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.


S05E04 “1001 Thagatchari”, Gratitude project for Manipur. #6IndianWomenHockeyTeam #2002MancesterCommonweathGames #995ToGo

1001 Thagatchari“, Gratitude project for Manipur

Guest Speaker:

#6 Shanti Thokchom, Nursing assistant, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA.


Today, I had the fourth session of “1001 Thagatchari” project with Shanti Thokchom who is a Nursing assistant for the elderly at Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA. She says she is an ordinary but hard working woman. Her love for traveling and exploring the world is inspiring. She nominated her mother at the personal level to show her gratitude for the strength and learnings to be a strong woman. Her mother is a “Kuki” married to a “Meitei” and had faced lot of segregations during her time with the “Amang-Aseng” (Impure-Pure) culture amongst the Meitei for being a tribal. She nominated the Women’s Indian Hockey Team who won gold at the Mancester 2002 Commonwealth Games led by Suraj Lata Devi from Manipur. Such an awesome nomination to show our gratitude to talented women hockey players (Suraj Lata Devi, Tingonleima Chanu, Sanggai Ibemhal Chanu Maimom, Pakpi Thongam) bringing name for Manipur. At the global level, she nominated Pope Francis for his humility and less formal approach.   

I am really loving the high energy “1001 Thagatchari” series is bringing on and am looking forward for the next one.  I invite you to watch the amazing expressions in the video podcast.         

#1001Thagatchari #Manipur #6IndianWomenHockeyTeam #2002MancesterCommonweathGames #995ToGo



About “1001Thagatchari” Gratitude project for Manipur 

One of the takeaway I had interviewing many of the awesome talented voices of Manipur for the last 5 years was the lack of recognition and appreciation for their work and contribution. In the midst of conflicts, unrest and media’s focus for sensational stories, we have forgotten to say “Thank you” “Thagatchari”.

To change that I have challenged myself to find people who truly have appreciation and gratitude in their heart and the idea of “1001 Thagatchari” was seeded.

As a result of 1001 gratitude project, the much needed recognition and appreciation for the people will be elevated and we will re-learn to express our gratitude adding “Thagatchari” “Thank you” in our top list of vocabulary. I believe that this exercise of expressing gratitude as part of this project will enrich, expand and empower all of us and also contribute in building the strength of our community.

In the midst of conflicts, unrest and media’s focus for sensational stories, we have forgotten to express recognition and appreciation. To change that, I am looking for 1001 people to be a part of the movement to pause and express gratitude for the people of Manipur? Do you know anyone? Are you one of the 1001 people?

Contact us to be a part of this project and be a part of change. I welcome you to join us live and participate with your comments/questions as we are co creating our show Facebook FindingTheVoices Community Group.


 

S05E02 “1001 Thagatchari”, Gratitude project for Manipur. #4AkhuChingakham #997ToGo

1001 Thagatchari“, Gratitude project for Manipur

Guest Speakers:

#4 Girija Ningthoukhongjam , Student, Imphal, Manipur, India


Today, I had the second session of “1001 Thagatchari” project. I was so happy to see a young 11th grader Guest Speaker who have signed up to participate and be a part of the gratitude movement in Manipur. Girija Ningthoukhongjam nominated her teacher Elizabeth Wahengbam to show her gratitude in bringing out the best version of herself and compete with herself. She spoke about her inspiration and admiration for the creative contribution done by Singer Akhu Chingakham to the community of Manipur through his songs and projects. She nominated Muniba Mazari the iron lady of Pakistan at the global level. It’s amazing to hear a young one inspired to become a politician and she spoke strongly about environment and concern about using plastic. I invite you to watch her amazing expressions in her video podcast.         

#1001Thagatchari #Manipur #4AkhuChingakham #997ToGo



About “1001Thagatchari” Gratitude project for Manipur 

One of the takeaway I had interviewing many of the awesome talented voices of Manipur for the last 5 years was the lack of recognition and appreciation for their work and contribution. In the midst of conflicts, unrest and media’s focus for sensational stories, we have forgotten to say “Thank you” “Thagatchari”.

To change that I have challenged myself to find people who truly have appreciation and gratitude in their heart and the idea of “1001 Thagatchari” was seeded.

As a result of 1001 gratitude project, the much needed recognition and appreciation for the people will be elevated and we will re-learn to express our gratitude adding “Thagatchari” “Thank you” in our top list of vocabulary. I believe that this exercise of expressing gratitude as part of this project will enrich, expand and empower all of us and also contribute in building the strength of our community.

In the midst of conflicts, unrest and media’s focus for sensational stories, we have forgotten to express recognition and appreciation. To change that, I am looking for 1001 people to be a part of the movement to pause and express gratitude for the people of Manipur? Do you know anyone? Are you one of the 1001 people?

Contact us to be a part of this project and be a part of change. I welcome you to join us live and participate with your comments/questions as we are co creating our show Facebook FindingTheVoices Community Group.