‘I’ is the narrator of the story who is a young karbi girl living in a small karbi village, exploring new things about her tribe everyday. She will take us to a simple yet beautiful journey of knowing the Karbi culture and heritage.
I opened my eyes to the sunrays falling on my young skin entering the room through the small gaps of the walls of my house made with bamboo that we call ‘chek ahem’ in karbi. “O ba , wake up. Come and have your food”- my ‘pei’ (mother) called out while I was still half asleep. I managed to get off my comfortable bed and prepare myself for the day. I was offered my morning food , which is the leftover rice from the previous night as always which we call ‘Aansam’. My ‘po’ (father) had already left early in the morning on his cycle to work in the fields.
After stuffing all the food in my mouth, I ran to the village field , or playground you can say, only to see the other children of the village already gathered there. The others cheered as two boys raced in ‘Kengdongdang kekat’ which is also a traditional karbi game played by men. Here , two wooden platforms are connected to two bamboo sticks each , just above the lower end. The person playing has to balance his leg on the platform and walk by moving the bamboo forward. The one reaching the finishing line first wins. The girls were talking, collecting flowers and playing ‘hem-hem’, which is nothing but the house play, or ‘ghar-ghar’ that we say in Hindi.
My ik-ik( elder brother) came searching for me as lunch was ready. We have three meals a day, once in ‘adaprang’(morning), then ‘anarlo’ (afternoon) and finally ‘ajo’(night). When I reached home I followed the delightful smell of ‘hanserong ahan’(Roselle) , which is a karbi favourite dish.
“Tidy yourself up after finishing your food , the marriage of the daughter of the Ingti-hem is this evening”, my mom said.
Could you believe it ? This was music to my ears.
I loved attending marriages because I would get to wear my beautiful traditional dress ‘pini pekok’. Also ‘marriages’ in karbi is called ‘Adam Asar’. An Adam Asar has many religious rituals and ceremonies which always intrigued me. The ‘Gaonbura’ (head) of the village would also be present in the village marriages as an important guest. The youths of the village would willingly offer a helping hand to the house of the marriage in serving the food and doing other works. That is the unity and love among the karbis. I was served the famous ‘phak-oak’(pork
meat) cooked with ‘hen-up’(bamboo shoots). My mouth started watering before I dug into the hearty feast. My Po and Pei were busy talking with the other guests. I , along with my friends went out for a walk.
The sun was setting and it looked like as if it was melting on the horizon. The paddy field looked green. The hardwork of the villagers were shining as the freshly planted ‘sok’ were dazzling in the sunset. Rice cultivation or ‘sok-k-eh’ is one of the widely done cultivation by the karbis. My pei called me as we were leaving for home. I had a great day. Every night before sleep , my grandfather would tell me tales of ‘Thong Nokbe’.
He was a brave karbi warrior. Then he would wish me ‘Ajo keme’ (goodnight). That day, as I was falling asleep, I realised how my tribe is so rich in culture ,traditions, it's people , folklore , the past heroes and their bravery. Everything about my tribe made me feel proud. I felt pride in being a Karbi.
I remembered my 'Hemphu Arnam’ (God) and prayed for the well being of my people.