The Beautiful Moon and Me

A. S. Usham *

The moon as seen in Imphal on December 10, 2011
The moon as seen in Imphal on December 10, 2011 :: Pix - Robert Leishangthem

"Thaa Thaa Thaa-bungton,
Nachaa Moraambi Pobige,
Pobi Sanam Nambi-ge,
Theibong Charong Amata,
Thaa-da-rak-u Thaabungton.

The very first time I can ever remember relating to the moon was this immortal lullaby my mother used to sing for me after dinner in our courtyard at moonlit nights. Comfortably as a little kid on my mother's back, those moonlit nights, I used to get excited about the possibility of the jackfruits the moon would possibly throw down. At the same breath, the kid in me would worry if ever Morambi would come down and fight with me for a share of my mother's care. And on some occasions, after I had seen how big a real "theibong" fruit was, I would ask my mother to ask for only a piece of the fruit instead, and not a bundle as it would be devastating if fully grown jackfruits fall down on us. Those were days of innocence and my romance with the moon has been strong ever since.

About a decade later, I was taught that an American had set foot on the moon. I believed my teacher. But, that didn't at any count deter the amount of my fascination for the Earth's only natural satellite. My journey of life has always been tightly inter-wined with the phases she goes through in the night sky since. Another decade later, thanks to the proliferation of electronic media, the moon-landing episode was declared a hoax with ample convincing proofs. My fascination had grown by leaps and bounds. Whatever the verdict, the moon continues to play its fascinating games on me as on any other cancerian. Many other cancerians also have this influence by the moon on them.

Apart from its beauty beyond compare, there are management skills to learn from the moon. She does not burn herself out like the sun though she also shines. She does not work full time but receives all the accolades and more. She does not even show up sometimes at all. And nobody has a reason to blame her. She comes out when the hard toil of the day is over and gracefully moves like a maiden and sooths the aching hearts with her divinity and shines and smiles in the glory of songs and poetries of those smitten young at heart. It must be a really satisfying proposition.

There are many of our songs and poetries based on the moon. One of the most memorable among them must be the one by our hugely popular late singer Pahari that goes like:
"Ningshingli Meragi Thaabaldo,
Thaabalna Chaamthoklaba maaithongdo,
Ekaai Nungshi yaannana,
Nangna enaakta lepkhiba

The other memorable song lingering in my mind is the line from Tapta -
" Thaabal da urum thijani ..".
While the first one is a pure nostalgic magic, the second one is suffused with meanings, and stands as a very fresh way of expressing beautifully in a brave new way. Such masterpieces often console me that I must not be the lone soul enchanted by her silvery grace.

The moon sooths more than an aching heart. It rejuvenates the soul. Watching the moon in her full bloom, there sometimes is even a naughty urge to howl. It may sound terrible but I did howl a couple of times releasing my tiredness away. And I am not a werewolf. It was rather a divine experience. While the silvery sea washed my aching bones and body which had been toiling in a nearby library, the howling washed away the burden inside my soul. That was a vocal mantra meditation where the voice that comes out of the throat carries away the negative energies and negative forces accumulated inside in these stressful pursuits in today's life. I came back a rejuvenated soul instead with a fresh zeal to move further on.

My habit of moon gazing has refused to leave me even when I have moved to Delhi, far from the usual courtyard in our frontier state where the monotonous meditative sounds of cricket and fragrance of night flowers were special effects while the moon shone upon us in her full glory. Among my experiences with the moon in Delhi, the most awkward must be the question a Delhite once asked me whether the moon shines in Manipur too. It was a neat reminder that if I live long enough, I would come across many interesting experiences free of cost and absolutely tax-free.

My heart still longs for those beautiful nights at home where upon the pristine terrains of valleys surrounded by consecutive rings of hills, the moon shines throwing down its silvery soothing magic irrespective of the hills or the valley, unmindful of the shamefully narrow artificial divide silently brewing underneath. Would it not be a foolish endeavour then to segregate among ourselves when every aspect of our mother nature indicates us to live together in peace?

And to my dear ignorant friend in Delhi, there shines a different moon in Manipur - it is much bigger, brighter, much more silvery and soothing; simply much more beautiful and nearer to my aching heart than the one I get to see here through the Delhi haze.

And dear readers, if you have an iota of doubt in my deliberation, please look up in the sky tonight. You will see the beauty of the biggest shiny silvery creation of god smiling down upon you, soothing you and mocking and teasing you if you look at her long enough. And if you consider yourself a little gutsy, and nobody else is around or watching you just give out a long howl. And if somebody returns your howl, it could just be me.

* A. S. Usham wrote this article for
The writer can be contacted at ushamas(at)rediffmail(dot)com
This article was posted on January 27, 2013

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