Wearing a traditional Manipuri phanek with the enaphee (dupatta) draped like a pallu, Kangana helped launch her friend’s book. Curls firmly in place, the actor finished out the look with big jhumkis and a pair of black pumps. She looked lovely. As for the traditional outfit, we want one for ourselves; love it!
P.S: Forgive me if I got the names wrong. For those of you familiar with Manipuri textiles (and styles), please share in the comments.
Kangana Ranaut is a proud friend as her childhood pal Dr Bondina Elangbam is making a name for herself as a poet and an author. Kangana, therefore, took it upon herself to write a heartwarming foreward for her. Read on…
It was the first day of high school at DAV sector 15 Chandigarh, I stood in the huge playground, in the shadow of the gigantic school building.Back in the valley my school Hill View public school had 7 rooms and 200 students. The massive campus I was in right now felt like a city on its own, I was more excited than nervous and slightly embarrassed of my perfectly composed demeanor before my family.
My teary eyed siblings tried to console my sobbing mother while my father covered his tears up with an arrogant frown.Papa put two big bundles of money in my hand for my hostel fees and announced that he could have bought one more transport vehicle for his stone crusher; instead he put his savings in to my education. He then predicted that I will be tempted and distracted in the big bad world, which awaits me, but he trusted his children and had more faith in his own upbringing of them, he knew his darling daughter wouldn’t lose focus because she valued her parent’s sacrifices.
The hostel was a discreet structure located at the back of the school building. I was given my uniform, books and the keys to the hostel room situated in block A.Most rooms had more than 5 girls, mine was unusual and very small where I shared my room with two roommates.
As I entered the corridor A2 was the second room in the first row of block A, I didn’t need the keys; the door was half open. Three beds were laid adjacent to each other making a huge ‘U’ shape facing the door. Three corners of the room were marked with three small single door closets.
Both my roommates were busy setting their closets up, they had laid claim on the beds on either sides, the remaining one was the obvious and the only choice left, so I dumped my stuff on it.
I tentatively looked to my right and was amused to see a human doll, fine golden hair cut in a sharp bob, one could count some of the tiny blood veins beneath Ranita’s translucent skin, she said a nervous hello and came across as timid, warm and friendly.
To my right, there was a dainty, waif- like vision with thick long blue-black hair hanging below her waist. Bondina wore low waist jeans, which were the trendiest fashion erstwhile, and her revered white sleeveless top; her block heels reminded me of the occasional movie songs that I saw on TV.
She sensed my stare and responded with a sharp look, a look which was fierce yet venerable. She didn’t hold the look, shot a quick hello and went back to her business but I could tell she was aware of my every move.
I looked down at my feet and wondered if they noticed my newly bought sparkling white sports shoes and my six pocket trousers which papa had for me three years ago. These pants were meant to be loose and casual, which they were when I first got them. But now they worked as accidental skinnes, it didn’t matter what they thought of my style I was curious to know more about the chic things fashion was all about. I couldn’t help but smile at the mere visual of my roommates, I knew my life was about to change but didn’t know how. Being science students Ranita and I were in the same class, Bondina was a Fine arts student. I remember feeling concerned for Bondina’s subject choices as she was studying things like music, drama, painting and sculpture. At the time I didn’t believe that there was much of a future or career options for artists. Little did I know that more than ten years later I, a professional artiste, would be penning this foreword for Bondina’s first poetry collection.
Bondina’s work is true to her inherent impulses and instincts. For me a great work of art invites its audience to share a secret intimacy with its creator. When you experience Bondina’s work you feel as though you are in her company.And the most beguiling aspect of her personality is the fact that she never ceases to surprise you.She’d either brood or laugh uncontrollably, avoids eye contact or shoot fierce glances, sleep endlessly or worked relentlessly. As a kid I was secretly addicted to intense hindi-urdu poetry, other kids found that weird and that embarrassed me but Bondina was different.
The human subtexts and the depths and heights of human emotions fascinated her. l had to translate shayaris for her. Many words and complex thoughts were often diluted or lost in translation.Though both she and I felt some frustration with this, we found a certain kinship in poetry.In time Bondina and I became very close, she’d discuss her work, paintings, sculptures and music, with great enthusiasm while I struggled with specimens, crystal formation and physics projects.I was curious and extremely intrigued about everything that she did. I often wondered how music notes, just symbols and signs constructed melodies, a same set of lines and curves which I used to draw my mundane physics diagrams, transformed in to faces and emotions that came alive as soon as Bondina put her pencil to paper. I kept thinking about the crucial difference between our educational choices, I had figured out that I was probably not on the right career path.
While some of my classmates burst with excitement at the thought of cutting open a cockroach and examining human innards I felt nervous and mentally paralyzed. Initially I tried to get over my trepidation because my father’s outwardly stoic action of putting money in to my hands with faith and trust haunted me.
Once I got past that I rebelled. Bondina had seduced the closet artist in me, she played a very important role in influencing my future career decisions and she continues to do so.Last year I met her at a school reunion. She was and still is the same shy, giggly girl hiding behind people and shooting sharp naked glances. It’s just that now she is a highly accomplished PhD, a painter, a poet and an author. She doesn’t limit herself and that gives me infallible hope in my own powers as a woman, after all we are all bound together with the same spirit.
Her poems are “experiences or reminiscences of a single soul mirrored in this collection” and they never fail to strike a chord.The book is a “clutter of emotions blended with feelings of womanhood, love, hate, relationship, family bonding and of life. The summation or compilation of the poetry collection is evident in the poetry title Between the poet and her pencil which will introduce the reader to the book.”
She flamboyantly flaunts what is imaginary and is hidden in the subconscious landscapes of a woman’s psyche. She takes her readers on a roller coaster of emotions, blending the real with the surreal. She may talk about fantasies or delusions or she may even present a tableau of her own experiences but every time she manages to present a rich account dipped in a profound thought.
In her poem titled, “My Fear” she will gently shock readers with her uninhibited acceptance of the fear of intercourse and sexual awakening in every girl.In,” See It Through My Eyes” She spills the secrets of turning the ordinary to the extra ordinary with just a shift of perspective. In “Must I Laugh or Cry” she strips herself of her vulnerabilities and bravely questions ‘Thy’. She is what is kind and compassionate in a woman when she makes vows in a poem titled “My Vows” and when she hears her mother in a poem titled “Ema I Hear You Now”.She is what is spiritual in a woman when she finds and loses Him, in her poems titled “I found Him in that dead leaf” and “Fallen Petals” respectively.
She is what is wise and old in every woman when she demands to comprehend’ Thy’ in a poem titled “I’d like to comprehend Thy”.And she is what is brutal and ruthless in every woman when she describes a horrific trance and demands to be filled with dirt and slime and gives you a measured death in her work titled, “Within I am torn apart” and “A measured death”.
I trust her work can and will influence the young and old alike, it’s been a delight to write this foreword.
Kangana Ranaut Mumbai, June 2016
Photo Source: YashNews