My Journey by Dr. Ngangbam Shantikumar Meetei
A book review by Monica Ingudam
Book Title: My Journey
Author: Dr. Ngangbam Shantikumar Meetei
Publisher: International Meeteis Forum, Yaiskul, Moirangthem, Imphal West, Manipur 795001
This book is the autobiography of Dr. Ngangbam Shantikumar Meetei, Mr World 2013 in bodybuilding INBA, born in Manipur and presently teaching as an English Professor at Taiwan. This book captures his journey of his life starting from Manipur to Delhi and his migration to Taiwan.
Mr.Ngangbam Shantikumar Meetei had mentioned about his book when I took his interview during Season 1 of FindingTheVoices and I really wanted to read it. I contacted International Meeteis Forum to get a copy of this book during one of my previous trip in Imphal, Manipur. And to my surprise, I received a complimentary copy from Mr. A. Anilkumar, advisor of IMF and I bought another copy.
This book was lying in my ever increasing “To Read” pile and finally last week I picked it up. I started reading it and I just couldn’t stop turning the pages.
Reading the first 3 chapters which covers his childhood and growing up, I felt such love and remembrance for his mother. He wrote in simple English with a good story telling flow and I could feel the little boy’s voice as the book progressed. So much hunger and poverty for a young little boy filled with dreams bringing tears as I read. No one should be as hungry as he had experienced.
He has touched upon many aspects of life and articulated his dreams, love, adventure, poverty, education, family relations and racism very well. And in his narration, I could feel the honesty where he balanced and mentioned both his low and high points of his journey. I love the photographs added in the book that aided the narration very well. It’s interesting to read the chapter covering about meeting his wife and his thoughts on love at first sight versus learning to love. He shared his comparison of infrastructure and system of Manipur and Taiwan. He shared about the intense support system amongst family members, and also shared about the complexities, fall out and family dynamics of relationship amongst family members after marriage.
The book could use some editing in correcting some of the spelling mistakes. I don’t think it’s fair to generalize as a culture that wives in Manipur control the money matters of the family (page 97). Also I differ to agree on his opinion on classifying individuals opting trends of same-sex, no marriage, no children to be individuals who don’t care much about society or the future (page 288).
To me, this book is about love and attachment to your mother and motherland, chasing your dream, being adventurous, having an open mind to face life and never giving up. This book is also about hard work, struggles, pains, frustrations, disappointments before tasting success and winning.
I would definitely recommend you to read this book to both Manipuri and Non Manipuri readers.
Non Manipuri readers will get a glimpse on the background, adjustments and homesickness the students and people coming out of Manipur go through, staying in other parts of India, their fears and insecurity giving you a different perspective on how some of the words and incidents however trivial it may sound gets into the psyche of a person.
Collection of book reviews by Monica Ingudam focusing on books relevant to Manipur.