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E-Pao! Incident - Nostalgia - A Manipuri confession

Nostalgia - A Manipuri confession
(Dedicated to my mother who has gone through a lifetime of suffering)

Alberto Mangsatabam *



I have recently shifted to New Delhi due to my profession, since then I am staying all alone at a small rented room as a paying guest. Every night I started thinking about my past life especially my childhood, family, schooldays, friends and many more.

A moment of retrospection some happy and some not so. And coincidently it happens to be my birthday next week. If only my wallet is that thick enough I could have offer you all with cakes and sweets but these few events of my past and present life is all I can offer you all.

I hope you all at least gone through this writing though it might sound boring.

I grew up in a well educated middle class family. My childhood was totally independent not very strict. My father was working as a lecturer at DM College of Science, Imphal teaching physics and my mother working at District Commissioner office ( DC Office) Imphal, she is still working there.

I have one brother who is also eldest and one elder sister who has recently settled down in Pune. Both of them are working civil engineer. I have one younger sister who is also youngest in our family who recently got married and she is working at a private firm though she is trained as a microbiologist.

And I am the last one but not the least but I should confess honestly I am the so called black sheep of my family. My childhood was in a way disastrous comparatively. In spite of my good academic background and talents I flunked matric exam many times. I was always wronged person in wronged time all the time.

Anyway I should also mention I will not be what I am if I am not those ways. My childhood was bucket of full of unthinkable and undoable things. If I get an opportunity I will definitely confess everything to you all. My early childhood was though not very special but in a way eventful because of mainly of independency from my parents. I remembered playing hide and seek at the local bushes and among bamboos, football at a local school ground which was muddy all year long, swimming in the ponds, catching fish and many more.

I was drowned once but fortunately a friend of mine who was an expert swimmer saved my life. Come summer, a month long vacation, total freak out, munching green mangoes, catapult small birds, compulsory fever or dysentery. The pungent smell of small green mangoes still fresh to me.

Autumn, then come Durga Puja, five days of camping with my friends at a makeshift camp, stealing fruits and vegetables at night from the other's camp, feasting and of course crackers. Winter again, time to juvenile gambling, marbles, empty cigarettes packs and many more game.

Then Holi (Yoashang) another five days of colors and junk food, pocket thick from the begging and snatching from the elders forcefully. And so one by one Rath Yatra (Kang), Krishna Janmasthami with water ball, buying toys, feeding and teasing monkey at Mahabali temple premises.

Those were the best moment of my life, happy go lucky phase. If God give me a chance to go back to my past life, I will definitely choose those phases.

Later phase of my life I grew up semi matured, most of the time hanging around with local elders. Watching martial arts movies at Imphal talkies and Usha cinema halls. Then come the saddest part of my life, my father past away at an early age.

He was just forty seven. An alcoholic, not even a single day I remembered him without intoxicated. But he was such a simple man, not abusive at all, soft and gentle, exceedingly brainy, well educated, academically brilliant, expert in physics subject and reading literature a lot.

But his alcoholism leads at the negativity of life. In fact he ended his short life because of this habit. Not even a single day pass by without cherishing him on his old bicycle.

I occasionally saw him vaguely on a rainy day wet on his old bicycle. Wherever he is may his soul rest in peace.

So here I am now getting older revisiting and retrospection of life, not knowingly where my destiny will be. Watching my mother whom I adored most getting older and counting the lines on her face wondering one day she will fade away too.

How she struggled after my father expiry for all of us. How can I forget the aroma of green chilies and fermented fish she prepared for me most of the time. In fact she is one good example of a typical brave Manipuri woman.

Witnessing my nephew grow up. Cherishing past memories. Besides all these I am still a bachelor, over aged, in and out of love.

If you ask me, this is one of my regrets in life for not getting married in time. I didn't actually plan or deliberately do it but it happens like. Let me summarize the usual way life's like that.

Let me wind up for now with these few lines from the legendary British psychedelic rock band Pink Floyd ,

" When you run, when you run.
You catch up with the sun but it's sinking.
Wasting aroung to come up behind you again.
The sun is same in a relative way but you are older.
Shorter of breathe.
One day closer to death
."

(This write up is purely based on my personal life. Anyone living or dead other than my near dear ones are not related. If so it was totally coincidental.)"


Alberto Mangsatabam, a resident of New Delhi, writes regularly to e-pao.net
You can email the writer at amangsatabam@yahoo.com
This article was webcasted on 28th October 2005.


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