Posing for Myself

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Good Acting: Liar’s Face in Fargo

Desperate for money, Oldsmobile salesman Jerry Lundegaard (William Macy) in Fargo (Joel Coen, 1996) has lied to his customer about a tru-coat. The customer displays a fantastic nervous aggression. Look at Jerry’s face when the customer says he lied to him–his looks, his eyes, and how he holds his face. That’s subtle and fantastic acting.

I like the details in the direction, acting and cinematography displayed when Jerry manages to smile at the customer’s wife and the wife returns courtesy when the customer has said he (Jerry) is wasting his time and his wife’s time.

Poet and Short Story Writer

Manipuri short story writer and one of the state’s top cops, Rajen Moirangthem (left) and Manipuri poet and sports columnist, Saratchand Thiyam on the evening of 16 January 2017.

Both of them are national Sahitya Akademi award recipients. I set out as an editor when I assisted Mr. Rajen in editing Chumthang, a literary journal published by Sahitya Seva Samiti, Kakching.

Saratchand and I came to know each other at a seminar at India International Center, New Delhi, in 2005. Organized by Katha. As a young boy–youngest among the delegates–I was a panelist in a discussion program–Knowledge Keepers and Dream Makers. Did he get a book of his released during the seminar? I don’t remember. Something like the English translation of his Nungsibi Greece was hot then.

Konsam Kulladhvaja

A cute light smile spread across his pensive face when he saw me during a literary program in Manipur in mid January this year. He still recognized me after over ten years. The first and the last time we met was at  a translation workshop in Kakching in 2005. He, like participant, patronized me, though quite distantly–I was a young boy then, and the youngest translator.

We walked out. He extended a hand to me, and I clasped it in both of my hands. “How are you, sir?” I asked. “Spent!” His reply was cool and quiet as ever. I had to strain my ears when I first met him. Later it occurred to me that we are almost equal in this regard–remaining within our own auditory comfort zones, both of us are not much considerate to our listeners.

Konsam Kulladhvaja, a Manipuri literary critic

I recognized the smell emanating from his person. Alcohol. He has always loved that, since when I first knew him. In any case, that goes well with him.

When I requested for a photograph giving the reason “You are going into history,” he did not protest but he was not enthusiastic either. But the expression on his face was not for words to describe. My camera was yet to be held up.

Three Artists

Depression broods in art. Anger chafes in art. The fires, cries and deaths of war do not spare art. Every human thing touches art. Still, there is something about art that keeps it cool. You will rediscover the innocence of humans in old men of art being together. Just being happy, without any reason. Just being together. Just listening to each other’s songs. A cappella. Just listening to each other’s poems or short stories.

These guys are such folks. I photographed them after a literary program in Manipur early this year. January 2017. From left to right:

Usham Nirjitkumar (singer)
Rajen Moirangthem (short story writer)
Thangjam Ibopishak (poet)