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.
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.