By Bobo Khuraijam
We believe we will never stop complaining as long as the sunshine and the rain are there in our life. As the summer makes its entry after the spring is gone, we grumpily pronounce the uneasiness of hot weather with sweat and curse. We fuss to the extent, as if, we are nearing our end. “saabana sidoure”, have not we heard the line very often? We know, those who habitually make this kind of statement do not really mean it. We do not know when hyperbolism took its root into our lingual expression. Or is it in our DNA? Someone should find it out. Well, if they have the time for it. With the heat came the rain. A much needed relief for the farmer in the fields. Yet, there are enough room for complain from the urban dwellers, so to say. The Imphal town does not deem fit to be called an urban space per se. In rainy season it is not even a quasi-urban area. The rain has terminated the everyday dust bath. Nobody would disagree. Aftermath of the rain has flooded our narrow wisdom with sewage and filth. All thanks to the developmental circus going on in the town. Profiteering philanthropist, over working; with the determination of Shylock; with the namaste of concocted innocence has greet us with the rain. We overheard a keithel ema complaining, “sarkar nena angang mathi phaibaga chap manaradana”. In this case, we would challenge, there is no dirt of hyperbolism. Truly enough, the establishment behaves like small babies, who lack the sense of time and space. They would defecate anywhere to their wish without qualms.
SING A SONG: Amidst these complains, a few days back, we set out to witness a gathering filled with celebration and musical extravaganza. As expected, the programme kicked off with the ceremonial everything. Then it was followed by, as you know, the desultory set of speeches by the mithunglen(s). The chief mithunglen was so happy to be invited to the celebration. It was pertinent from his part to dwell on cultural aspects. Why not? The celebration was to mark the dawn of video films in the state. That our state is a powerhouse of culture and sports. That we should be able to make quality movies, both technically and aesthetically sound. Good enough. A right view on a right occasion. A host of artiste, producers, directors, cameramen and technicians from the film world were present. The musical extravaganza was the centre of attraction. Our mithunglen was invited on the stage to present a few songs. He obliged immediately. Before the song, he poured out his modesty to the public. He is not a good singer. But he loves art, performing art. Next, he said he will have to sing on public demand; demand from his constituency. Or he will not get vote in the nearing election. He also said that. Honest enough. First song, second song – it went without any hitch. He was requested a very special number then. Before the third song he gave a confessional statement. He told that his singing on the stage is inappropriate. That his sinpham does not match with what he is doing onstage. We do not know what Lata Mangeshkar would say to his confession. She was also a MP in the upper house of the parliament. Before the advent of the special number he cracked a joke. He said he feared that people might take him as an ngaosanaba. Thrash! That much love for art and culture. Here is our heartfelt sympathy on his quandary – to balance between a joke and a profession. HA!
THROW A NOTE:Ever since our return from the extravaganza, we have been wondering how and when the culture of peisathaba did got started. It is very much a part of meitei social life. Birth – death, take any ritual, it is smothered with peisathaba. In earlier days, we are told, that there was no offering of money to the sankirtan artiste. A set of beetle nut along with a piece of cloth was offered to the artist; a token of appreciation and respect to the artist. And moreover, reverence to the holy sermon sang along with devotion and prayer befits respect. We do not know whether we should blame that individual who came out with the idea of print money. We need not explain that it has been used and misused to unimaginable extent. There is variable degree of abusing it. For more detail, take any musical shows for a better comprehension. The musical event which we have mentioned earlier was a crude illustration. As well meaning/moneyed producers of films were present along with a host of stars; it was a perfect blend of showmanship and false pride. Anybody who sang on that very day was showered with currency notes. Sometimes we would fail to recognize who the singer was. There was a sort of competition among the moneyed invitees. A show of strength and endurance; strength to climb up the stage an uncountable times, and endurance to move the middle finger of the right hand as fast as one can. Remember, the middle finger should move rapidly so that the currency notes should fly like a umaibi. Some of our Leipung member tried to influence the organiser. They failed. One member tried to bribe the person who was comparing. What our member thought was that if given a chance to sing on that day, they would not worry to earn any income for their lifetime. Some of them did not show up to attend the Leipung. We hope, we are not complaining.
FOOTNOTE: caution all fake encounter specialist of the state: some fake encounter policemen in Delhi were given dead sentence by a court, terming it as the rarest of the rare. But will there be justice here as well? Leipung Ningthou calls it, “thawai matpana thawai senagadaba matam”.