Wednesday, April 26, 2017

iRediscover | Indo-Myanmar Border In Photos

I joke about living under a rock.
And so it seems legit when the story-writers of my life proved me right!

When my friend and I arrived in Manipur’s capital, Imphal, in January this year, I knew very little about a town called Moreh. What it means is that another friend had recommended Moreh as a town at the border of India and Myanmar - and armed with just that much information and nothing more (I kid you not), I decided we could add Moreh to our plan while we were in Imphal.

The 110 kilometer journey from Imphal to Moreh is a micro-story for another post. So when we got off our shared taxi and agreed to return to Imphal with the same driver, we were left confused when he said: “Don’t take too long. It’s a long drive back and we have to make it back before 5 PM at the very latest.”

Don’t take too long.
What did he mean?
What could possibly be there to do here anyway?

That would be figured out later. First, breakfast. Because, priorities - courtesy the 4:30 AM wake up call to make it to and back from Moreh in a day!

Moreh, Manipur, Imphal, Tamu, Myanmar, Burma, market, vegetables
So what if we can't live in a border-less world, as long as we can walk through them and be reminded that we're all still the same of the inside I think we're good. The people were warm and accommodating, even when neither of us spoke each other's language. And just like at Ima Keithel, people were just happy to have their photographs taken.
Seeking consent works wonderfully!
https://www.instagram.com/p/BP1GcwxBnR7


Moreh is lackadaisical.
Just like New Jaigon at the Indo-Bhutan border. Or even Maneybhanjang at the Indo-Nepal border.
And yet, I dig border towns.
They seem to grow on me in hindsight.
Ditto for Moreh.

We saw the entrance to the gate that read: Indo-Myanmar Friendship Gate.
And in a tubelight moment of sorts it dawned on me for the first time ever that we could cross over to the ‘other side’.
Living under a rock, remember!

But what would we need to go to the other side?
Whom could we ask?
We decided to walk to the gate and ask the jawaans directly.

Turns out, we could go to the other side with a valid ID proof.
Obviously, d’oh! This is the route of the famed ‘road-trip to Thailand’ that spammed my social media timelines not too long ago. And yet, here I was that clueless resident from under the rock.

There was no paper-work required. After all, we weren’t trailing too far into the country – just its marketplace.
After the seemingly customary “Where are you’ll from? So good to have people from Mumbai come all the way here…” conversation with army officials of both countries, we were in Myanmar.
Or to be more precise, we were in Tamu.

Tamu – or to be more specific, the Tamu we saw was just within the radius of the wholesale market that’s located there. We didn’t know how far into the country we could venture. And when we asked, we got told: “Don’t go too far.”
Eh! Thanks but no thanks.

We didn’t know what the protocol on taking photographs were. One official said no and another just nodded – which could have meant anything. Also, did the 'no' mean, we couldn’t take a photograph at the border area due to security concerns or were we not allowed to take photographs in general?

When you don’t speak the language, you are bound to be stuck in this version of no-man’s-land.

So we took our chances.
I really wanted to capture the essence of the market.
And having step foot into Tamu, we were already experiencing glimpses of the country that is Myanmar.

Sandalwood paste smeared on faces
Locals garbed in longyis
Sparse presence of the Hindi language
Blink-and-miss presence of the Tamil language
Lots of the Burmese language, obviously 
And acceptance of the Indian currency. Yay!

I knew I couldn't rely on my memory to store these in some air-tight corner of my head for future retelling. So I set my camera aside and used my mobile phone to capture a frame or two - and then some more!

P.S.: All photographs have been taken with due permission of the people in them.



Moreh, Manipur, Imphal, Tamu, Myanmar, Burma, market, vegetables
Taking in the first sights on the other side of the border. Literally.

Moreh, Manipur, Imphal, Tamu, Myanmar, Burma, market, vegetables
Just like it is on 'our' side of the border. Boiled groundnuts. Ber/Jujube.

