This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Kapil Arambam takes you through a surreal world of visiting his hometown, whilst elaborating on the pros and cons of living in a metro and the charm of a sleepy town
May 28 2011, Imphal: The laid-back attitude is seem to care how much I had made an effort to get getting right under my nose, since I left New Delhi apposite accommodation – each episode teaching for good a year ago. Now what I care for is my me the value of time and money in a hard way. I profession, and a bit of homework to help family had to take help from friends and brokers to find a and friends in the coming times. I'm subsequently pad where: the lessor is not nosy; I enjoy the liberty wont to rise early, on the dot when sweating or to cook fish, chicken and pork or delicacies with mugginess used to wake me up in days gone ngāri and soibōm; I can call my friends for a night by. When I remember those stay; and so on. Thank goodness, days of chapatti, samosa, gulab both of these owners gave me jamun, milk tea, I'd go to the ample freedom but it was their leikai tea-stall – where old men Scrooge character that put me off. anatomise the morning paper For this matter, I take pleasure in over a cup of tea and nurture the sojourn at the Akriti Hostel in the good old memories of those New Friends Colony, where I stayed dates-in-the-garden; Dev Anand for two years during my master's and company; snatching-anddegree. I didn't have the luxury to marrying girls of their choice; cook or invite my friends, but it was and those idyllic time before RK ideal in the course of my study. I Sanayaima, A Somorendro, N also met a lot of great friends who Bisheswar and their ilk took the have become so close as much as my centre stage in the region's politics. leikai-, school- and college-friends. In these days As the month advances into the middle week, of Facebook and Twitter, the real-time distance is I don't worry about Bunty Booree, my former apparently a misnomer. landlord in Maharani Bagh, troubling me for the Just miss a beat on my profession in this confab. rent anymore. This dickhead, who would always As you know, there is no probability of an Anil show up in the early morning around mid-month, Ambani or a Narayana Murthy putting money was a real pain in the neck. He always took light into our state. However, I have managed to get years to help me fix a broken tap or a defunct my hands on a coveted post in a fortunate stroke switch-box but he was always on schedule to of serendipity. Don't get me wrong here, I have collect the payment. I could notice his rapacious got this job on account of my merit alone and not eyes, which sparkled if the monthly electricity through some backdoor selling and buying as bill showed a higher remittance... just because he is customary and revered in our holy land. For was getting more Mahatma Gandhi notes. And long, I have mulled over pursuing a profitable how I hate him when he came delightedly to merchandising activity rather than putting our inform me that he was raising the rent! No more ancestral paddy on sale for the rarely available, I'm preyed on my mind by his piggishness these clerical vacancy in a nearly defunct workplace. days. Incidentally, he was I have got a job on account of my merit alone and Government offices are my second landlord, and the not through some backdoor selling and buying as supposedly obsolete, previous one in Malviya Nagar maybe the miseries is customary and revered in our holy land – a subjugated, aged man, affecting the state, have whose grumbling wife would also bogged down its henpecked him many a time in front of us – was no employees. As of now, what I want to flaunt is my less worse. set of skills that I have acquired in my 21 years of Yet I feel sorry that I have got these scumbags, formal education and a couple of years' experience in the first place, to rant my vitriol. But they didn't in the industry, but not my social standing in a
The imaginary homecoming
dreadfully sick society, where cheap money can buy you anything that a dozen of MasterCard could not even afford elsewhere. All of us are responsible for the atrocious condition we are in today. When we become informed electorates we can have a meaningful society. This is not oversimplification though it seems so, since we have lost count of the thousands of invocation through the media. In retrospection, our predecessors are more suited to gossip in a leikai tea-stall than to see the light of contemporary Manipur. Some few of them, who have the privilege to attend college and hold office, are instilling the art of corruption whilst the commoners are complying with the dictates as if this was the providence. My generation is also picking up; now we are coughing up for the job we want, and it will not be unexpected in the coming decade when we outsmart the old-timers. Despite this, we are not dumb clucks like them. There is a good chance though it will not be possible in, at least, another two hundred years, about people returning back and bucking up the economy. Alright, let the younger generation abuse us too. Reverse brain drain or brain gain – you call it any name – is possible, provided we get rid ourselves of the intense animal instincts in us. And the political masters are also inevitably coerced to appreciate that we cannot be taken for granted eternally. Take me as a simple human being with simple tastes. I don't bear anyone a grudge, what you sow you reap; the social mores only define your judgement of the world at large. And there is no question of selling myself off in this situation, for I would have stayed back in Delhi if I had not gotten this shot. As luck would have it, I'm destined to be here. Now it's no more a hassle to go to the office. I commute on my own and don't have to wait for a cab, in which I was once loaded with colleagues in the same way as commodities are conveyed on a lorry along the highway. Oh, those sickening feeling in travelling for an hour when the temperature hovers at 45℃! I took pity on those guys, who had to travel across three states from Noida to Gurgaon via south Delhi for work. I can recall those days
