TODAY -

Aroba's Home Sojourn
- Part 2 -

S Waikhomba Mangang *



"Aroba, ebani yum thokpa tai," said Tomba Hanks.

Aroba dried up his body with the towel as he came out from the washroom.

"Kei tourage?"

The occasion was the wedding of Tomba's aunt. Both Tomba and Aroba were asked to be present for the wedding ceremony. Both were lucky enough to get confirmed berths on some Delhi-Dibrugarh special train moving on the following day at 5 AM.

"Bhai saheb, kya yeh S-6 hain?" asked Aroba to a man who was talking to a lady seated inside the coach.

"Haan ji"

Aroba and Tomba got the side upper and side lower berths. The ambience inside the train was anything but clean with used plastic bottles and wafer packets littered all along the aisle.

"Sirji, I wished I had no daughter. My son is much better"

"Why ji? Nowadays, there is no difference between a boy child and a girl child"

The loud talk between the two passengers awakened Aroba, who was sleeping on the lower berth. He checked Tomba. He was whistling through his nose.

"Dekhiye Sirji, do you see that huge baggage there? Actually there is a guitar inside it," said that man as he pointed his finger beneath the lower berth.

"So?"

"Sirji, the mood of my daughter changes with every season. When she was very young, she wanted to dance. I enrolled her in a dancing school. Then after some months, she wanted to learn singing. I fulfilled her request. Then she wanted to be part of a theatre troupe. I enrolled her in an acting school. She did not like that acting school and I had to bring her back." The man narrated his fatherly ordeals with gusto. Aroba made out from his narration that the man lovingly loved his daughter.

"And Sirjee, she wanted to move to Bangalore to pursue her graduation. She stayed there for three years and spent all that I could have earned in six years!"

"Ha ha ha..."

"And?"

"After that, she wanted to be an airhostess. I enrolled her in the AirHostess Training Academy in Delhi"

"So, now is she happy?" asked Sirji.

"No Sirji. She asked me to get her a guitar. And Sirji, with great labour and with some help from the mohalla kids, I bought this guitar. The salesman told me that it was the best guitar. But she did not like it"

"Why?"

"She wants to have a pink guitar. And that guitar is a black one," said the man as he looked towards the baggage.

"Ha ha ha... Sacchi?"

"Haan ji!"

"Sirji, I think I have spent more than ten lakhs on my daughter"

"And what about your son?" asked Sirji jokingly.

"Oh! Ha ha ha... He is naughty but financially viable. I don't remember when was the last time I purchased him new clothes."

"Unlike the expenditures on my daughter, I bought him a second hand bike for fifteen thousand rupees. Since then, he never demanded anything from me"

"Really?"

"Haan ji Sirji!" Both broke into laughter. Aroba too laughed with them.

The special train was special indeed. It had few stoppages and reached Dimapur by 11.30PM the next day. Upon reaching, Aroba and Tomba came to know that some organization had imposed economic blockade along the highway.

~Mujhko pehchanlo main hoon don... main hoon don... main hoon don...

Mujhko pehchanlo main hoon don... main hoon don... main hoon don...~

"Hello ema?"

"Wo Aroba, Dimapur dei yubi khara leirak:o. Manipurda yamna tangngi"

"Ema economic blockade leirisidi?"

"Usss... chanabanena hekta haisinlo"

Aroba purchased some coconuts from the railway precincts. By daybreak, both got the tickets for the taxi service between Dimapur and Imphal. Apparently, the other passengers were students. The driver drove his vehicle along the well-maintained highway till Mao Gate smoothly, crossing stranded trucks at many places.

"Guys, do you feel that our vehicle is moving on a dried rocky river bed?"

"No, it is like driving on a moon crater!" The passengers commented about the condition of the road beyond Mao Gate towards Imphal.

"Khamo! Khamo!" A young man waved his hand to stop the vehicle before reaching Tadubi. There were groups of people, presumably volunteers of the organization imposing the economic blockade. The driver halted the vehicle.

"Poi te cu leisi ke pei me ze!" shouted an elderly man from the group to the young volunteers. He checked the belongings of the passengers and asked the driver to move.

To be continued ...


* S Waikhomba Mangang wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition)
This article was posted on March 17, 2013



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