(From Deccan Herald)
A chubby-faced ima in Imphal’s sprawling Ima Market or Ima Keithel was talking in sing-song Hindi and insisting that I buy a traditional Manipuri shawl from her. I decided to quickly drift through sharp-eyed imas (women) and landed up in another cacophonous section of this one-of-its-kind ‘all women’s market’, devoted to fresh produce.
The section was filled with the aroma of freshly procured, fertiliser-free, and mostly organic produce. I was told that slots in these markets are handed down through generations and are religiously held on to. I sauntered my way to another section dedicated to earthen products — from decorative to household stuff. Out in this kaleidoscopic display of colours, the only thing that did not fit was the presence of commandoes.
The thrum of crowd and traffic on the road make Imphal seem like any metropolis. But as you take your way back through side lanes, the real Imphal emerges in small joints where rice beer is brewed and old folks get together to have a conversation over smoke circles and kids try their hand (rather feet) in a friendly game of soccer. Read More