By Inaotomba Thongbam
Some of my few colleagues in the journalist fraternity appreciated the not so noble profession I chooses on my own conscience, just to survive and enable me to raise children, for the meagre salary paid by my employer found it difficult for me to manage daily needs.
Frankly, I chose to drive a three wheeler vehicle during the day time to meet daily expenses in addition to sub-editing and page-making job during night at the Imphal Free Press, arguably the most influential newspaper in the region but hardly satisfy its staffs, monetarily. The day-time job fulfils most of my monetary woes apart from rendering yeoman passenger service to the general public and the night-time job gave me a status and social acknowledgement. As I was nobody to distort the Manipuri proverbial “Hi Ani Tongba Karang Segaibani”, I decided to take leave from my night-time job and concentrate more on the day-time job. But the single job I enjoyed during day-time could not last long as I was called up again by none other than the Editor IFP to resume my night-time job and I too agreed conditionally on time factor.
Few days before resumption of the night-job, I drove in to the IFP office and met some new faces in the organisation. Under the command of the Sardar (a senior staff of the IFP), we packed-up my three wheeler which can load one ton or 10 people and sometimes 15-20, conditionally.
All of us were in a jubilant mood and drove in to a nearby winery and thus began all the discussions about the IFP – its staffs, poor management, opportunities through the daily, launch-pad and so many .
Till I retire from IFP, we had some more joyful rides on my three-wheeler. The last one indeed was the most memorable but it created all the chaos in the IFP office and management. Not long after that ride along the Imphal-Jiribam route and the party we had at a village In Imphal West, the IFP recruited a new set of staff. None of the IFP staffer (reporters/subeditors) who enjoyed that joyful ride in my Autorikshaw now works at the organization but I proudly pronounce on the IFP anniversary that Imphal Free Press will bounce back again and serve its purpose for the causes of the society. My three wheeler vehicle might have led misfortune for some of the ex-IFP staffers, but the vehicle was nothing to be blamed for it was only a carrier and always ready to serve people – any takers?
By Inaotomba Thongbam