MIDAS AND HIS TOUCH

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By Bobo Khuraijam

How unfortunate are those who are not born, here, in this place called Sanaleibak. Even more wretched are those who are not born to witness the present. Going by the Gorment departmental gag line displayed on the National Highways, “Time waits when Manipur celebrates” – a line only a creative genius could have invented. We are overjoyedthat the celebrations areabundantly visible in this season.  Need we remind that it is perfectly illegal to display hoardings on National Highways?We know that no single soul worth their salt from the Gorment would dare dig into the illegalities. In the land where the court of Kusi-Rasi reigns supreme who would care the of a court of law’s ruling against the roadside hoardings.

FAKE KANG:The month of Ingen is when the ShriShriGovindajee of Sana Konung takes excursion. Reverent Manipuri Vaishnabs swarm His chariot, the Konunggi Kang, every year. The grandeur of the chariot is unmatched. Now in the month of Hiyangei we are bemused to witness a profane mockup of the Kangdressed in vulgar opulence, blended with vanity and fawning sycophancy.Sangai Festival should have opened five days earlier. A venue a few kilometers to the west would have been perfect. On that fateful day a cavalcade of VIPs touched down at Uripok to inform about an elopement. We would say it must have been a red-letter day for its people; a moment of sheer joy for having parented a daughter like no other. From that day onwards there have been showers of development for Uripok. How on earth could one build roads like that? True to the age old saying, “If there is a will there is a way”. So, if there is a bride there is a road – thick and dark, strong and smooth, wide, very wide roads. Voila!  Uripok is shining. Yes, if there is a will we can beat the hyper-development crazy Chinese. We can surpass the height of engineering marvel of cities like Dubai. Keep on giving birth to daughters like Uripok has given. Well, we understand that it is not humanly possible to give birth to hundred sons like Gandhari from the Mahabharata epic. Nonetheless, one can try giving birth to nine sons at least. Imagine nine sons choosing bride from all the nine districts. Each one would shine like Uripok.  But there is a conditionality attached. The mother of the groom should have a husband like Midas, who can turn things into gold by his touch. Look how he has transformed Uripok into a tourist hotspot.

AND HIS TOUCH: We expected the 15th of November this year to be a state holiday. We had also expected the All India Radio Imphal to air live commentaries like they did on KonungKang Chingba and their Golden Jubilee celebration. We anticipated the same from the local cable TV network. Yet, the day was not a state holiday. A strike was called on that day to protest against the murder of a political leader. AIR broadcasted their regular programs. So did the local cable TV network. In its place we could see security personals on the roadsides like Sougri growing at any available space.Blame the Panji, as if 15th of November is the only auspicious date. If that be the case, Mr. Midas and his team should prohibit all other families from getting married. They should be warned with words like NSA or fake encounter. We simply cannot understand why Tumit-Kaang, Hik-Laanghik and cockroach should get married on the same day. Did they enjoy sharing the same road with Midas and his cavalcade? We are sure they love the way they were detained by dutiful armed personals. The sense of understanding shared by the families of Tumit-Kaang and the likes is commendable. The late arrival of the groom at the bride’s place is understood in silence. They share the solidarity of victimhood of sharing a date with Mr. Midas. Late arrival of the grooms party is often welcomed with pooh-pooh by the bride’s family.  If you are desperate to share a date with Mr. Midas, you should be able to execute developmental activities like him. You should be able to arrange huge musical band of uniformed noises. News has just come in that thousands of bees from Manipur have migrated to the neighboring states. Their return is uncertain. Poor bees, they could not find any flower to sit on. They cannot stage a sit-in protest or call a strike that we usually do.  All the flowers were there at Uripok. Flowers of all hues, of different shapes and sizes met their colorful end at Mr. Midas’s destination.So, can you soak your leikai with flowers like them? Can you fumigate the bride’s vehicle with all kinds of indigenous orchids? We heard onlookers had a hard time differentiating the bride from the flowers. For that matter, it is all about redefining the Meitei marriage into a heavenly amusement, by loud display of affluence and power. It is about driving the Sankirtan Pala crazy whether they should chant the HariNaam or open a bank account. It is also about the didactical responsibility of the Mr. Midas and his cohorts that it is a sin not to celebrate marriages like them. The ways and the means to earn are irrelevant. One should not shy when it comes to vulgar display. How fortunate are those Tumit-Kaang and cockroaches born in this Sanaleibak.  

FOOTNOTE: we are told the Salt Corporation of India had approached the Gorment of Manipur sometime back. That salt per kilogram could be procured at Rupees 3.50 without the involvement of middleman. A salt factory was sealed by the Corporation for mixing expired ones with the fresh somewhere in western part of the country. Then the rumor of scarcity hit the state. Authorities had to fire fight the rumor. Leipung Ninghtou calls it, “Thum Thaaktrabasu thumjaobi houba”.

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