E-Pao! Essay - About a Town

About a Town

By:- Lalsiemdik Tusing *

My home town is at the southern end of a valley, nestled snugly in the green embrace of Himalayan foothills, the hills brood over her, silent guardians to the human spectacle that takes place in her womb, and she joins in a motherly embrace; the hillmen in the mofussil, to his brethren in the valley.

It is a dusty little conurbation-at the best of times- a jolly happy place, with green hills for sentinels, a river that winds and meanders along its flanks, in June it rains, and the dust settles and the weather can be pleasant; balmy with the odors of fresh mud wafting through the streets.

We adore her, I suppose, those of us who have known her, we love her for what she is, and do not judge her harshly- for what she can never hope to become, she has been a mellow and joyful caregiver for as long as I can remember.

In the winter, when you come up from imphal, she greets you with the redolent scent of woodsmoke, and the musty smell of a thousand charcoal braziers. A misty cool wind runs through her streets; that can stir your soul with its sadness, its sense of loss for the year gone by, and you cannot, but be moved as she tells you-another year is going, going, gone-my son.

On most days, the sunlight takes its time, dying on the slopes, and the western sky is the color of amber, and an afterglow lingers long into the evening, at such times, she can be beautiful, a mistress dressed in the vital colors of the earth, and those of us in town are stilled into a joyous and happy languor, we worship her at such moments.

I miss her the most when I am farthest from her, in these hellish and brutal Indian cities, where providence has placed us to lead our lives, as unwelcome outsiders- we the eternal strangers in a strange land.

In these cities that are richer than any we posses, in the petty and wasteful walks we lead in exile, I long and yearn for her embrace-the sibilant whispers of the tall grasses on her hills, the rustle in the bamboo, the low cool breeze that comes up the river, the clangor of Church bells as day ends.

This vision of the town-of churachandpur, or lamka, with its row upon row of houses with corrugated tin roofs, has stuck forever in my mind.

For a rustic she may be, but I love her... I love her rough uncouth hands, her hearty and ruddy face, her dark and deep tresses hold recondite knowledge for me, for I know at heart that she is a good provider, a homely and honest landlady, and for this reason even if her present face has descended into the visage of a harridan, I shall always cherish and acknowledge her, for I knew her in her youth, a gay and happy thing, full of life and vivacity.

With promises to keep and dreams to live up to, she can never hope to accomplish them now and those of us who have known her are hurt in the very marrow of our souls.

These days I feel a vague, homelessness only when I am in her embrace, maybe it's the senseless and useless march of sullen faced soldiers up and down her streets, the young men dying, the burst of rifle fire on a moonless night.

We have grown up and treat her badly-ingrates that we are, we have shredded her into pieces and cast our lots, we have strung her up, to shame and exposure, on a cross of our own design, she is lost I think, she is truly lost.

She is truly lost.

But a part of me would still love to believe, to cling onto a town i have known only in little snatches. In little lovelorn bites, a little nibble during the holidays and she was wonderful to me then- but that she has wasted away is now everywhere apparent, the hills that caress her, are today a dusty brown, the verdant land is now pockmarked by hate and denuded by violence, our social fabric has been torn apart in a reckless and self-seeking age.Some part of me is dying with her as she herself is dying-forgotten, but perhaps not altogether unmourned.

There is madness in her streets, and people talk of militancy and ethnic conflict, and hate and hate and more hate. And still she struggles on, with her dying and her dead and her hapless living.

Where but in memory can i find images of the once green town, full of life, where i as a child of sixteen could walk unafraid through her streets, cocky in my youth, ignorant and innocent. Oh how long ago was that moment when young boys in her safe bosom concentrated their restless energy on ogling at nubile young girls, and not on killing each other.

May what she could have been be seared into our collective memory, so that on some dark night, when we have exhausted ourselves and murdered the humanity in us, we may still remember with forlorn eyes, how truly bereaved and bereft we are-the lost children of a town that was.

May we see ghosts then, all around us, the darkest ghosts of our futile and violent existence, and peering into the terrifying darkness may we at last mourn a town, a people, a life.

oh Churachandpur, Lamka or whatever moniker they append to thee, remember a son, for he will never forget.

Lalsiemdik Tusing writes for the first time to
The writer can be contacted at ltusing@gmail.comm
This article was webcasted on 17th and updated on 22nd January 2006.

* 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.

  • Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #1 : Gallery
  • Premier League coaches train : Gallery
  • Culturals @ Republic Day #3 : Gallery
  • Draft Asian Declaration: right to justice #4
  • Radhakumar's Atoppa Sansar Amada #2
  • Prevention of cruelty to trees
  • Premier League coach train NE participant
  • GoI may sign agreement without NSCN(K)
  • Manipur celebrates New Year with gaiety
  • Zeliang denies involvement in terror funding
  • Shopping: Sajibu Nongma Panba #1: Gallery
  • Stall @Science Congress, MU #1: Gallery
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba (Meitei New Year)
  • Saving Nambul: Convergence of view
  • Job @ PR Enterprises, Khurai
  • National Institute for Locomotor Disabilities
  • Seminar on 'Conflicts in South Asia'
  • Luck matters; but not always
  • On completing one year in office
  • Spectacle distribution at Loktak Station
  • DGAR visits Manipur on his farewell visit
  • PM at Science Congress @MU #1: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Water & color #3: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • A tribute to Stephen Hawking
  • Draft Asian Declaration: right to justice #3
  • Effect of a Sleepless Night :: Peom
  • Psychology at MIT School of Vedic Sciences
  • So near yet so far
  • Naga CSOs walking with JCILPS
  • Vegetables grown @Thanga #1: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Fancy Dress Contest: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sport @Khagempalli #2: Gallery
  • Truth of Life :: Poem
  • Celebration of womanhood
  • HQ IGAR (S) celebrates 15th Raising Day
  • Jet Airways for more flights for NE
  • Publicity doing good, Garbage filth continue
  • Other issue overriding education: Class XII
  • Wortam: The Rising Young Mashangva
  • Eidi Ethantani by Eyoom :: Review
  • OMCT : UA on harassment of Ranjeeta
  • Mass destruction of opium poppy cultivation
  • Career options in printing press
  • IBSD launches hi-tech facility for farmers
  • Bangalore Yaoshang - Cheiraoba Thabal
  • Quality over quantity
  • What will the PM have to say ?
  • Zeliang gets fresh summon from NIA
  • Lui-Ngai-Ni @Longmai (TML) #4 : Gallery
  • Nengneingah, Lungkhambou :: eMing
  • Yaoshang Water & color #2: Gallery
  • Draft Asian Declaration: right to justice #2
  • BJP led Govt, not flunk in first year
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Demand handing of Pravish case to CBI
  • PDA Govt claims false credit: NPF
  • Feminism & Path to Women's Liberation
  • Word of caution from Ibobi: BJP to listen
  • Yaoshang Cooking Contest #2 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa #4 : Gallery
  • Radhakumar's Atoppa Sansar Amada #1
  • Nigol :: Poem
  • List of Portfolios : Nagaland Govt
  • Clarify: Report of Zeliang summoned by NIA
  • Academic Programs offered by PHFI
  • Cong speaks: Changes expected in future
  • One year under the BJP: Significant but..
  • Students @ Class X Exam #2 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sport @Khongman: Gallery
  • Draft Asian Declaration: right to justice #1
  • Cry Of A Dying River...21 :: Peom
  • Manipur-Nagaland border disputes
  • Not a word on beauty on Women's Day
  • Women Religious Tour reaches New Delhi
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa #3 : Gallery
  • Chirom Indira- Nari Puraskar Award: Gallery
  • Human Rights Defender intimidated by Army
  • Rooftop Solar Power Plants: Gallery
  • Home stay for nature tourism in Manipur
  • Moodle: A learning management system
  • You can't stop small newspapers ...
  • BJP show in NE State: The backroom boys
  • Moldhin Chan: A Thado-Kuki Folktale #2
  • Yaoshang Nakatheng Chatpa #2 : Gallery
  • Mapithel Dam, Thoubal River & Tumukhong
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa #2 : Gallery
  • Time for "Nokphade" to go global
  • Campaign on International Women's Day
  • War between Left & Right has begun
  • Poppy plantation, destruction & missing link
  • Security beefed up ahead of PM's visit
  • Neroca FC to gear up for Super Cup
  • Yaoshang Halankar #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Water & color #1: Gallery
  • Harassment of Ranjeeta (HRA) by Army
  • Women's positions need to change
  • The Weeds :: Poem
  • We now know gold was created in space
  • Issues of women's rights should be priority
  • Protection of paddy land Act
  • Thabal Chongba @Khurai : Gallery
