TODAY -

My Offering : On the month of Tarpon

Maisnam Bomcha *

Tarpan Katpa tribute to the martyrs of June 18 at Kekrupat, Imphal :: October 01 2012
Tarpan Katpa tribute to the martyrs of June 18 at Kekrupat on October 01 2012 :: Pix - Bunti Phurailatpam



For those of us whose parents are no more on this earth, it is a reality that any amount of love and care we gave to our parents is always inadequate in retrospection.

The month of Tarpon has started from the first day of October. Tarpon came (corrupted) from Hindi Tarpan which is again derived from the Sanskrit word Tarpanam. It roughly means 'offering'. For a fortnight Manipuris will be making offerings to our ancestors, mainly the immediate forbearers, who are believed to descend to our homes on the night of the full moon and return to their dwellings on the day of the new moon.

Growing up as a child I remember to be a trifle disappointed on the lack of festivities and gaiety of the occasion. And of course the 'unbelievable' non-holiday status of the event, considered so drab.

Now, as a father myself and having begun to see things from a different perspective, Tarpon has assumed the highest significance of all the events in the Manipuri religious calendar. And it becomes all the more important and poignant when you live outside and have lost both parents.

Manipuris observe the occasion for religious and emotional reasons both. There is another way of observing Tarpon, that is, for improving the quality of our lives. And I am sure many of us must be doing things towards achieving the same in their own ways.

I fall utterly short to write on spiritual matters. I am also distinctly inadequate in practice of such sublime ways of life. But I know with a certain degree of clarity that there are ways leading to self-improvement; different from self-advancement.

There are ways or methods which can be put to beneficial use by all of us whose parents are either living or dead. To utilise such occasions as time for expression of gratitude and love in a fruitful manner. All children love their parents.

But while coping with our own lives, more markedly in the rush called the modern life, many of us forgets that parents need more than the material support given where it is required.

Every festival of all religions teaches us a value. Generally people lose sight of the value in the din of the festivities. As is a wont of a human, we don't pause to contemplate. Love and care, if unexpressed in actions, is as hollow as non-existent.

For those of us whose parents are no more on this earth, it is a reality that any amount of love and care we gave to our parents is always inadequate in retrospection. There is bound to be a feeling, a feeling personal to each individual, of wishing to have done more while they were living; a feeling sometimes accompanied by frustrating anguish.

And there is no gainsaying the fact that you start missing a person only after he or she is gone. Those moments are also stark reminders that human lives are so full of wanting and so imperfect.

A perfect occasion to remind ourselves that the simple reason we exist today is due solely to our parents and Tarpon is a beautiful godsend opportunity to compensate for all those forgetful moments and times we failed to spare. Atime to make amends in an organised way; to love, repay consciously and exclusively for fifteen days, those who brought us here.

We believe that the souls of our parents and forbearers stay on earth during this period. Equipped with this awareness we can make full use of the occasion. Among the followers of different religions, the Buddhists practise 'mindfulness' strictly. It is the act of doing things, small and big, mindful and conscious of the acts.

People are aware of the emotions while doing the acts and concentrate on being positive. Even a small act of closing a door is done consciously so that it makes a minimum noise. One of the most common and unavoidable activities in our daily lives is the act of speaking, communication with others. So believers speak kindly and softly.

Over a period of time, sustained mindful acts are bound to become a habit and thus bring mellowness to our nature. We make ourselves acceptable to others while avoiding changing others.

With this belief that they are watching us whatever we do, we should make efforts to do well during this period. The fact that we all are emotionally attached to our parents will make it easy to avoid bad deeds and thus make them happy. Being conscious of the belief of their brief sojourn with us and a deliberate attempt to keep them happy will make an outwardly dull occasion, devoid of colourful celebrations, fruitfully worthwhile.

Growing up we all carried personal stories. One day when I was small child I woke up with a start, fearful of a bad dream in which I was saved from a devilish situation by my mother.

On being narrated of the dream, she calmly reassured me that I need not fear and told me that the one who came to my rescue was not her but ImaLeimaren. That day my mother also explained to a wide eyed child, in a manner special to each mother, that God exists. I delved into my memories and found strength for the challenges of the fortnight.


* Maisnam Bomcha wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition) as part of "Different People, Different Places, Different Times" column
This article was posted on October 14, 2012.



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