Moreh, Manipur, Imphal, Tamu, Myanmar, Burma, market, vegetables
Sandalwood

Moreh, Manipur, Imphal, Tamu, Myanmar, Burma, market, vegetables
Flowers adding that their own verve to the marketplace

Moreh, Manipur, Imphal, Tamu, Myanmar, Burma, market, vegetables
Never got around to knowing the name of this street snack! Do watch the video towards the end of this post though

Moreh, Manipur, Imphal, Tamu, Myanmar, Burma, market, vegetables
That's a close-up. Does this help with helping me figuring what this is called?

Moreh, Manipur, Imphal, Tamu, Myanmar, Burma, market, vegetables
Known as Longchak in Manipuri, this is a rather commonly prepared vegetable in this region. We weren't surprised to see it on the other side of the border.

Moreh, Manipur, Imphal, Tamu, Myanmar, Burma, market, vegetables
What's a post without doggo? ;)

Moreh, Manipur, Imphal, Tamu, Myanmar, Burma, market, vegetables
Okay. One more doggo. Though this one made me feel more awkward about taking a photograph than any human did.
That face!



Moreh, Manipur, Imphal, Tamu, Myanmar, Burma, market, vegetables
Between hand gestures, we requested if she would allow us to take her photograph. And she obliged.

Moreh, Manipur, Imphal, Tamu, Myanmar, Burma, market, vegetables
I have a weakness. And it's a good weakness to have, I reckon.

Moreh, Manipur, Imphal, Tamu, Myanmar, Burma, market, vegetables
Sweets off the streets!


As promised, here is the first of many videos from my seven weeks through the Seven Sister states of India! The drive from Imphal to Moreh at the Indo-Myanmar border that morning had been eventful; in that nature and humans colluded to make the journey very gratifying! Truth be told, I wasn't expecting to have my mind-blown after getting to the border. It was just a wholesale market, is what I'd heard myself think! And then moments after crossing over to 'the other side', I felt like a kid in the candy store. This video is only Exhibit A You'll hve to watch this 45 sec video to know why this had me hooked. It's vegetarian. Perhaps has something like cheese in it (I could be wrong). And one chickpea. I've tried looking up the name of this dish, but I've been unsuccessful. The lady at the food-stall spoke no Hindi. But between smiles, I believe we let her know we loved what she'd made (as if gobbling 4 plates hadn't conveyed that already) . . . @lizysnaps #Moreh #Manipur #India #Myanmar #Burma #streetfood #streetfoodphotography #northeastindia #whereisnortheast #incredibleindia #_soi #indiaphotosociety #travel #gtgi #bbctravel #explorexstreets #lonelyplanetindia #hgwanderlust #mypixeldiary #hippieinhills #_woi #cntgiveitashot #girlwhotravels #sheisnotlost #liveauthentic #travelblogger #manipurtourism #passionpassport #chalohoppo #HaveFeetWillTravel
A post shared by Elita (@nomadicthunker) on



Curious to know more about this border town? I stumbled upon this Hindustan Times article from September 2015. You may find it informational.
I know you don't like annoying pop-ups. So if you like the posts you see on my blog, you could also Subscribe to HaveFeetWillTravel by Email and receive newer ones directly to your inbox! 

--
P.S.:
I have a tiny favour to ask...
You might be aware that I have been facilitating workshops on expressive communication under what I call -- Be You For You!

Can you help me bring this concept to your network? The post below describes the kind of support I am looking for. If you or anybody you know could help, that would be an incredible favour.




Read More

Thursday, April 20, 2017

iRediscover | Khwairamband Bazar: Imphal's Women-run Market in Monochrome

There were very few things I knew with as much surety about my Manipur itinerary as I did about wanting to visit Imphal's women run market - Khwairamband Bazar; also known as Ima Keithel, meaning mother’s/women’s market.

