Friday, February 17, 2006

That face washed by the moonlight..

Multiple tasks at work..
How I wish I had Ravan's heads and Goddess Durga's hands?
It is Mid feb already, and spring must have set in where there are spring seasons.
Don't know if mumbai will have one..

Spring!! Or Mera in Manipuri..
Oh!! How I miss the spring of Manipur..
It's been a long time since I was home in Spring..
4 years, 5 , 6, i don't even remember.

But I haven't forgotten the smell of spring and the warm rays of sun that caresses the skin in the late mornings. ( here, I am trying hard to write a piece of literature types HAHA)
Oh yes, there was something different about the spring Mornings.. Yellowish Sunrays, Sarsong ka Stew, Flowers blooming in the courtyard.. We have a huge one.. And in the night, the smell of a flower the name of which I have forgotten, the smell though, I can't forget... Smells like Rajni Gandha.. but not as sharp as Rajni Gandha

And every Manipuri associate this Spring warmth and smell of gulmohar with Yaosang, the Manipuri name for Holi, a five day affair. Five days of festivities... of playing with Gulal and powder ( oh yes we use talcum powder as well as neem-robin) during the mornings, Sports and events in the afternoon, Junk Food and Thabal Chongba in the Night...

Thabal Chongba maybe roughly translated as Moonlight dance.
Much like the Balls of the west and dandiya of the east.. Where young girls chaperoned by their elder sisters or mothers or Aunts or the watchful eyes of an Ganny, sometimes a short tempered brother, come out in the evening to dance away till 12 O clock or 1 am.. (Nowadays our Moral police have set Time limits etc etc though, so I heard).

The dance is like a Human Chain, where the girls and boys, well young men, move in circle hand in hand and dance with the beat of drums and an orchestra, the sound of which will fill the nights of manipur during Holi.( not an easy dance though, I find it quite difficult to follow the beat) These dances are organised in every locality, and girls and Male volunteers from that locality will arrange it. Guys, however, go Thabal hopping from one thabal to another thabal event and it is not proper for a guy to dance in his own locality, as we consider our neighbours as sisters lol. Likewise, girls only dance in their locality under the watchful eyes of local BROTHERS lol, and of course some Jealous Brothers.

Fisticuffs and Violence are to be expected in such grand fairs where there are watchful brothers and jealous neighbourhood Romeo who won't stand an outsider holding the hand of his Juliet.. Wayward Outsiders however go back with a broken head; remember the Volunteers.

Otherwise this is a very romantic tradition and a great way to know Girls, and of course guys (for girls)..and all girls look pretty under the Millions of Tube Lights.. there have been instances of proposals in first tube sight, not to mention the repentance the next day...

We still follow this tradition, and Manipuri students organise the thabal chongba in places like Pune, delhi and bangalore every year.. Such are the springs of Manipur..

Ningsinglee Meragee Thabaldo....
Thabalna Chamlaba Maithongdo...

roughly translated:
( Remembering the Full moon of Spring
and That face washed by the Moon light)

Download this song from and listen to it.. the melody is amazing even if you don't understand a word..

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Blogger sebia said...

seems u r really homesick 2day:) i too wanna visit this place after reading so much abt it..ur enthusiasm ws infectious needless 2say tht:)

18/2/06 1:34 AM  
Blogger anthony said...

be my guest Sebia... Anytime... but springs are just so beatiful at this place called my home lol

18/2/06 10:53 AM  
Anonymous CG said...

Good literary work!! Maybe you should take up writing as an alternate career.

I think I know the flower you are talking about. Can't say for sure. In Bengali it is called Hasnahana (ya, I know, very peculiar name for a lovely flower)

18/2/06 4:40 PM  
Anonymous tony said...

HAHAHA.. Lit and me...LOL... I can't even hold my grammar straight...
I got me a lot of Lit books of late though.. Gee this blogging is making me do starnge things...

18/2/06 5:18 PM  
Anonymous Hiren said...

In Mumbai there is no winter so one cannot appreciate the spring as we in Delhi do.

The Manipur bit is very interesting. I remember how Manipuri dancers had come to my brother's school more than 20 years ago and he was dancing and singing for a week after that. He may remember some of the wording even now.

18/2/06 7:24 PM  

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