ENDURANCE A year in space, A lifetime of discovery by Scott Kelly #BookReview #FindingTheVoices #Amreading

Endurance A year in space, a lifetime of discovery

A book review by Monica Ingudam


Book Title: Endurance

Author: Scott Kelly


Scott Kelly is a former militay fighter pilot and test pilot, an engineer, a retired astronaut and a retired US Navy Captain. He lives in Houston, texas and he was a member of the yearlong mission to the International Space Station. I started following Scott Kelly in twitter while he was in space and totally fell in love with the beautiful #EarthArt pictures he took from space. His pictures opened me to such beautiful creations of nature and I looked forward for his new post. Here are some of the pictures from his twitter feed

 

 

 

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I tweeted to him couple of times to take a picture of the beautiful hills and valley of Manipur, my birthplace. Well that never did happen but someday someone will take it from space. 

  

I saw Scott Kelly’s book Endurance and I had to read it. He write passionately about his mother and how she was such a good listener and I felt the influence of strength he got from her. His mom was the first police officer in west orange, NJ who taught him the value of goals, plan and hard-work. While he was in space, he was remembering her on her death anniversary and it was touching to see that his girlfriend put flowers on her grave and sent a picture to him. This action made me think on re emphasizing the importance to do things for love which heighten human connections. 

Did you know that his inspiration about becoming an astronaut came from reading a book as an 18 year old boy in a tiny stuffy room enthralled by swirling sentences describing long-dead pilots? Yet another point why reading books can really widen your life and why I really encourage you to read and read more. You can read all about his background, experience of his one year in space and thoughts in this beautiful book Endurance at Amazon. I really enjoyed reading it. 


Book reviews by Monica Ingudam

Born in Manipur (India), based in Maryland (USA) patent holder for identifying Caller ID, with Computer Science Engineering background, you will find Monica Ingudam img_7268crunching numbers and data as an Analyst.  During the weekends you will find her hosting FindingTheVoices talk-show featuring authors, artists and people who inspire, empower, educate and entertain with the vision to connect and spread positivity. You will find her reading, writing and painting in her quiet time.


The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz #BookReview #FindingTheVoices #Amreading

The Four Agreements 

A book review by Monica Ingudam


Book Title: The Four Agreements

Author: Don Miguel Ruiz


Don Miguel Ruiz is a renowned spiritual teacher and internationally bestselling author of the “Toltec Wisdom Series,” including The Four Agreements,” “The Mastery of Love,” “The Voice of Knowledge,” “The Four Agreements Companion Book,” “The Circle of Fire, and The Fifth Agreement.”

He is the youngest of thirteen children, was born in rural Mexico to parents who were healers and practitioners of ancient Toltec traditions. He had a medical background and practiced practiced neurosurgery. A near-fatal car crash forever changed the direction of his life causing him to leave medicine and to examine the essential truth about life and humanity. With his mother’s help, and through her ancestral teachings, he discovered his own path to awareness and understanding of the universe and the mind. He faced the near death experience again when he had a heart attack and a heart transplant. He is has dedicated his life to sharing his message to promote transformation and ultimately change lives for the better. In his interview with Oprah Winfrey he speaks very candidly about being so prepared of death.

I saw this cute small size book with a colorful cover with the title The Four Agreements and I reached out flipping though the words and read it in one sitting. It’s a small book with simple and yet powerful agreements:

  • Be impeccable with your words: Speak only what you mean. Avoid gossip.
  •  Don’t take anything personally: What others say and do is a projection of their own reality.
  • Don’t make assumptions: Communicate clearly to avoid misunderstandings. It’s better to ask questions and clarify rather than being bogged down by assumptions.
  • Always do your best: No matter what, always do your best. Take the action and create your ideas. I love this agreement and no matter what others may think or judge, it doesn’t really matter as long as I did my best.

The world needs more joy and it’s amazing to find interesting experiences of people who changed their ways of life and purpose after facing death very closely.  I plan to check out his other books too. You can get his books The Four Agreements,” “The Mastery of Love,” “The Voice of Knowledge,” “The Four Agreements Companion Book,” “The Circle of Fire,” and “The Fifth Agreement.”  at Amazon.


Book reviews by Monica Ingudam

Born in Manipur (India), based in Maryland (USA) patent holder for identifying Caller ID, with Computer Science Engineering background, you will find Monica Ingudam img_7268crunching numbers and data as an Analyst.  During the weekends you will find her hosting FindingTheVoices talk-show featuring authors, artists and people who inspire, empower, educate and entertain with the vision to connect and spread positivity. You will find her reading, writing and painting in her quiet time.


Shamanic Healing by Itzhak Beery #BookReview #FindingTheVoices #Amreading

Shamanic Healing

A book review by Monica Ingudam


Book Title:Shamanic Healing

Author: Itzhak Beery

Publication: Destiny Books 2017, 240 pages.


Shamans and Shamanism has always caught my interest from childhood seeing many of the rituals, speaking in tongues, different musical instruments for different rituals, offerings in Manipur (India). It’s interesting to see more and more people in the western world learning, practicing and talking about this. You will find many participating in the drum and sunrise ritual in a park right in New York City. I picked up Itzhak Beery’s book Shamanic Healing and flipped the pages with fascination as he shared about the rituals, smokes, candles, herbs, stories of his healing sessions.

I started looking up on Itzhak Beery as I was midway in the book. I learned that he is from Israel, currently based in New York. He started being a skeptic and yet being very drawn to Shamans and Shamanism. He was initiated by his Quechua teacher in Ecuador and into the healing tradition of his Amazonian Kanamari paje teacher and has been practicing for 2o years now. On a personal note, it’s really sad to learn that he had removed his cancer via a surgery in Nov 2010 but it came back again after 6 years. He shared the emphasis in integrating traditional medicine for cure and shamanism for healing.

I watched videos of his demonstration of a guided drumming shamanic journey using power animal spirit to connect to the different level of energy to the universe. His spiritual work focuses on connecting to nature and helping others of finding life purpose and understand life’s lessons healing them in the process. It’s interesting to read about the transformation and different experiences after the different shamanic journey and techniques.

I see that he also wrote two books The Gift of Shamanism and Shamanic Transformations other than the book Shamanic Healing which I read. I plan to read the others too. You can find them in Amazon.

 

 


Book reviews by Monica Ingudam

Born in Manipur (India), based in Maryland (USA) patent holder for identifying Caller ID, with Computer Science Engineering background, you will find Monica Ingudam img_7268crunching numbers and data as an Analyst.  During the weekends you will find her hosting FindingTheVoices talk-show featuring authors, artists and people who inspire, empower, educate and entertain with the vision to connect and spread positivity. You will find her reading, writing and painting in her quiet time.


Three Thousand Stiches, Ordinary people, Extraordinary lives by Sudha Murty #BookReview #AmReading #FindingTheVoices

THREE THOUSAND STITCHES BY SUDHA MURTY

A book review by Monica Ingudam


Book Title: Three Thousand Stiches, Ordinary people, Extraordinary lives

Author: Sudha Murty

Publication: Penguin Random House India, 2017, 179 pages.


 

This book is by Sudha Murty, chairperson of the Infosys Foundation. I got to know about this book from Tuleshwori Sapam when she nominated Sudha Murthy at the global level as part of the 1001Thagatchari, gratitude project of FindingTheVoices. Tuleshwori spoke with such passion and inspiration about Sudha Murty that I was inspired to read the book. I ordered the book from amazon and completed reading the book in two evenings.

To me this book is about inspiration, journey of woman’s growth in India and the will of giving back to the community which ties human connections. Amongst many other things here are three things I love about this book:

·        I am so inspired about her Father’s story. His support for her choice of education to pursue engineering, chiming in with a different strategy in her outreach to the devadasi (female sex worker) community when she was ready to give up and his kindness to the young mother empowering her with the alternative choice she can take. It is because of Father’s like him that woman in India are progressing. My deepest respect and salute to him.

·        It is pivotal to share the experience of being the only female engineering student and reading her experience gave me the reflection of the long way women has grown in the society with time and still more to grow.

·        It is such an inspiration to see the strength in elevating lives with her belief and calling. Sudha Murthy has touched and changed many women’s lives through her initiatives of giving an alternative way of life. Reading this book will leave you with the inspiration and will of giving back to the community.

There are many other books she had written with compelling title and I want to read all of them. Her style and content of writing inspires me to write about the stories and people of Manipur, my birthplace. A must read book.  You will surely feel the life of a strong woman in India. You can get the book from amazon.


img_7268Book reviews by Monica Ingudam

Born in Manipur (India), based in Maryland (USA) patent holder for identifying Caller ID, with Computer Science Engineering background, you will find Monica Ingudam crunching numbers and data as an Analyst.  During the weekends you will find her hosting FindingTheVoices talk-show featuring authors, artists and people who inspire, empower, educate and entertain with the vision to connect and spread positivity. You will find her reading, writing and painting in her quiet time.


 

Missing my father’s funeral

My father’s passing marked the beginning of a new dimension of life. Since he was ailing with Dementia for a long time, and was no longer able to sit up for long, I felt his time was coming. I returned to US from Manipur with a heavy heart wondering if it would be the last time I saw him, as he blessed me, putting his right hand on my head. He was laying in the daybed, in the living room. I held his hands with both my hands tightly before I left. That was the last time I saw my father.

After some months, I was woken up in the early morning with my brother’s shaking voice at the other end of the phone line, sharing that our father has passed away. It was agreed and decided, that they will proceed with the fire cremation funeral ritual that day itself as per the local norms and traditions in Manipur. Then, I had agreed too, but in coming times I questioned myself on “Why such a hurry?” during the sleepless nights where I couldn’t quite get closure to my father’s passing, as I didn’t see him go. The question of “Where did he go?” kept floating on for a long time.

My mother and brothers were busy with the preparation of my father’s rituals and couldn’t come on the phone. And I was feeling so helpless knowing that Baba was soon going to be cremated and I wasn’t there. I made my offering of light and burning incense stick, and hastily called my cousin brother. I requested  him to keep the phone line open, so that I can hear what is going on in the background. I sat quietly and heard the instruments and songs played as part of the rituals.

Suddenly out of nowhere, I remembered the vicious raw words from an unknown person who commented that I will not make it for my Father’s funeral in retaliation for writing the Poem “Students in Manipur”.

I was deeply pained and saddened and had written “A Funeral for my living Father” then.

A Funeral for my living Father

You mock about my ailing father,

Who is old and frail,

Who is battling with his memory,

Taking time to recall my name,

And yet greeting me with such profound expressions giving me the peace that feelings cannot be snatched even by Dementia,

Living his second childhood with his days numbered.

You curse about my living father,

Mocking about his funeral when he is alive,

Judging that I won’t make it for the funeral,

A funeral which you pitied the Leikai (community) will perform without me,

Such vicious words,

Such hateful words from someone I don’t even know.

You, hiding behind a fake name,

You have won in wounding me,

It’s true, I sleep every night with the biggest fear that I will miss his last moments,

It’s true, that I have failed to be with him at his hours of need,

It’s true, I have played out in my mind of every tiny details of how soon I can reach,

To be on time to hold his hands.

And I wish you would never have to feel the pain and helplessness of the separation and distance,

And remain blessed to be serving your Father living under the same roof,

Blessed to know for sure that you will light your Father’s funeral,

Blessed to know that you will be there holding your father’s hand as he crosses to the other world,

Blessed to be sleeping peacefully throwing words of mockery to the failed ones,

The failed ones like me.

  As the cremation is going on in Manipur and I was sitting in US, I tried to concentrate and be present with the faint sound of the rituals coming from the phone, I tried to think of Baba, but I couldn’t. I just couldn’t, the words, the unknown person’s vicious raw words kept coming again and again and I just couldn’t get it out of my head. I couldn’t stop my tears and I started falling into those words, that narrative, making me feel that my writing has brought upon the situation of me missing Baba’s funeral.

And I couldn’t quite write the way I did for a long time. But now it’s time, time to write, write on what matters to the heart and soul. I am ready to celebrate Baba’s life, carry him within me, spread the love and strength he has instilled in me.

Now you know how raw vicious words can bruise one’s soul, will you think twice before you hurl it?