of sweltering heat, which no fan or cooler could hinder on occasion. It's perspiring when I look back on. Today when I leave home for work, I'm neither bothered whether I have locked my door or not. I have always enjoyed my work. From my previous job, I learnt so many new things in the professional front, grasped the inside knowledge of the market, and have matured into a man. Though I loathed the tasks of pencil pushers that we were occasionally burden with. I long for responsibilities, which are appropriate and are up to my abilities. But then, work is work – you are perhaps a nerd if you think it's worship. William Faulkner, the noted American writer, described the eight-hour regimen in an interview in 'Writers at Work': "One of the saddest things is that the only thing that a man can do for eight hours a day, day after day, is work. You can't eat eight hours a day nor drink for eight hours a day nor make love for eight hours – all you can do for eight hours is work. Which is the reason why man makes himself and everybody else so miserable and unhappy." Imagine Faulkner's ire if I tell him I had worked for ten hours a day. Wait, I buy Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000-hour rule. Investing time on our subject of interest in the office would be itsy-bitsy for the simple reason we are not paid to do what we desire. Yet there is a silver lining in working anywhere that we are devoting our time, at least, on the profession of our choice. What matters is, in the end, how much we are becoming proficient in our trade and we are adrenalised to perform our duties. "See, Eepu Faulkner, it was a corporate canon," I'd convince him. "That's the norm and presuming I spilled the beans about the wicked schedule, they would simply hand me the pink-slip... Human resources are not as scarce as cow dung, like the folksy saying in our town. I had a shift work from 12 noon to 10 pm but luckily I didn't have a night shift, the murderous graveyard shift. After all they paid me good, and it's quite a formidable time for me to learn the tricks... so I didn't mind." I'm earning half the salary I brought home previously, yet I can save twice the amount I used to in a month. That's the way of small-town living. I love it and hate it simultaneously – but then, the issue will only bring in the merits and demerits between a life in the metro and that of a teeny municipality. I get better facilities and
The imaginary homecoming
The so-called wonders of the India Gate and Qutub Minar are completely down six sets to love in a match against the curling Khonghampat road having picture-perfect views or any of the mysterious hilly terrains with heartfelt ravines across the state
easy access to services in Delhi still the comfort inadequate supply from the projects. But the of living in Imphal, with my own folks in the grievance notes have been buried under the debris familiar environs, has its own fascination. The of Loktak and in Yurembam long ago. No more most peculiar thing about my hometown is the have the people felt the need to protest but to break I have got to enjoy the sight of breathtaking suffer in silence. In fact, we can see in this darkness natural landscapes. The so-called wonders of the that a life is far more important than electricity. India Gate and Qutub Minar are completely down What we do most of the time is distract ourselves six sets to love in a match against the curling from the avaricious eyes of bloodshed and drug Khonghampat road having picture-perfect views or addiction and extortion and hostilities. any of the mysterious hilly terrains with heartfelt It's not surprising all the rubbish will pelt ravines across the state. down like a June downpour, when I mention a The weekends might be lifeless as the Elephant problem in Manipur, because no system is working and Budhachandra of Samumakhong, nonetheless, in tandem here and we have fucked almost the renovated Khwairamband Keithel, Mujikhul everything up. Insurgency, underdevelopment and (read the local wine vendors) and the various local conflicts are conspicuous throughout and in their joints provide a worthwhile shadow lies the administration The search for a solution to the problems that has gone haywire, the sanctuary. Needless to in Manipur is only as good as waiting for complication of transport and say, there are other hot Chaisra to reciprocate Sandrembi's feelings communication, a deplorable spots, including the NH 39 (upto Sekmai), Moirang, education system, insubstantial Churachandpur, Moreh, the Tamenglong route, health care, dismal infrastructure, a chaotic Kangchup, et cetara; these places are viable, seeing social order and what not. And their genesis