My first ever hill visit along with Michael, Kanglei and Wilson in 2008 can be considered as one of the memorable and happiest journey in my life. The villagers whom we met during the journey also found to be very kind hearted and helpful. It was on Thursday of August 7. Coincidentally, the next following day happened to be dated 08-08-08, a triple figure of 8 digit whom according to Chinese mythology is a very lucky number. Another heartening fact is that on this day at 8 o’ clock of Chinese standard time (5 o’ clock on IST), the 29th Olympic Games was supposed to kick-start at Bird Nest Stadium, Beijing. Back home in Manipur, it was the time where there was mass public outcry on the controversial exit of weightlifter Laishram Monika from participating in the game.
Taking into account the news of Monika as one of the factor, I was anxiously planning to watch the opening day of the Olympic Games on TV. But I was compelled to leave Imphal for a visit to Tamenglong on that particular day as if fate was not written on my side. I came back home after two days of night hold. To mention some memorable moments of that tour, it will be the experiencing longest walk ever by foot and expedition to water running “Namkalong Cave” along with Wilson. For the tour, I was accompanied by a team of reporters – Michael (Ireibak), Kanglei (Imphal Free Press) and Wilson (DDK), Mungyamba (ISTV) and Bedyajit (Sanaleibak).
Regarding the journey, I was not mentally prepared as there was not prior information given to me. It was on August 6 evening that I came to know about it when Mungyamba (ISTV) informed me through phone just after I came back from the “Poknapham”press. There, he said, “Etao, let’s go for a work tomorrow. I will come to pick-up you from your home place and we will watch the opening ceremony of Olympic Games together at the place. I have already talked with the press about it”. After hearing his words, I replied to him, “Are you serious? Ok come to pick me up”.
For it, I had expressed and replied in unusual manner because Mungyamba happened to be a joke loving colleague of mine so I could not believe his words at first. Following next day morning as told by him, he came to my house to pick me up saying that he had already took permission from the press. Like this, I headed for the Tamenglong tour and made me to skip from watching the opening ceremony of Olympic Games.
Just after starting the journey, Mungyamba said, “The place where we are going is an interesting place”. Apart from this, he does not utter any words further. When I query him to give some information about the place, he replied that I would know it everything when I reach the place. Even he does not reveal what work and what kind of news we are going to fetch. With no suspicion in my mind, I became one part of the journey.
The vehicle which we were travelling belongs to one “Joy Joy” as known by others. It was the same vehicle where reporters used to travel to cover news programmes on daily basis. I know him from earlier times and as far as I know he is well verse with education field.
After a certain ride, we reached at top hill of Keithelmanbi at around 7.30 am. Just after reaching the place, my heart started filling with joyous mood. The scenic beauty of the place swept across me and seems that it made me forget the disturbed news of Monika’s ouster from the game and intention of watching the opening ceremony of the Olympic Game which was struck in my mind. Also from top of the hill, I was longing to enjoy the glance of the beautiful plain valley down there. The sight which was view from the place was such an alluring one. At that point of time, there was in my mind that heaven must be like that. For whom who have not seen this enchanting place, it can be considered that he has not yet explore such a lovely place just located nearby ones places. Even I want to say that they are not been lucky being born in Manipur by not experiencing such places. Few others enthralling places which I want to mention here are the captivating hillocks situated nearby Pallel along the Moreh-Imphal road and those top hills in Bishnupur district where one can view the Loktak Lake from it. Every time I see such places I can’t stop from praising of it. Moreover, it must be well aware for those people who have seen these places. From it, one can have the bird eye view of the valley which it can be seen in larger dimension. Also, I am sure that tourists would be loving seeing these places.
Apart from the places which have been naturally blessed, what one can say after feeling its sizzling fresh air and water I mean it is like there is gold rush on gold itself. The cool and fresh air that swept across the top hill can made a person forget his boredom. If one is searching for a place which is filled with nature essence and without any human design or textures, certainly this place can be count among the menu. From it, one would fall into a state of mind as he can witnessed vast and pleasant appearance of the sky, its bright colour on a sunny day, stretch of hills side by side producing an aesthetic sight, ease white-covered clouds scattered around, beautifully set-up houses down the valley, trees and plants etc.
It’s not only in the morning and evening that one can enjoy the mention glances even it can be felt and cherish in the night time also. It seems that the bright collection of light emanated from all the houses lilted mood of mine as if a vibrant full light was formed by stars after falling down from heaven. After experiencing the place, I have a feeling that the only justice left to the place is to find a poet for penning down the beauty of the place and people willing to develop the area.
To be continued….
Translated by Rakesh Lourembam, Manipur Times.