A Short Story 005 : “Memma Chenkhre” (The married lady who eloped with the Bachelor)

“Memma Chenkhre” (The married lady who eloped with the Bachelor)

A short story by Monica Ingudam


It was the talk of the “Leikai” (community) that a married woman, mother of 5 children eloped with the handsome “Pakhang” (Bachelor). And such stories flies really fast from leikai to leikai, “Keithel” (market) to “pan dukan” (small pan shop). As I was browsing vegetables in the Keithel, I heard the story and people passing judgment, severe judgment on moral grounds, calling names to the woman “Nupa Phabi” “Oktabi” “tou-ngumbi” (woman who catches/traps guys, loose woman etc.).

They were talking about me. I got married when I was a teenager. My husband worked in a government office. I knew nothing about him before I married him but it was one of the common event of eloping on the first meeting arranged by friends on words that the guy is very good, working, from Imphal and life will be good “Nupa do yam phabani, thabak tourabani, Imphal dagine, nakhuta hamaga charani“. I grew up in a village in Manipur, life was hard with farming and Imphal sounded very attractive. We had exchanged couple of letters, unspoken shy glances on the road, prior to our first meeting which lead to the eloping event.

I got married, got pregnant almost immediately. Before the life of marriage sunk in, I was coping with this new changes in my body with morning sickness, constant emotional battle with mood swings. And my husband had worse mood swings than me besides being drunk, breaking and throwing things in the house which slowly transitioned to beating me up. And his mood swing would be triggered by anything from food not ready when he came back from work even on days he came earlier than usual to his drinking water was not warm enough. It was a constant struggle with him, finding fault in everything I did.

I had my first kid, a beautiful daughter. But he wasn’t happy. He wanted a son. Before we knew we had 5 children, a child almost every year. I was a mother of 5 children before my mid twenties. He had a voracious sexual appetite and crossed lines of dignity in getting his needs, irrespective of my health or mental condition, after beating me, in front of the kids, fingering and dragging me in front of other people to get his needs. He was rough in his ways, too rough tearing me inside out. My body took a toll with multiple child birth, satisfying his needs, his beatings and the mental trauma.

I didn’t have a place to go, not even my parents. I didn’t have any money. I saw no other ways other than to stay strong and raised my little kids who looked at me with eyes filled with fear. We grew up together, stayed a life of fear and did everything to please him. The little ones would come running shouting “Baba Lakle” (father is on his way) warning so that we can be prepared to set his food, water, clothes ready for his likings and the kids learnt to go out to the other room pretending they don’t hear anything, when he starts acting up to get his needs. And I would run and hide to escape his beatings and come back after my kids will signal that he has cooled down.

Time passed and my life took a turn after I was forced to seek work to feed the family after my husband was suspended from work. I started going out of the house to work and started earning. It was a newfound freedom, freedom to fulfill little things in life, have little surprises for my children. It gave me self esteem and I found a voice to fight back my husband. I had this confidence that I could survive without depending on my husband and surprisingly he stepped back. It’s true but financial independence can change one’s life.

Time passed, and my first daughter got married and I felt satisfied seeing my children growing up and getting independent. We had this closeness after going through so much that we could communicate through our eyes. I have crossed my forties when I met the “Pakhang” (Bachelor). Despite my situation, the age gap there was this unspoken connection from the first time we met. After being in denial, fighting myself, fighting the conflicting thoughts of society norms and moral, we fell hopelessly in love, a love which I never felt before giving me such happiness. After months of conflicting thoughts, with my first daughter speaking more with her eyes than her words “Ema, nung chatlo. Eiena loina yengshunge” (Mother you go, I will look after every thing) one evening I eloped.

My children and grand children visits me in my home, the small hut far far away from Imphal. I am looked down and spitted on by society. And I continue living my life taking one day at a time. Life is a struggle and never perfect but I am happy and at peace.

~The End~


LIFE’S THIS & THAT

MonicaIngudamCollection of short stories written by Monica Ingudam. These stories are based on Life’s this and that focusing on Manipur and the people of Manipur.


