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Where I call home

"I am perturbed more because you seem unsurprised... Neither by the ruins nor by bloody tears of lamenting mothers..."

ByIbohal Kshetrimayum

Updated 6 Dec 2023, 2:52 am


To my cynic hills I ask –

Do you remember my birth in the valley,

Guarded by your nine ranges?

I remember growing up with some of

Your young trees.

Do they still remember me?

Tell me my mythical guardians.


I remember the brides travelling in palanquins

To their new homes, along the river,

Which flowed down from your lofty heights.

On rainy days, in that river, on logs floating down

From your precipitous woods, I sailed

Through my town, mischievously, in my birthday suit.

And you joined the clouds in thunderous laughter.

I wish you know how I miss you.


Will the sun claim ownership of the land it shines upon?

Even if it would, it won’t want you anymore,


For your sacred groves are swarmed with guns.

Should I also plant guns in my rice fields,

And harvest bullets?

Tell me my sylvan sentinels.


Even as ash of my tears rises and

Obscures moon’s face with ambiguous anomaly,

My heart continues to beat sweetly for you.

Even as kings and lords slumber away,

Drunk with amour-propre, life of my mind

Lingers on, persistently, in flickering hope.         

Even as I see my homeland in hideous ruins,

Soaked in blood, while my soul drifts precariously

On muddy torrents of hate and prejudice;

You remain the only metaphor of my inheritance-

The misty hills!


Before my heartbeats begin to sound like gunshots,

Before history pins you on a venomous page,

Before the river returns with scorching veins,


Before falcons are replaced by obtruding anthomaniacs;

I say this to you, my ancient custodians –

Do not be deceived by the flower’s beauty.

Do not bury your dead on the ruins you’ve bulldozed.

Because, there, in hallowed layers of folktales,

Spirits of my ancestors dwell.

Remember, you are neither a garden

Nor a cemetery. But a forest,

Proud and majestic.

Where I call home.


Oh! My yogic emperor,

Before your heart-talks turn into tea stall jokes,

Break your incongruous silence.

Come to think of it, with homesick speculations,

I am perturbed more because you seem unsurprised

Neither by the ruins nor by bloody tears of lamenting mothers;

While your dogs remain stupefied even when

Thieves are camping in the backyard.

Where I call home.


First published:


meiteiskukismanipur violencemanipur conflict

Ibohal Kshetrimayum

Ibohal Kshetrimayum



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