By: Sanatombi Angomcha
Granny had this tiny ‘pokfam’ right beside the ever famous landmark in Kwairambandh Keithel- ‘shamu makhong’. She used to sell mangal, chana, heingaan ladoo, heimaang matum etc. Visiting kwairambandh keithel as a child was such an exciting experience especially with this very anticipation of having ‘mayoms’ of mangal or chana and my favourite hei-ngaan-ladoo often offered by ‘Keisampatki Abok’(my granny).
The nearer I would follow ‘Mumma’ towards the ‘Shamu Makhong’ to visit her, the thuds in my heart would continuously grow with exhilaration. She sometimes used to give me pocket money. Though Mumma used to forbid her from giving that pocket money, for me it meant everything (when I say everything I mean everything). The crowd at the Shamu Makhong used to excite me further. The ‘kwa mana’ selling non-Manipuris, the various wholesale shops of various snacks, granny’s fellow pokfam fambi eney, endon and abok-like ladies- these are some vivid memories I can recall about the surroundings at ‘Shamu Makhong’, Sometimes, it would be yet another experience taking a close look of the ‘unattended statue of Shriyuut Bhagyachandra’ and his sorry Shamu and of course the pasted posters on it. Though elders used to tell tales about how that great king caught that elephant right at that spot and in honour of his bravery how the statue was created there, I was least interested to find out the historical connotations. For me, that was one favourite spot for me in the entire Kwairambandh Keithel because that’s the very landmark beside which my skinny-granny had her ‘pokfam’.
Last time, when I visited home and went to Kwairambandh keithel, a nostalgic feeling engulfed me. I saw the fly-over, saw the renovated shamu-makhong, Shriyuut Bhagyachandra was infact wearing a new paint, and his shamu was also repaired. But I felt no envy or happiness to see the ‘changed Shamu Makhong’, I was sadder not to see my granny or her fellow Pokfam fambis around. I am not sure about others but for me this crumbling memory of ‘Shamu Makhong’ will forever and ever stay in my heart.