Evidently, being an only women-run market - the oldest and perhaps the only one of its kind across the globe at that  - makes it an intriguing phenomenon. From the different sources I have been reading up since my return, no known date seems to emerge for when the market was established. Some records attribute its origin to the late 18th century.

This post is in continuation to my Micro Stories from Manipur where I've shared my experience of walking through the market, observing and being observed.

In this post, through the photographs taken, I'll show and won't tell without further ado!

"The earth laughs in flowers" ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
The entrance to the market is lined with women selling flowers - irrespective of the hour of the day one visits.

"Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels." 
Being a silent observer (mostly by virtue of not knowing Manipuri as a language) meant that I had many a fly-on-the-wall moments watching the women alternate between being attentive when there was a customer to resuming back to their own worlds when there were none. So many moods to capture through the lens of a camera! 

“The longing for sweets is really a yearning for love or "sweetness.”
Laddoos! What's not to love about them. And as for this photograph, let it be known that between artist and muse much effort was made to avoid eye-contact. Such an interesting experiment and an insight into human behaviour merely wielding a camera can turn out to be. Who would have thunk?

"Whether you think you can, or you think you can't -- you're right" ~ Henry Ford
Something about catching another person lost in thought feels intrusive as well as serves as a tiny reminder that we're wired the same

“Anyone who tells you size doesn't matter has been seeing too many small knives.” 
I don't know whether it was because of what she was selling but something about being a little more upfront and approaching this lady for a photograph just didn't seem that easy. 
"No one is ever satisfied where he is....Only the children know what they’re looking for....”  ~ The Little Prince
Lost in conversation with her fellow lady-vendor, my muse in this photograph is wearing the Manipuri phanek -- the wraparound/sarong with horizontal lines, that is typical to the Manipuris alone.

“Belief, hard work, love–you have those things, you can do anything.” ~ Mitch Albom
If there's anything I thought I saw the women consistently embody, in spite of my extremely short stint of about three hours at the market, it would be Albom's words. 

“The Times is a paper which is seldom found in any hands but those of the highly educated.” ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
When a woman isn't running her own business and minding her own affairs, she makes it her business to catch up on those running the world, informing herself if they are making too much of a mess managing affairs they weren't cut out to deal with!

“You'll find that life is still worthwhile, if you just smile.” ~ Charlie Chaplin
I have a deeper sense of respect for anybody who is willing to allow me retakes when I'm struggling with lighting whilst capturing a portrait. And this lady tops that list! She was among those few people who was extremely at ease with a camera being pointed at her (even though she didn't need to)

“I think... if it is true that there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.” ~Leo Tolstoy
I don't know who she is. I never will. I just saw her sitting there with her back towards us, staring at something right in front of her and I got her in my frame -- while silently hoping she wouldn't turn and take away the sense of mystery away

"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” ~Confucius
I could see myself making my way out of the market and was left thinking, "Is there anything that I did not see these women sell?" and couldn't come up with an answer. My muse in this photograph did strike a pose with one of her products after she saw me hide my face behind the lens! Who doesn't like a subject who plays the good sport?

“Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.” 
I have gone from despising the act of pointing the camera into anybody's face to gently getting comfortable with the idea that seeking permission makes the entire act less intrusive. And these women have been the perfect kind of validation - even after all this time. Because I still struggle. With portraits. As much as with being that-pest-with-a-camera!

I know you don't like annoying pop-ups. So if you like the posts you see on my blog, you could also Subscribe to HaveFeetWillTravel by Email and receive newer ones directly to your inbox! 

---
P.S.:
I have a tiny favour to ask...
You might be aware that I have been facilitating workshops on expressive communication under what I call -- Be You For You!

Can you help me bring this concept to your network? The post below describes the kind of support I am looking for. If you or anybody you know could help, that would be an incredible favour.




Read More

Friday, April 14, 2017

iEncounter | Bloody Mary With A Boa Constrictor Called Anxiety

A couple of months ago, I very vaguely addressed what it's like for me to live with Anxiety.
Why vague?
I presumed that because I do not experience panic attacks and such, 'my anxiety' wasn't severe and therefore, did not merit anything more than a fleeting mention. Almost, blink-and-miss if you'd like. Which is what it was!

