In this hectic so called modern time, gone are the days of ‘Chenghi lujaba’, which was a popular traditional hair conditioning practised especially by Meitei women. Today, the practice only occasionally and faintly echoes in romanticised lyrics and poems.
The advent of chemical-based shampoos or conditioners of different brands which are readily available in the market, have sounded its demise. Till today elder folks would vouch for ‘Chenghi’ of its cooling effect and fragrance, though the practice of ‘Chenghi luba’ is very rare today.
It is the residual water used in washing rice grain before cooking, which is either applied raw or boiled with different herbs.
Sanasam Birendra Singh, 61, proprietor of Holistic Enterprise has already embarked on a journey to revive the otherwise not so old practice by introducing homemade ‘Ima Chenghi’ on August 21 this year.
“I want to spread the fragrance of Manipur to the world”, said Birendra in an interaction with IFP. He said he has a dream of making “Ima Chenghi” available at international market and let the world relish the fragrance of Manipur.
“I want to let the world know through ‘Ima Chenghi’ of how innovative and wise were our ancestors who envisaged the usage of ‘Chenghi”, he said, adding that he want to bridge the gap between older and younger generations.
He pointed out that, life span of a bottled Chenghi was only six days at the time of launching, 45 days back and now he has upgraded it up to 20 days.
“I am doing constant research on techniques of natural preservation methods with the help from Dr H Birkumar Singh, principal scientist at CSIR:NEIST, government of India, Dr MR Sahoo, senior scientist (Horticulture) ICAR, government of India and N Ningthenjao Singh, AO, Horticulture department, Manipur”, he said.
Besides the three scientists, food technologists Tonjao and Joychandra are his regular consultants, he added.
He has been using the product himself continuously for 45 days to see if there is any occurrence of dandruff. He pasteurised it at least three times at the time of packaging so that no unwanted smell develops.
He said, sangbrei, haona (lemon grass), heikru (gooseberry), khongjai napi (goat weed), laibakngou (indian wormwood), Juba Kusum (china rose) are used as important ingredient which are available abundantly. The ingredient herbs are collected from his friends, relatives and well-wishers from Lamdeng, Lamshang, Wangjing, Toubul, Irengbam, Yurenbum. The residual water is collected from ISKCON Temple and hostels nearby Sangaiprou, he added.
“My wife Radeshyam is a government employee, currently serving as principal of a nursing school under the medical directorate, but she has been a driving force behind the business”, he said.
It may be mentioned that Sanasam Birendra is also a playwright. ‘Khut-heibalaktagee’, a popular radio play has been written by him.
Source: Imphal Free Press