I have been wanting to write down all that I have been watching, seeing. It took the book Like the Flowing River by Paulo Coelho that propelled me to do so. I found the book sitting in the book shelf that holds other books of great value. There are encyclopaedias, books on resource management, and some novels pregnant with stories which I know I will not find time to finish on this short trip.

I carefully go through the table of contents, calculating in my mind whether I will get the chance to finish the book within the stipulated time that I have in hand. I choose the book. I take it from the shelf, bring it to the sleeping room, where I hold it in reverie, performing a secret prayer of being good value.

Guest House, Ijeirong (Tamenglong)

This wooden house is newly built. Stocked with the right amount of wood, it still creaks in the night. At times, I see the rising fear inside me. I have a mind saturated with the horrors of films that I have watched to induce further fear. All those horrible scenes, of unfulfilled lives, the ghosts of the manors, and the devil himself, flit in front of the mind’s screen. The wood works gradually release themselves to the cold of the night from steadfastness and resistance. Those noises hang in the air before being forgotten. Each noise comes with an image of the self inflicted suffering – poor choices of films, images which play back and forth to create a permanent state of ill being.

The house has its beauty too. The long French windows fill my heart with a satisfaction that I have not received much before. I look at the hills outside and I ask myself often, what ways I can extend the gratitude of the heart. There are nights when I can hear the howling winds, those strong forces of the universe, which please or induce fear to the naïve heart. I cover myself head to toe, in a struggle to lessen the fears being pumped. I cannot think of other ways. All agencies of power leave my body.

When the winds stop for a thinking moment, it is then that peace returns to calm my heart. Other humans have drifted off, no sense of urgency guiding them unlike those of the urban centers. I am no long an urban dweller myself. I am a nomad, listener to the winds of the night, the watcher of the clouds passing over the hills, the announcer of the morning.

When I go to bed tonight, I will remember this. We are all the signs of the universe.

This post is written from the village Ijeirong in Tamenglong district, Manipur.


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