The Rickshaw Ride at Tiddim Road
It was a sunny calm afternoon,
With no bandhs and no bombs,
I walked stirring the dust on the road,
Watched the dust fall on my blue flat pump shoes,
The road starting from Kwakeithel,
A new found freedom filled me,
Walking alone on this road,
The road I once feared to walk,
The fear instilled with unpredictable bomb blast,
The fear instilled with frequent kidnappings,
With a freedom bounded by my protective parents.
I waved to a Rickshaw across the road,
I ask him if he could take me to moreh dukan near Keishampat,
He said yes,
I hesitated as I got a whiff of alcohol from his breath,
Then I climbed up the rickshaw,
Feeling safe looking at the wide open Tiddim Road,
Telling myself “What could he do?”
Having the confidence to punch if required.
I watched the half broken buildings on the way,
As all the landmarks I knew disappeared,
The familiar shop and signboard were all gone,
A result in the attempt to widen the Tiddim Road,
A thick compensation offered which bought people’s silence,
The man pedals steadily,
I inhaled the dust getting the taste of the lovely cold wind blowing across my face.
And soon I was greeted with the familiar sight I seeked for,
Bringing out my smile,
I asked the man how much was the fare,
He said whatever was the going rate,
I didn’t know what was the going rate,
I asked him if he had change and gave him a crisp 100 Rs note,
He slipped an old 50 Rs back to me,
Thanking him I walked towards my destination,
It was my lone Rickshaw ride,
The Rickshaw ride at Tiddim Road.
An Experimental attempt to put thoughts in writing by Monica Ingudam.
Authors Note: It’s a small event but a huge leap for me giving me the rush of freedom riding a rickshaw in the conflicted place of Manipur, India.