Zero Ibobi gi Helloi
- Part 2 -
Czadanda Saint *
"If the Government uses the instruments of power in its hands for the purpose of leading a people to its ruin, then rebellion is not only the right but the duty of every individual citizen."
- Adolf Hitler
Read Zero Ibobi gi Helloi : Part 1 here
Under the garb of a law, they were killed- so were going to be the protests. But f**k the law. f**k the chain of command. And if you are thinking to the contrary, f**k you as well. Because, the soldiers, they always have a choice. The soldiers, they can always choose- not to kill… not to shoot. Whatever be the apparent lack of accountability of their actions or the shirking of responsibility in the name of authority, the ones who ultimately pull the trigger always have a choice. But they chose to kill. And that made all the f**king difference.
And perhaps, this is the very reason I chose to travel back to this 2nd of November 2000 A.D., in my moment of hazy impulse. I just had to witness the Malom Massacre. I just had to see the soldiers who pulled the trigger in flesh and blood. I just had to see for myself what made them to do what they did. Was it a moment's anger or are they simply sadistic by nature? Do they regret their 'momentary lapse of reason' or do they simply revel in the gore?
And I saw it. Them. Their faces. Nothing can be read. Nothing can be seen. Nothing was to be shown. Apart from the glistening eyes, only lines can be seen in some of the faces. Do they betray lost and withered souls within or are they simply battle hardened scars which have erased their lines of conscience? It was real. It was very real. Looking upon the fallen, the faces of the dead showed more 'life' than the faces of the supposedly living, in the guise of soldiers. Looks of horror. Looks of 'surprise mingled with curiosity'. Looks of pure fright.
But looking in the eyes glistening eyes of the 'living' was more like staring into an abyss. And the abyss stares back at you. Staring, staring, an eerie silence filled the air amidst the pandemonium. It was the absence of humanity. The voiceless screams from behind the cold, hardened eyes. Shadow of human lives- sacrificed in the name of democracy. Patriotism- has it just become 'racism behind a flag"? The world I grew up in was forever gone. The way I see the world was never going be the same again.
I stood there for some time, lost in my own thoughts. But it was time for me to take leave. I have seen what I came to see. And what did I see? The soldiers neither regret their 'momentary lapse of reason' nor do they revel in the gore. It's all in a day's work for them. With a gun in their hands, they would shoot and they would kill; as they are trained to be. They have made their choices long time ago.
They no longer care if a few 'irrelevant' lives get caught in the crossfire, misfire and deliberate fire. 'What the f**k! Kill them all!' seems to be the attitude of the soldiers of that day. But to think that the same soldiers are somebody's father, somebody's brother, somebody's husband, and somebody's son! It was just beyond me. What exactly is the difference between We, the people and them, soldiers?
The question will forever remain. But it was time for me to go. So, I took out my half burnt Black. And I was about to lit it up, when I saw my Helloi coming towards me. Still in yellow. Still beautiful. An epitome of elegance. And she smiled and took my hand. And I understood, all in that moment's silence, she was to come with me.
I took a puff. It was my first ride with Helloi, my first date. The world swirled and the day was now the 3rd of November 2000. I was just in time to pay homage to the birth of a revolution. If people of that time only knew. If they only knew what they are bearing witness to. It was a moment in eternity- to resonate forever in the sands of time. And even beyond the realms of infinity, where existence has no governance. But the endeavor, the choice of one woman, which was to re-define the whole history of Manipur, had such a modest beginning.
It was so silent, so solemn, so serene; without the slightest trace of glitterati and paparazzi. And yet, it was beautiful, brilliant and so endearing at the same time. The humility, which was to be the backbone of the whole revolution itself, overawed me completely. I didn't want to miss a single gesture, a single word, a single movement of the finest illustration of satyagraha ever. I didn't blink. I even held my breath, in case I miss something.
But my Helloi pulled me away. And she smiled. I was annoyed. But she kept on holding to my hands and kept smiling, with her head bowed to a side. It was a beautiful sight. It was like she was promising me better things. I surrendered. She had become more than my guide. And in one graceful motion, she took the almost finished Black, dangling from my hand, and took a swift puff.
Fast forward a few years. We arrived at a desolate tea-stall. She drew my attention to a newspaper lying on the table, more particularly to one of the articles. It was about the atrocities committed against the women by the security personnel. Poignant. Beautifully written, it sent down shivers in my spine. How do the security personnel, who have got away with violating the modesty of the womenfolk in the semblance of law and security, make love to their wives back home? And the children borne out of such union with their wives are they the sons and daughters of rapists?
My Helloi was no longer smiling. There was a hard, cold look on her face. She was a woman after all. I kept looking at her. No wonder why I had fallen for her. I almost smiled to myself. But she caught me staring at her. And she looked back. She didn't even blink. But the eyes were no longer fierce. They told a story on their own. And I listened. The words of silence from her eyes.
The tragic story of a girl who got 'taken' by five monsters, on one cold wintry night, beneath the moonlight, in the same fields which she called 'home'. The girl died that day. Long long time ago. And ever since, she has become more than a woman.
* Czadanda Saint contributes regularly to e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at saddanskhaibam(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on November 19, 2013.
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