An unquiet lullaby: Echoes of home, memory, and a fractured Nation

Yenning *

Home, a word whispered in lullabies, should offer solace, a haven where roots twine deep and hearts find solace. Yet, for some, it becomes a discordant melody, a lament etched on the soul's canvas. From this vantage point, in Manipur's emerald embrace, I sing a different song, a symphony of unease from a restless spirit.

Memory, once a kaleidoscope of laughter and fire lit stories, now bears the scars of disillusionment. The walls of what was once a fortress of belonging echo with unspoken resentments, cracks snaking their way through familial bonds. The hearth, once a beacon of warmth, flickers with the dying embers of trust, consumed by the flames of unfulfilled expectations and societal pressures.

The nation, this grand tapestry woven from myriad threads of culture and belief, feels less like a haven and more like a discordant stage for an unending drama. Politics, a serpent with forked tongue, slithers through its veins, poisoning minds and hearts. The air, thick with the fog of rhetoric and division, suffocates dreams and aspirations. My ancestors, their sacrifices etched in the wrinkles of our mountains, must stir uneasily in their sleep, witnessing the discord their blood bought.

But memory, though tarnished, is not barren. It whispers of moments etched in defiance, of laughter that pierces the gloom, of hands reaching out in solidarity across the chasms of difference. In the eyes of a child, unburdened by the weight of history, I see a flicker of hope, a spark of belief in a nation yet to be.

Home, then, is not just a place, but a promise. A promise of solace woven from shared histories, of understanding nurtured by empathy, of belonging earned through the crucible of shared struggles. The nation, too, is not a monolith, but a multitude of voices, a cacophony that must learn to harmonize.

From this dissonance, from this symphony of discontent, a new melody may yet emerge. A melody of reconciliation, of shared responsibility, of a nation built not on the bedrock of conformity, but on the vibrant mosaic of its people's dreams.

My voice, though raw and discordant, is a thread in this tapestry. It is a call to listen, to remember, to rebuild. To tear down the walls that confine us, to bridge the chasms that divide us, and to weave, from the fragments of our broken narratives, a home and a nation worthy of the dreams that slumber in our hearts.

This is my song, the song of a disgruntled soul, yearning for a harmony yet to be sung. A song with no easy answers, but with a melody that beats to the rhythm of hope, a hope that whispers, even in the darkest corners, that home, memory, and nation can, one discordant note at a time, find their way back to resonance.

But this is not the end. The symphony is unfinished, the notes still hanging heavy in the air. There are whispers of counterpoint, of voices rising in resistance against the dominant discord. I hear them in the songs of dissent ringing across the hills, in the quiet acts of defiance against injustice, in the hands that reach out across religious and ethnic divides to build bridges of understanding.

These are the notes that give me hope, the counterpoint that threatens to transform the cacophony into a harmony. They are the voices of those who refuse to be silenced, who dream of a nation where home is not a battleground, but a sanctuary, where memory is not a source of pain, but a wellspring of strength, and where the nation is not a stage for division, but a chorus of diverse voices singing in unison.

The symphony is not over. The melody is yet to be written. But in the hearts of the restless, in the voices of the discontented, in the hands that reach out to build, hope remains a flickering ember, refusing to be extinguished. And perhaps, one day, from the ashes of discord, a new nation will rise, a nation where home, memory, and nation resonate in perfect harmony.

This is my lullaby, sung not to pacify, but to awaken. A call to arms, a plea for remembrance, a hymn to the possibility of a nation yet to be born. Join me, then, in singing this symphony of dissent, this ode to a future where home, memory, and nation find their true meaning, not in conformity, but in the vibrant chorus of its people's dreams.

And to add another layer of beauty and longing to this symphony, let us weave in the words of the poet Robin Ngangom:

My native soil was created from tiny sparks
that clung to grandmother's earthen pot
which conjured savoury dishes
I've been looking for
all my life in vain.
(From the poem, "My Invented Land".)

Imagine a hearth fire, not crackling with warmth, but with embers of discontent. Our home, once a tapestry woven with laughter and stories, now hangs threadbare, the threads of family frayed by unspoken tensions. The nation, a grand stage for discord, echoes with the serpent-tongue of politics, its venom seeping into dreams.

But memory, though scarred, whispers. It whispers of hands reaching across chasms, of children's eyes holding hope's flicker, of defiance sung in mountain winds. For home is not just four walls, but a promise etched in shared history, a melody of understanding waiting to be played.

From this disharmony, a new note may rise. A note of reconciliation, sung by voices diverse as the threads of our nation. We must tear down the walls of division, bridge the chasms of distrust, and weave, from the fragments of our narratives, a symphony of belonging.

Robin Ngangom's poem, "My Invented Land", joins this symphony, its verses dancing with sorrow and defiance. He yearns for the taste of grandmother's cooking, a lost lullaby of home. He sees his homeland, boundless and restless, trapped within the "country to its west," dreaming of escape on rainy days. His people, reclaiming their alphabet, torch libraries of imposed narratives, even as their unique braid unravels, a symbol of cultural loss.

The poem's plate, "always greedy," reflects a hunger for more than rice mixed with stones. It craves belonging, dreams, justice. The young seek solace in white oblivion, while the old, their eyes transplanted with exile, watch leaders vanish into grotesque caricatures.

Home, Ngangom sings, is a gun pressed against both temples, a constant threat, a wound left untreated. Yet, even in this dirge, hope flickers. It flickers in the fight against the imposed truth, in the hands reaching out, in the voices refusing to be silenced.

Ngangom's poem, like a discordant note in a melody, jolts us awake. It calls us to listen, to remember, to rebuild. It is a lullaby that sings not of slumber, but of action, a rallying cry for a nation where home, memory, and nation resonate in harmonious unity.

In the hush after the song, let hope's ember dance anew. Not a wildfire raging, but a gentle spark, kindling in the quiet corners of our hearts. Let us fan it with whispers of empathy, with outstretched hands reaching across chasms, with stories shared by firelight's glow.

Imagine, beneath the symphony's discord, a melody waiting to rise. A melody woven from the threads of our dreams, stitched together with threads of forgiveness, understanding, and shared responsibility. Let us pluck the strings of our past, not with bitterness, but with the wisdom it whispers.

Let us sing of futures yet to be written, futures where home is not a battleground, but a welcoming hearth, where memory is not a shackle, but a source of strength, and where nationhood resonates not in uniformity, but in the rich chorus of its people's voices.

Though the symphony lingers, unfinished, with notes of discord still hanging heavy in the air, let us not be silenced. Let us become the counterpoint, the voices weaving harmony from the fragments of our narratives. Let us be the bridge builders, the storytellers, the dreamers who refuse to let the embers of hope die.

For in the echoes of this disquiet lullaby, a new song waits to be sung. A song of belonging, of reconciliation, of a nation reborn from the ashes of discord. Let us raise our voices in unison, and together, create a symphony of unity, where home, memory, and nation finally find their way back to resonance.

This is our lullaby, not sung to pacify, but to awaken. Let it echo in the valleys, climb the mountains, and dance on the wind, a call to arms, a hymn to possibility, a melody of hope rising from the heart of a nation yearning for its true song.

So rise, then, fellow dreamers, and join the chorus. Let our voices become the instruments, our stories the chords, and our collective spirit the conductor, as we compose a symphony of a future yet to be, a future where home, memory, and nation resonate in perfect harmony.

* Yenning wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on January 06 2024.

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