  • Bor-keina race @Yaoshang Fest : Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #1: Gallery
  • Tanushree @Elecrama Startup Award: Vote
  • Indian Science Congress in MU: Act East?
  • Fulbright 'pathways' for college leaving class
  • Job @ St. Stone Medical Devices
  • Army jawan martyred in Bongjai IED blast
  • National Integration Tour for Women
  • AR conduct Yaoshang sport festival
  • Condemns rising vendetta politics in NE
  • Yaoshang Sport - Marathon #1: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sport @Keishampat #2: Gallery
  • NERIST Director post vacant since 2014
  • Dynamic Startup 3.0 at MIMS, MU
  • NDPP Legislature 1st Meeting at Kohima
  • 8th Theatre Olympics at Guwahati
  • Naga solution in 6 months: Nagaland Gov
  • All villages to be electrified within month: CM
  • IM denies involvement in attack on Army
  • Yaoshang Cooking Contest #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sport @Keishampat #1: Gallery
  • Sentinel Cup Equestrian #5 : Gallery
  • Translating inclusion into seclusion is..
  • Condemns land acquisition of muslim
  • News erroneously portraying Zeliang
  • Report: Shillong Lajong vs East Bengal
  • Yaoshang Sport @Khagempalli #1: Gallery
  • LGBTQ Yaoshang Sports Meet #1 : Gallery
  • M. Shenbangpu : Akademi Award 2014
  • Tribe: A concept in a state of crisis
  • Neiphiu's NDPP-BJP alliance stakes claim
  • Digital footprints: Blueprints for detection
  • Rio refutes news about 'Naga Peace'
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Nakatheng Chatpa #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang with Governor : Gallery
  • Black holes that are neither holes nor black
  • Lingaraja Temple- Lord of Three Worlds
  • Study helps hill student make up lost day
  • Yaoshang Mei Thaba : Gallery
  • Saroi Khangba #3 : Gallery
  • Chirom Indira: Highest Civilian Honour
  • Rejoinder to "MCPCR in dire straits"
  • Poppy destruction: The new norm ?
  • Stop harassment of Urikhimbham
  • Sadar Hills District Demand :: Timeline
  • Understanding the origin & essence
  • Call to reduce Yaoshang days: Make it 3
  • 8th AMWJU Sports Meet : Gallery
  • March Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • Yaoshang Thabalgi Sen Khaiba #2 : Gallery
  • Stop this shaming of menstruation
  • Yaoshang Greetings from BJP Manipur
  • Self-conscious manhood: Find true self
  • Parl Secy: To be or not to be ?
  • Holi colours can cause side-effects
  • Equality matters
  • Creating nuisance on the roads
  • Lui-Ngai-Ni @Longmai (TML) #3 : Gallery
  • Cultural @ Republic Day #2 : Gallery
  • Nonsense is Sense : Guv's attention invited
  • Protection of Human Rights: Resolution
  • Protection of Human Right Defender: Meet
  • Mapithel dam chapter before NGT
  • GOC 3 corps calls on the Governor
  • Gangnam style is better
  • From boycott call to verbal duel: NPF, BJP
  • Festival of Colours to Sports Festival
  • Food Processing Training @Oinam : Gallery
  • Time to ban malicious Moreh products
  • Cry of a Dying River - 20 : Poem
  • Training prog on Food Processing at Oinam
  • One year - now a doomsday ahead..
  • Thought on full five days of Yaoshang
  • Loree Kaju Luita Phanit #3 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Thabalgi Sen Khaiba #1 : Gallery
  • Death trolls :: Poem
  • Culinary arts as career option
  • Wetlands for a sustainable urban future
  • 12th Annual Damms Sports Meet 2018
  • NPF files complaint with ECI
  • Social Media for Empowerment
  • The perfect leader
  • NPF on the offensive against BJP
  • Lui-Ngai-ni Token Celebration at Chadong
  • Sannaroisingee Numit 2018 : Gallery
  • Reminiscence of career as an aerobiologist
  • Automation in microbiology laboratory
  • India's 'Act East' policy : Unlocking Manipur
  • Indo-Naga Peace Process :: Articles
  • No question of merger with anybody: NDPP
  • SC/ST wants reservation in Private Sector
  • Delhi-da Thabal MSAD na sougatchade
  • Students @ Class X Exam #1 : Gallery
  • AoNna tEnaba :: Seireng
  • Thanga Keithel : Gallery
  • Saroi Khangba #2 : Gallery
  • Konthoujam Kunjo :: Akademi Award
  • Cry of a Dying River - 19 :: Poem
  • Folk Dance @ Republic Day #2 : Gallery
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • Temples of Manipur : Gallery
  • MaiOn - Scenes #3 :: eRang
  • Singcha Wuya Won @Kamjong #5: Gallery
  • Recipients of Akademi Awards for 2014
  • List of MLA (Jan 2018) #2 : Gallery
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic