Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Manipur loses son in Mumbai

It was a little after 9pm on Wednesday. Maibam Bimolchandra Singh, a 30-year-old youth from Manipur working as an assistant manager (housekeeping) at the Oberoi Trident, had just ended his shift and was waiting for his replacement on the ground floor reception, according to The Telegraph.
His Manipuri colleague working on the same shift, C.L. Mate, left for his quarters 2km from the hotel, after handing over charge to his replacement.
Hours later, as people across the nation watched in horror the serial attacks in Mumbai unfold on television, Mate got a call from the hotel saying Bimolchandra Singh was dead. After the initial shock, it was he who conveyed the heartbreaking news to Korouhanba Singh, Bimolchandra’s friend from his neighbouring village.
Korouhanba, a captain in the Navy and posted at Hyderabad, informed Bimolchandra’s family in Manipur’s Imphal East district.
The bullet-riddled body was later recovered from the hotel’s reception, exactly where Mate had left his friend minutes earlier. Like Jupiter Yambem of Imphal East who died in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre, Bimolchandra Singh’s ambitious career flight was cut short by terrorists.
Jupiter was the manager of the largest restaurant in the world, Windows on the World, on the 107th floor of the tower. One of the two hijacked planes had hit the 101st floor of the tower. As all hell broke loose, Jupiter had helped others to safety, sacrificing his own life in the process.
“Had my son’s replacement come on time, he would have escaped the attack,” wept Bimolchandra’s father Nando Singh at their house at Khurai Ningthoubung Leikai on hearing the tragic news.
Just three days before the attack, Bimolchandra had called his father and spoken to him about life in a metropolis, far removed from his home. In an affectionate exchange, he had also chided Nando Singh for overeating.
“He warned me that overeating could lead me to my grave. But instead of me, he died,” the grieving parent said. Nando Singh works as a mechanic in the state PWD.
The family had just been planning to demolish their mud hut and raise a concrete structure after Bimolchandra Singh expressed his desire to marry a co-worker from Kerala. The wedding was tentatively scheduled for 2010.
“They killed our hopes,” was all that his inconsolable mother Sanahanbi Devi could utter, still in shock. His sister, a local schoolteacher, has been numbed by grief.
A framed photo of Bimolchandra Singh with his co-workers at the Oberoi Trident was placed on a table in the courtyard for visitors.
Bimolchandra’s uncle, Maibam Ningthou, an army captain posted at Hyderabad, will bring the body from Mumbai to Imphal tomorrow. It will then be taken to his native village.
The assistant manager was to leave for further training in hotel management in the UK. “We were happy when he told us that his salary would be doubled after the yearlong training course,” his father recalled.
The promising hotel manager was also a national-level handball player.
He had led the Manipur junior team to national meets in the late Nineties and early 2000.
His father, who is also the president of Peaceful Club, has been organising state-level Peace Trophy football tournaments every year.
“I will never pardon them (the killers). They should be punished and the nation should stand together against such terror attacks,” said Nando Singh.
“I just pray that there no more victims like my son in future,” he said.

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