Saturday, July 21

manipur can't even make matches

As the plane approached imphal, i could see cubiques of silt water in green and earth grey, paddy fields and along their perimeters lone mat woven roofs. Sometimes the land spewed up hills into the heavy sky.

As we got out of the small plane that would take off to aizwal shortly, I saw a bush of the thorny poison fruits I played with as a child with my brother, making swivering things. The air was sweet, yes sweet. And there were dark berried flowers. There was a doux rain in the air. I say, in the air, because it almost dint fall. No gravity. As if the air was precipitating its waters. (And shy fairies would take out their kayaks.)

Plenty men in guns everywhere. As we waited outside the airport for H’s pa to come and get us (since no communication could be established, roaming blocked and no PCOs) there were children (from the village, H pointed out) proudly in their uniforms, young women in the latest HK fashion of skinny jeans, kitten heels and feminine tunics (jeans to protest against its ban, or just), local muslim manipuri women in traditional phanek of horizontal stripe skirts and shawl worn like hijab, local hindu women with phanek (half sari) always, always mismatched with handloom skirt weave, bright printed polyester second piece and random short tee. :d

After a long wait, (especially as I started getting cranky) with too many armed men, we decided to take a rik. 150 bucks for 15 mins ride home to Lamphel. A large colony of wood-brick cottages and woven mats to separate each home with garden. Closely packed. I say, a colony of cottages, perhaps because I saw no people outside.

Soon, H’s Pa was home. We missed him by a few minutes I guess. And I had the most touching welcome I had ever had in my life. We gathered in the living room and his Nu and Pa said prayers. I don’t know what he said, but it was very peaceful. He said, we must thank god that you have reached home. This is our home. Make it yours. We will live together for some time. Nu said, my children are away, this is how we live. Everyone speaks in the deepest of voices, very softly, very gently, no quivers, no sharp intonations, compressions and liberations of air when consonants give way to vowels like the Buddhist prayers pillars in monastries.

In the evening, girl cats come home to rub their noses on us so we may be taken by their sweetness and give them a piece of fish. So do the mosquitoes for a drop of blood. H’s pa brings out his stunner racquet to en-zombie those bnuzzers. The racquet is then my limb for the rest of the evening.
The cocks and hen cackle like geese, the bees more disciplined than the siren happy armymen at the airport, go on with their honey, while I run around stunning mosquitoes.
At dinner, I ask if it is a Manipuri specialty- this racquet. Nu says in her prayer voice, “Manipur can’t even make a matchstick. We only weave cotton and silk.”