There's a story behind the image

But the anxiety even sans the panic attacks, is anything but blink-and-miss. 
May be it something as covert as high-functioning anxiety!

I've found that writing helps me out when I'm caught unawares, struggling to cope with this Boa Constrictor called Anxiety. So over a glass of Bloody Mary, not too long ago, we had a verbal duel of sorts. And here's what that looked like...

***

Me: Your behaviour has necessitated the need for this conversation.

Anxiety: My behaviour, eh? I am what I am. Your reaction towards me necessitates this conversation.

Me: What am I supposed to do if not react to your presence in my life! You’ve sneaked in on me and continue to leave me in the throes of nothing I can comprehend. You sure weren’t hoping for a red carpet welcome, I hope!

Anxiety: I wasn’t hoping for anything. Unlike you, hope is not what I thrive on. I thrive as long as you react to my presence. And you know that yourself enough already. And yet, you succumb. You make my job easy and my existence possible. HAHA.


Me: You’re disgusting. What pleasure does wreaking havoc and leaving me incapacitated to do anything leave you with?

Anxiety: Listen woman, you’re not special okay. I already told you I’m doing this for me. My survival rests on your reaction. I am a parasite, yes. And nothing you say is going to make me want to have a change of heart. Yes, you heard me right. I have it easy scavenging on your insecurities. Why, I am also able to fuel your insecurities. So that makes you a parasite too. And the more you feed off from me, the more I control you. And no, I am no angel; never claimed to be one. So, quit the pontification! 

Me: But why me? And why can’t you just let me be?

Anxiety: Look woman, you’re not special. Me and my hommies have nestled ourselves in the heads, hearts and lives of many like you. So, don’t take it personally either. And why should I be the one letting you be? You can very well do it yourself. I let the secret out to you already. I thrive on what you provide. You stop providing, I stop thriving. Easy as that.



Me: Piece of cake, eh? Right from waking up in the morning and that arresting sensation in my chest with my heart thudding its way out of my rib-cage (if it could) to my gut wanting to retch itself out (again, if it could) you have a stronghold over my physical and mental agility. How the hell am I supposed to stop providing when it’s me you’ve taken ransom? You make it seem like I am doing this of my own accord. Ugh! It’s like trying to explain your presence in my life to people around me all over again. It’s not my doing. You hover over like a shadow. No matter how much I try to let the light in – you keep blowing out the flame. I cannot control you or your influence over me. I did not make you happen. NO. You took over me when I was seeking acceptance and approval. You sneaked in under the guise of a well-wisher and never handed me back to myself. I didn’t stand a chance with you. And you’re making it seem like I am the provider. I never had a say and don’t have a choice!


Anxiety: Such a rant-er, you are. Yes, I make my own words and no, you cannot guilt-trip me out. That silly ploy of yours is just that, silly and weak. And explaining? You really think explaining my presence in your life to the ‘real’ people around you is going to make any difference? I already told you, you’re not the first of our finds! Why, me and my hommies have been lauded for being instrumental in birthing the concept of ‘the tortured genius’! So many excellent works of art and science have been brought into this world by these geniuses tortured because of what you claim are our misdeeds. Bah!

Me: You make the life of a tortured genius seem like such a coveted honour. The tortured genius is a misunderstood soul who lives a life of shame and guilt. Someone who is always afraid of falling short of what they can do and who out of that same fear, never live to their true potential; least of all, never live in peace. And yes, I’ll concede this much to you, I cannot and do not want you to plea bargain your way out of my life. That will be the death of you. And you know what else will be the death of you?
Self-care. 
It is the antithesis of the Stockholm syndrome. I’ll let you be the captor that you thrive on being but it won’t continue to be at the cost of my well-being. Not anymore. You’re right when you claim that explaining your presence to anyone around me won’t do me any good. Guess what? I am learning that I can grant myself the approval and acceptance I’ve always craved for. I can watch out for myself and as one of the most fundamental principles of writing goes, I’ll ‘show, not tell’ those around me how I would like to be taken care of.
I’ll be me for me.
You don’t have to snigger already. You’ve certainly won all the rounds so far. But a good place to start is to cut my losses. Enough of the telling, it’s show time!


