP - Conrad
  • Ningol Chakouba @ MBC #2 : Gallery
  • Ningol Chakouba Nga Mela #2 : Gallery
  • Rajkumar Jhaljit : Sahityaratna 2017
  • Gaudiya Vaishnavism in Meitei Nation #2
  • Ningol Chakouba :: Poem
  • World Diabetes Day 2018
  • Bartending as a career option
  • The unintended windfall
  • Issues before the Parliamentary polls
  • Mera Kongchat Mass Rally #3: Gallery
  • Rock Show at X-Jam 2018 : Gallery
  • Bloody Phanek wins at Signs Festival
  • Gender Equality & Development :: Book
  • I am friend of India for life- Japanese PM
  • 2019 Commonwealth Scholarship in UK
  • 55th Nagas' Meet at New Delhi
  • Black money and the dream-merchants
  • What steps to address traffic chaos ?
  • Govt extends ban on seven Meitei groups
  • It won't be easy for Mary Kom - Nieva
  • Ningol Chakouba @ Mysore #1 : Gallery
  • Ningol Chakouba @ Dubai #1 : Gallery
  • Cry of a Dying River - 54 :: Poem
  • Religious education- Part of our life
  • Free Heart Camp at Kakching Bazar
  • Jobs at Gyan Jyoti Foundation
  • Nothing seems change; everything remains
  • Predatory instinct of man: Targeting 'Manipur'
  • Lihaaz- Classical Music at IIT Guwahati
  • Mera Wayungba #1 : Gallery
  • L Modhuchandra : Young Scientist Award
  • Chavang Kut celebrated in Delhi
  • Temple runs for a pilgrim's journey
  • First day of All India Young Writers' Festival
  • Ningol Chakkouba in era of materials
  • Constitutional breakdown in governance
  • Attacked on Environment Defenders
  • Kut festival @ Chandel : Gallery
  • Mega Marathon Manipur #2 : Gallery
  • Karen people's pursuit for survival..
  • Glamorous Maniac & their new single
  • City bus for high end of society- Why not?
  • Youth Leadership Camp at Yairipok
  • Course in Political Science at NEHU
  • Of Indian Constitution
  • Ningol Chakouba @ MBC #1 : Gallery
  • Ningol Chakouba Nga Mela #1 : Gallery
  • NH7 Weekender @Meghalaya #2 : Gallery
  • Gaudiya Vaishnavism in Meitei Nation #1
  • Old Man in the Winter :: Poem
  • Drawing inspiration from Dave Mustaine
  • Condemns attack on Agnes Kharshiing
  • NEUFC Fan Park celebrates
  • Achievement lists of PDA is 'Boring'
  • MPP : Down but not out
  • Ningol - mapam lamdam : Gallery
  • Kwatha Festival #1 : Gallery
  • Ningol Chakkouba: Biggest fest of Manipuri
  • Mizoram Under the British Rule :: Book
  • Dr. Udit Raj: a Crusader
  • Undisclosed #MeToo campaign in Manipur?
  • Drought :: Poem
  • When Money matters, sincerity is out..
  • Detaining two more at Jiribam
  • Ningol Chakkouba : Flash Presentation
  • Ningol Chakkouba Shopping #1: Gallery
  • Chingjaroi, Atengba, Ahongbi :: eMing
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Those Sparks and Sounds
  • Manipur from Independence to Merger #2
  • Understanding RSS :: Book Review
  • Cry of a Dying River - 53 :: Poem
  • A take on Freedom of Media
  • Pay of private school teachers
  • Mera Kongchat Mass Rally #2: Gallery
  • Art Festival @ Imphal : Gallery
  • 26 month left to meet AIDS 90-90-90 target
  • Tengnoumanbi- Essential food item ..
