I am told this story by a young man who works as a teacher in the village school. He tells me what he has heard from his ancestors. We were climbing down from the Singda reservoir – located in the northwest hills of Manipur.
Long ago, gods resided among the tallest hills of the west and the east. They lived in peace and harmony, everyone of them content with their powers. During such times, people were happy too. They went about their human duties – living their lives, working in the fields, laughing with their families, sleeping with dreams in their hearts.
Every now and then, however, the gods of the west hills and the east hills fought. When these fights lasted, it rained for days and nights. The rains were followed with thunder and lightening. People would stay in their homes, close to the fires, and pray for the fights between the gods to get over.
When the gods stopped fighting, the thunderstorms would stop. The hills will then be covered with the lushest grass and the brightest flowers one could see. People would go back to their fields and continue to work just as the gods would too.
As the young man finishes his story, I have reached home. After an early supper, I step out of my room. The Imphal valley stretches out, covered in haze. The story of the hills continues to echo in my heart. In reverence, I look at the night sky.
The sky of full of stars tonight. I see constellations – the Ursa Minor and the Scorpius – and other stars in the galaxy. I see the lights lit in the huts of people. Night beckons as they prepare themselves to sleep. The surrounding hills are quiet too.
Tonight, the gods are not fighting.