PSSST!
This piece is NOT a work of fiction. I have borrowed from the concept of expressive writing to help myself cope with my anxieties and stressors! 


To know more about Be You For You - workshops I facilitate on expressive writing, lookie this link up 
For other related posts on expressive writing, click here


A post shared by Marzi (@introvertdoodles) on


P.S.: I know you don't like annoying pop-ups. So if you like the posts you see on my blog, you could also Subscribe to HaveFeetWillTravel by Email and receive newer ones directly to your inbox! 

P.P.S.: For opportunities to work with me, click here
Read More

Sunday, April 9, 2017

iRediscover | 3.25 Micro Stories of Hope from Manipur

“You can skip Manipur.”
“I would suggest avoid going to Manipur.”
“You’re going to have to be very careful if you go to Manipur.”

If there was any other permutation to the sentiment that implied ‘do not go to Manipur’, I would like to believe that I had heard it all. Even so, after Tripura, Manipur was the second state within the northeast that I planted my feet in.
With #29in29 at stake, stubbornness was a much required asset.

Imphal, Manipur, milestone, India, northeast
Destination: Imphal | Manipur, India -- January 2017

If you’re wondering why I was at the receiving end of so much caution and concern, then you have the national dailies to thank for conveniently muting out issues from the northeast. So here’s what you should know – Manipur has been in the throes of an economic blockade since October-November 2016. The consequence has been a state of curfew, shut roadways, and restricted access to utilities including food and fuel therefore making everything a lot more expensive that it otherwise.

My stubbornness, however, was not without taking steps towards risk-mitigation:
  • Cheap airfares helped nullify the risk of being held up en route due to a road block
  • Pre-booking accommodation helped finding a place that fit our budget
  • Speaking to friends and acquaintances helped establish new contacts in the state, should an emergency situation arise during the period of our stay

Repeating a hack
While stepping out of the airport at Imphal, we repeated a hack that served us well at Agartala; we reached out to the CRPF jawaans stationed at the exit to help us with the best mode of transport from the airport to our hotel. It’s easier getting fleeced when you walk right into the lair of rickshaws and taxis without an idea of what your alternatives are.
A shared-rickshaw outside the airport gate brought us to the Imphal market area at 1/10th the cost quoted inside the airport premises.

P.S. 1: Nothing had prepared me to walk out of the airport into heavy army presence though. I was quickly reminded of how much of my freedom I otherwise take for granted.
P.S. 2: What if I told you that was the beginning and the end of my brush with caution and concern in Manipur?


The micro-stories
Khwairamband Bazar
If there’s a positive story you’re bound to NOT miss about Manipur, it has to be about the Khwairamband Bazar! Also known as Ima Keithel which loosely also translates to mother’s/women’s market, this is perhaps the oldest and only market across the globe that has been run and managed only by women. In other words, men are not allowed to set shop and sell within its premises.
We explored this market the very afternoon we landed in Imphal.

Khwairamband Bazar, Imphal, Manipur, India, northeast, women, market, entrepreneur, female
Waiting as my senses took some time adjusting to the vivacious environs at Khwairamband Bazar | Manipur, India
-- January 2017

Armed with nothing but our cameras, my senses took some time adjusting to my vivacious environs! But why? After all, this was a market just like many others I had been to before. What about it being an only-women-run enterprise changed so much about its air that I could sense it the very moment I set foot inside?
I don’t have a clearly articulated answer.

