With low budget in hand and few workers, Shagolsem Rabi of Meitram Maning Leikai began the construction of the “RISS, Cafe cum Children Park” in the year 2011 which were once a muddy paddy field filled with water with the dept. of about 5 to 10 ft.
Surrounded by paddy field at the three corner and alongside the Tiddim Road one could easily locate “RISS Cafe cum Children Park” at Meitram which is hardly of about 10 km from Imphal, the capital city of Manipur.
Most of the park and garden in the state are set up to provide comfort for the people who wish to visit a place where they can relax and enjoy for sometime but RISS, which is yet to complete is especially set up with an idea of how unused things and materials can be used in productive way and here visitors could find almost all the items are decorated with innovative ideas by recycling instead of throwing away.
Shagolsem Rabi said “people of the state are generally full of tension of bandh, blockade, unemployement, etc. and with this tension they have no place to relax. Setting up the cafe cum children park would atleast benefit the people and one could earn the knowledge of how unused materials could be converted into an art by recycling.”
“Though the area is quite small compare to other parks and expansion is on the process, hundreds of people visit the park everyday. Even it has become a centre of attraction among locals.”
P Chaoba Singh, a visitor with family said “people in Manipur want to live in peace and with the current situation of the state it’s very hard to find such kind of place to relax. This kind of cafe cum children park set up with recycle materials is very unique and will encourage the people to learn new things and could bring a peaceful atmosphere.”
Owner Shagolsem Rabi and his younger brother Shagolsem Siddartha strives to make it a unique model in the state. They also aim to bring the excellent learning and enjoyment of art, craft and scenic beauties.
“RISS” a unique name named by owner Shagolsem Rabi fathers’ after taking the first initial name of four brothers namely Rabi, Ibomcha, Sarju and Siddartha.
Shagolsem Siddartha, last sibling is the man behind all the arts and designs with the recycle materials in the cafe cum children park. There are thatched huts where two or six people could easily sit to rest or chat. There are also places where enough people can accommodate for a group meet.
People could visit the spot to feel the silent beauty of the nature, the sunset view and a view of mystifying craft works of recycle items. There are adventure site for children with swings, slides and rope plays. A bamboo ladder walk across a pond, where lotus bloom and leaves of lily float in green, as adventure fun for all is also there for many to try with splashing water from the top .
Above that, a food corner serves some readymade sip and the management even provides water, utensils, chair and tables with meal with some charges if one want to have a family picnic, birthday celebrations and many by placing a order beforehand. Birds nest, a well, a nursery, adds to varied infrastructure. Most of all the recycle products designs are the real meaning of RISS. A craft and painting room at the entrance of the cafe cum children park has some unique crafts on wood, it also has lots of work done on bottles etc.
M Sanatombi, a college student who visits the place said “the crafts are fabulously made and couldn’t even imagine that the materials and items we used to throw away could become such an amazing art.”
Visiting the place, one can see efforts from the owner tending grasses or making a new work of art for the visitors. Tractors, Plane Staircase which were once used at the airport and half cut of mini bus are kept as a decor items in which one can climb or enjoy with it, even sitting place are also set up inside the mini bus. A bird feed location is also there for birds to pick up their grains. The owner seems to be keen on setting up a truly ecological and friendly recycled park for people to feel the difference when one stroll around.
Over and above the idea of having cafe cum children park set up with materials after recycling is majestic and it could serves the people rightly towards a peaceful atmosphere and environment. Beside the cafe cum children park, a car wash is also set up adjoining with it and visitors could ride back home with their vehicle neat and clean.
Article and Photos by Ranbir Laishram.