TODAY -

Riverside Lampaks: The Lost Space...

Omila Thounaojam *

A football match at Lampak  :: Pix - Jinendra Maibam
A football match at Lampak :: Pix - Jinendra Maibam



Where did it disappear? Who consumed it? Why did it happen? Why did we let it go from our lives? - The general principles of life are simple. It seems to suggest like saying loud "forgive, forget and go." Human psychology evolves but can we say for the better.

It is just a disco and a hip hop that is the essential "retro" trend thriving today with us (to mention some examples here). Certain things in our lives are immensely valuable that we can't even by mistake fail to respect.

Once they go from our midst, it dies off gradually and disappears forever. The heartbreaking notion is they don't get killed just like that but leaves behind with us a "vacuum" that could never be explained logically.

To what extent will it affect our conscious will be a personal call. Coming straight to the point, I'm talking here about a physical space called "lampak" that could be claimed to have been missing from our midst today. With a few exceptions here and then, this place/space no longer seems to occupy our lives like before.

It's almost gone and gone are the days when young and old would resort to this location as a resting common ground. Bygone days… sad rustic forgotten days I must say. It only captures our imagination only accidentally once in a while when our brothers/ sisters/ grannies/ elders happen to mention by a slip of a tongue.

They compare sweet olden golden days and memories of it with the lethargic dulled life today and there, stories of "kei and yen," "swa," "tellanga paibi" and many more energetic games will be recalled once again.

In particular, those "lampaks" situated by a riverside were a magical treat and were like natural parks. Today rivers in Manipur look all disguised and fake ones. Frankly they are more like drains due to our negligence and irresponsibility. Every meaningful place and space that are part of "who" we are, are shrinking or are getting subsumed beyond repair under sick dead habits.

We are best at just one thing "letting go" - we let go parts of us so easily. Irrecuperable elements of our society are just negated easily in the name of turning "city men/women." No one seems to bother about the killing we are involved with when we let JCBs grind our sacred spaces.

Today we are satisfied living in a "box." If possible we may not find it uncomfortable at all when some high brain invents a technology that will save us from even breathing.

"Lampaks" as we call it are not just some vacant space befitting being treated as a wild game house. On the contrary they are the community locale that nurture a healthy lifestyle for a better society. Our social growth owes much to it in the way it facilitated a get together forum since long and way back when web based communication systems were not even conceived.

The whole systematic concept of healthy and social living was the kind of lesson imparted subtlety by the patterns in which this space accommodated youths and old everyday at a certain time of a day automatically.

Don't you think my dear friends that we gave away a precious segment of us, our past, our tradition by not doing anything when things were getting unquestionably compromised?

Some may say the space resides still with us but is it so…. I don't think so and I lament reminiscing a way of innocent life that was positively derived way back at a time from this "lost space."


* Omila Thounaojam wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition)
The writer is a Research Scholar at Assam University (Silchar)
This article was posted on September 27, 2012.



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