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About Monica Ingudam

Born in Manipur (India), based in Maryland (USA) patent holder for identifying Caller ID, with Computer Science Engineering background, you will find Monica Ingudam crunching numbers and data as an Analyst. During the weekends you will find her hosting FindingTheVoices talk-show featuring authors, artists and people who inspire, empower, educate and entertain with the vision to connect and spread positivity. You will find her reading, writing and painting in her quiet time.


15 Things You Should Give Up to Be Happy by Luminita D Saviuc #BookReview #FindingTheVoices #Amreading

15 Things You Should Give Up to Be Happy by Luminita D. Saviuc

A book review by Monica Ingudam


Book Title:15 Things you should give up to be happy

Author: Luminita D saviuc

Publication: Perigee, 2016, 189 pages.


I had to read this book when the introduction has “… liberated, financially, independent, self-expressed and free to travel the world to enjoy beautiful locations…”. My exact thoughts were printed in this book.  I picked up the small size book which I love with the thought “Who is the author who has exacted my thoughts into words?”. I learnt that the author is Luminita D Saviuc, founder of PurposeFairy.com 

Here are three points I want to share with you today:

  • Don’t look for faults, look for the lessons in everything that happened to you. Look for the good in the bad, look for the beautiful in the ugly. Being positive and having a grateful attitude will help you cope with life’s challenges in a healthier and more empowering way.”  Though this was not the first time I am introduced with this concept, I guess I was ready to receive this information, so I took some time to pick some scenarios in my life where I saw faults and tried to look for the good. It was hard. How could there be any good when it caused such pain? I looked harder to see the beautiful. It took time, days but slowly I could find the lessons learnt and the beauty in it. This could be a powerful exercise. Try it!
  • Accept the past the way it is, with both the good and the bad, because only by accepting what happened will you be able to leave it all behind and work on crafting a brand-new life for yourself.” Again not a new thing, right? We have heard many time about accepting the past and moving on but what caught me was the later part on crafting a brand-new you. If you want to change to a new you , you have to let go of the past. Again looks simple, maybe difficult to implement but when you get into the awareness of catching your thoughts in lamenting in the past, get yourself into activities creating the new you, and use the time to create the new you. Try and experience your own transformation with this exercise.
  • Blaming is a waste of time and energy. It does no good, not to you and not to those you are blaming. And the less time you spend blaming, criticizing and complaining the more time you will have left to heal yourself, your wounds and your life.” It’s all about getting control of your time. Do you want to fill your time with blaming others or you want to utilize it in filling with things that uplifts you. The awareness of catching self in the blame game is a good time to pull back, have some quiet time and get control of your time. It’s a continuous practice but a powerful one in transforming yourself.

There are many things Luminita addressed  in this book in a simple yet wise way. I really enjoyed this book with her style of narration with her own personal journey. You can find this book at Amazon.


Book reviews by Monica Ingudam

Born in Manipur (India), based in Maryland (USA) patent holder for identifying Caller ID, with Computer Science Engineering background, you will find Monica Ingudam img_7268crunching numbers and data as an Analyst.  During the weekends you will find her hosting FindingTheVoices talk-show featuring authors, artists and people who inspire, empower, educate and entertain with the vision to connect and spread positivity. You will find her reading, writing and painting in her quiet time.


The Code of the Extraordinary Mind by Vishen Lakhiani #BookReview #AmReading #FindingTheVoices

The Code of the Extraordinary Mind by Vishen Lakhiani

A book review by Monica Ingudam


Book Title:The Code of the Extraordinary Mind

Author: Vishen Lakhiani

Publication: Rodale Books 2016, 288 pages.


This book is by Vishen Lakhiani,  a computer engineer and entrepreneur in education technology, he is the founder and CEO of Mindvalley. My deepest gratitude to Vishen Lakhiani and Mindvalley for leading me to new doors of expanding my personal growth and learnings. I found Mindvalley and read this book “The Code of the Extraordinary Mind at the time I needed it the most.

Raised in a conflicted state of Manipur in India mostly within the walls of my father’s house and my school, walking in fear and restraint with the survival instinct in the forefront and loosing a little bit of my identity trying to fit in carrying the “Brules” (as Vishen calls it) as I moved around the globe. And yet the strong feeling of being not aligned would keep taking me back to the lingering question of my identity. As I read the book, I felt so much in place, I fit in, I understood and resonated with many of Vishen’s writing and the code of the extraordinary mind. I felt extraordinary and fearless. And I saw these huge options of learnings and more learnings in front of me.

Amongst many things I learnt and am still practicing from this book, here are three I want to share:

  • Rejection: Even if you fail, you won’t take rejection personally because it’s not you. It must be your method or approach or skill or whatever. And you know you can improve and try again. I am more conscious now of taking rejection personally by practicing this code making me turn around to improve on my approach and try again instead of wallowing in self-pity mode.
  • Gratitude: This has been one thing many have written and spoke about in the personal growth domain and I felt the true power of high energy and human connection when I applied it in the 1001Thagatchari a gratitude project for Manipur where participants come up in my weekly talk-show to share their gratitude by nominating one person in their personal space, for Manipur and at the global level. And I strongly believe that this project will spread the positivity elevating the morale connecting the people of Manipur.
  • Intuition: Tapping into the power of intuition. I had felt intuition before but never took it seriously. Now I have this huge interesting learnings in front of me.

There are lots more to learn, and you will have to read the book yourself. I have this book marked with my pencil, post-it and holds a favorite spot in my bedside collection. You can get the book from Amazon.


 

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Book reviews by Monica Ingudam

Born in Manipur (India), based in Maryland (USA) patent holder for identifying Caller ID, with Computer Science Engineering background, you will find Monica Ingudam crunching numbers and data as an Analyst.  During the weekends you will find her hosting FindingTheVoices talk-show featuring authors, artists and people who inspire, empower, educate and entertain with the vision to connect and spread positivity. You will find her reading, writing and painting in her quiet time.


 

Mourning for Gurumayum Shyamsunder Sharma, sculptor artist of Three Mothers Art Gallery of Manipur.

Mourning for Gurumayum Shyamsunder Sharma, sculptor artist of Three Mothers Art Gallery of Manipur.

As we are nearing the completion of five years of FindingTheVoices, I was reflecting on moments that made FindingTheVoices real, moments that gave meaning to my quest and vision to continue FindingTheVoices.

Yesterday I shared a picture in Facebook sharing a moment “It broke my heart to see the crumpling condition of Three Mothers Art Gallery in Imphal, Manipur.”

#5years #FindingTheVoices #Manipur #29Sept2012 #LookingBack #Moments It broke my heart to see the crumpling condition of Three Mothers Art Gallery in Imphal, Manipur.

Then I shared another picture of another moment “I was truly touched and felt connected by the way Gurumayum Shyamsunder Sharma, sculpture artist of Three Mothers Art Gallery calling me “Sana” instead of my name. Sana, literal meaning is gold but it’s a way of addressing someone with love in Manipur. And I had forgotten this beautiful way of addressing.” I remember my mother fondly sharing about her childhood “Oh, when I grew up, I was Ebemma at home.”

Staying away from Manipur for 25 years now, I have missed experiencing many of the beautiful ways of life in Manipur. The journey of FindingTheVoices have been very fruitful and enriching to me as a person, striking a deep chord in taking pride of my origin and roots.

#5years #FindingTheVoices #Manipur #29Sept2012 #LookingBack #Moments I was truly touched and felt connected by the way Gurumayum Shyamsunder Sharma, sculpture artist of Three Mothers Art Gallery calling me “Sana” instead of my name. Sana, literal meaning is gold but it’s a way of calling someone with love in Manipur. And I had forgotten this beautiful way of addressing.

Sir Laba Yambem commented on the post sharing the news about the passing of the main artist of Three Mothers Art Gallery.

I got confirmation of the sad, very sad news that Gurumayum Shyamsunder Sharma passed away on August 12, 2017. He was born on September 24, 1955. The news filled me with such grief, regret and anger. His passing is a big loss to Manipur, a big loss to the community of sculptor artists of the world.

It is my deepest regret that we have failed him in recognizing his talent and giving him the support to nurture his inborn gifted talent. It gave me goosebumps when he shared about seeing the vision of what to carve when he sees the raw roots at nights and hence he worked mostly at nights. He didn’t have a blue print for any of his sculptors, it was all in his mind which he carved.

