by Bobo Khuraijam
Guest comes and guest goes. One guest has already left after his high profile visit. Yet, another guest is expected in the town. We can feel the fever from the bridal make up being put up in the heart of the town. We are told to drive slow as there are men at work. The sign board says it. We could also read the next line: inconvenience caused is regretted. Oh dear, does anyone remember the last convenient drive on Imphal roads? We are sure nobody remembers their last convenient drive – except for those who speed with their flag post and security guards. Well, they sometimes too have to taste the kind of road traffic when the manual signals of the traffic police do not work. This is where traffic has to be controlled with AK 47 rifles dangling down on the neck, kissing the bosom of the possessor once in a while. Traffic besides; we are besieged by the kind of preparation made. It helps us to construe that the one expected must be having a bigger flag post and a swarm of security guards. We know that any guest who comes from the city called Delhi is exceedingly important. Laborers and government employees working overtime would have a fair amount of stories to tell; of sweat and pressure, of tantrums and instructions, of blood pressure and cardiac medication.
FAREWELL: to the guest who just left a few days back. That handsome hunk residing in the South Block certainly knows well to make statement allowed. The decibels of his statement are sometimes so loud that it pricks our conscience. Remember the days of highway blockade along the National highways? It lasted for so many days that even the agitators lost the date of when the blockade was called. Most of the people were reeling under the spell of the blockade. Don’t ask how we took a ride on the sky – rocketed price of essential commodities. Black marketers enmeshed an uncountable amount of wealth with gay abandon. Money lenders surfed on the rising wave of interest paid by wretched souls. Daily wage earners felled down the valley of torment while trying to climb the mountain of survival. Even after the blockade has been called off, the ordeal prevails. We fondly remember the pen pusher from the South Block making statement from his air-conditioned Xanadu when the blockade had well crossed fifty days; “my patience is running out”. Where was his patience for those fifty days? There are seven Sundays in a week. And that means seven weekends. We would like to know the kind of hangover he underwent for the remaining forty three days. We are told holidays in Delhi are not so nice, with the extreme temperature and Dengue fever looming large. The statement he made after his patience ran out was even more touching. “We might think of using force”, he thundered. He kept on thinking and thinking that the general knowledge (GK, which also happens to be his surname) which he learnt it by heart during his preparatory days of civil service exam did come to little use. The blockade came to an end, followed by words of gospel from the mouth of the agitators, telecast in the prime time of television news channels. Among all, the one with utmost relief must be this man from the South Block. His master with the turban did the magic of using an invisible force to soothe the agitators while he was still thinking.
INVISIBLE FORCE: is something which came to light when he came to visit this part of the planet. To give a name to a place, a monument, a garden, a building, a road etc., one has to dig in to the pages of history to pick out names of legends and heroes. These names are summoned up to honor them for the difference they have made in whatever way they could. Their names are immortalized on the landmark. The state of Manipur is witnessed to two names immortalized while they are still alive. Perhaps this could be the only instance in the whole of the universe. The first one is the boxer, Dinko, whose name was immortalized with a road, now known as Dinko Road. He brought fame to every one of us with his performance in the Bangkok Asiad. We do not know what must have gone through his mind when his name was immortalized. We missed him terribly in the sports mega events. We missed him in the recent Common Wealthy…oops Common Wealth Games. Most of our Leipung members had to take repeated trips on the road named after him just to cheer up from the ‘missing Dinko’ blues. The next name is Mr. Handsome Hunk from the South Block of Delhi. A park was recently named after him for his outstanding performance during the blockade. The performance of ‘patience running out’ and ‘thinking of using force’ and doing nothing paid him well. His name will be forever remembered with the park. It is another matter if one defecates or puke inside the park under the cover of the night, after high dose of brew in high altitude. This time he tried to use his unused General Knowledge (GK) in the “development seminar”, organized by people who have never attended a well meaning seminar in their entire existence as public servant. He tried using his unused force over small time roadside vendors. Again, his general knowledge forbids him from catching the big fish. Yet again, his knowledge fails him to locate a rebel leader claimed to captured somewhere in Bangladesh. It is like the usher in the cinema hall not knowing which film is being shown. No wonder, his name is being immortalized by the people with unique history, who swear and breathe with ‘hate India’ catchphrase. And had lately fall head over heel in love with India. We are not going to miss, Mr.GK. anyways.
FOOTNOTE: time and again the media has been pushed to the corner from forces unreasoned. Life threatening actions are meted out to the men with the pen, from the men with the gunpowder. Leipung Ningthouca calls it, “ganatantra gi labuk ta kaantruk na haar chaiba”.