TODAY -

E-Pao! EI - Rocks for Brains!

Rocks for Brains!

By: Rajasekhar Moirangthem *



Manali's panoramic view of mountains far above the clouds, splashed in the crimson setting sun was a truly breath-taking sight.

However I was soon awakened from my reverie. Abai and Amar hysterically yelled with their necks sticking out from the impatiently grunting bus. "Monkey, we lost the godamn ticket!" I shot them back in annoyance" how do we explain the conductor, we rolled the ticket into a joint and smoked it?" Fumbling through our back-packs inside the sporadic swerving and jolting bus was really punitive. Neither did the persistent conductor's demands for ticket and stipulating dire consequences gave us any respite.

We had given up hopes already and started negotiating for fares when the bus came to an unexpected stop to pick up some passengers out from nowhere .a passenger who had been waiting for the opportunity asked us from behind to make his way to relieve himself. We all saw the ticket at once. In sheer jubilation we plunged for it. The awed passenger took back his legs and we all crashed our heads into a lackluster show.

With an excuse of having a bumpy bus ride at the back the same passenger who's shoe sole had given us much troubles or rather saved our miseries sat next to me. He was a British somewhere near from my B-school in London, coming with two Americans for a short break. Our conversations finally touched about Manipuris' seething with discontents about the AFSPA and the Manorama's brutal murdered by the Assam Rifles. His regret about the AFSPA was heartfelt though a skeptic might argued it was a little too sanctimonious after all it was a leftover of their colonial regime hungrily embraced by the Indian govt.

A little before Kullu bus stop, a whole regiment of army led by a potbelly gentleman with 2 stars proudly displaying on his insignia commandeered our bus. "PISHE JA AUR BITHEYE!" I was knocked off yet I thought he mistook me for his 'boys'. So I explained him in Hindi that I was just another passenger. Still not satisfied, like a true cop he started interrogating me, getting no plausible reasons to further interrogate, he managed an empty laugh with malice.

Eventually the deluxe bus turned into a lorry with all sort of trunks pilling up haphazardly. The south Indian couple looked haplessly at the trunks while trying to comfort the crying baby. The teenage American started throwing a string of choicest expletives. Amar and Abai surprised me by showing that I still needed to pick up more Manipuri jargons.

The potbelly gentleman apparently tired after endless calls and flaunting his mobile strutted into a seat at the back and ordered the driver to move on as if he chartered the bus.

The bus started rolling and everything inside it rolled too. Being beat after his lion shares of commanding and ordering and realizing the fact that his 'boys' already started contributing a major share of the cacophony he yelled the driver to pick up his songs. Much to the 'boys' annoyance the teenage American who could no longer stand the crowd and the strident noise/music started vomiting everywhere. Sensing hostile faces around him with constant gesticulations and a few sprinkle of English telling him to move away the teenage American moved up the aisle followed in his wake with four letter words.

The bus meandered its way towards the valley leaving behind the majestic Himalayas. The eastern sky was bleached with orange-red signaling the break of dawn, I soon realized my hard earned holiday in India was over. Preoccupied with my to-do and to-meet lists before I left Delhi I slumbered into a fitful sleep.

I was woken up by the ruckus at the ISBT, Delhi that surprisingly came from my friends with that potbelly gentleman. Apparently his apple cartoon was in a big mess, all torn and smeared with puke. Not knowing whom to pour forth his anger, either the American or his faithful 'boys'. He fabricated his own story and started blaming my friends who had the disadvantage of having limited and rustic Hindi. I had seen some parts of the world but I was really unprepared for such xenophobia with a vengeance in my own home country. Like a chauvinistic pig, who couldn't recognize his bias in favor of his absurdity no matter how flagrant that might be, he insisted that we reimbursed for the damage done or made a formal apology!

Seeing we would never get rationale with that partisan, prejudiced and parochial potbelly gentleman who had then taken out his shoe to slap our faces, the south Indian couple and the foreigners came to our rescue.

After an endless railing it all came to an end. However he was sly enough to give an impression to innocent bystanders that we had gravely blundered and he forgave us like god forgives the sinners.

Later while catching a 3-wheelers the foreigners came to bid us goodbye. The white guy consoled" have no regret sons, that cop is a caveman fits only for the stygian darkness of the underground cavern."

It was absurd, ridiculous and a complete mockery to my conception about armies (after all we have a top-brass cop in my family) who are generally considered a man of culture. The teenage American reshuffling his back pack added as an after thought" he has got rocks for brains!"

Instantly it took me back to Manipur's current imbroglio as an aftermath of people like that potbelly gentleman on who's shoulders rested the responsibilities and judgments to lead his 'boys' into light and to enlighten our society.

With a pang in my heart I surmised the SHOW will go on in Manipur……




Rajasekhar Moirangthem writes for the first time to e-pao.net
He can be contacted at [email protected]

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