In Memory of Home (Presenting the Past)

The town where I grew up
is not a western town
or an eastern town.
It’s stuck in the middle with
the warriors, east of India
and the wobbly devastator,
west of the Chindwin.
Beyond that the west walks
into the blues on the sandy plains,
and the east through palms
and across rapids.

In the lurid cities
where they paint their street crawlers
red, green, blue and yellow
in full intensity,
where they dye their clothes
like spring flowers in full bloom,
where they paint everything deep bright
and strange faces stir them
like that curiosity, all of a sudden,
is what they were born for–
there they get the barking dog
more than your eloquence.
They complain you don’t love the dog,
and I see you don’t hate
the street dogs, nameless as the homeless.

The chemist’s son from the ancient
town outskirts, a cat lover,
once when he went with his cat
to the east on a shooting trip,
found a Burmese poet pissing
music from his mouth while
the actor’s cat slurped milk off
his small upturned lips.
That was a family slurp.
The static of the east air swaddled
the poet’s trunk into a muzzled
pig squeak the actor knew.


Kunjo Pukhrambam

My teacher, the only teacher, who has taught me values not available in the thousand books I have ever read and the universities I’ve known and attended. He enabled me to build hope, piece by piece, when I had none. One who I feel so fortunate to be indebted to.

Joy that costs nothing

15 October 2017

That afternoon I had no shooting or field recording. I had a pile of diaries to start reading for a biography project–the diaries of Pukhrambam Bharat, the maker, along with his brother Pukhrambam Tomchou, of the modern Kakching.

After a long Sunday with nothing so entertaining, the children in my neighborhood got bored by that afternoon. In our small estate we have the widest and most comfortable space in the neighborhood for children, and children from all over there come to play here with my brother’s small daughters, especially when they are bored at home. Our home, in that sense is full of fun. There will always be the should of children having fun and laughing. Yes, sometimes they fight, and that’s sweet part of childhood. That afternoon, from my study window I saw four or five children gathered there in boredom without a word said to one another–they were restless, fidgeting, and moving around aimlessly and listlessly. One of them happened to cursorily look into my window when passing by it and there was visibly a slight hue of hope appearing on her ennui-faded face.

“Kaka, when is kaka Ushaken coming back?” She trickily said.

My brother likes children a lot, as much as I do, and I had overheard them saying he had promised them to take them to angling at a river far away. My brother loves angling and if he has nothing to do, you will most probably find him angling at a river or a lake favorable for that fun at that particular time within the radius of 20 kilometers, if he is not at gambling (his another passion) somewhere around. But my brother had not returned from work for a couple of days.

“No. It’s bandh today.” I said. Manipur merged into India in on that day (15 October) in 1949, after Maharaja Bodhachandra was allegedly forced into signing the merger agreement on 21 October of that year. Revolutionary organizations in Manipur, since a long time ago, have been observing October 15 as a Black Day and on this day the roads are deserted and no shops in major markets are open. Earlier, the insurgent organizations used threats to this effect but now people do it on their own. Conditioned.

“Then take us to a nearby place! Anywhere!” She turned it on to me and changed the topic. Children are clever.

I laughed. Children in my Kakching neighborhood find me comfortable to be with. I love children with their simplicity, innocence and innocent small tricks.

Hmmm… Me smells. Gotta take a bath. Will continue after that.

Uttam Kumar and Ksh. Sanajaoba

While rolling up the sleeves for my film, Walking Home, I met the Liberty Theater director, Uttam Kumar and Manipuri playwright, Ksh. Sanajaoba at the Laipham Loknung pukhri on the outskirts of Kakching on 6 March 2017. They were having a lunch party there as a kick-start for the Yayati (translated and adapted from Girish Karnad’s text in English by Sanajaoba), which was to be premiered on 27 May 2017.

Uttam Kumar (Director, Liberty Theater, Kakching)

Ksh. Sanajaoba, a Manipuri playwright

Kakching lon / Imphal lon

From a film-related WhatsApp group.


লোন চপ মান্নবা ঙাঙবশিংগি মরক্তা মী অমগা অমগা ৱাঙাং খেন্নৈ হায়বা ঐখোয় লোইনা খঙই৷ খেন্নবসি মী মীদুনা শীজিন্নবা ৱাহৈদুগি, খোন্দা লাক্তাগি ঙাক্তসু নত্তে৷ খোঞ্জেল হায়বসিদা য়াউরিবা pitch, frequency, overtone নচিংবা physical property শিং অদুনবু হেন্না মপূং ওইরকপ্র খল্লী কূপত কূপথরকপদা৷

অদুননি মী অনী চপ মান্নবা ৱাহৈ খরা নত্ত্রগা ৱাহৈপরেং খরা হায়হনবদা অমগিনা ঐখোয়না খরা হেক ফজবগুম খল্লী, তানীংই, অদুগা অতোপ্পা অমদুগিনা থোইনা তানীংলুদে৷ চপ মান্নবা ফিল্ম দাইলোগতু কনানো অমনা তৌরগনা হেক ফজৈ, অতোপ্পা অমনা তৌরগা খরা হেক ৱাৎলী৷ মসি মী মীগি খোঞ্জেল কা হায়বদুনি৷

চহী অহুম মরি শুরে হিরমসিদা ঐনা ইরন্নাই research তৌজরকপা৷ অদুনা ফিল্ম হায়বসিদা মীওইবগি খোঞ্জেল য়াউবা, খোঞ্জেল, ৱাঙাং শঙাং হায়বগি character character দুগি মচৎ মশক তাকপা ওইবনিনা মরী লৈনৈ হায়দুনা ৱাফমসি ময়াম্না খঙলবসু খঙনা লোন ফাওননবা সুম share তৌজবনি৷

মথক্কি screenshot অসি লোন নৌবগা লোন খোইবগসি physical property (pitch, tone, accent অসিনচিংব) দা করি করি খেন্নবগি হায়বা ঊৎপা spectogram নি৷ ঐগি Speech analysis প্রোগ্রেমদগি লৌথোকপনি৷ ঐ মনিপুরি-মনিপুরি dictionary অমা ইবা হোৎনজরকপা ফনা কুইরে৷ লোন হায়বসি মপূং ওইনা ঙাঙবা, হায়বদি খোঞ্জেল ওইবনিনা ইরকপদদি ককচীং লোল, ইম্ফাল লোল ইমান মান্নবা ওইনা তৌই৷ খেন্নবা অদু মতৌ করম্না অইবা ওইনা লৈগদবা dictionary দা represent তৌগদগে হায়বদু থিবা হোৎনরকপদা থোরকপা পাম্বৈনি৷ ঐখোয়গি মরক্তা মী অমা অনীদসু, য়ামদ্রবদা ফিল্মগা মরী লৈননা হিরম অসিদা পূক্নীং চঙবা য়াওরম্লগসু হায়দুনা share তৌজবনি৷

The two spectograms are Channel 1 and Channel 2. Stereo.

The difference between Kakching and Imphal versions are seen in the three pairs of the sound waves. The first wave in each pair represents the Imphal version of অশাংবা, অমুবা, অমম্বা, respectively. The second waves are the Kakching versions.