An old year diary

Another year is in its final stage, and I’m waiting for my poetry to draw the curtain on the year’s slow death. Our lives earmarked with a calendar, each event separated by a date. In the end, the days did not matter as much as the people, events and some thoughts. Of people we met, of events we saw, of what we thought—and our life enriched from some purposes that we serve to humanity. Yet it’s the dead-end, nothing is beyond the cremation ground, no rhyme, no reason; so merely it’s to fine-tune this illusion. Everything is good in life as long as we accept and let them go. And nothing is just good if we accept and let them go. That contradiction! Now the time's for the new year: there are so many mountains beyond the picnic spot at Koubru Leikha. Many more pegs to follow the empty Old Monk bottles. And many more distance we have to travel beyond our drive back home. And the pessimism is already lurking in the horizon. How many years, and how many decades will we have to taste the blood, smell the pungent bullet powders, hear the piercing wail of the people? As if... as if this was foreordained. And inside my self, I saw the day, and outside I saw the night. I wish, I wish the new year illuminates all around.
GEAR UP Now that the clock is set, get ready for the brushes
to draw your masterpiece this new year

So who are going to stay up until midnight to welcome the New Year, and who are staying up to make sure the old year leaves?

Billy Vaughn, an American author, made a humourous distinction between an optimist and a pessimist with this pun. And as 2010 draws closer to its end—dragging along the drapery that hides the bygone days and months of the year—we are busy making plans and resolutions for 2011. Before we leave this year and step onto the next, I would love to dissect the colours that had rouged the ceaseless clock.

Living a life for the sake of living is too monotonous. There is a feeling of sheer meaninglessness in doing only what we are supposed to do and in not doing what we are not suppose to. I have always held the view that life is but serving as many as purposes as possible, and that this is the sole essence we can make out of. In seeking these purposes and fulfilling them seemingly offer us some sense of a significant life we have lived. And a new year—which arrives with a bang on the wall calendar—is the perfect time to mend ways, build new bridges and find more meanings.

But wasn’t it the same thought that struck when 2010 came with wrapped and curious gifts? Around those times, I was fortunate to be home. I had duck meat, rum, whisky and beer with my friends on New Year ’s Eve at a leikai lampak. The bonfire; the chilly winter airs, which fused with the kicks from our drinks; and the festive moods were something that could make our life flooded with meanings. Then the alfresco meal a few days later—it made life! The original booze from Phayeng simply accentuated the feel-good feelings.

In the previous year, I remember the revelry at L—’s place. There were so many people, lots of drinks, lots of foods and B— who had slept snoring at the level of 100 decibels. The same old thing: booze, meat, and people will continue showing up in this farcical play called life, yet the experience with every advancing years is giving some food for thought. And I would robe the departed days of this year, with fine surreal attire before bidding adieu, even it means solely an annual attitudinal refreshment exercise.

Without elaboration, I’m grateful for K— who has came into my life. Unlike the new years, she came quietly in an Erich Sehgalian way sans banners or flashing light. For me, she is what she is. I have also met several expressive people of my generation—several howling souls, who inspire me to pen the pains and pith of our land (though I admit I possess no expertise). Also my family and friends: the former who thinks of me regularly through phone calls while the latter who gives me company, with rum and whisky, almost every weekend and provides me new ways to view life.

I came across two exciting cases in 2010. Number one, which I’m happy to receive but then I know it’s of no use but to keep snugly inside my important-document folder, is the master’s degree certificate. Nobody asks for it in an interview but Mr A—, my college’s managing director, had been refusing to hand it out as for playing pranks on him. (I had also got my hostel security money after two years!) Number two, I got a new job even without showing the certificate. All they had asked me and wanted to know about was my experience. A lesser working hour, lesser travelling distance, yet a better salary package I’m enjoying in the new organisation. Quite good. Though already, I’m too eager to climb the next ladder. And I hope 2011 will bring more satisfaction.

School, college, education and jobs make the New Year so significant. Otherwise, I’d be just another nice bozo with guns firing for freedom or shooting for money. Well, it’s true in my hometown . . . or just another soul basking in the cheerful sun doing nothing but getting high on some narcotics to wait for a pathetic slow death. Of the time again and the self.

We have these titles in a society, without which we are condemned to death without eulogy nor obituary. And material possession deceives us we will get a longer obit if we have the wealth in galore for supposed serenity and of course, for family and posterity. So we have to continuously accumulate the riches. On the other hand, we have to project ourselves that we can do a thing and to the world that we have done it. So we want to become an achiever, and in the same breath, so that we are not liable to the diseases of Dumbfuckistan—while a year will come and go with or without our existence. Every year, we tried hard to cancel the one-way ticket to Dumbfuckistan. So far so good, eh.

This year saw many people who were earlier occasional users have become addicted to Facebook, which is insisting me to create a group like FA in the line of NA and AA. But in the two traditional groups, ex-users gather in some nondescript places like schools and community hall. Where should I base FA at? It will be too evil to create the group inside the networking site itself! All of us know one update/comment/like is too many, and a thousand never enough. And from an unreal world we have been graduating to the virtual, no matter what time of the year we are in. This is just an acknowledgement of Facebook but there are also more serious issues, relating to social revolution, developing inside the world wide web.    

And then I’m going blind. It is too dark to see anything. How I wish to turn Manipur upside down so that we get rid of all the institutions that are existing, and build an entirely new foundation and system. But now I cannot move beyond the rhetoric. Here the internet is quite related for I’m using this medium to vent my frustration. Activists would assert that we have to get off the ground, implying the use of tangible processes or resistance to say what we mean in a sort of actions-speak-louder-than-word manner. For instance, the creation of an artwork on AFSPA means so little if not for some individualistic protest.

True, it will be more worthwhile to find and see some solutions for the current turmoil in our land than watching the never-ending partisan arguments. But what do we do when it is stark nakedness all around? Shall we do something so that we feel we have contributed to a cause and that we can feel mental satisfaction? Or shall we do it to serve humanity? Or to quench our human thirst…? Is it too pessimistic a view that life, with blood and bullets, will continue as usual even if we get off? This has been one of the two predicaments of the year, the second being on how to maintain a relationship!

Sometimes I hate society to a degree that my attitude towards life drips to the freezing point. Nay, a new year cannot even help but I believe, it will surely bring in more avenues to explore, to resist, to refuse, to start things afresh.

Now the clock is set. Get ready for your brushes to draw the masterpiece in this year. Irom Sharmila has also created a new canvas of protest out of this decade—articulating if the state can kill her, it can also make and save her life—and has made her points clearer than truth. It’s also time we make the true statement of our existence, and what can be more opportune time than in the impending days.




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