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E-Pao! Essays - My Mother Manipur : How she bled?

My Mother Manipur : How she bled?

By: Likla

As some of you might know, this week starting from the 8th until the 14th of this month is International Women's Week. We get to celebrate women's struggle against all odds, their courage, their strength and their silent fight to be regarded as an equal, all of which reflect their undying beauty. However on this particular occasion, I would like to pay homage to the Mother of all my mothers: MANIPUR.

I left her so long ago, never knowing when I would get to see her again. All I remembered of her were mere shimmers of gold twinkling somewhere in my thamoi ( heart) not exactly knowing what it was or what it meant. All I knew of her is what my father and mother spoke of her, all I saw of her is how my mother would dress, the smelly and funny things they ate and their strange mannerisms.

I had once laughed at and been ashamed of them for being so strange, so "Manipuri", so different from the world we were now living in. I had once blamed them for ridiculing me in front of my peers as being some sort of mongoloid breed residing in India. Why didn't I look Indian? Why didn't I speak Hindi? Why did I have to go through pins and needles to explain where I came from? I hated them because I asked myself those questions and I hated them for not being able to answer them. I hated them because they loved Her so much that they couldn't forget her, but most of all, I hated Her for she was the root of all my problems.

This so-called Manipur, what was that anyway? Some small state in nowhere land? I remember humming the tunes to "Nowhere Man" by Lenon every time I was reminded of this Manipur. Reminiscing, what was it again? Ah yes, a mere shimmer... nothing more.

Those were the thoughts not of an angry youth but one who needed her Mother more than anything else. One who needed to hear her voice sing lullabies, to smell her sweet scent and to be held in her Great Arms. Since the day I left my Mother, (not being particularly quick) it took me 11 years to realise who she was and how vital she was to me. I left to visit Mother after many years on a warm day of July. "I'm heading toward the abyss", I thought to myself. "Oh well, at least I'm coming back, thank god!"

[If only I had known then what I know now. The mere thought that those words vibrated my vocal chords throws me into a rage!]

Just as I got into the plane, I felt relief knowing I was going "home" soon (where I presently live) but when the plane took off, I felt a strange sensation grab hold of me. I wasn't nauseous, I wasn't sick but I still didn't understand this strange feeling. I felt as though I was a child again. I felt as though I was being immersed in Holy Water. There was a transition-taking place. Just as I was trying to decipher this mystery, my father nudges my shoulder and quietly says, "We are Home". I look out from the little window and just as I glance at what he referred to as "Home", a sharp glitter blinds me for a few hundredths of a second. A shimmer of gold it was, coming from the tin like roof. I remember that at that exact moment, a revelation runs through my brain like electric pulse running through water: swift and significant. There I understood, a shimmer of gold. I couldn't believe what I was seeing, a paradise on Earth! A tear fell on my hand, she glimmered for a few seconds and then ran down my arm.

Alas I had to leave her yet again, but this time never again to be separated from my Mother.

Now that I know who and what she is, I know in my heart she bled every time I hated my parents, every time I hated myself for being born of Her... every time I hated Her. She is every mother, father, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, neighbour and friend born of her. Why should we make her bleed like this? Why don't we help her heal? And every time you raise your hand at a fellow Manipuri, hate her... kill her, we kill our Mother. We make her shed this Sacred blood not meant to be shed.

The more we make her bleed, the more she dies, the more she will be forgotten as I had once forgotten. Let us unite as siblings born of this Great Mother. Let us not hurt her anymore.

For those living with Mother, you are lucky but cherish every moment with her, embrace her. I only pray so that I can embrace her once more before I die (God Forbid).

Glory to my Mother, Mother of all mothers.

Happy International Women's Week to all the women of Manipur as well as of the world.


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