is that we can return back home in a day's time. multifaceted too, with the geography, economy I have only a few alternatives, alas, when the and history of the land, twisted in such a way entire state is a forbidden area – which they tagged that the search for a solution to these problems is it as a disturbed area in bureaucratese. And it is only as good as waiting for Chaisra to reciprocate regrettable we have reproachable creatures in the Sandrembi's feelings. Time has certainly gone form of paramilitary forces and delinquent rebels ahead of us in our march towards enlightenment. to breed more agitation. Remember, time has not even spared us. Utterly confusing it is sometimes, whether we In this degeneration and plodding social have traversed 21st century or are hemmed in movement lies my life. I give a damn about how a time warp. The daily load shedding for long much O Ibobi-bozo has amassed wealth from hours makes the eyesight painful. For the pathetic the government coffer or how many civilians are electricity, we can go to the power office and the the gun-toting thugs going to murder. I'm least concerned, or rather the unconcerned ministry, worried how many times people will rape Manipur both of which have ready-made answers to cite and taint the record of the land with barbaric
The imaginary homecoming
crimes. Call me selfish, I don't mind either – I'm a guy who love rock n' roll and simple, beautiful things in life. So it's maddening to contemplate, when all I long for are peace, and a little bit of freedom to go where I'm pulled and do what I'm good at. Unceasingly, I'm so annoyed to feel shackled. I've been trying to break myself free from these manacles of a primitive lifestyle. Presently I get the kick out of reading good books, visiting new places that I have not been before, watching movies and catching up with friends. It's a boon to be away from the hot spell, which makes me go bananas, in the capital city; albeit the winters were fine, allowing me and others to roam around anywhere. Be that as it may, Nikhil's has replaced the momo kiosk in Lajpat Nagar now, so have the Orchid and neighbourhood hotels taken the place for Al Bake and the Aggarwals. When I wander nobody asks me if I'm from Nepal or China anymore and I'm quite relieved, being exempted from those ridiculous queries like how far Kathmandu is from Imphal or how we manage to catch and eat snakes. Considering this cultural generalisation, the mainland Indians are seemingly so engrossed, hankering after the acclaimed IITs and IIMs that they have ignored geography and sensitivity completely. Or maybe they are plain idiots, ignorant of the world outside the number theory, trigonometry, the business management principles. There was once a halfwit guy, who lived in the adjacent building to where I stayed. One day, I heard him complaining to Bunty Booree that he had found big animal bones on his terrace – exaggerating the size with his hands and repulsive eyeballs that almost popped out from
his disgusting face. "Moron," I thought, "You better join some Love Beastie Boys and Legal Bestiality dot-com." But he was drunk and I ignored him. This kind of bigotry is prevalent throughout and the best remedy I found was to make the other fellow understand. Understand who we are exactly and tell me what's our problem. Here and there, I had to take a pen and a piece of paper to draw the Indian map and locate where Manipur is. It was obviously annoying to be profiled in such a narrow sense, but then theirs is a land where caste makes the country count backwards. In another incident, one of my Northern friends disclosed he had never seen an exposed female leg above the ankle in his life, and no wonder during his first few days in Delhi, he ejaculated whilst gawking at mahilas in shorts. He was of course talking about girls in general; however, this is also a fact that the people look at the North-Eastern chicks as easy and sensual. But that's another story. All the people, however, are not like my distasteful neighbour or the buddy with out-of-control feelings. I'd also met many individuals and groups who know and are eager to know about us. The bottom line is to speak up. "Blockhead, now you understand Manipur is not a district in Assam?! Wise up, else your arch-rival dragon will flood the market with giveaway Viagra and let India screw itself up with population explosion." Back to where I belong, and nothing can be as good as the feeling of attachment somewhere. I long to bask in the balmy winter sun; watch the colourful skies of spring and its pristine greens; hear the torrential rain singing in chorus on tin roofs; and visit unknown, unspoiled countryside to gaze at uninterrupted views across the lush fields and blue mountains. I want to stop the apathetic time. I want to move ahead in life. as imagined on May 28 2010, for May 2011... aha!
Fallout of the reverie I'd love to travel across the world instead of staying back at home. But I don't think it's a Catch-22 situation or anything like that... The thought of enjoying vacation in my homestead always fascinates me but that's not the only thing/place that I draw my motivation from. I've been striving and the dream that I'll ever be victorious in this struggle fuels my existence. What is there beyond our existence, anyway? © http://kapilarambam.blogspot.com 2010
The imaginary homecoming
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.