To A Khulgi Eeta

Muji, Mahabali, Moira-ngkhom, Keikhu, Kakhu-long and Keisamthong are some of the most visited khul (s) in the vicinity of Imphal city. The reason is pretty obvious why our young/old boys visit these khul (s) almost every ‘numidangwairam’. A 50 rupee note is more than enough to get several plastics of locally brewed boozes in these khul (s). In an equally delightful way, the booze is served with the choicest meats, which are cooked in a typically authentic style.

I have heard many friends telling tales about those beautiful Leishas at the khul and about those mouth-watering snacks served there. It has triggered my taste buds right from the very way how they keep telling me about that Manungsha Angouba at Muji khul and the inimitable Nganu Set at Mahabali. It must be one hell of an experience for them enjoying the boozes and snacks served by pretty khulgi leishas. I am quite envious (Don’t read jealous).

At times I really wish I were a boy just to visit those khul (s) one by one and find out what it is all about such a place. I can of course visit any of them with no boozing activity associated (I am, in fact, planning to visit a few khul (s) during my Yaoshang vacation at home this time). It would be like crossing a forbidden cultural bridge if my elders come to know about my plan but I will do what I want to do because I have my own reasons, copyrighted with all the rights reserved.

Confined outside Manipur for quite a long time, I had hardly got a chance to visit most of the khul (s) and mingle with people out there. A big thanks again to those friends through which I have heard a lot about many interesting khul-centric accounts. I guess people who reside in these khuls have few options when it comes to earning a livelihood. Selling meat and owning a hotel or a vendor are perhaps the two common means of livelihood for them. They seem to lead a pretty simple life. Well, it is nothing new to add that their innocent and ignorant gestures are really adorable. I do find it cute when they address ‘Ebung/Epung’ to lads from our community. They have a twisted accent of speaking Meiteilon but it’s really cute.

Many interesting questions are still open, especially when I hear songs that remind me of khulgi leisha. Sometimes I do wonder if the pretty khulgi echal with her captivating beauty has jailed the hearts of our very own Pakhangs and even those married guys. Let the driving force be anything, but we cannot deny the fact that the khul (s) are the most visited places by our very own young or old people.

From my very personal account, I remember paying a visit at Gaidilu’s (a friend who lives in Keikhu khul). It was just an unplanned visit. The whole khul was merry-making as it was Christmas’s eve. I adored the simple lifestyle people led there. As it was festival time, they were refrained from any occupational chore. I could not find her home on that day and did miss that sumptuous Christmas feast but never mind; it was a pleasant experience visiting her khul. The memory is still warm in my heart and every Christmas I am reminded of that visit (minus the lunch part).

I am sure that our association with people from these very khul (s) can be traced back to those historical days in the past. The bonding between us and them started without any reason. At present, it seems we have, for no reason, severed our ties with them. Many reasons are explained on grounds of ethnicity, integrity and what not?

Religion has always barred a major section of our community to mingle with them since time immemorial. They have been treated like outcast or untouchables. We have read in stories and also seen in movies and shumang leelas how there is a huge cultural gap between our community and theirs, which are all so ridiculously and artificially created. Secularism was a misconstrued concept then and I am afraid it has still got a vague understanding among people—which of course needs introspection now. If the religious minded parents were/are so rigid about their religious dogmas and doctrines, why didn’t/don’t they disown their own sons who visit the very khul? It would be a hard hitting question to them but I sure need an answer for the same. It did not make any sense then; it still does not make any sense why that khulgi echal should be treated with a different stance?

Instead of hosting the frog-in-the-well mentality, we should strive to build an amiable ‘pakka’ bridge between these khul (s) and our world. Their world and our world are intermingled. We should cherish and respect their culture and lifestyles as much as they appreciate ours.

PS- I wish to make friends with lots of girls from the khuls. If any of them is reading my write up hey there, would you be my Eeta?

This article was published on 5 Feb 2011
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