By Bobo Khuraijam
Do not tell lie or you will meet with the same fate of Sanjennaha. This is the proverbial reminder from our elder quoting from the story of a young shepherd who was a habitual liar. He met an early end because he could not change his habit. We were reminded of the shepherd and his story the day ‘swearing in’ ceremony took place. Some sixty of them took oath that they will not lie or cheat. We feel it is time to do away with the humdrums of a ceremony of that kind. At a time when truth is the only victim, recuperated with muddy drip of elixir called the fallacies of life. The need for oath does not arise at all. They are the epitome of truth, chosen by the people. We can endure long hour of traffic jam, perhaps the longest, on their day of oath taking. The military and the paramilitary cavalcade that zoom past the mean streets of Imphal at any given time also had to join the lesser mortals in the jam on that very day. On a regular day you will find them paving their way smoothly. The man with the whistle in the mouth and hand on the trigger of the Light Machine Gun makes way for the cavalcade. The ambulance, school vans and everyone had to wait for them, the chosen ones. We know how truthfully the campaign went. A majority of them did not win. A minority, who were debarred from campaign, electronically voted by majority won. And it has nothing to do with the electricity. Least amount of energy garners the maximum number votes. Perhaps the definition of miracle should be relooked at.
LIVE COLOR: By the by, we do not want to waste words musing about the chosen ones and their miraculous act. Truly speaking, we do not want to nurture the repentance of missing the muse of Yaoshang. Each time the spring arrives, of all the packages it comes with, the festival of Yaoshang comes in extra-large package. Five days of fun for the children, thrill for the youth and time for reunion of the elders. The festival is celebrated across the length and breadth of the valley. Holi, as it is known in other parts of India and celebrated on a single day. It is celebrated for five long days in the valley. Each day has its significance. We are not better equipped to explain the meaning of celebrating it for five days. Our elder folks who visit the Govindajee temple in great number can explain it better. It is time to regroup for the holi pala. Elders who have not been keeping too well with their health get rejuvenated with the coming of the Yaoshang. Try stopping them from taking part in the pala, you know their reaction. For that matter, also try stopping the kids from going to nakatheng and water pistols. The response is the same.
SPORTINGLY: Introduction of games and sports during the festival is fairly a new thing. Here is also another record in the making. For those who have been running the business of renting out PA system, they must have earned well enough to expand their business. After the election meetings and campaigns, the PA system is played again by each and every leikai. Just imagine the whole valley playing the loud speakers at one go, for five long days. As factionalism is not in our DNA, a leikai can have three or four different Yaoshang sports. Some select few have the luxury of organizing it in a grand scale encompassing wide area of localities. They even rope in film actors to take part in the torch rally. The sports are drawn on a larger than life canvas of gamesmanship and good health. Despite the fact that only two or three items of all the games played are in the Olympics. As if those five days of recreation will groom youngsters for international games, when most of the leikai grounds are replaced by community halls. And when most of the school does not have a single playground; for everything we do, we have the habit of unimaginative vision playing the spoilsport.
DANCE IN THE MOON: Why the much awaited Thabal has to coincide with the Board examinations? It is late already, but realization is never too late. Those people who set the schedule for examination should think over. We would love to hear how they felt during their exam days, especially when the sound of drums and clarinet calls out everybody? Did they shake their legs quietly under the table? Whom or what they saw between the printed words? With restrictions ruling the roost, Thabal was made to cramped up. There were too many Thabals at a time. More so, the chosen ones had financed so many of them. There were thabals and thabals, you take any line: Sagolband line, Keishampat line, Khurai line. Of all the lacking(s), the lack of Shabi-Shanou was mournful. For a dust free and a full circle thabal, you have to move out from the four KM radius of the town. That’s a secret. Well, thabal itself has gone a sea change over the time. Besides the drums and the clarinet, now you have the electronic synthesizer playing not only the songs but the rhythm as well. It resembles the thrash beat of late 80s Bombay films. Accordingly, we find ladies and gentlemen dancing on different steps. We are told that in olden days, everyone has to dance in tune with the the makok chingba or chingbi. Now, we find different dance styles in a single line. Perhaps, this is a mirror image of our society where discipline and unity is the hallmark. The beat is new, the outfits are new, hair style is new. But the Thabal is old, so are the sixty sanjenahas. So, cheers!
FOOTNOTE: a long lost friend whom we regularly find in the information super highway came home for a short stay, taking a break from his information and technology work in a cosmopolitan city. He was too occupied to meet us, sent us an electronic mail and left. Leipung Ningthou calls it, “bigyan gi mari ga punshi gi mari ga samjinabada fuse chaakpa”.