Fairen Diary: Of Blockade Phobia & Its Syndromes

Clarification In today’s paper edition of the Sangai Express, the headline has been retained in the column but it has the content of one of my previous articles. Inconvenience is regretted. -Manipur Masala, 23 Feb 2014
A troop of fairen thagi angaoba leichil had a disheartened retreat under the command of its leader Mr. Fairenjao. As reported by Ta Basanta, who is soon to arrive in a few weeks’ time, “Mr. Fairenjao, he wore such a dismayed look as we crisscrossed our ways. I had waved him ‘hi’ but he did not even bother to wish back.”

On introspection, it has been narrated that the sight of long queues at the petrol pumps, a few days ago, had discouraged Mr. Fairenjao and his troop of angaoba leichil high, very high up in the sky.

With the news of an impending blockade, khoiren-masha paiba was the immediate reaction among our people. The petrol pumps suddenly ran out of stock and inflation found its glorified meaning.  For a few days, every Manipuri queued up at the petrol pumps from early morning till late evening.

Afew social scientists conducted a thorough research on social behaviour recently. They have finally come up with the discovery of a new disease called a Blockade Phobia. The syndromes of this disease include:
- Inability to eat or sleep properly until and unless the petrol tank of one’s vehicles is filled up. The related syndrome includes waking up early in the morning and the urge to go and queue up at the nearest petrol pump from one’s leikai. Under certain cases, the patient may have a tendency to visit the same petrol pump in the evening to fill up gallons of petrol to stock up.
- Another serious syndrome often observed among patients of blockade phobia is the kick of petrolpeneurship. Petrolpeneurship is a newly coined termed, by the social leipoong scientist. It is defined as the sudden desire of becoming an entrepreneur by investing on gallons of petrol and selling the same at an inflated price.

Criticized as an unethical means of entrepreneurship, Mr. Achumba, the president of All Manipur Maram Mokpa Association spoke, “We should not waste even a single minute to cure all the patients of such disease. These patients, if not treated in time, can become a threat to many innovative businesses that are gradually evolving across the state. We need support from the sensible citizens of this khunai for a permanent treatment of such a disease”.

“The patients of blockade phobia and their oddities can have a disastrous impact on the impressionable young minds”, said Mr. Angaangjao.

He continued, “We should appeal to the concerned authority to come up with preventive measures to check this sandokanba leina as soon as possible”.

Meanwhile, Mr. Heipaasingba, the president of Heipaa Saajage Haiduna Houdokchaba Organization remarks, “There is an easy remedy to cure such a phobia. We should start adding ‘Blockade’ to the nomenclature—at least one member of our family can have the name. This way, we will get familiarized with Blockade in a more intimate way. This will ultimately help in erasing the general phobia of blockade”.

Citing an example he added further, “The expression ‘blockade laaktoure’ could have a double meaning; for example, Blockade laaktoure could mean a child called Blockade is returning from school as much as it could mean the possibility of an economic blockade to be imposed on any of the National Highways.”

Mr. Fairenjao has sternly condemned the disheartened retreat of his leichil troop. From rumours, he has reportedly told his band, “I need an answer from the Ministry of Seasonal Affairs for such an illogical act or else we will also call for a blockade in the sky of Manipur”. As per our Lei-Ngao Thi-Ngao reporter, AFSPA is likely to be imposed in the sky of Maninpur in order to put the situation under control. Jet fighters may soon arrive from mainland India.

Postscript: Dear Leibaakchasing, let’s try to sneeze out the insanity and insensibility for a change ‘haakthi’! Daylight robbery has become a sort of entrepreneurial skill. What else could be the reason for the scarcity of petrol just from the announcement of a highway blockade—mind it, not from the blockade but just from its announcement — regardless of its senselessness? When are the agitators in the hills ever going to understand that their blockades have never affected the government, but rather this kind of protest has been only torturing the general people?

Imphal Telanga Festival 2014 ― The Imagination of a New Vision!

“A kite is the last poem you’ve written / so you give it to the wind, / but you don’t let it go / until someone finds you / something else to do.” ― LEONARD COHEN

Today, the second day of February, we are going to celebrate the Telanga Festival 2014. All the roads lead to Dhobi Lampak in Kongba. For the first time in the history of Manipur, we are going to have a festival, independent of any political and religious crap.

A day might be too insufficient for such a gala yet we are making it special. Steal away a day from life’s mundane affairs. Indulge in fun-filled activities apart in addition to merry-making with your friends and families flying kites. This Telanga Festival is a celebration of life in a simple yet enticing way.

The festival has many surprises waiting for you. Unleash the creative juice in the innovative kite design contest. You do not have to be a kite expert but the passion is all you need for the kite making competition. If you are simply desperate for the fun to begin, we also have a kite fighting event. It is going to be a day of redefining fun.

More than the fun, the prospects of such a festival have been the guiding force. One, it entails the celebration of life in the most colourful ways like the varying shades of papers that we used in making kites. Two, it is a part of the holistic approach to re-energise the potentials of tourism in our hometown. It is only a humble beginning.

We don’t have big industries here but that should not be the end of the story. We can start with what we already have, howsoever little it is. We can make the most of our indigenous resources to promote tourism with such a festival. That’s the bigger picture we have got from tourism being an economic development tool.

The flight and the plight

Tourism, if we talk about it in Manipur, is so interlaced with the present living condition. Both in the hills and the valley, there are two obstacles that are glued to the society. First, the factor of fear and insecurity has been always a gatecrasher to any hope of a new beginning. Wonder how it would be if these issues fly away like a telanga atatpa! And second, it is more ironical that we would boast of the breathtaking natural places of tourist interest, but we don’t have the place for them to stay. The lack of infrastructure is simply heartbreaking. If only a fraction of the wealth that our ministers have plundered is invested in infrastructure, only time can tell what it can bring for us.

The problems will only make us more skeptical. For all the joys and happiness that we have lost in the existing social mess, we can try and compensate a bit in a day of fun-tastic fiesta of the Telanga Festival. We also believe in the days to come, such a kite festival can do wonders for tourism.

As much as the objectives are local, the Telanga Festival 2014 is a part of the personal endeavour.

From the home front

When I was in Delhi, I was quite reluctant about relocating back to Manipur and starting a venture of my own. I did not expect a bright career option in a state like ours where the bombs are cheaper than the yongchaak. ‘MCS thajinlu, TET peikha thajinlu, SSA gi oja oinaba hotnou,’ the list of suggestions — from elders and friends to pursue a career in Manipur — has been never ending. All those options appear to me like the mathel lukoi in a typical ushop of a birth celebration or a death anniversary. My friends would say those are like the items in a shop with specific price ranges. How much is it for the seat of a chief minister, by the way? 

Boarding a flight to Delhi had always been the easiest way to escape from the ennui that prevails in Imphal. I had in fact done that many a times. But then, it cannot be the only solution. This time, I wanted to test my patience. Hiyangei, Poinu and Waakching arrived and eventually left. And here comes Fairen. The past few months have been an unlearning phase for me about many things, from personal to the professional. I should take a short break now. I should fly a kite too.

Postscript The Telanga Festival 2014 will be held on 2nd February 2014 from 10AM to 5PM, at Dhobi Lampak, Kongba, Imphal East.

This article was published on 2 Feb 2014

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