The Hiyangei Diary — A Reconciliation!

Like a haiba inbi daughter of my palem, I packed my bags and took a flight back home from Delhi, relieving myself from the hectic schedules of big city life. There is no comparison to the feeling of relocating back at home, mingling among my folks and sharing a relaxed smile with them.

I love waking up listening to the chirps of uchek-waya here rather than pricking my ears to the kabari waala or sabji waala yakairol back in Delhi. Paneer masala or chicken kadhai does not score a yummier mark than mom’s kaangsoi or eronba. A chance meeting with an old friend and the accompanying chit-chats make my day. Walking beneath the starlit night of hiyangei sky, the never ending heegatpa session with siblings and cousins, the smell of insaang ahaoba from one of the leikaigi chakhum and the accompanying ‘chaak laambagi’ expression on our faces not to forget mom’s culinary skill that has now been upgraded to bubok’s-Ah! It’s indeed good to be at home. I want to cherish this feeling forever provided I have enough courage to ignore or endure hypocrisy, mindlessness and the laid-back attitude that are most often observed among our folks.

Well, I must not forget to mention about the yumfam yaodaba rumours that have become a favourite nga-mok for us. We generally love relishing any tok-nga with utter delicacy (as if it’s some scrumptious achapot). The latest one being the thoom fangdabagi tok-nga.

A busy afternoon for all of us, the wedding preparation for my cousin was in full swing on that day. Amid the nupamayumgi thouraang and hobey-hobey chenaba hours, I overheard some leikaigi eney-endol worriedly telling each other about one of the (apparently) paakhatningai oiba situations they ever have to face i.e. unavailability of salt. Quite a khayaaknaba experience for many, it eventually turned out to be a rumour but the series of thoom-thiba missions that happened during the day were beyond my thajabagi waangmada.

Panicked by the possible shortage of thoom, the most important ingredient of every chakhum, there was a frantic search for thoom packet everywhere across the city. ‘Packet ta lupa chaama youhoure hai, Mani dukandadi packet amtabu yaohoudre hai kamai touni tourisidi’. I overheard all these real-time dialogues among my folks and wanted to believe them as some funny dialogues from a Manipuri movie but I could not any more. The salty rumour kept on spreading like a wildfire. The rich and the poor were flaunting their purchasing ability of thoom khwaidei yaamna leisinba.

Meanwhile, it was a lucrative business opportunity for all those dukandaars who earlier stocked up sacks of salt packets of all brands. A packet of salt worth just seven bucks was sold at the price of hundred. And the funniest (read stupid) part was that people in deed bought thoom packets at a skyrocketing price sans any negotiation. I badly wanted to scream at the height of stupidity of our folks. Yet, I simultaneously felt sorry for their paakhatchaoba nature when it comes to the prospect of scarcity of any consumer item- be it thoom, cooking gas or petrol.

‘Oh Hello? This is Manipur. Just keep calm if you want to stay back here’- the interior monologue in my mind ultimately helped me pacify. Perhaps, reconciliation is the one and only solution. After all I made my own decision to come back here. Bomb blast, general strikes, yumfam yaodaba tok-nga or the ufool-waifool at the lambi sorok are just some oh-so-Manipur factors. We shall overcome them someday. Oh deep in my heart I do believe, we shall overcome someday (perhaps on 32nd December).

This article was published on 17 Nov 2013

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