By Jimmy Yanglem
It's been more than four months since the unfaithful day of 3rd May.
Today, our state echoed the howls of the innocents. The youths are losing tolerance for how the state leaders handle the ongoing conflict. So, they have organized a session to debate on resolving the ongoing disputes. The four of us decided to attend to capture the event. The day is bleak; the skies are blanketed with dense dark clouds that appear to be preparing for a storm. Many individuals journey to the meeting's venue to attend the session. Hundreds of vehicles travel in unison, waving the seven-colour Salai flag against the wind. When we reach the Nambol market, we stop to buy the flag.
We enter the Market and get the flag from one ema. The Emas in the Market are eager to help us; they assist us in binding the flag to our vehicles.
A lady approaches us with a piece of cloth(Phanek). The fabric belongs to the deity of Market. She made strips from the material. "This cloth will guide and protect you through your journey, " she uttered while tying the string created from the fabric on our left hand. I don't know what made that particular ema perform such a gesture, but her actions chilled me through my bones. Then it hit me: "My state is at war, and we are never safe". The Emas made us bow and pray to the deity for our safety. We perform our prayers. Four of us experience the purest form of expression, which will be ingrained in us throughout our lifetime.
As we bid goodbye, the mothers exclaimed "Mai pakpa oiyuko, echasha". We had the most wholesome smile when we replied, "Hoi Ema."
No person I met touched me with such intense warmth as those Emas I encountered for just 10 minutes. This memory will have a special place in my heart. Undoubtedly, the clash has brought misery and devastation. But the bonds within the Meiteis blood have grown more intimate. We are more close-knit, and that is the shimmering reflection amidst the dark clouds.