An Obituary: Abok

Once, a long, long time ago in Imphal, my Abok had her tiny potfham, right beside the Shamu Makhong. It used to be a major landmark in the entire Khwairambandh Keithel, but not anymore.

Those potfhams were demolished to build a flyover and a new Ema Keithel. But to me it seems to have vandalized a memory land, forever and ever. The Keithel has so far changed its look and nature, pacing up with the matamgi echel. Though it wears a modern look, it lacks its quintessential feature. Perhaps, it is a personal observation because I see no more, my Abok’s potfham in that spot.

Last week when I was home to visit my Abok, I passed by Thong Nambonbi. For a while, I visualised the old scene of the then keithel but alas that was a surreal chimera. My Abok was no more around, nor was her potfham. She was then battling for her life in some smelly ward at a hospital.

My Abok led an ordinary life. Abandoned by her husband at an early age, she brought up her children single-handedly. She used to sell mangan-chana and heingaan ladoo at the keithel. She was just another ‘face’ among those struggling potfham fambi abok, ema and eney-endol in those days. But when it comes to all the good memories she had gifted us, she was more of a generous queen.

They say a grandmother is a buffer zone between parents and reality. But to me, my Abok had been more than a buffer zone. She used to be an angel in disguise for me and my siblings/cousins. She gifted us some of the most memorable moments when we were kids, simultaneously spoiling us all with oodles of ngamok and pocket money.

I spent a major slice of my childhood days at her place. Throughout her life, she had given away everything she had – sometimes for her children and other times, for her grandchildren. I can’t help wondering what had we gifted her back. A once or twice visit in a few months or a name-sake phone call asking about her wellbeing and that’s it.

All her life, she had been there showering us with all her love and affection. But in return, we gave her ‘nothing in specific’ and that eventually makes us realise our own selfishness.

Whether we admit it or not, we know that most of us are so engrossed in our own world that often we tend to forget our elders. Meanwhile, they get older and weaker. They would still not complain and that makes us more self-obsessed.

Like the ‘thao yaodaba keithelgi thaomei’, Abok’s life had extinguished forever a few days back. She is no more but has left behind all the good memories for all of us. Meanwhile, I am suffocated with a guilty feeling of abandoning her for all those years when she might have needed us.

I pity myself that this column is all that I can gift her back especially when she is no more around. She would not even bother to know about it had she been still alive. I should have spent some more time with her. I should have visited her more often in all these years.

Abok’s demise has made me learn another difficult lesson about life. This time, I will seriously stop wearing a ‘selfish badge’. Human’s never ending quest will never ever end. If we steal some moments away from life’s hustle-bustles for our loved ones, we will regret less in our future.

Well, if there is life after death, if one can pass on messages to human souls, I would leave no stone unturned to thank my beloved Abok for everything.

Soul messengers, if there is any, please convey my heartiest thanks for all the hardships she had to bear while bringing up my mom, emashi and mamoh on her own. Please thank her for all the achapot she used to buy for us, please thank her for all the chakoubagi dakhnia. And please thank her for being the best ever Abok I have ever known in my life. She will live in our memory forever. Please do convey her that I wish to have her as my Abok in each and every life time.

May her soul rest in peace forever.

This article was published on 4 Aug 2013
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Trending Articles