A Life of Poverty Is the Life of Misery

This is a translation of Arambam Somorendro’s Lairaba Awabagi Punsini from the collection Arambam Samarendragi Apunba Khorjei – Ahaanba Laarol (Complete Works, Vol I) published by the Arambam Samarendra Trust in 2013. Originally it is a lyric for a song released by the Macha Leima, Manipur.

A life of poverty is the life of misery
The poor has nothing to eat
The poor has nothing to wear
The poor only thinks for now or never.

Time will be gone; the memorials would return
And so do the Sajibu’s breeze and the Eenga’s rain*
And emphatically they will break and burst
And the poor can do nothing
But in their shack, to swallow it and accept it.

What can it be mended with,
What can it be fixed with?
—Everywhere, everything is just falling short
Everywhere it is just breeding sorrow

Today’s rice’s there by dint of sweat**
Just for today’s it is
Tomorrow nothing’s certain
This is the life of poverty
This is the life of misery.


* Manipuri demystified!
1 Sajibu: The Manipuris use a lunar calendar with the year starting during the colourful days of spring. Sajibu is the first month, which usually falls in the Gregorian month of March or April. Our New Year is popularly known as Sajibu Cheiraoba.

2 Eenga: This is the third month and mostly equated with rainy season (June¬–July). Albeit the annual rainy season lasts from May to October. According to meteorological reports, the province receives an average annual of 1467.50 mm a year. 

3 Rice is our staple food. So, it is more than a day’s meal but wholly a question of survival.



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