 

A Short Story 004 : My Three Mothers

My Three Mothers

A short story by Monica Ingudam


I look up the sky and see birds flying. I wish I have wings to fly away and find my place where I could call Home. Growing up, I was the best dressed and pampered boy by my Father and my mother in my “Leikai” (community). I always remember my mother to be this beautiful woman, fair with neatly tight black hair, wearing beautiful red half saree over Manipuri Phanek. Our house was beautifully arranged, every thing was in place. My mother really took care of my Father and me. I remember my father waiting for me without fail outside my school, standing tall and handsome. He would treat me to “achapot” (snacks) before we go home. It was laughter, love and fun in the family. We were perfect. But even God can’t stand perfection and has to test people. My mother passed away suddenly from a mistake one of the expert doctor made in her treatment over a small ailment. I was just 7 years old then.

Life took a sharp turn. My Father was heartbroken. Everyone was whispering that he should get married. My mother’s side tried to fix my mother’s younger sister with my father and other relatives had other proposals. After a little over a year, my father remarried to a woman of his choice. I was taken to watch a movie in a theater to “distract the son” as they referred as, on the day of the wedding. It’s strange how people talk right in front of you as though you don’t exist, I was small but I remember everything. I neither felt good nor bad. I didn’t know what to expect and I went with the flow of life.

The earlier days were perfect. My step mother played the perfect doting mother. But with time, I was seemingly getting in between my father and my step mother. I didn’t understand then, now I do. They were young and newly married couple who needed their privacy but how could they have any privacy with me hovering around my Father all the time. I remember one time I woke up at night, saw my step mother sitting on top of my father, her long hair opened and I stood there stupidly, I didnt mean to watch them, I just frozed. She turned and looked angrily at me, she looked like angry Durga with big eyes and I was scared, very scared.

Events after events happened taking me further away from my Father. I was hurt, very hurt that my father didn’t see my side of the story in any of these events. He seem to be under her spell. And she is not even pretty no where near my mother. Maybe I was jealous of the attention my father gave her. She was an intruder. It was hard for me to accept her. I missed my mother and cried so much. I missed her hugs, her smell, her pampering and fussing over me to eat. I was sent away to a boarding school. That really devastated me, I was so lonely with no visitors. I tried alcohol, pills and I even put my name to join a rebel group. I was expelled from the school and was sent back.

That didn’t make my life any easier. Day and night, there was fights. My father shouting at me. He became this man I never knew, he saw fault in everything I did. I was not good enough for him, I was wasting his money and one day in anger he blurted out “I should never have adopted you”. My life didn’t need this kind of excitement, it’s my life and not a movie that needed drama. I was adopted and all these while my biological parents are alive. After lot of fights and drama it was decided that it’s best I am returned to my biological parents. I was just a commodity moved from house to house as deem fit. I was angry mostly hurt by my father’s action. My biological parents tried to make me comfortable but I was angry with them too, asking myself why they gave me away. My father and my mother couldn’t have kids and they were on the verge of separation and adopting me right after I was born saved their marriage. I see pain and regret in their eyes and we learnt to stay together catching up on lost times but I never found that connection, the connection I see my siblings having with my biological parents.

There are drama going on about property, rights, sueing etc. And I really don’t care. My father walks past me looking at the other way pretending he didn’t see me. I don’t know how his love for me was lost. We don’t talk anymore. He never had a child with his second wife. I have no hard feelings for anyone now, it was the situations. I hope my father is happy with the choices he has made. As for me, I knew 3 Mothers in my life, I crossed 30 years and yet looking for place which I can call home.

~The End~


LIFE’S THIS & THAT

MonicaIngudamCollection of short stories written by Monica Ingudam. These stories are based on Life’s this and that focusing on Manipur and the people of Manipur.


 

A Short Story 003 : Being the Stalker

Being the Stalker

A short story by Monica Ingudam


Love could be a beautiful feeling if it’s both sided. The tragedy and pain comes when it’s one sided. And my story is no different. It all started harmlessly when I met him, at a time where I had self respect, maintained my sanity and could identify stupidity. And today I am reduced to a pathetic stalker, with no self respect, as I watch him smiling, dancing and partying with his Valentine hanging all over him.

