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A hot sweet travelogue Part II

By Rebati Mohan Sinha

Before proceeding to part II of ‘A hot sweet travelouge’ I would like to go back to the puja-sthal of Shri Ganesh, the elephant headed God at Tarapur, Silchar from where my travelogue begun. Some one may think, why I am mentioning Shri Ganesh again and again. He is very much worshipped during Ganesh Chaturthi in Maharashtra, Mumbai in particular for 10 days, and for that, Mumbai is called the land of Shri Ganesh, as Kashi, the land of Shiva. And Shri Ganesh is also worshipped a day before the Saraswati puja and it is rarely known to our Bishnupriya Manipuri community; but at Tarapur, Silchar, in my sister- in- law’s house it is celebrated every year on this day. Of course, the business men do worship Shri Ganesh on ‘gaddi puja’ day.

On that day, due to late landing at Silchar, I could not offer ‘anjoli’ in the morning; but I could join in the remaining ritual like Aarties, night feast and Sankirtan. The Kirtan Mandoli started Sankirtan in time and continued till morning. As I was not habituated to ‘Jagaran’, I excused myself and went to sleep. In the wee hours of the day, I got up, hearing two female voices rendering a very melodious monsikkha(bhajan)and at the same time another melodiuous voice of Nam-kirtan also was coming from a far distance, might be Kirtan- Mandoli returning after Nagar Parikrama, as if I was in Vrindavan. In the evening after Ganesh Bisarjan, I had left for my native place.

While in Mumbai I heard the panchayat election was on in Assam, where our Brishnupriya Manipuri candidates were in plenty, say one candidate from each house hold, therefore, lost to all most all the seats. Only in Narsingpur Gaopanchayat, eight out of eleven seats were won by our Bishnupriya Manipuri community candidates. On hearing this, straightway I went to socially boycotted gentleman of Holi Cross episode, to arrange for a function to felicitate the designated president and his members. That gentle man was the only person who could arrange every thing perfectly with his money and manpower. Such type of felicitation never been done in the past and it was the first of its kind in Narsingpur Gaopanchayat. The gifts, garlands and snacks were arranged, announcements were made through public address system; but people did not turn up as expected. I was feeling uncomfortable, as chief guest, looking at the thin crowd. After a while supporters (members of his registered NGO) of this gentleman, arrived, and the function went on very smoothly. The elected representatives were quite happy to receive the gifts as token of love from the distinguish guests. In my speech, I mentioned about unity among ourselves is must, otherwise we will loose in every field, and no one will be able to revive later.

A week later, one fine morning, there was a phone call from Mrs Anita Sinha, the editor of Kaakai, the weekly, published from Dharma Nagar, stating that she would be felicitated by Mahendra Mohan Memorial Foundation Trust at Shri Shri Bhubaneshwar Sadhu Thakur Sevashram, at Tarapur, Silchar. Although we are having a father-daughter relationship; but never had a chance to meet each other, so she would like to see me at Silchar while receiving the award, the tamropotro and Rupees five thousand. The very next day, I also received an invitation to attend the same function. And no sooner did I step out of the car at the venue than an announcement was made for me to go to the dais to occupy the chief guest’s seat. It was so instantaneous, I could not react immediately, other than obey the organizers. The guest of honor Mrs Anita Sinha, the awardee, took the seat beside me. We exchanged our greetings. Here again I could see a thin crowd. Why can’t we follow certain unwritten norms? In this case the organizers are at a receiving end, and they can’t even show their displeasure in public. Anyway the function went on very smoothly; but nobody even bothered about the fate of the food that could not be consumed, due to very less attendance.

Let me pen down how our Bishnupriya Manipuri marriages are solmonised not in heaven; but in villages. One day, as I was about to step in to my room from morning walk, a lady who was waiting for me, came forward with folded hands, requesting me to be present at their daughter’s ‘Wareipad’( the preparation of engagement where only the sakei are invited). Her husband was a friend of mine who is no more, so she suggested me to be with her kith and kins while on negotiating. On that very day, I had oblized her by my presence.

Then came the ‘Heichapad’ day, some people call it ‘Heiching’, about a dozen people came by a vehicle with cardboard boxes full of sweet packets, but I never saw a single ‘Taapu’ of ‘Kaapok’ which was very much required on that day, because it was the custom our ancestors followed, and now we stopped following it in villages now.

Let us think, where are we leading to? I was expecting, the heiching party would be with traditional dress, i.e ‘dhoti & kurta’, sorry to say, only a few were seen wearing it. I was wearing the same attire, waiting for their reception. One thing, I could boldly say that I have learnt the purpose of holding the function, the Heiching, where all villagers are invited to participate in that exercise. Some rituals that took place inside the house of the bride groom was not known to me; but other things were very much clear to me. The senior most male villager was entrusted to carry out the exercise i.e to follow a customary questionnaire.

(1) Why have you invited us? Answer from bride groom’s father---I would like to marry my daughter to his son (names uttered).

(2) Do you agree to what he says? Answer comes in affirmative note from the groom`s father. Later on both the guardians stand in front of the gathering with folded hands and requested them to carry on `mukh meetha koro`.Then the Shadi comes in the later days with mutual agreement of both the parties.

My debating point is, why there should be so much of hospitality shown at the marriage pendal, such as offering sweet dishes to almost all the people present there, whether the host is capable or not. One can say, nowadays, it becomes a compulsion to feed. One thing I have noticed very carefully the timing of solmonising of marriages; and came to the conclusion that no hosts (parents of the bride) bother about the muhurt, whether at godhuli or evening before 10 pm. There is a blanket-timing i.e midnight. Younsters dancing, ( unbalanced) with the tune of film songs. They enjoy through out the night without any sleep till dawn. There are changes that takes place at all sphere of lives; but how come these changes have been accepted by the elders.

Other day, before departure to Kolkata I had to attend a kirton at Singari, Meherpur, Silchar, where I was astonished to see the ready-made paper garlands were hanging at Pala-ulir necks. Why there were no flowers? There are many more questions which have no answers. Can all these be rated as good progress? I will leave it to janata.
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  1. very interesting. please keep it continue..

  2. Rebati kaka. as i already told you.. you are a wonderful story teller. reading thru this i started to think how wonderul would it be when my brother gets married.
    its was beautiful.


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