A Visit :: A Short Story
- Part 1 -
Uttamkumari Yumkham *
Winter Morning Fog in Imphal, Manipur in December 2008 :: Pix - Mayum Network
The chirpy sounds of the birds wakes me up and I listen to the human voices that surrounds me and the patter of footsteps on the floor ; I was in a trance and they were calling me names so that I could wake up and they were reading the morning newspapers over a cup of tea along with biscuits or bread as the day promises to supply.
They were chattering about the events that happened the day before of some encounter between a revolutionary army and police personnel or of some trivial incidents like tomorrow will be a holiday because some revolutionary gang imposed a whole Manipur bandh or general strike because the government failed to appease their demands . These are usually some of the burning topics in our Manipuri society and such news fills the front pages of the local newspapers usually and thus there is no surprise in it.
I wake up and sit with my legs crossed and I smile and feel the warm and gentle rays of the morning sun coming in through the wide open window that papa had just opened for me , this he does every day after coming back from his regular morning walk and also he will lift up the mosquito net and place it above the front edges of the bed . I can see a beautiful view of the fresh green leaves of some unknown trees glistening in the sun .
I always want mornings to be very peaceful and silent so that I can meditate and rejuvenate my senses but the commotion and noises are rather characteristic of every family to some extent I think and I must bear it even though I don't like it. Adjustment is the key to happiness here in the case of my family and of course for others also.
I look at the stacks of books and novels and pens and other stuff that is next to the bed on a rack and I take out a novel written by James Joyce , it's the Ulysses and I try to grasp few words , it's rather thick and will take a long time to read , plus the Joycean wordplay , but the noises inside my family disturb me and I quit.
I love literature a lot and I always feel that literature is a medium in which ideas work towards shaping some kind of image where the borderline between art and life , the real and the fictional fades evoking a sense of appreciation to the readers. Literature became the moving force of my life. There is a wooden cupboard with a mirror attached on its left front door a few feet away from the bed and I will look into the mirror everyday when I wake up and adjust my shrivelled hair with my fingers acting like a comb and I will smile and feel myself beautiful or at least presentable in front of the magic mirror as I use to call it.
There is a small trunk made of tin which is kept next to the cupboard and above the trunk there is a brass platter and in it I placed all the idols of god that we have in our family - there is a figure of lord Krishna , goddess Lakshmi and two Ganesha , all of them are made of brass except one Ganesha figure is coated with silver like metal but I don't know for sure of what it is made of.
I sometimes worship these idols but when my temper goes fiery , I even utter to myself that there is no god who can help me attain peace in my life even for a moment. This is madness or wrath and I hate it although I mentioned it like that but inside me I can always feel that there is god , yes there is god indeed. I would love to sleep till the last moment and snug myself on the pillow and cover my face and think about him yes his smile, that lift up my heart , his attitudes , his gestures and his lovely eyes as if beckoning me to come near him .
I will smile when I will see him smiling and then we will talk about many interesting things . I am no longer a child any more but I sometimes fancy myself as one of the princess in a fairy tale and once I used to sleep with a frog , you believe it or not and I sometimes feel he is going to be my prince charming but my prince charming doesn't ride a horse instead he will ride a bike and everything will happen according to the law of justice or what the literary critics often say - poetic justice or in short our love story will turn out to be a very happy ending although we have not proposed to each other yet. Sounds odd, isn't hmm.... . I was jolted out of my reverie when Mama comes and scolds me to get up and then she went towards the kitchen.
I always love to think about the events of the day , I like this day to be very special and beautiful like a new beginning after a terrible tsunami or some kind of accident that had left lasting impressions on my mind. Today I must surely meet him and find out his house because he is going to left Manipur for Bangalore the day after tomorrow , may be in future , I may not be able to meet him or anything can happen , I must not wait for time to come , this is the moment and this is the perfect time and one last meeting , a few exchange of words , a smile is going to make me happy forever and the coming generations may not bestow me this chance.
He sometimes came to my place whenever he is in Manipur for vacation but I didn't know his house , I must know his house if I have to continue my friendship with this guy. Why do I always fear that tomorrow may not come and the sun will not rise again ? why everyone is so practical in their day- to - day affairs and why they believe that tomorrow the sun will rise again , there will be a light breeze or there will be showers and everything on earth will be normal.
Oh god! what is happening and what is going to happen , I don't know and I am not in control of myself . You can call me a mad person because I always do things differently , behave differently and even think differently , yes this is me and you love it or not it will be me always , yes . I sat quietly musing - , I cannot bear my heart, I have lost my mind and my senses are going numb .
The words that I string together like wreaths of flowers stuck inside my chords , My pulse rising and falling And my heart is laden with emotions. Is this love or something else? O Jay! You are my mirror I can see my life revolving , constantly changing , Taking myriads of images and shapes.
Oh time! Pass slowly and slowly Give me a chance to taste love's eternal flavour And one moment and your smile will fill my whole world. Like the light that shines everyday that reveals everything beautiful to mankind This is bliss and this is love I can feel the light inside me O god you are great , please love me Wish me good luck Om shanti , shanti shanti. . 'Ebemma! Ebemma! Wake up , it's too late , the sun is going to be overhead soon ' Said Mama again calling me from the kitchen I suppose , this time she raised her alarming tone because it's late again .
Ebemma is the common name for a lady in Manipur. I had decided yesterday that I will wake up a little earlier than usual but I just can't do it. It applies to me very well that 'rules are made to be broken'. Suddenly I wake up quite involuntarily and I pick up a plastic bucket and went towards the small pond and draw a bucket full of water and went inside the bathroom and finish my morning ablutions.
I went to the front of the house near the porch and watch the potted flowers - the forgets –me- not's of soft baby pink and violet colour , the sweet smell of the pure and white rajnigandhas , carnations of various shades - purple , pink , pink and white combination etc. , sweet smelling roses of red, yellow and pink and myriads of unknown flowers sprawling around the little unruly garden .
The dew drops on the soft and velvet like petals of the red roses moves my heart. It 's such a pleasure to see and watch these creatures , they put a warm smile on your face that lasts through the day . God has indeed given us a bountiful life and if we are sensible enough we can live in peace and harmony with our environs
To be continued...
* Uttamkumari Yumkham wrote this Story for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at uttamkumariyumkham(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on June 05, 2012 .
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