By Bobo Khuraijam
Two fortnights of displacement from the keyboard and monitor earns up excuse easy enough to convince the editor. That Leipung had to take leave for two fortnights. The leave was applied via the mobile cellular service. Without any hitch the leave was granted. The call cost one rupee and twenty paisa of Indian currency. People close to him would know. Our editor does not speak much. Keeps always to the point, has a good bass vocal but seldom heard him sing. May be he had tried in his school days. Experience must have taught him not to sing in the public. Some says his speech is not as good as his writing. You don’t find him commenting on the headlines in the morning taret makhai pao. In the evening when he is immersed in work, almost buried among the keypads of his laptop mono syllables like ‘o’, ‘um’ would be his words. He would beam a smile when you crack a silly joke. We hope he would spare Leipung for digging up on his quirks. As dubious as we may sound we had to take leave anyway. We are not as fortunate as the government employees. Like those who are posted in the hills. They can swap with a dummy. The largest democracy in the world can have proxy voters. But we reaffirm ourselves that there cannot be proxy Leipung – as simple as that.
COUNT YOUR BLOOD: Have not we mentioned? The leave we asked our editor cost one rupee and twenty paisa. Here are some more price tags for a few things. A unit of blood cost rupees two thousand and three hundred only on Indian currency. An income tax statement for not being a tax payer cost rupees one thousand and five hundred only on Indian currency. Allow us to elaborate. Someone not from the leikai, not from the valley; a wife of a husband from a hill district had to be admitted to the hospital following her complains of extreme fatigue for quite some days. They have modest income but no sangga-pangga in the valley. The couple headed straight to a private hospital as they could not muster up enough patience to wait for a decent bed in the government hospital. They were told that she was suffering from anemia. She needed rest and two to three unit of blood without delay. Her hemoglobin count was below the normal. The blood bank in the private hospital could give them only one unit. As per the rule they have to replace it back by a donor. The husband volunteered to be the replacement donor. He had to arrange the remaining from some other blood bank. The husband went to the blood bank of a well known government hospital. He was told to buy a ticket from the emergency counter. It was the mandatory charge for cross matching the blood sample: Rupees eight hundred. The husband had a sign of relief when he was told that blood is available in the bank. He was told to wait for sometime. After a while he was gently told that he have to pay rupees one thousand and seven hundred only. Not at the counter but at a room near the blood bank. The husband thought for a few seconds. He decided not to argue. Instead he requested the man with the thick register to reduce the money. They settled with rupees one thousand and five hundred only on Indian currency note. So, dear all, who donates blood regularly. Please keep up your priceless humanitarian act of donating blood regularly. We have faith in each of the individuals who donates blood. From civil voluntary organization to defense personals, from patriots who donate blood on the eighteenth of June to officers of lions and tigers club; every single drop of your blood is going to save someone’s life; more than that every single drop of your blood is going to make someone’s purse swell. Keep donating and keep saving life. As for the leipung members, we are going to demand our share of money from the man with the register every time we donate blood.
PAY YOUR TAX: “I am a tax paying citizen and I know my rights as a citizen of a democratic country”, this is a statement oftentimes used by educated citizens whenever they mean to assert their rights. The government spent huge sum of Indian currency to persuade citizens to pay their tax well in time. They even honour celebrities who pay tax regularly. It is obligatory for everyone to pay tax. People who earn in enormous amount like industrialist and celebs of the tinsel town have to pay more tax for they earn more. What about those who do not earn or earn a little? Well, they do not need to pay income tax. At the most they have to pay electricity and water bill. Sometime back some one from the Leikai who runs an embroidery centre, with a little amount of saving decided to launch a NGO. We have no idea at whose advice she was doing that. We know that she is active in leikai meira paibi besides her embroidery centre. Not too old to get married. We heard she is standing in the next Panchayat election. Someone must have told her that an NGO would be a good option to give opportunities to people. And she can earn well if she has heijara singjaragadi quality. She opened a bank account and got a PAN card in her name. All that while, she had little idea when her PAN card would come to a use. It anyway looks beautiful with her photo and signature on it. Much better than the electoral ID card. She was advised to get her organisation registered. After that she can run for government funding. One fine day news came in that her project report got approved from the authority. She has to sign an agreement with the authorities. Along with the signed agreement she has to furnish income tax assessment order for a financial year. She got baffled. How on earth? She has never paid any kind of income tax. At last some one prepared her income tax statement after spending rupees one thousand and five hundred only on Indian currency. She tried to argue that nobody had asked her to pay income tax so far. And on the contrary how can she be asked to furnish a statement like that. Someone convinced her that once anyone got a PAN card in their name, he or she would be considered a tax payer. She was happy. All these while, sitting on the Leipung we got message after message in the mobile phone. That a ‘gyanpack’ worth subscribing is in the offer; rupees Seven only on Indian currency, we hardly press any of the keys on the phone; then we got a congratulatory message that we have just subscribe the ‘gyanpack’. Rupees seven gone without touching keys: miraculous, is not it? It reminds us of a graffiti written on the wall of a public toilet – save the earth, die now. So be it, Bharati Airtel!
FOOTNOTE: Not again, our political fat cats are up to building a five star hotel in the heart of the town. That too at the cost of causing displacement to many families, Leipung Ningthou calls it, “thi chaamba heitringaida tie punnaba hotnaba”.