Amerikan Thinking, Manipuri Living

Arambam Kapil *

born in the USA , Amerikan Thinking, Manipuri Living

I should have been born in the USA. I love every bloody Amerikan rock n' roll bands; I would lose myself in reading Ginsberg's poems, Thoreau's essays and watching CNN. Most of the time I do the thinking in Manipuri, my mother tongue; but sometimes, I also think like an Amerikan in broken English. My girlfriend is also in Amerika; perhaps, you know her. Sharon Stone. I should have been living in Amerika.

But I cannot help and was born in Manipur. Is it fair nobody has the chance to know where to get born in this big bad world? I don't think so, and unfortunately, I have been also living here. Naturally, it is not hard to admit I have a very critical attitude towards anything, everything here, especially in my hometown, Imphal. The fact that I was born here though I wanted to be born there, is definitely not the reason for my critical attitude in my own submission, which could be sheer pessimism in other's opinion. I do have other reasons for my sickness with yearning for a better place to live in. Amerika is just a poor excuse.


How can you expect to find someone light and glowing with optimism when load-shedding is a way of life? Electricity is a luxury here. You heard me right; I didn't mention Armani or Audi, but electricity. We are lucky if we get electricity for five hours a day. Last week, there was a news report about the power department, which was blamed for selling illegal energy to other states. The scam is pegged at four crore rupees by Naharolgi Thoudang, a vernacular daily in their exclusive report.

This is another great way of a Manipuri life. Taking and giving bribe is our hobby. But I would rather be a guard in Amerika like in Baywatch than pay kickback for a job (so what if there is no other way to get the scarcely available government jobs) in this heavenly filthy place.

It is not all dark all black, though. Some months ago, the electricity department had started a pre-paid system to check the widespread illegal connection and rap the defaulters on their knuckles. The department might be having some other plans as well, at least we hope so. But where did I read that this same electricity department is also included in the list of defaulters?

Last month, the Chief Minister met the Union Power Minister in New Delhi. The CM had apprised the power minister that he enjoys regular power along with his herd of ministers at Babupura but that the people are really ballsed up. And I failed miserably in understanding a line on the next day's newspaper: Even though the power minister listened to Ibobi with keen interest, he gave no assurance. (The Sangai Express)


Good-hearted men, happy women, hardheaded folks might whine if I keep knocking the authority. I agree, in fact, I fully endorse that we are responsible to ourselves. We are to blame ourselves for this sorry state of affairs and this should mean there is a lesson for us to learn. But we will never learn to keep and use the coins. Where are all the coins and change hiding in Manipur? Where have they vanished?

At the shop, how can you bloody give me candies for seven rupees because you don't have the change? Give me a small-size Gold Flake, a match box and a piece of that Eclairs. A few coins should not be the reason for my habitual jumping to conclusion, here regarding my view about the superficial bigheartedness of me and my tribesmen who are ever ready to care not about the silly trifles and worthless coins. Caring about meagre, useless coins hurts our Amerikan-made egos. Besides, we are already bogged down by so many bigger problems like fighting for fatherlands and motherlands, right to live, right to basic amenities, and the Golden Triangle Proximity Syndrome and so on. But this mentality sucks!


There is also a habit of overcharging, thanks to the frequent blockades and bandhs. Today morning, I went to buy a bottle of coke and the salesgirl was trying to sell it at 35 rupees she said it is normally 30 rupees, though the MRP is 27 rupees. The five extra rupees was for the chilled bottle! When it comes to business, we are like a Tarzan with his hallmark naivety. Needless to say, the Gujaratis are running the show at the commercial centres in the valley and elsewhere.

But there is one thing that is quite unique to this place. If someone starts a chicken centre, the local parlance for small stores selling chicken meats; half of his neighbours will start dealing in the same business.

Currently, I saw there is a trend for tutorial centres. When I counted last evening, there are six different tutorial centres in my locality. Possibly any tutorial centre is good, because the prevailing lawless condition is affecting the schools and colleges very badly; but when it comes to Tarzan's dilemma of following others, nothing can beat it.

What is wrong with the people? What is wrong with us? We are paralysed by the contradictions: Everything is possible and nothing is also possible, like peace is possible because peace exists but we cannot have it because we have no space for peace; we protest against AFSPA but we would pay 15 lakh rupees for a sub-inspector's post; we would continuously bash New Delhi yet in elections, we would readily go and cast our votes after a few shots of free drinks. The list goes on.


Anytime I go out of my house, I always meet a friend or the other. Again this morning I met Iboyai on his bike, standing at the junction of our locality. He was thinking over which way to go and he looked worried. He had been there for fifteen minutes. The road would lead him to BOC where he will get a shot of heroin if he went straight and to the left road, to an NGO-run medical centre where he is taking a heroin-substitute medicine as a part of harm-reduction therapy. He would get the substitute drug for free, but it is kick-less, just too easily available and less exciting. So he went straight.

BOC is a neighbourhood synonymous with heroin and prostitutes. It is located so close to so many important places: the commando complex, the interstate bus parking, two major hotels in Imphal, the historic Kangla fort and others; but it will take some sort of a rocket science to understand why the place has been existing eternally and there has been no important crackdown so far.

There is another parameter that indicates the beauty of the town, already accentuated by BOC. Two things are really messing up the place: human rights' violation and drug abuse. These factors have made a huge blot: drug-related NGOs are mushrooming at a rate only the NGOs dealing with human rights abuse in the hills and the valley can challenge. No wonder, ours is a land where morality is measured by the warmness of condoms found in seedy restaurants during raids by the moral police.

We are also a dry state but half of the youth in the Imphal town are available in the evening in the khun, at the drinking vendors. What's more, the best places to buy the imported whisky and beer are from the two police canteens, one of them which is just a stone's throw from BOC.


If drug is a killer, the roads are its partners in crime. Accidents, rash driving, speeding are another story of road rage we usually find elsewhere. Without elaboration, there have been sarcastic anecdotes of patients dying on the bumpy and hellish roads, just because the streets leading to one of the premiere hospitals in the Northeast, the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, are not even spared. Right now there is not a single stretch of one-kilometre road which is free of caves, kettles and potholes. Terrible roads, irregular power and water supply, gutless administration. Pathetic infrastructure. As pathetic as me. As pathetic as the people.

Two negatives make a positive only in Mathematics. With all the negatives plaguing the state, it is easy to infer why it took years to complete any developmental work. Even the Amerikan thinking is of little help because most of the time we are only trying to imitate their superficial triviality, without the substance.

Oversimplification might aggravate the problems we are facing in this land, still we are in a position in which everything can be negated because nothing is working. Questioning ourselves should be our first step in the collective journey towards peace and prosperity. Otherwise I should be applying for my passport. I'll be going to Amerika.

* Arambam Kapil wrote this article for
The writer can be reached at kupelderanged(at)gmail(dot)com and blog here
This article was posted on July 23 2012

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.

  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #35: Download
  • Violence in Manipur 2023-2024 : Timeline
  • Gastronomy tourism in Manipur : Gallery
  • Triathlon : Manipur bag 6 medals (3 gold)
  • Illegal immigrants/fugitives from Myanmar
  • Eid-ul-Adha: Embracing sacrifice
  • A solution to Meitei-Kuki-Zo conflict
  • The Power of Poppy - 35 :: Poem
  • Scientist of Manipur: R K Brojen Singh
  • Brief sketch on General Balaram Sougaijamba
  • Non-violent for peaceful, mutual co-existence
  • Homeless person ..alcoholism & defeated TB
  • Cancer on rise among young adults
  • Defending, fighting for Idea of Manipur
  • From partiality to complicity
  • Bike Rally - Sekmai to Kangla : Gallery
  • 'Modi must announce finality of Naga pacts'
  • Gliding over Brahmaputra
  • Question leaks cause stress among student
  • Home remedies for prickly heat
  • After IIT, AIIMS it is now IIM
  • Stealing spotlight from Manipur crisis
  • Tarpon chaklen katpa @ Andro #2 : Gallery
  • Strongly condemns violence in Jiribam
  • Lessons from outcome of LS election
  • Tumcho releases "Goodness of God"
  • Right diagnostic for antimicrobial resistance
  • 12th June is World Day against Child Labour
  • Hands of geo-politics ?
  • The row over NEET-2014
  • 2nd Annual Art Exhibition #1 : Gallery
  • Chilli Chicken: Film Spotlighting NE in B'lore
  • Committee of Narcotics Anonymous - Imphal
  • The Power of Meditation
  • Oceans as a career choice
  • Getting more and more audacious
  • A test of leadership
  • Education Fair @Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • Gifting two seats to Cong
  • Voters empowered democracy
  • Postcards from Meghalaya premieres
  • Milk : Essential nutrient for a healthy body
  • Failing in competitive exam not end of world
  • Delhi : A mere spectator
  • Abandoning Jiribam
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #5
  • Ima Keithel flood- May 30 #2 : Gallery
  • Mainstream in Shoes of Alternative
  • Protect the medicines that protect us
  • Lets take action for our land & our future
  • Democracy and independent media
  • Agenda at work to shut Western Gate
  • Keeping Manipur on the boil
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #34: Download
  • The Enigmatic Journey of 'Laikhutshangbi'
  • Individual and the Social
  • An Ardent Appeal to All Concerns
  • Condemnation of Attack & Govt Inaction
  • The Power of Poppy - 34 :: Poem
  • Scientist of Manipur: Laishram Shanta
  • Alien fishes spotted in Manipur's rivers
  • Training on mushroom at Langthabal
  • Digital avatars or deepfakes ?
  • 7th June is the World Food Safety Day
  • How to prepare for UPSC after 10th ?
  • The Jiri violence
  • Beginning of a new vote culture ?
  • Bimol Akoijam (Cong) wins Inner PC : Gallery
  • BJP, NPF & other NDA pay heavy price
  • Nature is one of greatest blessings of God
  • Plantation drive in Tripura, Assam & Manipur
  • Summer beauty
  • Environment conservation & over-exploitation
  • Is Modi cut out for leading a coalition ?
  • 'Ishanou' Selection @ Cannes #2: Gallery
  • Scholarship for Johnstone Hr Sec students
  • 1st foundation day of Interfaith Forum
  • World Environment Day: Our land, our future
  • Indonesia stronger anti-tobacco measures
  • Navigating a fragile Myanmar: India's policy
  • New breed entering electoral politics
  • The road to formation of new govt
  • International Dance Day #1 : Gallery
  • Matchbox marketing mantra
  • Stop harming nature :: Poem
  • Saving for oneself & the Nation
  • Model United Nations (MUN) conducted
  • Tobacco: Threat to health & environment
  • Candidate from ruling party biting the dust
  • The verdict
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #4
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #3 : Gallery
  • Navigating Remal amidst Manipur conflict
  • We are #GenerationRestoration
  • Intl Day of Innocent Children Victims
  • Apparel Industry Skills & Innovation CoE
  • What's in a cyclone's name ?
  • Ongoing clash, the floods, the losses
  • Exit poll predictions
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #33: Download
  • Evading flood & rethinking urbanization
  • Manipur Flood: Health Advisory
  • Onus on civil bodies to ensure NNPG unity
  • Rats also cause flood
  • Benefits of JEE Main mock tests
  • People have spoken, now the results
  • The fury of Remal
  • Ima Keithel flood- May 30 #1 : Gallery
  • The flood in our Stars
  • The Power of Poppy - 33 :: Poem
  • 'Group of people misrepresented themselves'
  • EV industry and career options
  • Scientist of Manipur: Chandrakant Aribam
  • Candy flavoured traps to hook next Gen
  • Commemorate Naga Plesbicite Day 1951 #2
  • Tobacco affects health & environment too
  • Jio extend validity for Customer in Manipur
  • Students must learn about AI irrespective
  • As vote count day approaches : Floods
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #2 : Gallery
  • Flooded : Sacrifice of Yairipok's Maiden
  • World No Tobacco Day 2024
  • Chandam Rishikanta wins NPC Nat'l C'ship
  • Flood: Helpline numbers for emergency
  • Battling body odour ?
  • Floods : Not entirely natural phenomena
  • PM Modi's purpose
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #1 : Gallery
  • June Calendar for Year 2024 : Tools
  • Flood: Control Rooms & Helpline numbers
  • Economic impact of ongoing conflict
  • Army Recruitment Rally for Manipur
  • Cut deficit, boom likely
  • Are Gods angry ? Wake up call for Manipur
  • Beating of the Retreat #2 : Gallery
  • We did Overcome: Mayhem of Month of May
  • Training on mushroom at Potshagbam
  • Famous female Mathematicians in India
  • Disinformation campaign thengnare
  • Human trafficking puts humanity to shame
  • Sky opens up in all its fury
  • Licypriya meets Italy PM & Pope Francis
  • HSLC (Class X) 2024 : Full Result
  • HSLC 2024 : Important Info & Grading System
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Private Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Aided Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Govt Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Statistical Abstract
  • HSLC 2024 : Comparative Statement
  • Combined Defence Services Exam 2024
  • Good show in Class X exams
  • Downplaying the crisis
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #3
  • Reviving Lamphelpat : Conservation : Gallery
  • Commemorate Naga Plesbicite Day 1951 #1
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Hojai
  • The Power of Poppy - 32 :: Poem
  • Insights from CUET-UG Counselling
  • International Day for Biological Diversity
  • Unseen force at work: Time to unravel it
  • Sheikh Hasina's revelation
  • The Vanishing Meitei Tribe
  • Building career in defence & strategic study
  • Why example of model code of conduct ?
  • Ownership of responsibility
  • Will pressure mount on key players in NE
  • How to save your foot after an accident
  • Children Camp @JNMDA Imphal #3 : Gallery
  • Education Fair @Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • Project Associate @ CSE, Assam Univ
  • Understanding schizophrenia
  • Advancement in Multi Objective Optimization
  • When will women in voter list increase ?
  • Making 2 plus 2 is equal to 5
  • Changing face of drug menace
  • Scientist of Manipur: Jayanta Manoharmayum
  • 25 yrs since Atal Vajpayee visit to RIMS
  • 4 Lakhs donated to support (L) Maipak Family
  • Clarification: Guwahati Meet on Humanitarian
  • Start UPSC prep after 12th for success
  • Tips to avoid melting makeup in summer
  • Giving a big solid push to ST demand
  • Time to come clean
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba: 1 occasion, 2 narratives #3
  • Khongjom Day @Khebaching #2 : Gallery
  • A year of hostilities
  • Licypriya Kangujam to travel to Italy
  • Declining moral standards in public life
  • Healthy democracy with independent media
  • Why endangered species matter to us
  • Significant Guwahati meeting : 1st visible step
  • The Pallel story
  • Aftermath of ferocious hailstorm #2 : Gallery
  • Ukhrul: Climate change grip on water supply
  • Commemoration of World Eld's Deer Day
  • Indo-Naga Talks (From 2012) :: Timeline
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Hiyanglam
  • Dance of democracy, a miracle in making !
  • Learn to look 10/20/30 years hence
  • The zero FIR, zero lesson
  • 'Ishanou' Selection @ Cannes #1: Gallery
  • MOU signed: MTI-HUB & KIIT-TBI & SAbF
  • Lament of the Mourning Choir :: Poem
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Wabagai
  • RSS-BJP fracas
  • Trials for Canoe Slalom World Cup
  • Poser from a villager says it all Kamjong
  • The cover-up effort
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #2
  • Manipuri women in the arena of politics
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Assam
  • Aimee Baruah at red carpet of Cannes
  • National Defence Academy Exam 2024
  • How digital media changed communications
  • Manipur stands scandalised
  • All eyes on UP battle
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #32: Download
  • Riots to a shrine- Ram Mandir of Ayodhya
  • Handle with care. F.R.I.E.N.D.S inside!
  • The Power of Poppy - 31 :: Poem
  • Celebrate the journey !
  • Career counselling : A life guidance tool
  • Scientist of Manipur: Amom Ruhikanta
  • Preserving Thang-Ta :: Rare Photos
  • Regarding Human Rights Situation in Manipur
  • Malemnganbi Laishram : Science Topper
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2024 #2: Gallery
  • Thokchom Sheityajit : Arts Topper
  • Aiena Naorem : Commerce Topper
  • AISSE 2024 Exam Result- RKM Imphal
  • Gold, new world currency !
  • Milk for hair and skin
  • Of illegal immigrants & the larger picture
  • The missive from Kamjong
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Science Topper
  • HSE 2024 : Subject Pass Percentage
  • HSE 2024 : District Pass Percentage
  • HSE 2024 : Candidates with Highest Marks
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Science Full Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Arts Full Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Commerce Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Arts Topper
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Commerce Topper
  • World Bamboo Congress @Taiwan : Gallery
  • Aftermath of ferocious hailstorm #1 : Gallery
  • Radio E-pao: Manipuri Film OST (130+ song)
  • Cheirao-chingkaba @ Chinga : Gallery
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing : Full Book
  • A ferocious hailstorm @Imphal : Gallery
  • '365 Days of Chin-Kuki Aggression' : Gallery
  • Athoubasingi Numit #2 : Gallery
  • National Science Teacher workshop
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #2 : Gallery
  • Scientists of Manipur : Ngangkham Nimai
  • Kenedy Khuman (Singer) : Gallery
  • GHOST of PEACE :: Download Booklet
  • List of Kings of Manipur: 33 - 1984 AD