We Have Missed Sekmai

Seram Neken *

New Year 2013 revellers at Sekmai, Manipur :: 1st January 2013
New Year 2013 revellers at Sekmai, Manipur on 1st January 2013 :: Pix - Deepak Oinam

A Nostalgic Thirteen

The New Year is just a couple of hours from now. As every creature on earth will get a number added to their age, the Sewerage Project in Imphal city will be 12 years old by tomorrow.

Today, we are going to bid adieu to the worst stories of 2013, and to welcome a hopeful and energetic 2014. News of Book Releases and Housie Draws ruled 2013. While burgeoning works on literature are indicative of social responsibility assigned to the educated elite, widespread Tambola Games here and there reflect the deteriorating social values of the Manipuris. Manipur probably becomes unique in terms of publication of books on literature. During 2013, a number of writers and poets have cropped up in the nook and corner of Manipur, thereby making the state a big treasure of literary works.

Deaths due to medical negligence were common significant happenings of the year. Twenty Thirteen also witnessed mysterious deaths of drivers for a variety of synonymous reasons. Drug hauls were the major achievements of Manipur Police, while Bomb Blasts at security alerted zones attempted to malign its image.

The year 2013 also gave birth to dutiful policeman who was negatively rewarded for being too active to uncover the much-talked of illicit drugs trade in Manipur. It was, however, not amazing that Police hauled costly drugs that nobody owned. Judiciary could earn the coveted trust when it punished the culprits involved in rapes of both the U-Morok trader and the TG school student. However, Satyabhama ended in obscurity thereby suspecting foul play among the ablers of the society.

Conquest of Mount Everest and championing the International Polo were no ordinary feathers on the cap of a sporting Manipur. The global recognition earned by the infamous Nat Sankirtan of the state glorified Manipur once again during 2013. That the government finally created a Language Directorate was good news for patriots of Manipur, although we are yet to feel its presence. Border and a lot of other disputes remained entangled only to be handed down to the hopeful Twenty Fourteen. Let us hope for a new beginning.

Need for more recreation spots to channelize the young energy.

It's picnic time. To decide on a picnic spot is no easy task for me. My wife usually opts for a spot as beautiful as she is, and a spot where visitors are as gentle as I am. My eldest son always prefers river banks to pleasant scenery, as he is habituated to swimming in either natural or artificial water bodies. My youngest son, who constantly dreams executive, cherishes a park that is equipped with playthings and that would allow him to play until he is completely exhausted.

Even though I have no exclusive choice of myself, I have to definitely comply with the three among which there has always been consensus in the past. Nevertheless my wife has to exercise her skills to settle the option, following ponderings for a day or two. I am proud of owning a democratic family, where my siblings have a big say in decisions concerning them. As a responsible parent, my wife has the habit of teaching them the skills of decision making in various matters.

Previous years, Sekmai remained a perfect match for four of us, as well as for the families of a few intimate friends of mine. Just a phone call from my wife was quite enough to bring unanimity among the better-halves of my colleagues to complete the entire arrangement. Every member of our squad endorsed the choice of Sekmai for various reasons.

First was the presence of shallow streams convenient to beginner swimmers. Second was for the pleasant scenery Sekmai embodied. Third was for its comfortable distance from home. Fourth was for the ever-known brand, the Sekmai which attracted majority of picnic fans each year.

Most importantly, the children including my youngest one took keen interests in playing on water with the pebbles around. It was both a rare and a regular rendezvous of our siblings packed together in two-three cars only to stray at Sekmai river-bank for the whole day. Outing at Sekmai either at the end or start of each year was a contented relaxation. Being an intelligent organizer of such trips, one of my friends took no time in serving the hungry kids with quick-fried chicken.

Another smart friend tactfully controlled the impulsive children, as if he were an awarded warden in a hostel mess. The valued intimacy among our small children belonging to different families was itself a pleasant sight to us. We enjoyed Sekmai and the Sekmai every year. However, for the outgoing year 2013, we have missed Sekmai. Hopefully, we will have the rendezvous at Sekmai next year - 2014.

Sekmai is unique and the other local picnic spots fail to override the taste of Sekmai. Infamous Kakching Garden, Andro tourist Park, Lamdan Adventure park, Eco-tourism park at Laphupokpi, Shilheipung at Nongada, Kombirei Garden, Sendra and Omba Nurathel garden at Loktak Lake, Keibul Lamjao national park etc. are some other places of interests by the young and old alike. However, except for a few, most of them are not equipped with enough infrastructure and facilities for enjoyment.

Children, young people and elders, all need recreation in the face of monotonous life. It is more and more necessary in Manipur, where everybody develops tension in varying degrees and manner. Claimed to be a hopeful tourist destination by the rulers of the state, Manipur is yet to be adorned to attract its own people before we anticipate visitors from outside.

Leaving aside the idea of soliciting foreign tourists, we have not had a standard recreation park to accommodate our children. We are yet to have enjoyable water bodies in Imphal, even though the land is famous for having the largest freshwater lake in north east India. Keibul Lamjao, the only habitat of Sangai, is in a very pathetic condition. As a Manipuri, one will surely be ashamed of guiding tourists to this destination. Its floating beauty and the charms of Sangai remain only in books and tales.

No park for amusement of even the native people has been developed by the government so far. Not a single hospitality institute has been instituted in public sector. As of today, some enthusiastic entrepreneurs have intruded in the tourism sector as part of their business. The state government seems to be adamant in nurturing tourist spots and recreation parks in Manipur.

Widespread establishment of standard recreation centres and amusement parks will be helpful in controlling the prevailing crimes involving young people and solving the mental unrest among the youth of the state. There is need for the public sector to dwell on channelizing the talents of youths and ventilating their emergent feelings through proper maintenance of amusing parks. The much-talk-of problems in public restauras will get minimized in the presence of enough open recreation spots.


It is time for the youths to think of refreshing themselves intoxicating with abusive substances. People enjoying picnic at Sekmai also need to bid adieu to the Sekmai Brand on seeing off the Twenty Thirteen and receiving the hopeful Twenty Fourteen.

* Seram Neken wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao as part of 'The voiceless speaks' column
This article was webcasted on December 31, 2013.

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