  • Dr Abdul Kalam vision of transforming India
  • A Wintry Landscape :: Poem
  • 'Say no to Lead Paints'
  • Completing bigger task
  • Biomedical wastes: Health, ecology at stake
  • NIA files chargesheet against 5 NSCN (K)
  • Ningol Chakouba @ Kolkata : Gallery
  • Mera Houchongba @Konung #3: Gallery
  • Irony of idea of communal harmony
  • Blood Donation at RGU, Arunachal Pradesh
  • Career opportunities in Ecology #2
  • Down the Country Road :: Poem
  • Change of season: Prepare for winter
  • Govt forgotten promises to improve traffic
  • ATC demand: Setback to pluralistic Manipur
  • Mega Marathon Manipur #1 : Gallery
  • Descent & inheritance among Zeliangrong
  • Constituent Assembly Of India & NEFA #3
  • Seminar : Reforming Teaching-Learning
  • Attitude :: Poem
  • Tourism: A key sector in the world
  • NH7 Weekender Meghalaya : Day 2 Report
  • Early solution in Manipur difficult : Army
  • Fabrics of Bangladeshi Manipuri: Download
  • NH7 Weekender @Meghalaya #1 : Gallery
  • Pukning Pothasang: Suicide prevention
  • Where have all the flowers gone? Khurkhul
  • Engaging Failed State :: Book Review
  • eNorth East Award 2018
  • Song of a Tree :: Poem
  • NH7 Weekender 2018 Kicks Off
  • Unsolved case of Pravish Chanam
  • Imphal Jamboree : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Manipur from Independence to Merger #1
  • A beacon of hope
  • Mishing tribe of Assam
  • Ransomware that made the world cry
  • State Level Painting Competition
  • A suggestion for a strong democracy
  • Issues before Parliamentary polls
  • Kut Festival @ Kangpokpi : Gallery
  • HIV : Gap between research & impact
  • My Tryst With Manipur : A Memoir :: Review
  • Cultural heritage (Kut fete)
  • Bleeding inside Brain treated at SKY
  • Indo-Myanmar Regional Border Meet
  • In Her Arms Of Death :: Poem
  • Pravish Chanam : No Action by CBI
  • Assam Don Bosco : University of the Year
  • NH7 Weekender 2018 in Meghalaya
  • Media that criticize are not your enemy, CM
  • MU limping back to normalcy
  • Mera Kongchat Mass Rally #1: Gallery
  • Happy Kut Wishes :: Flash Presentation
  • November Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • Weavers training for Mamit , Mizoram
  • Diwali Lagao : Mapugidi Munda
  • Career opportunities in Ecology
  • Jobs at Trueblue, Taxi Service, Imphal
  • CM should not let this opportunity out..
  • Where will Oct 31, 2018 stand ?
  • Mera Houchongba @Konung #2: Gallery
  • Kut Festival :: Series of Articles
  • Comedian Huirem Manglem passed away
  • Constituent Assembly Of India & NEFA #2
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Overview of Buddha's teachings on Karmma
  • Technological Globalisation and Manipur
  • Initiate disciplinary action against Police
  • 13th Indo-Myanmar Border Committee Meet
  • .....but traffic is still in mess
  • Obstinately silly or immense clout
  • 'Ethnic Conflicts in Manipur: Issues'
  • Mapithel Dam Irrigation Canals #2
  • Kangla is like Ayodhya for Meiteis..Sacred
  • Health Care & Status in North East :: Book
  • Speaker List: Imphal Jamboree- Youth Fest
  • Roars of #MeToo to douse the flame of lust
  • A Welcome Change :: Poem
  • Liangmai community performed at NE fest
  • Immature press statement from NDPP: NPF
  • Our expectation from the government
  • October 31 : Rally and bandh
  • Chalwa Village in Kangpokpi #3 : Gallery
  • NEROCA Vs East Bengal : Gallery
  • Lullaby by This Chord :: Critical Analysis
  • Imphal Jamboree - Youth festival
  • Getting ready for Act East Policy
  • Hey! You're a role model :: Poem
  • Training on Cultivation of Mushroom
  • Yitachu is propagating misguiding facts
  • Naga Talk: Wary yet committed & hopeful
  • Fashion Show: Lamklai Kummoi: Gallery
  • Pukning Pothasang : Bereavement
  • Khong: significance in Zeliangrong culture-2
  • RIST Talk -37 : The Physics of Lunar Dust
  • Cry of a Dying River #51 :: Poem
  • WhatsApp cheating : Unexplained loss
  • Cat :: Poem
  • TSA cautions EMRS School
  • Non-issue turns issue
  • Cong gunning for Governor
  • Mera Houchongba @Konung #1: Gallery
  • Sanjenbam Bhanumati Devi : Kavyabhusan
  • Church and climate change
  • Environmental human rights: Its evolution
  • Developing a database on bio-resource #2
  • Incomplete Love :: Poem
  • Beauty benefits of potato
  • The toddler calls
  • UNC : Acceptable to the Zeliangrongs?
  • Trekking to Dzukou Valley #2: Gallery
  • Constituent Assembly Of India & NEFA #1
  • Can we end tobacco pandemic ?
  • Experiencing Senapati town
  • City Bazaar :: Poem
  • Eepan Thaba #1: Gallery
  • Mapithel Dam Irrigation Canals #1
  • Chumthang Crafts at European Congress
  • A Road Trip to Myanmar #3
  • Narmada Sougaijam - Natl Konkan Award
  • Bor khoiramba @Hiyangthang #2 : Gallery
  • Mera Houchongba : Unity - hill & valley
  • Khong: significance in Zeliangrong culture-1
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2018 : Download
  • Lamyanba Irabot- Floral Tribute #2: Gallery
  • Mera Chaorel Houba #2 : Gallery
  • Anglo-Kuki War 1917-19 : Gallery
  • Pari Imom (Film Scenes) #1 :: eRang
  • Death Anniv - Bhagyachandra #3 : Gallery
  • Jarnail Singh @ MU : Gallery
  • Heikru Hidongba #3 : Gallery
  • AMAND Pune: Cultural evening : Gallery
  • Sizo Festival @Saikot : Gallery
  • Tarpon Sonba : Gallery
  • mtM :: Seireng
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #4: Gallery
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic