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.


FindingTheVoices with three young Manipuri Business Management traveling to Europe for the first time sharing their travel experiences, hope and learnings. 

FindingTheVoices with three young Manipuri Business Management traveling to Europe for the first time sharing their travel experiences, hope and learnings.
Guest Speakers : Ransonkumar Khundrakpam, Khundrakpam Naoba Meitei and Langam Lukram.
Language: Interview in English.
Location: Guest Speakers at Germany

Ranson, Naoba and Langam are three teenagers who have come out of India for the very first time as part of a global business study tour in Europe as part of study organized by the college IILM Undergraduate Business School.
One of their pictures which showed Ranson posing infront of the Eiffel Tower wearing the traditional Manipuri attire ‘Khudei’ became eye catching and viral. The three energetic youngsters talk about their experience travelling around Europe, spending the night near the Eiffel Tower, enjoying the beautiful sceneries and overcoming language barriers with Google Translate. They described the scenery as serene and beautiful, but still felt that the scenery of their home state Manipur was no less than what they were seeing in the moment. They experience new things which they will never forget in their lives and also learn a few valuable lessons during their travel in Europe.
Towards the end, they get a little emotional talking about their parents and expressing what they have in their heart and mind.
The three youngsters also mentions about one of our guests from Season 2, Mr. Rabi Moirangthem. We are very happy to learn that they were inspired to pursue Business Management after hearing the words and experience from our guest speaker.


About FindingTheVoices:Monica Ingudam, Founder of FindingTheVoices

Born and raised in the violence-torn landscape of Manipur, I have a vision to promote and spread inspiring, empowering, educative & entertaining stories. I believe that we can create contents bringing the positive side of Manipur. I believe we can do this together by finding the voices, voices which needs to be heard and shared, voices of our own people, people of Manipur and well-wishers of Manipur. I believe that these voices will bring a change and connect all of us.

I welcome you to join me in my journey to finding the voices at Http://FindingTheVoices.com/

 

FindingTheVoices with Mr. Gurumayum Shyamsunder Sharma, Reality of the status of artists in Manipur.

FindingTheVoices with Mr. Gurumayum Shyamsunder Sharma, Reality of the status of artists in Manipur. (Part 2)
Guest Speaker : Mr.Gurumayum Shyamsunder Sharma, sculpture artist of Three Mothers Art Gallery in Manipur.
Language: Interview in Meiteilon/Manipuri.
Location: Three Mother’s Art Gallery, Imphal, Manipur, India
Catch up the first part of the interview at FindingTheVoices with Mr. Gurumayum Shyamsunder Sharma, sculpture artist of Three Mothers Art Gallery in Manipur.

This is the second part of our interview with extremely talented artist Mr. Gurumayum Shyamsunder Sharma and we are joined by special guest and biggest supporter of our show, Madam Saroj Nalini Ingudam.

All of Mr. Gurumayum Shyamsunder Sharma’s marvelous creations are housed inside a broken down hall that is used as a gallery/museum. One wonders what all of the amazing sculptures are doing in such a poorly constructed hall, with broken floors and cracked walls. How awesome the sculptures would look if all of them were encased inside glass boxes with royal cursive labels and put on display for the world to see. The surrounding definitely does no justice to the beauty and imagination captured by the artist in these sculptures made out of huge roots.

Mr. Gurumayum Shyamsunder Sharma had so much hope of establishing a decent gallery/museum to showcase his creations for the people, but the total lack of support and ignorance from the government officials left him frustrated. Mr. Shyamsunder shared his hope and dreams for a brighter future for his gallery and work.

In this episode, the artist talks about a beautiful sculpture that he presented to a Director General of Shillong. The sculpture portrays many famous personalities such as Paona Brajabashi, Maharaj Tikendrajit, signing of the merger agreement by Maharaj Budhachandra, a smiling Queen Elizabeth wearing her famous royal jewels, just to mention a few. He has also presented many other sculptures to other government bodies. The DG’s office in Shillong alone has around 30 sculptures and the IGAR’s office in South Mantripukhri has around 38 sculptures.


About FindingTheVoices:Monica Ingudam, Founder of FindingTheVoices

Born and raised in the violence-torn landscape of Manipur, I have a vision to promote and spread inspiring, empowering, educative & entertaining stories. I believe that we can create contents bringing the positive side of Manipur. I believe we can do this together by finding the voices, voices which needs to be heard and shared, voices of our own people, people of Manipur and well-wishers of Manipur. I believe that these voices will bring a change and connect all of us.

I welcome you to join me in my journey to finding the voices at Http://FindingTheVoices.com/