098 It’s all in the mind : Second Hand Clothes in Manipur

Second Hand Clothes in Manipur

You mock with slandering words,
To those wearing second hand clothes,
You must be the elite one,
Dressed in the way you think the elite does,
Covering your pretense,
Of your origin,
Have you forgotten the makeshift toilet ?
The one you ran with a small bucket ?
Where you held your breath from your own stench ?
Have you forgotten the fasting you did ?
To demand for a new bike which all your friends had ?
Oh! but you didn’t see how your mother ran door to door,
Borrowing money yet again,
Selling the gold earrings her father gave,
To keep up with your elite look,
Covering your economic status,
As you walk on the street,
With the material things you adorn yourself.

I had a blue jacket as a child,
Turning the inside out, it turned to a beautiful bright red jacket with blue borders,
A second hand jacket my grandmother gifted,
Which she meticulously picked amongst the many she saw and compared,
From the open second hand market at Churachandpur in Manipur,
Which was named my foren (foreign) jacket,
That became my favorite,
Many complimented wanting one for themselves,
My grandmother obliged and got more every time she visited,
For friends and neighbors who wanted,
But it was a hush hush matter that it was second hand clothes.

You who maintained the elite look,
Either by the hush hush words,
Or by your demands,
Mocking with slandering words,
How different are you in economic status ?
The status we all strive to rise above.

~The End~

An Experimental attempt to put thoughts in writing by Monica Ingudam.

This poem was written after I read comments amongst the people of hill and valley of Manipur mocking each other, trying to belittle the other making fun of wearing second hand clothes generalizing a community.



28 thoughts on “098 It’s all in the mind : Second Hand Clothes in Manipur

  1. It’s true.. We just pretend ourselves to be something we are not and consider ourselves to be superior. .. Guess it’s human nature but we need to be aware of the extent. .. We are grandiose, superficial, full of flaws n that’s what makes us humans but what matters is we rise from all that and make a difference… We need to act coz if we don’t , we just disappear in the midst of life.. We may be very good, intelligent but we need to act, to be felt/known. ..

  2. In the days I was growing up, we had a carpenter in our locality at Uripok called Mam Iboton by all and sundry alike, regardless of difference, or for that matter no difference, in age. It was a popular joke that Mam Iboton is covered from head to foot with ‘foren’, an epithet for second hand clothes. We also took pride in choosing the best selections from bales upon bales of second hand clothes with some of our like-minded buddies notifying us as soon as a new bale is opened somewhere someplace. It was also routine for us when a friend wears a particularly nice jacket or pant to jibe him – ‘ash! Fatjana khanbadi heirehe!’ Second hand clothes have been a boon to our Manipuri society as many of us are in the impoverished class. They provided us with the much needed style and look that we saw in the movies and television, and we had a particular affinity for such clothes which accentuated our identity. It is not surprising that some of this second hand articles costs more than their brand new counterparts available here but we chose to buy it anyway because the quality is way too good and much above brand new ones. My wife still prefers second hand curtains, bedsheets, socks, etc. over brand new ones. Thank you for reminding me of my humble origins once again Monica. Feeling nostalgic with my mind dwelling in those good old days.

  3. i remember visiting your grandmother at her home in Kwakeithel with my mom. She was ailing and my parents are good friends of Pabung Tomba (who used to amused us kids by speaking in Paite).I remember she had beautiful veggie garden on her terrace.

  4. Glory to God, by heaven and earth who is that miserable wretch , I wonder , who bore the brunt of this mighty wrath……. Is he/she still alive or enjoying the six feet under ?????

  5. my dad ran a small shop for 2nd hand clothes in the west of the district hospital, that was our only source of income….& we are so blessed to have worn them all our lives & till today, I thrive on these ones ( here its the used clothes we find them at thrift stores ) we really appreciated it very much…its still prevalent amongst ppl who look down / scorn on others who wear 2nd hand clothes….they consider it below their dignity to wear 2nd hand clothes or even if we gift them…..just my view

  6. Writing from heart. But time changes and hence changes with time. It is human nature. I don’t thing my children will understand the pass.

  7. I think there is nothing to feel belittle if anyone wear Secondhand clothes if he or she buy it with hard n honest earnings.

  8. As a new immigrant in NZ 16 plus years ago i did an office admin course and it was in the course as an interview tip to buy formal clothing cheap from Opt shops or what we call second hand shops and i did pick few for $5-$10 and they were bloody good.

  9. I always inspect the pockets whenever I purchase, expecting there might be some dollar, but not sure what would i do if I found also. And my expectation ended just like that.

  10. Hand me downs and second hand clothes aren’t to be looked down upon at all. Great way to recycle clothes and you can flaunt it as vintage too smile

  11. I still wear… , n remind me some of my sweat shirt #HardRockCafe on 80st, 90st #benetton, #levis, #wrangler, #Lee only from @USA and now @Korean , sometime made in India, Bangladesh, Pak, etc……

  12. No words to comment as I’m from Manipur. 99% of people used to wear 2nd hand clothes including me. You can find 2nd hand clothes shop in every states. Now, 2nd hand clothes is turned as a passion shop coz of the quality and uniqueness of the clothes. I used to wear is Levi’s denim with 2nd hand clothes to be unique and for passion. Really love 2nd clothes coz it worth more💖💞💝 😊👌👍👍👍

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