By Bobo Khuraijam
What could be more serious than a khana neinaba? Discussion, lecture, seminar, talk … it has different names. We sometimes feel like poisoning those early men who invented the fine art of discussion. They must be the one who have nothing to do but to sit and prattle. Prattle the whole day, only to be intervening by the nature’s call and the empty stomach. Even while having food there must be no stopping of the verbal diarrhea. We do not deny the profundity of dialogue in any form. As we are told, the essentiality of what we called as democracy would be meaning less in absence of dialogue. We are also told that favorite pass time of the early Greeks were to prattle and prattle. They prattled to such height that some of their names are still alive till today. To prove one’s prowess in any kind of verbal diarrhea the names of Greeks are chipped in. Not only Greeks but names from other civilizations are also thrown in, for the simple reason that they were really a good prattler. What kinds of attributes qualify them, to the extent that they are still remembered even after thousand years? We at the Leipung will be at lost, lost till eternity to try to find the attributes those great thinkers could have possessed. We strongly feel that those souls who considered themselves wise enough could do the job of pointing out the fine attributes. However with an air of haughtiness, we can immodestly claim that we can identify those traits which the great prattlers must not have possessed. Or for that matter, those traits which the great names must have wished to shed away from themselves; if at all they had possessed any of these ones:
THE EARLESS: they are overtly active creatures seen predominantly in any kind of prattling session. To them, the subject matter does not matter. To them, the heart of the matter does not matter. At the first look they would seem to be listening with utmost attention. They would nod their head, up and down, as if they have registered everything in their mind. They would scribble a few things on their note pad. They would again nod their head, up and down. One would only come to know that they are earless during the interactive session. They would eagerly grab the microphone and come up with smart questions. The questions are smart enough to compel the moderator to scream at the top of his voice, “Please come to the point”. They would address each and every one present in the session before coming up with the most irrelevant question. Out of five minutes allotment, four and half minute would be spent on addressing everyone. The remaining half minute on his million dollar question. Where was he all the time? He seemed to be listening attentively. What about his frequent nod of the head? Either he was day dreaming or lost in intense thought over the topic? But the kind of question thrown in would give us the liberty to construe that he is EARLESS.
THE WRESTLER: are the one who come to the session after exhaustive practice; probably physical practice, to wrestle with the speaker. They would throw in ‘observations’ in most of the sessions. They have an elephant’s memory, having the divine ability to memorize high sounding theoretical/technical terms, which he considers it as highly fashionable ‘academically’. They would try to spice up the session by using many terms. It does not matter; again, whether it is related with what the speaker had dwelt about; or with the topic. Disregarding of anything, they would throw their weight that “I ALSO KNOW, BUT YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT I KNOW”. With a ritualistic obligation of saying anything, with little meaning they pollute the session. They would try to barge in with issues of ‘paradigm shift’ by ‘holistic approach’. But we assume that most of them are ‘thought provoking’ nonsensicalities.
THE RUNNER: Is the ‘learned’ speaker who always runs out of time. He would care very little about the time. He would keep on rambling till the moderator warns him of dare consequences! He would speak as if it was his last day to live with his tongue. At times, the session would run into confusion. The confusion of who is the actual speaker. Some moderator would be kind enough to replay the whole deliberation of the speaker like an obedient tape recorder. On top of that he would also play his own version on the topic. He would go on and on until he is greeted with a chit from the organizers.
We would also like to prattle on disregarding of the space provided for the column. We can also go on with some more lists of attributes which some great prattlers did not possess. We have to stop anyway, because we do not like to include ourselves in the luminaries of great prattlers. There is only one reason for musing on this issue. In this part of the globe, most of the khana neinaba sessions are overcrowded with people who possess the attributes we just mentioned. The one in the Film Festival is no exception.
FOOTNOTE: election for the presidential post of a highly democratic political party was carried out, with the command of High Command, with true democratic values. Only a single candidate was allowed to file his nomination. Leipung Ningthou calls it “ khong kakthatlaga lamjel thaaba”.