I had ridiculed people when they speak of love at first sight. How could they associate such a serious pure word into something so casual, with someone they just met? I didn’t acknowledge when it happened and before I realized he overtook me like a storm, seized my capability to think and reason out. I became addicted and obsessed with him. Initially he entertained my company and was polite. But as I became more depended and literally throwing myself over him, I could see him withdrawing. And who wouldn’t ? I was suffocating him. I had this compelling feeling which made me weak and seek only for his company. I wanted to spent every minute with him. Seeing him or talking to him was never enough, I always wanted more. He was irresistible and I could drop everything what I was doing when he came to see me or called me which probably he did out of pity or probably at times he played to his advantage. But it didn’t matter to me, I played along with starry eyes.

The more he withdrew and started ignoring me, the more obsessed I became. I was totally addicted, I had to see him and hear his voice for me to function. My life was impacted drastically. I went to places, parties where I knew he will turn up, I started following his activities closely, way too closely. I started mingling with his friends, people I wouldn’t hang out normally just to hear about him. I became this low life person doing exactly the things I termed earlier as “Stupidity, what was s/he thinking ?”.

I did things that would seek his attention, created excuses and events just for a brief encounter or moment with him. I maintained a shrine of the things he said, things he liked, everything about him. I even went into a phase of low esteem analyzing the rejection. Days became months and it came to a point where he no longer wanted to meet me and finally blocked my calls and message systematically. That hit me really hard and struck to me that I have become a stalker. I had cried enough wetting my pillow, gazed at his pictures endlessly, spent countless days lovesick, just lying on my bed thinking about him without any urge to eat or do anything else. And I see myself falling and destroying my health and life. It’s time to move on before I loose my sanity. He taught me what it is to feel love and now I know how it feels. I don’t blame him for not loving me back. I now understand that love just happens, totally unplanned and beyond anyone’s control.

~The End~


LIFE’S THIS & THAT

MonicaIngudamCollection of short stories written by Monica Ingudam. These stories are based on Life’s this and that focusing on Manipur and the people of Manipur.


 

A Short Story 002 : Lyrics only for her

Lyrics only for her
A short story by Monica Ingudam

I was young and she was my first love. Her beauty, her innocence and her smile captured my heart from the moment I saw her for the first time as she walked with her hair flowing in the land of Manipur. I felt the world of love, heard my own heart beat with her reciprocating my feelings. It didn’t matter where we were as long as we were together. Such beautiful feelings and joyous moments to last a lifetime.

I saw her and our love only. My family came to know about my feelings for her. My parents saw her family and status. She was poor and her father is mentally imbalance and they were dead against this relationship. It broke my heart but I was not strong to fight back. I was young, and didn’t know how to handle the situation with my mother wailing. Words reached her or so my mother made sure it reached her, she didn’t take the rejections well. She was hurt and heartbroken. So was I, but nothing that I said would make her alright. Pride and ego could be a strong wall in matters of the heart. She couldn’t get over the things my family said about her father. The long distance didn’t help the relationship and we became more and more distant. I was studying outside Manipur to become a Doctor.

I missed her, her voice, her smile and felt this emptiness and heaviness in my heart, such strong feelings of extreme pain having the same intensity to the love I felt. I wrote to her many times but I was left heartbroken with her not replying to any of my letter (this is before the time of mobile phones). During my final year, I heard that she eloped as a 2nd wife to an older man of high power. The man who helped her to get a job in a government office in an administrative department. I knew deep in my heart it must have been a forced elopement. She couldn’t have loved that old guy with dirty looks, filled only with lust for her. People say man don’t cry but I cried like a child that night and many nights, cried with flames burning my heart. But then I did nothing, nothing to stop it and at times think if I could have done something, anything.

