Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Manipur – over a cup of coffee

We have this regular Chai ka dukan in our Campus where everybody loves hanging out. It’s the favourite spot of all the students in the entire campus. Regardless of the busy schedule, unavoidable datelines – we call it “deadlines” and the enormous pressure from our Professors we always sneak out to this little piece of heaven. The place is always filled with exciting crowds engaged in heated conversations discussing, debating and arguing the social, economical and related stuffs of the country. It’s a delight to listen to the regular chanting of familiar voices expressing their ideas with so full of passion.
           Also, we have a handful of Manipuris pursuing the so called higher studies. Sometimes in weekends, we all meet up for a much needed cup of coffee and ask our whereabouts. It is in such nonchalant meetings that we discuss about things happening back at home and how we feel when we hear incidents of bandhs and the daily saga of violence. We have passionate speakers, silent listeners who nod to everything that was said and also angry faces filled with rage and frustration because of the turmoil and unrest back at home. We all feel the need for a change, a need for a better Manipur, a better home.
Well, the point is not about our meetings and all the stupid things we discuss but the change in the mindset of the youths of Manipur. We have a generation of qualified and enthusiastic young minds ready to serve but with little hope of going back to our native land because of all the daily happenings back at home because our lives are dear and after struggling all this years, staying away from home and perspiring for our degree, nobody wants to die ‘coz of a stray bullet or maybe nobody wants to be kidnapped or murdered. It is understandable that we want a secure life and not wade in troubled waters and invade in dangerous territories even if we call it our motherland.
So much over a cup of coffee!!
Since my childhood, my loved ones use to make sure that I do my best in my studies. They say in Manipur you need to have power, good contacts and qualifications to get a good job. And of course, not to mention the enormous bucks for Chai-pani!!  We are caught in a vicious circle. They say a Graduate post costs 12 lakhs. My question is what is the point? When he is employed he’ll be doing the same…extracting money to recover the amount. Where is the truth? “A society not based on truth will not last for long” a famous personality had quoted. Who is to be blamed? The Government who takes the money or the public who gives the money? Something is seriously wrong.
We have a rich cultural heritage but to the outside states ours is merely a state filled with political crisis and bloodshed. Inspite of the social unrest, Manipur fares much better than many states in many demographic and social parameters. There is hope against all hopes and its not some make-believe situation, not overlooking the role of the youths. It is the moral obligation of every person. I remember one of my school teachers saying if u don’t sweep ur backyard who else will?
Well, such get-togethers always make each one of us so up-to-date with the latest happenings amongst us and back at home. It’s like pressing “Refresh” button. The only difference is that here its refreshing and reminding the problems back at home. Even if discussing Manipur over our cup of coffee always ends up with no solution and we return to our respective hostels so full of thoughts the question ever remains…how long….oh how long till we achieve the Manipur of our dreams…Maybe it will be worth the wait. And of course, so much can happen over a cup of coffee!! Wat d’ say?

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Random thoughts

Like a flower that has lost all scent
Like the rivers that have run dry
Like the barren soil awaiting the first dew
Here we have come to a stand still

A love that have lost all charm
Feelings faded and gone with time
The passion, the craze, the pain
All wiped and clean as a slate

Yet here we are standing
You and I looking like fools
Blaming and finding fault
With fake smile and a broken heart

Don't know what you feel baby
But guess its time for a deal
A love that has lost its beauty
And you and I making futile attempts

Yet I feel and u feel
The love once so strong and so true
Now lost and gone forever
Buried in the sands of time!!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

A North-east girl’s plea

If ever God gives me another chance to be born again, I would, without a doubt choose to be born amidst the lush green hills of North-east India as a typical girl with small brown eyes, may be pale skin, short stature and long straight black hair just the way I am. I am neither a patriot nor a feminist but I feel lucky to be associated with this neglected part of the country and more proud to be of the fairer sex.

I love being a woman!!
In a country like ours where woman is being worshipped as well as sacrificed and abused, every woman or every girl-next-door have a similar story to tell. Her daily struggles, fulfilling her responsibilities of a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a girlfriend – the roles are many. I do not consider myself a woman as yet but rather a woman in the making. With just 25 years of experience of novice feminism, I have not much of a story to tell. It has been 8 years since I left home to pursue my studies and career. I, like many who chose the same path as mine, chose to sacrifice the comforts of home, adjusted ourselves with limited monthly allowances, adapted with either different foods or culture in a completely different environment with little or no friends. As I pursue my dream of being this woman who will boldly and gracefully  rub shoulders with my male counterparts whilst putting forth my own inputs, I have many times wondered what it would be like to be in an egalitarian society but then for now it is just a futile dream.

I bet every girl has had experiences of eve-teasing – sometimes hilarious, sometimes provoking and many times serious. But for us, they have an added advantage because we belong to North east and of course have different features which are alien to our friends in the rest of the country. In smaller cities, we are asked if we are from China or Nepal….No bro! we are from Manipur. Oh Manipur!! Which country? That is the moment when I felt like answering “So u guys from Pakistan?” When they pass us, they say “Jackie Chan”. Should we reply "Santa Banta" to them? And to realise that these are educated chunks passing such comments. I guess if we all start calling each other names like “Chow mein” and “Momos” etc then there will be a good number of “Parathas”, “Lassis”, “Idlis”, Sambhar” or “Dhoklas”. What will we be then - "a name-calling nation"? Is this the sign of a developing society? It’s heartbreaking to realise that such embarrassing comments are passed by the educated youth even in the campus. 

May be this is another reason for the never ending debate of women empowerment, gender mainstreaming, equality of sexes, blah, blah and blah because somewhere deep down, the male species can’t help ogling their female counterparts and thus the struggle continues.

Monday, 2 January 2012

A New Day has come

I can't understand why there is so much hype on the onset of a New year resolutions, things-to-do lists, celebrations and parties, getting drunk and the list goes on. Perhaps may be coz in a way everybody wants change secretly. Its like pressing "Refresh" and we imagine that our lives are gonna be brand new with the dawn of a new year. Of course, its a new year and we believe that we will be better in each way - less lazy, get up early, spend more time with family, drink less, be more charitable, short to be a better person little did we realise that its just wishful thinking. Its just a change in the date and everything else is the same. Such a gimmick over a mere change of date....does n't it occur everyday?

But then for all the times we had gone wrong we wish for a second chance and a brand new start and perhaps the beginning of a new year is just an opportunity to set things right and not to repeat the same mistakes. Perhaps it is the hope we nurture deep in our hearts that something good is awaiting us coz tomorrow is still a surprise for us, or its just that inspite of everything we still have something to look forward to.....and I guess this is the very essence of life. It doesn't matter in what way we spend the first day of the year - whether we were  under the warmth of a blanket like me or partying hard like some of my friends or spending time with family or just watching a movie with the one you love.....what really matters is if we are ready to barge in the new year with a reconciliation of our guilt and forgiveness of the mistakes caused and endured.

Atleast we are the fortunate ones who will witness the end of the world as had been talked about by many, if ever it will happen coz we have this gift call "life" in us. This is a reason to be happy and another reason to celebrate.

Happy NEW YEAR 2012..May the angel of love, happiness and peace be forever with you in the days to come.