Saturday, May 29, 2004

It was an astonishing sight to see the smart informed agricultural scientist at home transformed into a dull, gossipy layabout at work. There we were Biki and I, waiting for our ride to Andro our next phase in our quest for Manipuri rice. Our pick up is late and never have I ever sat through a more excruciating three hours as Imasi played down her brilliance in front of her colleagues. Was it because she was a woman? Just the way work environments have become in this dreary place? Perhaps because they have all had to hide out in back avoiding unwelcome drop-ins from separatists?

On the ride out, she perked up like a wilting plant after being watered. Her colleagues aren’t half bad too with their agricultural knowledge. So there is perhaps a conspired dullness after all.

The land is spectacularly beautiful. We left with Ching Chahou Amubi, Ching Chahou Angangbi and 2 others. The rest all stocked up on some of the famed local hooch.

Peak moment: the old toothless farmer says to me: “Young man, tell me, for I have always wondered, are Americans Indians or Manipuris?”

We make and inhabit our worlds. Who is to say which is best? The periphery is the core.

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