But here’s what I can share with you.
We couldn’t be discreet even if we wanted to, thanks to our racial appearance. So between curious glances and pretend-like-we-cannot-see-them glances, I braved an awkward smile every time I found myself meeting the gaze of another woman at the market. Through aisles of women selling fish, earthen pots, vegetables, cane baskets, fruits, trinkets and everything in-between, I started to ease in one step at a time. Their mannerisms in going about with their business was anything but cut-throat; or so I thought. No howling over the other’s voice. No infighting of any kind.

Khwairamband Bazar, Manipur, Imphal, northeast, women, market, bazar
Capturing her smile during a retake  :) at Khwairamband Bazar | Manipur, India -- January 2017

Every now and then I would pull my camera out, make eye-contact with at least one of them and non-verbally ask if it was alright for me to take a photograph. Not once were we shooed off! But here’s the highlight of it all – every single time we showed each of them what we had managed to click - in spite of the low lighting - they would break into a wide-eyed smile. That broke the ice a little more and strangers who didn’t speak each other’s language, found a medium to communicate.
That and the unwitting off chance of being offered an apple by one of the lady vendors simply because she loved that we took her photograph!

Khwairamband Bazar , Imphal, Manipur, India, northeast, women, bazar, fruit, market, wholesale
The ima who gave us an apple at Khwairamband Bazar | Manipur, India -- January 2017


Moreh
Moreh – that town at the border of India and Myanmar - came as a recommendation from a friend who insisted that I make that trip. But undertaking that ~110 kilometre journey, at a time when fuel prices were pushing private taxi rates through the roof (and beyond) and public transport buses per se were tough to come by, was posing to be a challenge. But only until a local acquaintance helped us locate the starting point from where shared taxi services ply early in the morning.

Imphal, Moreh, Manipur, northeast, dawn, morning, sunrise, sun, moon, crescent
The crescent and the sun playing peek-a-boo one morning in Imphal | Manipur, India -- January 2017

Swaddled in possibly all of my cold wear for the first time since our entry into the northeast and hobbling through the quiet streets of Imphal while the crescent loomed overhead and the sun struggled to make an appearance through the fog and the mist, we were immediately being sought by two taxi drivers simultaneously. And after mentally flipping a coin, we decided to take the ride with Mr. Inaucha.
Our journey was mostly a silent one. We were five passengers and Mr. Inaucha – who would occasionally initiate a conversation that would quickly veer into a monologue while I would nod in acknowledgment – sometimes wondering whether I ought to be acknowledging everything he talked about.

Two hours into our journey without any halt en route owing to security concerns - even as my eyes saw sights that made my fingers tingle with desire to grab my camera and go clickety-click – we made our first stop – a security check stop. Our IDs were given more than the usual glance.
“Where are you from?”
“What brings you to Manipur?”
“Where are you headed to from here?”
…those were some of the questions posed to us individually by an army officer who had a no-nonsense vibe to him. And then somewhere the same stoic-looking gentleman asked me if I spoke Marathi. I seized my opportunity and asked him if he was from Maharashtra. This resulted in us having a mini exchange in Marathi! Kilometers away from home, I was conversing with another stranger in a language native to my home-state!

Imphal, Moreh, Manipur, India, mountains, clouds, hills
FINALLY! A photograph but only after we sought our permissions from the army officials | Manipur, India -- January 2017

At another check-post closer to Moreh, another duo from the army had some more questions for me:
“Why do you write and what do you write about?”
“What about this region do you like? And how is it different from the other places you have travelled to?”
“What do you think about its people?”
This round of questions concluded with us receiving two chocolates and being told, “It was really nice talking to you and hearing about the things you do. Hope you enjoy your time in Moreh. And do write about us as well.”
…Which left me thinking: For the oppressive ways of the army, they have a human side that peeps every now and then – a side that longs to engage in conversations and not merely inspect every single person entering and leaving the region with suspicion and caution!

