Bandhgi Dasha - The Cost of Bandh

Ningtamba Meetei *

Ningthamthagi liklaana koina taariba inglaba ayukni. Ingbana trat trat chingsillaba ayuksida photpagi daakphamna masing khangdraba khonggrao ama shet, mapham kayada horaba amanba jersey ama lit, mahaajongi awaaiba rickshawdo tapna tapna inthorak-e Lukhoi.

Rickshawdo tapna tapna thouna Lukhoina khalli........"ngasi eina mee oihoudabadagi rickshaw thouduna waana nongmagi charaa taanduna punshi lenjarabasu hayeng echaa haaktaktadi eina meekok thonggani. Leita laaira amadi nongju nungshagi kallaba shaphu kayana yeibada choktharaba, daakpham nairaba thawaai hakchaangse hayeng echaa Thoibana doctorgi angouba phijoldo shetpa ooraga kokkadouribani........" Rickshawdo thouna thouna nokphet toujei Lukhoi khalliba waakhalda.

Lukhoigi imungda meeoi mangaani leirise. Adubu houjikti mari khakta ngaaire maagi nupi Tombina leikhidraba matungsida. Mashagi anaaba amadagi leikhidabi maagi nupido matam chaana laayengba ngamhoudabadagi laairaba kouba amuba laaigi khayaatta taakhibani. Aduna Lukhoina maagi machanupa Thoibabu doctor ama oihanbagi aashadani awaaphamda nungaaipham thiribase.

Nungthil waairam matamni. Kaanghou-boraa khara chaaraga ngaaihaak Lukhoina potharingeida nongmei kaappagi makhol taakhi. Ngaaihaak leiragadi maraang maraang keithel adum kaaire. Maramdi khangde adubu mawong amani haaiduna Lukhoisu bharaagi mayum maaikei tamna maagi rickshawdo prap prap thourak-e.

Yum mamaanggi lampaak machaaduda saanaduna leiriba class 5 tamliba machaanupa Thoibana mapaa oobada haraaona baba kouraga chensillak-e. Shor thabet thabet hon nokphet touna machanupana hairak-e: "baba eikhoi chahigi parikhya haidokle aduga eina makok taare. Parikhyada makok taaradi babana ningthamthagi jacket fajaba ama Sunday Market tagi leibini haibado leibiyuko baba." Nokphet toujei Lukhoi aduga hairak-e: "karigi leidani echagibu babana." Macha nupabu rickshaw mathakta tonghallaga harao harao rickshawdo yumgi maanggol tamna thoujillak-e Lukhoi.

Mapaagi rickshaw makhol taabada imungdagi chahi 13-14 surabi machanupi Thabado chahi 2 ta ngaairiba manao nupa Nanaobu pamduna chenthorak-e aduga hairak-e: baba anganggi achapot leirakpra? Lukhoina khumlak-e: epaana echa Nanaogi chempaak ahaoba leirak-e. Masi hairaga machabu pamlaga mapaa macha makhoi mayam imungda punna changkhre.

Mapaana keitheldagi leirakpa khara thongladuna chak loire haina mapaa amadi manao anibu chak charase haina hairak-e Thabana. Mapaa macha ekoi koina chak charingei talaktuda Thoibana mapaada oinajana hairak-e: baba eigi jacket to hayeng leibirak-uko hayengdi nongmaijing numitni. Lukhoina khumlak-e: leigani handakti nanggi jacketsu, chechegi phuritsu aduga Nanaogi khong-oop pee-pee laobisu. Mapaagi wahei tabada nokphet touna haraojei angangsingdo.

Chak tokle, pungsu 7:30 tarakle. Pao taanaba radio amanbido hek thagatlubada Lukhoi swai laokhre parakliba paodu tabada :"Ngasi nungthil keithelda nongmei kapnabagi thoudoktuda potpham phambi nupi ama leikhidre. Thoudok asibu yaningdaba phongdokpa oina hayeng Manipur bandh koukhre." Toupham khangda ngaihak oonglaga Lukhoi maagi phamung tamna tapna tapna changkhre.

Machagi mai pakpagi nungairaba numitki ahingdo Lukhoidi tumba yakhide wakhalda....."Hayeng bandh oirabadi hangchitti kari chagani...???"

Translated by:
Cecil Thounaojam

The Cost of Bandh

It's a cold winter morning with dew drops all over. On this chilly morning filled with shivers, wearing a trouser having numerous stitches and a sweater that have holes in various parts, Lukhoi slowly pulled out the rickshaw rented to him by the owner.

Paddling the rickshaw slowly, Lukhoi thought, "Though, today, I am living my life struggling to earn a day's meal by riding this rickshaw, which is all because I couldn't be a successful man, someday when it's the time of my children, I'll be victorious. This wounded, scarred and tired body, due to the beatings of poverty, rain and sun, will be healed when I'll see my son Thoiba in the white uniform of doctor." Lukhoi smile at his own thought and continued to ride his rickshaw.

Lukhoi had a five-membered family. But today, it's only four after his wife, Tombi, deceased. It was an illness that killed his wife whom he failed to cure on time, and thus got trapped in the mouth of the black devil known as poverty. This is why Lukhoi dreams of making his son Thoiba a doctor and tries to find glimpses of happiness amidst the sorrows.

It was in the evening. After having some kanghou-bora (local delicacies which are fried pulses and flour dough) and while relaxing for some time, Lukhoi heard of some guns' firing. After a while, there was a chaos in the market. Didn't know the reason but seemed to be dangerous and thus Lukhoi rode his rickshaw hurriedly towards his rented house.

His son Thoiba studying in 5th standard, who was playing in the small ground right in front of their house, when saw his father, came running joyously towards him, calling "Daddy!!!". Breathing heavily, his son said, "Daddy our annual result is out and I topped. As daddy said that if I top the exam, you will buy me a beautiful jacket for winter from Sunday Market, please get me one". Lukhoi just smiled and said, "Why daddy won't, for my son?" Making his son sit on the rickshaw, Lukhoi rode his rickshaw towards the verandah.

When heard of the sound of her father's rickshaw, the 13-14 year old daughter, Thaba, ran out from the room holding her 2 year old brother in her arms and said, "Daddy did you get snack for the child?" Lukhoi replied, "Daddy got some tasty champak for my son, Nanao". After saying this, holding his son in his arms, the father and the children, all of them, went inside the house, altogether.

After cooking whatever his father had bought from the market, Thaba announced that the food had been cooked and asked her father and two brothers to have dinner. Father and all the children were seated in a circular fashion and while having dinner, Thoiba said to his father, lovingly, "Daddy, get my jacket tomorrow, tomorrow is Sunday". Lukhoi responded, "Yes, this time I'll buy your jacket, sister's top and also shoe for Nanao that makes pee-pee sound". Having heard of their father's words, all the children smiled with glimpses of innocent joy.

Dinner was over and it's almost 7:30. As soon as he turned on the old radio to listen to the news, Lukhoi got shocked with fear hearing the news that was read; "In that incident of firing in the market that happened today in the evening, an old woman was killed. Expressing disagreement to this incident tomorrow is announced Manipur bandh". Lost for a moment in confusion, and then Lukhoi slowly went towards his bed.

That night of his son's glorious day, Lukhoi couldn't sleep with the thought "If tomorrow is bandh, then what will we eat day after tomorrow..???"

* Ningtamba Meetei wrote this article for
The story was sent by Cecil Thounaojam who can be contacted at ceilthojm(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on June 25, 2013.

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