TODAY -

Collective Angst of Imphalites

By Deepa Khomdram *



This article is an attempt to discern and understand - what ails our society today? Perhaps, some of you might consider it to be a biased perspective of someone who had always stayed away from the influencing surrounding of Manipur, and ground reality may not be same at all. Yet, realizing the issues and angst without being able to give any contribution to resolve any of the issues with a viable solution....only anguish continue to surmount and we are left with only wishing that the nightmare gets over soon...

Life didn't change much in the past many years, except for the increased traffic jam, dust and pot-holed filled roads, mad-rush of people everywhere and zero electricity. Today was same as yesterday, tomorrow may be the same as today.

An old man, musing over past few hours of meeting, had sat down for few minutes reflecting why people have to say so many things and yet won't do anything realistic. Some unidentified youths barged into his office and with a subdued but threatening voice began questioning him. And without waiting for the old man to answer, one of the youth took out a gun and shot him at point blank. But the noise created by the shot was muffled by the blaring horns of the nearby traffic in the busy evening.

Yet again, another life was snuffed out leading to protests on the streets and burning down of vehicles the following day which is not at all related to the incident that occurred the day before. Like ever before, once again, the 'ANGST' has been infested on the innocents. Yes!! The old man was innocent and the cold blooded murder of the old man has led to protests that are flooding every nook and corner of the state. The cry for justice and undelivered rights festoon the whole city.

There lay another soul somewhere in the corner of a hospital ward, surrounded by cold steel furniture crying for "Justice and Peace". Her cries have now turned to a whimper with no more tears to shed as the tired body could no longer shout for the deaf bureaucrats to hear. However, the tireless crusader still does not let the moonless sky cloud her dreams and vanquish her hopes. She still continues to suffer the pang silently. Though her body no longer has the strength to endure the suffering she is going to through yet her will is immovable.

All through the year, the season continues to change from time to time but the state remains the same. Along with the season what changes is the cost of living. With each passing day the cost of living continues to skyrocket. Colder than last many winters, the winter this year in Imphal is with no fuel and electricity. Charcoal and firewood now belonged to the rich as they are a luxury now which very not many can afford. And so the only choice that they are left with is to keep up with the chilled night and foggy morning in the best possible ways with their meager income.

Many octogenarians have perished this winter, and along them the only light of hope has also gone out. We all grope in the darkness. Everything looks blurred due to animosity, anguish and mistrust. People are afraid of their own shadows. It doesn't even resemble anything you might have known. These shadows look like ghastly beast ready to engulf you, torture you, the instant you drop your guard.

Though the morning light brings you a new dawn, yet it has lost it charm to cheer you; instead you are already weary of this new day. Daily necessity comes at a price - unaffordable to many. Keithel Ema have occupied new seat in brand new keithel complex built for the purpose but business has yet to pick up. Inflation has embraced the new complex with its charm but very few things to sell. No doubt the market is busy like always but there aren't any sales and is the longer the same like the good old days.

Garbage are in plenty which lay scattered everywhere. You will no doubt find sign boards reading "Clean Imphal, Beautiful City" but the irony is you will find garbage piling up just beneath the board. Anyone passing by and seeing might laugh it off but this is no longer a laughing matter as the stir is affecting the economy of the state, whether directly or indirectly.

Anything can happen here because this is none other than our only state 'Manipur'. Pour out your angst on the street, in the market place, on your neighbors or even your dog. Because all that matter is, you are relieved just for the sake of a couple of minutes or hours even.

Just asking a simple question such as "Is the water safe for drinking?" might irritate someone. And you might either get slapped or kicked in reply according to the listener's mood. Or you might even get bashed up in the street just because your onlookers did not find your look appealing. The reason could be anything. No matter how silly the reason is, one must have a reason. Whether the reason is reasonable or not is not taken into account.

Imphal truly has become a God forsaken place!!! With lots of mischief going on around, it is not surprising to find a group of liberators testing their weapon at the dead of the night - blasting a poor man's home. The man was no threat to anyone though his shadow may present you the look of an unearthly devil in the dark.

Children have no choice, no space, and no freedom - street or home it's all the same. Every new day will pass like any other day without any future. He has no means, no education, no potentials even - where will he go? School, college are closed, even if they are open, hardly any classes takes place. What will he learn anyway?? What do they teach anyway? There is nothing much anywhere. Just by yelling and simply justifying things will prove nothing.

Few liter of petrol bootlegging could get you few hundred for today, that's easy money!! May be we should try more, sell SP, and procure some new SIM card in black, anything....anything for some fast money. What does it matter? Even the CM does it; the only difference is their scale may be in few crores in each percentage cut! At the end of the day, it's all the same.

In this era of the survival of the fittest, the idea of right or wrong seems to no longer exist. Even if they do, they are all blurred. You simply do not know where right ends and the wrong starts. It may have been in the good old days when one had all the options. Where are those options today? If its survival, well, we all are alive today, now!!! That may not be the same tomorrow as well!!!

Survival in a state like ours today is no longer easy. The "Mani" from Manipur seems to have lost its charm among the cries of the widowed mothers, sisters, daughters and wives. There is no difference between you staying in the comfort of your home or waking all alone in a deserted street. It is all the same. You never know when a bomb may hit your home and destroy everything that you have in the blink of an eye.

So far so good, if it fails to explode! And all that we would be able to utter is, "Thank God!! It was Chinese Made!! Thank you! China, you saved our life."

We even don't know whom to like or dislike, all we know is no person can be trusted. Only Hate breeds more hate. The cycle continues and spread like a wild-fire touching everyone heart and soul!




* Deepa Khomdram contributes to e-pao.net regularly. The writer can be contacted at deepa(dot)khomdram(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on January 27, 2010.


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