ERIN: I will continue sending you thoughts as they rise to the surface. Not only because they might be interesting to you, but becuase it will keep me in touch with Manipur.
I realized, as I wrote an email to Kanhailal (which I copied you on) that in "real India" I am often treated, as a foreigner, with either too much respect and deference, or with too much unfounded contempt. In other words, I'm very rarely treated as an individual, but usually as an AMERICAN.
I didn't find that to be true in Manipur. Or maybe it's just not true among the people you introduced us to. But I never felt that people were being obsequieous. Nor did I feel that they were dismissing me automatically. In
other words, there is a cultural self-confidence in Manipur that allows the people I met to treat me in a real way. That's another palpable aspect of the trip that I've only just begun to be able to articulate.
By the way, Leila loves her phanek. She has ben wearing it around the house non-stop and announcing that she's on her way to a wedding.
I just read the note Arambam included with the pack of Cds he gave me: the note says that he was expecting me to come ot his house, so we may have screwed up. If we did, will you appologize to him -- I don't want him to think I stood him up.
And: I also thought it would make an interesting article to talk about the connection between Kanhailal's Darupadi, a one-woman show about women in Manipur that was scheuled to premiere last July and was postponed because of thedemonstration of the naked women in front of Kangla, and the demonstration itself. However, to do that I would need footage of the women's demonstration, and of Daupadi, and I would need a co-writer who saw the events live. What do you think?
Last, there are still a few things I managed to not bring back with me, that I'd love to have if there is room in your suitcase and time for you to pick them up:
video of women's protest in front of Kangla
videos of World Trade Center and Rose of Lidice
book on Manipuri language by Khelchandra
there's a novel that Lancha was suggesting I read, but I don't know the
title (he said it's in English).
Rase's email address
tape of China Rose if possible.
I've been listening to Dave's tape -- it often sounds like Hong Kong rock to me. Interesting. Again, often bears absoleutely no resemblance to Mainland music. By the way: another perception of Manipur: Leila doesn't recognize
Dave's music as Indian. I am fascinated by this, becuase it proves the musical differences. So when I put on Dave's tape, she loves it, but she insists it isn't Indian. When she wants to hear Indian music she insists on Hindi film
songs. I haven't been able to convince her that Dave's tape is also from Inida. But obviously she is correct: in the sense that Manipur is not part of India. So: from the mouths of babes.