Time went by and I kept myself so busy with my work as a Doctor. I got married to a wonderful lady of my choice (which my parents didn’t approve as she is out of our community, but I didn’t care and I found the strength to do what I wanted) and raised our beautiful children. I am a grand father now and I love my family. But I never really did get over my first love. We have parallel lives but it stayed with me. We never spoke but I saw her one day by chance, couldn’t help watching her from far, in the crowded “Ema Keithel” market with her daughter. It pained me to see that her smile is gone, replaced with a serious look, with lines of wrinkles on her face, a very different picture than what I saw earlier but still a beautiful dignified lady. I hear that she has a hard life, not looked by her husband and she struggles to run her house raising her daughter all alone.

I have the perfect family but somewhere there is a void giving me sleepless nights. To fill the void, I have taken to writing and as words trickles from my pen it’s her I see and I have words and lyrics only for her.

~The End~


LIFE’S THIS & THAT

MonicaIngudamCollection of short stories written by Monica Ingudam. These stories are based on Life’s this and that focusing on Manipur and the people of Manipur.


 

A Short Story 001 : Being the second wife

Being the second wife
A short story by Monica Ingudam

I got married very young. My life was perfect with a loving husband. But my perfect life was short-lived as my husband passed away without any warning due to an illness. He left me even before I crossed my teenage years. I was in shock and denial. When my sanity was restored, I was back in my maternal home. No one asked me what I wanted but it was decided in my best interest. My in laws didn’t protest either. I had no place in my husband’s house, and I had no son who will carry the family name. My mother and my brothers pampered me restoring my perfect life once again. But with the new status of being a widow, I remained a “kabokang” (water hyacinth), looked upon as a problematic species, something to be kept out of boundary never to be taken home.

Time changes and with time my brothers got married, had children of their own. And the vocabulary of “ours” got extended to “yours” and “mine”. As the family grows with more people, our family started disintegrating with different thoughts, different perspective and everyone believing they are right not willing to see the other’s point. The family separated by initially having their own kitchen under the same roof to slowly talking about splitting the ancestral property so that each family can build their own houses. You see I am a daughter and in the land I am born, daughters don’t have any right to the ancestral property and there I was in my own home or so I thought, questioning the concept of “home” as the discussion of dividing the land never included me and where I will stay, making me feel more alien in my own home. And of course the whispers of “Ningol Hallakpi” (Meitei-lon derogatory term for married daughter coming back in maternal home) amongst my brother’s wife didn’t help the situation.

Sometimes in life one takes a decision and the decision is influenced by his or her situation at that point of time. I was in my twenties and I met this guy who charmed me with his words, made me feel feelings I didn’t know I could feel, bringing out the best smile in me, smiles which I didn’t know existed and the world with him looked so dreamy, tempting and beautiful. And one evening I eloped with him to be in his world as his second wife. I was disowned by my family, I was not accepted by his family, I was looked down by people being the second wife, I was not invited in ceremony, I was this “Nupi Yumgaibi” home breaker to the first wife and quiet rightly so. I was so much in love with him and nothing else mattered. But who would understand, how a widow can fall in love and that too with a married man ?

He made our home far away from everyone, literally at the foothill, remote and away from people. We made a beautiful garden together. The soil was good and everything we planted grew well. In no time we had juicy pomegranate both sweet and sour, peaches, guavas of different type, mangoes and plums. We didn’t have to buy vegetables from the market ever. All possible seasonal vegetables grew ferociously including “hangam” (mustard leaves), corns, cucumber, “Maroi” (herbs), brinjal, okra, “Morok” (peppers). We had planted beautiful local flowers “Takhellei” “Aparjita” “kaboklei” “Numit Lei” and I was happy, very happy in my world raising our boys together. He disappears in between without announcement and no questions asked from me for we know in that silence where he is going. I went through conflicting emotions, tears and jealousy with his disappearance. But without fail he would return and I see his love in his eyes. I learnt to be the second wife, found my home and my world.

~The End~


LIFE’S THIS & THATMonicaIngudam

Collection of short stories written by Monica Ingudam. These stories are based on Life’s this and that focusing on Manipur and the people of Manipur.