Manipur, Imphal, Moreh, army, chocolate
Chocolates. Simply because they loved talking to us! | Manipur, India -- January 2017


Loktak
No journey to Manipur is complete without a visit to Loktak either. Not especially when your welcome into the state was with an aerial view of the ‘phumdis’. For the uninitiated, the Loktak Lake is the largest freshwater lake in the northeast and is renowned for its floating miniature islands.

Loktak, lake, freshwater, Imphal, Moirang, Manipur, aeroplane
A glimpse of Loktak Lake while being sky-borne | Manipur, India -- January 2017

Our journey from Imphal to Moirang was slightly eventful as we struggled with our language barrier and got off the public transport bus a lot earlier than we were supposed to.
We learned that it helps to ask for directions either to Moirang or to Sendra – not Loktak, which is actually the hydroelectric power station!

woman, lady, female, bus conductor, Imphal, Manipur, India
Did you know we had a lady conductor? She owned her job. Nobody messes with her | Manipur, India -- January 2017

Sendra Island offers visitors a somewhat elevated view of the lake. Parking ourselves on a bench at that manicured property, we spent a few hours watching the world passing us by. No, actually we were waiting for the haze to settle and allow us a clearer view of the landscape – which did not really happen. But it was an absolute delight watching fisher-folk and other locals rowing their way back and forth.

A post shared by Elita (@nomadicthunker) on



On our return we made a halt at Moirang, where the INA Memorial Complex is located. This complex takes you through the journey of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose as well as pays homage to those who lost their lives during WWII. The gentleman who doubles as the caretaker and guide was very helpful in outlining for us the significance of the events, the artefacts and the people of that time.

In our attempt to make our return back to Imphal less dramatic than our morning’s journey, we sought help from the local traffic police who physically guided us to the bus-stop – which I thought was a kind gesture.
15 minutes in our wait at the stop, we spotted a bus approaching and at that exact same moment my gaze met with the gaze of a lady bystander. She smiled and asked us in Hindi if we were going to Imphal. We were more that ecstatic at hearing someone speak a language we were both comfortable with.
“Yes, we are. It seems like the bus is here too!”
“This bus takes over an hour longer to get to Imphal due to its many stops. Come along with me – we can hop into a shared rickshaw from a little ahead”

Moirang, Imphal, Manipur, Ima, lady, good samaritan, India, northeast
Ima to our rescue at Moirang | Manipur, India -- January 2017

And just like that we followed her. Once inside the rickshaw she enquired,
“So where are you’ll from? Oh! It’s just the two of you from Mumbai exploring Manipur, is it? How long have you’ll been here? What have you’ll seen so far? Where are you’ll currently staying? Why don’t you’ll come and stay with me? I can help you’ll in getting to the places around from here!”

When we mentioned to her that we were going to be around for just another day, she sighed. Truth be told I was taken aback with how quickly she had not only warmed up to us but also opened up to us.
I can hardly if ever guess somebody’s age but she did look like someone who would be in her 40s, at least. She was warm and concerned about how we were doing in a new city. I almost forgot she was no more than a stranger we had met only a couple of minutes ago! When we asked her about places we could eat an authentic Manipuri meal at in Imphal she offered to take us to the restaurant once we got to Imphal.
Through our conversations, I learnt of her daughter who moved to Bangalore to study and now works there as a nurse. In fact, she was making a trip to Imphal to meet with someone whom she would hand over a package to have delivered to her daughter. And perhaps that explained the reason why she extended herself so much for our sake as well. Perhaps.


Final thoughts...
On my flight out of Imphal four days later, I kept thinking to myself – What if I had heeded to the advice and avoided getting to Manipur entirely?


A post shared by Elita (@nomadicthunker) on



PSST! I am facilitating workshops on expressive writing in Mumbai this April. To know more, click here


P.S.: I know you don't like annoying pop-ups. So if you like the posts you see on my blog, you could also Subscribe to HaveFeetWillTravel by Email and receive newer ones directly to your inbox! 

P.P.S.: For opportunities to work with me, click here
Read More

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner