TODAY -

Unheimlich :: A Short Novel
- Part 1 -

Louriyam Bebica *

Unheimlich :: A Short Novel


In the interest of the reading public and with the permission of the writer, we are reproducing the novella in a serial format... .
- Hueiyen Lanpao

Introduction: I'm a non-English speaker. Since my childhood, it has been a tough job on the part of my father in trying to reach me how to put those tenses, word forms, vocabularies, etc, in their correct places in a sentence. Here, in my novella I simply had tried to jot down whatever was on my little mind.

I had given less importantance to the fact that my father might give me many red-cross marks in many of my sentence constructions. I wrote it when I had a long gap from my school after giving my class 12th examination when the conflict between the bucket of tenses and the bucket of those word forms were at the highest peak. I could have sat down and restrict those mistakes again. But I decided not to do it. Because in that case, I will be more of a translator (L1 to L1), rather than presenting the original copy mind of that teenage girl. I would have been unfair to her.

It is about a typical girl who cries on every silly thing, a girl who wants nothing than her home. There are thousands of teenagers in a state like ours, who are deprived from home even though they were blessed with home. I remember my own experience when I will cry since the day before of my schedule to leave home for hostel. Even in the train, I would pretend as if wiping out my tears whenever my dad or cousin looked at me. I would continue this drama till I reached my hostel. Even from there, I would plan many excuses to take me home. I even tried some emotional blackmailing, especially to my mom.

There are certain things we Manipuri understand from every angle. We are having a life with no change, no try. We are confining in this labyrinth.

1. The prayer we offered here are different, "Dear God, even if the firing or bomb blast broke out, let it be in another village; even if it's in our village, let it be in another Leikai; even if it's in our Leikai, let it be another street; even if it's in our street, let it be in another family or our next door neighbor. Go do everything excluding me and my family".

2. The rest of the mankind might have only one kind of reaction while opening a letter. However, in my state, we have two different ways of reaction. Because we receive two kinds of letters in our letter box, one with postal stamp and the other without postal stamp. There might be anxiety or casual reaction while opening the former letter. In the case of second letter, the reader would rub their bald heads again and again and say, "Ash! Ash! Kadaidagee Louruni ( From where we will get)".

From that very simple reaction, even a kid will know that their father has received a demand letter. This letter completely destroys the idea of Ronald Barthes' 'Dead of the Author'. Here, the reader has no role; the meaning is only what the writer has said. Though it carries few words, it has the highest weight of all the letters. It can cause heart break, BP stroke, etc, to the readers. So it may be equivalent to call from Yam Raj.

3. With the change of time, we have opted many western names while naming our babies. It doesn't mean everyone wanted these names. There are others reasons too. People usually are scared to het phone calls from these types of name like Athouba, Angamba ... etc. So parents ignored such names while naming their babies for their safety in future.

4. Another name which often killed the sleep of the people is 'iyamba'. We have the common sense that whenever, this name is heard; there lies the threat to life. Because for their every act their answer will be 'we are simple following the order of iyamba'. Their iyamba is so powerful that they don't mind killing our iyamba.

5. Declaring dead after the person was killed is another frequent scene here. Let's say that the person's guilt is from head to toes, yet is killing the only solution? Some day or the other, we have to die, why do we take the natural cause in our hand?

Saying this, I do not mean none of them fight for the true cause. There must be hundreds of people among them who wanted to sacrifice their lives for us. But our mind is like water. When something dilutes it, normally we change our concept. Those fake faces among them have blurred the vision of the true cause.

6. Like in Hindi movies, the police, the commandos, or any defense servicemen will come a bit late after the incident. They won't catch the culprit, but will pour out their anger on those innocent people. They will line them up or pick up some of them and beat till they are tired. If they happen to kill anyone in this beating process, then the headline of the next day's paper will something like this "A SUSPECTED MILITANT HAS BEEN KILLED".

Under this headline, there will be claim that some magazines and bullets were recovered from the slain suspected militant. At times, I wonder what he must be doing with those bullets without the gun in his hand. He was killed only because, he was a suspect. He wasn't given a chance to clarify whether he was guilty or innocent. According to the law, we are not guilty till we are proved to be guilty. But here we cannot be guilty till we are not being shot to dead. Once we are dead, we are guilty.

7. Defense service is something we respect adorably. Because, we believe it is the complete package of physical, mental and discipline. For them rule is above everything. But we have different scenario here. In order to get that money invested while getting their jobs, they can go to any extent.

For instance, the sign board may writes "STOP NO VEHICLES ARE ALLOW', the road may be worst than paddy field in monsoon or there may be no space even for foot-path because of jam. If you held out your hand with a Rs 10 rupees note from the window, then you can drive in anywhere without reducing the speed of your car.

People often talked of unconditional love, what about love? Does it need any condition? When a kid grows up, their parents talked of settling them their lives in a proper home. Hence, in my place, parents can sleep only till their kids are young. Once they grow up, let's say, if they no longer wear torn half-pants, or they no longer run in naked in front of their parents, then they become the prey of both militants and defense group.

Since that stage, the parents will do nothing other than planning to send them from here. Because they do not want to search for their kids at every bomb blast sites or het high blood pressure every morning while reading the newspaper in which the photographs of the distorted bodies of shoot-out victims are usually carried on front page. It doesn't mean that the kids are free from the chariot of Yam Raj. It is just they could get kidnap or kill at any time.

The novella is about the about the fault act of power, the power they received from predator machine. Giving a home or freedom doesn't imply on those concrete buildings. The place where there is no fear of being killed, where we can be the way we are is what a home is. Many organizations with power have merged.

They have blackened the true spirit of those patriots who are among them. They know only how to gain profit by peeling off the skin of innocent people. Both the militant and the defense personnel seem to be fighting for us, for giving us a peaceful place which we can call as home. But none of us get it and suffer in their hands.

When I wrote this novella, it really has nothing to do with any real character or incident. It is all creation of my imagination. Since I being a master in making mistakes, am damn sure that there will be millions of mistakes in my novella. I will like to apologize if anything that happen to offend anyone or any particular group. I would also like to open by heart for those with any kind of feedback.

To be continued...


Unhimlich" written by Louriyam Bebica was released at Imphal Hotel on December 17, 2011 . Organised by Cultural Research Centre Manipur, the book launched function was graced by Special Secretary and Director (YAS) H Deleep Singh, IAS as chief guest, Asst professor Kha Manipur College Chirom Rajketan as president and Olivia High School Principal Kaibon Dirinamai as guest of honour respectively. Prof Jodha C Sanasham, head of department of ENT JNIMS, also attended the function as book reader. - TSE News


* Louriyam Bebica wrote this novella and is now reproduced by Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition)
The writer can be contacted at bebicalouriyam(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on April 05, 2012 .



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