Last letter from India: Manipur

Note: This is an on-the-road blog post. To find out more about why I am on this trip, please read, Next book: From Kerala to Shaolin.

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A continuation of Letter from India: Gatka

The first time I hear about Manipur is when I am doing my preliminary research into Indian martial arts, and something called “Thang-Ta”, which doesn’t sound very Indian at all, shows up. Subsequently, as I travel across India, different martial arts gurus insist that I must visit Manipur to see one of the country’s finest martial arts.

Having never been there, my perceptions of India’s Northeast are superficial. I believe it is a region of hill stations, tea plantations, and a thousand separatists; but beyond that I know little. If you look at a map of South Asia, you will see that the long journey of nationalism and statehood has left India with this chunk of territory, the Northeast, connected to the rest by an extremely narrow passage, which almost looks like India’s little pinky, holding on desperately (see map). Continue reading

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Poem: Oh, you wretched soul

Oh, you wretched soul,

You scream and you shout and you mock me,

but you know not how,

a country is built, from sampans to skylines

You sit in front of your

sorry screen, typing tirades against

the ghosts of your ineptitude,

the regrets of your childhood,

when you chose machas and ah lians

over teachers and ten-years

You finger me, but the answer lies

in front of you, with your screen turned off,

and your pride pressed deep,

into your mud-stained Bata,

dirtied in drains then

masked with paint

But truly white, you’ll never be

and truly shrug, I never will

Behold my elite, caring face

Oh, you wretched soul

~

Oh, you wretched soul,

Shallow’ed be your bowl,

Hallowed be my bowl,

Yours iron, mine gold,

Hallowed be my bowl

~

Oh, you wretched soul,

You say you deserve more, Continue reading