TODAY -

Aroba's Home Sojourn
- Part 3 -

S Waikhomba Mangang *



Ngapemma Chanu weds Belandri Khuman

Aroba read the wedding card. There were activities of all sorts in Tomba's family. The pandal was huge and was populated by the Leirak folks. With the parents letting them free, the children played gleefully.

Old emas, very old emaboks and very very old eboks were in their best attires with elaborate gold jewelleries that were heavier than the combined weight of their false teeth.

Young ladies wore bright phaneks with chandon smeared on their faces-from the temple to the tip of their nose. Men were on pheijoms, mainly.

The groom arrived and sat on the holy alter to start a new life. The groom was all puffy. There were no smiles on his face. Nene Ngapemma arrived in all her grandeur. Though beautiful, she looked like a mannequin with dictated foot walks. She was decorated like the Goddesses in Durga Puja pandals. Most of the Leirak ladies were glued to her bridal wear-gold embroidered polloi.

Aroba could not help but observe the following of the Meetei chanuras.

1. The Meetei chanuras had three phases in their lives.

2. First Phase: Time before marriage. Very normal and very regular.

3. Second Phase: The marriage day. Though very short and just for few hours, this phase was the greatest leveler amongst the chanuras. On this day, all the Meetei chanuras in Manipur look exactly the same-very beautiful, but for few hours. With different layers of cream painted on their faces and all the visible parts, even a dark Meetei Chanu looks milky white.

4. Third phase: Next day after the marriage, same like the first phase. Meetei Chanuras turn to their former natural self-wheatish, brownish, dusky and yellowish.

5. Golds are forever not diamonds in Manipur.

The marriage ceremony ended with the traditional routine-crying festival among the female folks punctuated by the sobbing of male relatives of the bride. Most young ladies had to hold back their tears to avoid the damaging effect of the tears on their layered faces. However, they could not help blowing their noses loudly.

**********

The next day's headlines were not pleasant. Because of the failure of the talks between the government and the agitating organization, the latter announced to impose indefinite blockade along the highways.

"Flight ta hotnase," said Aroba's mother.

"Hoi indomcha, cyber café da flight ticket yenglak:age," responded Tomba.

Tomba and Aroba searched for the cheapest deals. Chindigo, Goo Airways, Thindian Airlines were booked to the capacity. The second best deal was with the KingMonkey Airlines with 40 minute stoppage at LGB International Airport, Guwahati. Tomba booked the tickets.

"Aroba, Tomba hoida nang chakkoubane," informed Aroba's mother.

"Chatho:aga ngantana tumnaba tousi"

Tomba's mother prepared an assorted dinner with more than five dishes. Aroba's mouth watered on seeing yongchak eromba and tharoi kangou.

"Nabani phajana leiminnou ko. Khatnaba yade echasa," advised Tomba's mother. With mouth watering dishes in front of them, they hardly could spare moments to respond. They cleaned the plates in no time.

"Flight no. KM 1313 welcomes you all on board KingMonkey Airlines," announced the air hostess. It was the first flight for Aroba. He listened attentively to the safety tips demonstrated by the air hostesses. After the stoppage at Guwahati, the plane was afloat again.

"Tomba, plane sida toilet leibro?"

"Hoi,maningda chatlaga leibane," responded Tomba with one eyed closed.

The air hostess showed him the lavatory. Aroba released his solid-liquid pressures inside the loo. He felt better. But alas! By the time he could press the flush button, the yongchak after-effect was all over. The air hostesses who were packing the foods for catering gave him confused looks. Their hospitality and manners were at test.

Apparently annoyed, majority of the passengers who were from Manipur made faces at Aroba.

"Keino Aroba, control touba yadro? Namthibana," whispered Tomba angrily.

"Usss... bhai warouba yade"

Concluded ...


* S Waikhomba Mangang wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition)
This article was posted on March 20, 2013



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