Thursday, December 6, 2012

You arrived at twenty two

You arrived at twenty two, congratulated yourself
on surviving the 2403 kilometre journey from the
edge of the northeatern part of the country to the
 capitals in stomach churning bus rides and filthy
overcrowded trains. You were overwhelmed by
 the city, by the opulence of the haves and the
wretched poverty of the have-nots. you had come
 to forge a vague dream. to escape settling for less.
Some government job or the other, more entrance
exams to sit through. That's why you had come.
 Always that voice that said you had to better yourself.
Become a saheb of some sort. The noise of the city
didn't let you sleep at night, the constant honking
of cars till the wee hours of the morning, the hawkers
 selling their wares by loud high pitched announcements.
 You were used to the stillness of nights in the valleys
except for the regular sound of the crickets. You visited
 the India Gate, got a photograph clicked which you
promptly sent home. And you lingered for a while,
your eyes fixed at the Raisina Hill. You wondered how
 those who lived in isolation, guarded from the vexing
ordinary  existence possibly make decisions pertaining
 to his land. a place they had never visited, never tried
to understand. Just the dispatch of more military,
more weapons, harsher laws along with neglect in all
other aspects. Like all diaspora you cling to memories
of home, in your exile you have become more Manipuri
than you ever did when you lived there, finding solace
 in songs sung in your mother tongue, indulging in gossips
and news of home while eating the Marie biscuit dipped
 in chai. Now you are in your forties, eromba features
in most of your meals, you still hunt
 the vegetable market for the rare find of maroi and hangam.

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