I saw a true artist seeing the blessing of such talents in Manipur. His sculptors conveyed the deepest meaning in art form with important relevance to the history and people of Manipur. But it broke my heart to see the crumbling gallery, the beautiful artwork smudged with dust from the fallen ceiling. It made me think of the art gallery in other places where artwork are kept with such value, boxed within glasses, guards closely monitoring the many lined up visitors from touching the artwork.

His vision of what he wanted to carve is truly inspirational but we have failed him to provide a platform and nurture his talent.

If you haven’t heard about Three Mothers Art Gallery, that is the first failure point. Why haven’t you heard about it ? Why don’t you know about the artist? Where are the visitors lining up to see his artwork? Why is his artwork not promoted? Where are the promotions? Why is his gallery crumpled? Shouldn’t his artwork display be one of the main display for tourist spot in Manipur?

Gurumayum Shyamsunder Sharma (September 24, 1955- August 12, 2017) gifted sculptor artist of Three Mothers Art Gallery, Manipur passed away. He was just 61 years old. He had dreams, many unfulfilled dreams. I have failed him. The people have failed him. Manipur has failed him. India has failed him.

I implore you to visit Three Mothers Art Gallery, Wangkhei, Thangapat Mapal Palace Compound, Imphal East, Manipur and seek your help and support for elevating Three Mothers Art Gallery in Imphal.

 


Monica Ingudam, founder of FindingTheVoices, A weekly talk show with the vision to promote positivity in the conflicted land of Manipur. Monica Ingudam is based in Maryland, Unites States and is originally from Manipur, the Indian state.


 

A Short Story 014 : Tharo-Angoubi

Tharo-Angoubi

A short story by Monica Ingudam

It was the summer of 1977 at Kwakeithel, Imphal, Manipur. I was teaching at a school and came back home during the break time to check on my children. It was a calm scorching day. The roads were empty and I could hear the sound of my creaking chain as I bicycled.

Suddenly I saw one very angry woman and 4 men talking loudly with each other. There were other local people watching them. As the voice got louder, more people started coming out. I didn’t dare to stop though I was curious as to what was the issue. I continued cycling and after couple of gates, I saw Eche Memma standing at her “Konthong” (gate) looking worried and nervous judging from her gestures and eyes. I stopped my second-hand black bicycle and walked towards Eche Memma and asked “What happened? Is there any problem in the “Leikai” (community) that many people are outside at this time?”

Eche Memma came nearer and whispered “Ebemma, one young girl came running inside our house and she is hiding underneath our bed. And all these people are searching for her.”

“Why are they searching for her? Do you know what is her name?”

“She said her name is Tharo-Angoubi and she is from Wangkhei. She looks very simple and I am guarding her. I don’t know why they are chasing her and they don’t know that she is in my house. And I am not going to let these mob enter my house. But I don’t know what to do. I am afraid of the unpredictable nature of mob.”

I can understand Eche’s concern. We have seen mob going out of control and reducing a house to nothing in no time without understanding what is going on. We may be overreacting but things could turn to any direction. I panicked on the possible outcome and heard myself saying “Eche, I want to meet the woman. Please can you help me cross the bamboo bridge to reach your home.”

Eche Memma’s house is beyond a big drainage and there is a bamboo bridge made of 3 big bamboo stick. I was also afraid of crossing the small bridge in the fear of falling into the drainage. Who would want to fall into a drainage filled with the remains of every household’s toilet in that Leikai. I parked my black bicycle on the road side and Eche helped me cross the bridge. I took support of her hand and walked.

We went hurriedly to her mud house with broken walls revealing the underneath bamboo and thatched roof. When I heard the name, I suspected of someone I knew and true enough when I saw her face, I recognized her. She is none other than Tharo-Angoubi with whom I did Masters under JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi). We studied together at one of the classroom of DM college campus in Imphal. We were not the best of friends but we knew each other. We were the first batch of JNU affiliated for students of Manipur.

I saw her shivering with her body curled up on her knees, half beneath the bed, with her hands on a tattered reed mat. I ran towards her and said “Tharo-Angoubi, what happened?”. She seemed slightly relief seeing a known face and replied “Eibu amukta kanbiyu (Please help me!)”

