By Bobo Khuraijam
The other day, one of our Leipung members bought a digital still camera. He bought it from Paona International market. A shop owner who frequently travels to Bangkok got it from there. Camera like this one has become cheaper since its first launch in the market. There are events in the family either big or small which we all want to capture in a camera. He has been doing that with his mobile phone with flair. Some of his shots taken with mobile phones are really good. We would say, sometimes, perhaps better than some loud shutterbugs. The one which he bought is also a small one, tough bigger than his mobile phone. He was happy with his new buy. He displayed it to us with a smile. However his happiness did not last long. When inquired upon, we came to know that there was something wrong. The pictures he has taken are not clear, he told us. We took a look. The picture seemed clear to us. So what was the problem? Then he showed pictures from Bangkok taken with the same camera. Yes, the pictures taken in Bangkok were much better in clarity. We went to the shop owner. We asked him how he had operated the camera in Bangkok. He said he took it similarly as our friend did. We were confused. Someone from the shop suggested that we should consult a professional. May be he could help us. There was one in the leikai who works in films. We went straight to his place. There was nothing wrong with the camera. The professional told us. He had also been to Bangkok once for an assignment.The shots he took over there on his video camera were better as far as clarity was concerned. He went on to tell us that he made a shocking discovery after that trip. It dawned on him that it was the dust in Imphal playing the trick!
Dear Minister Saheb, thank you for educating us that it is illegal to block the Highway. Or for that matter, that it is illegal to block any kind of road. We are blind in that part. May be the lesson was taught while we were bunking classes from the school. Much of our precious days were spent in Imphal Talkies watching “A” movies. Very much unlike our Saheb, we cleared all kind of exams by hanging on to the whiskers of ‘pass marks’. Forgive us for the ignorance. Or, may be, the illegal part you mention was out of syllabus from whatever little we struggled to memorize just before the exams. The crying need of the hour is people like our Saheb who could tell us what is legal or illegal. We should also thank you for informing us that another car rally is coming in Imphal. Saheb, what a deblabment! Rally after rally are coming to Imphal. We remember watching Himalayan car rallies on Sunday evening. It was when Doordarshan was the one and only channel. Now that thrill is right under our nose. We can watch it with our naked eyes. But we are disappointed with one thing. To tell you the truth, there is a sharp difference of opinion. We are saddened by your pronouncement that the roads will be repaired in time for the rally. Please, we beg you. Do not repair it. You will be stealing away the thrill if you repair the road. The car rallies which we saw on television have a dusty charm, you know. When those colorful cars with striking paraphernalia take a turn the wheels’ violently caresses the dust. A sublime cloud of dust would fill the air. Mind you, a cement factory would not match that beauty. Beneath the cover of that dust; let our Saabi-Saanou barter stolen kisses, away from the onslaught of restorent draaip. Let our children play hide and seek, away from the clutches of video games and cartoon animations. Let the dust uncurl many a backbones of our elder citizens. Just keep our roads as it is. There are possibilities of your eminence dwindling down once you repair the roads. The swarm of contractors jostling for your signature will stop offering you prayers. No worries. You can bridge your ties with them when election is round the corner. Give your ophisaars and istaf a break from working over-time. There has to be a limit for sacrifice as well. We know how much they have done for the gorment, for the people and nothing, yes nothing at all for themselves.
For those insipid protests on the road by immobilized majority, please ignore them. Sahib should take a strong position to keep alive the spirit of digging up any parts of the road. Projects of any name which have taken longer time than eternity should be kept alive at all cost. Allow us to enjoy the magnificence of ASEAN cars steering around the French manholes.
Let them smell the dust which has been around before 33 AD. This dust is our true identity. Roll down your wind shield when you zoom around in cavalcade. The fragrance is immensely romantic. Dust-borne diseases enslaving many lives, and still more lives crowding the hospitals are purely mythical. Reports of accidents due to our road condition, sometimes fatal injuries are a concoction based on lies and fallacies. As for people like our Leipung member who has complains about clarity of pictures, we will exercise sanity with him. If he still ask for clarity, well: we will declare him as ‘Enemy of the state’ – Leibak Ki Yeknaba. Saheb pu mask uppaga khurumjari.
With the arrival of another new year, Tata internet service gives us a cold goodbye. Let’s not get dishearten. Other goods are still here to stay. Tata salt, Tata tea, Tata truck, Tata steel, Tata sky, Tata Magic and Tata endless; Leipung Ningthou exlaims, “Tata gi laman Napa na singadara?”.