She crawled out of the bed and sat fully on the tattered reed mat. I hugged her instantaneously feeling a pang of pain seeing her condition with her eyes filled with fear and said “Don’t worry. What happened?”

I told her not to worry but my mind was blank and I didn’t know what I was getting into and how I can help her.

Tharo-Angoubi started sharing “I had joined a “Marup” (Chit-fund). I was supposed to get the INR 10K  three months ago. But I haven’t got any money. I am now a vendor of “phige phanek” (local meitei silk sarong) and she took 2 of the phige phanek and didn’t give the money for that too. I had planned to repay off some debt after getting the marup money and things got really hard with people coming at home asking for their money back. I couldn’t effort to loose the money she owed me. I had borrowed her gold ear-ring for going for a marriage and I didn’t give her ear-ring back. And these people are behind me because of that.”

“Who is she?”

“She is the woman who leads the marup. She has hired these men to come behind me. I didn’t give back her ear-ring thinking that I will give it back only after she will give me my marup-money and the money for the 2 phige phanek.

Please can you help me get out of this house and drop me to a nearby house I know. I will be safe there. It’s a house of my relative and they can protect me.”

Her eyes pleaded and I was the only option at that instant. I had made up my mind to help her when I saw her first though I didn’t know how to. I remembered that those men were sitting 3 houses away and I knew that we could bend down and escape behind the bamboo woods crossing through the back of the neighbor’s house. My heart started to beat faster and without saying a word, I signaled her to follow me.

We went at the back of the house towards the bamboos, crossed over to the neighbors. Most houses were not fenced with concrete like now, it was mostly “sambalei” plants as fence. I don’t know how fast or slow we went, but we jumped through the bamboo woods, crossed the isolated back of the houses with creepers and dried fallen leaves creaking as we stepped on, the places where we never dared to get out at noon for fear of snakes crawling and the many latrines with buzzing flies. Let me tell you a bit about the latrines. It was an open hole with a plank of wood or two or three bamboos where you can sit and do your business as soon as possible, probably with one hand closing the nose to spare from the stench and partially covering the mouth so that the buzzing flies won’t enter your mouth.

 

After crossing all these places in the peak of noon heat that summer, we reached a bend where we couldn’t see those men anymore. Then we looked sideways and crossed another Bamboo small bridge which touches the main road. I don’t know how we crossed it considering my fear on crossing such bridges but we crossed it. And we walked hurriedly through the mud road when I heard Tharo-Angoubi  long breath with a sigh of relief and said “I can see the house. I can walk from here alone.”

I was tired and suddenly I felt the heat too. I didn’t offer to walk with her till that house and thought of my little ones at home. I needed to go back to the School too. I stood there for a bit and watched her walk away and saw her enter the gate made of 3 bamboo sticks. she removed the top 2 bamboo sticks and jumped over the bottom bamboo.

I turned and walked back to my house. I thought about how her life became.  Tharo-Angoubi was a qualified Masters, couldn’t get a job and remained caught in the grip of poverty as many in Manipur. I thought of my life too. I was struggling to be a teacher in a School while my friends were teaching in Colleges. I didn’t have the money to pay the bribes to be in a college. I didn’t have to pay any bribe to become a teacher in this school and was happy that I even received a small increment because of my MA qualification but the other teachers protested. With the increment, my salary almost touched INR 200 per month. At that time, most teachers in the School were BA/BSc qualified. The protest made me extremely uncomfortable and I was in a dilemma of my career and future roadmap in this school.

I helped her escape that day from that angry woman and men but I never met her after that day. I walked into my house and saw my daughter sleeping soundly. I rushed backed cycling faster towards the school as I didn’t want to be late. The roads were empty and the woman and men were no longer there. All the local people have gone inside their houses. Every day is so unpredictable with many surprises. I didn’t know that I will meet Tharo-Angoubi under such tensed circumstances.

~The End~


LIFE’S THIS & THAT  

Collection of short stories written by Monica Ingudam. These stories are fiction based on Life’s this and that focusing on Manipur and the people of Manipur. Based on a story as told by Ema, my mother.