I am Tinnei, a stay at home mom and I live in California, having moved here last year. By God’s grace, I was blessed with a baby a month before civil unrest escalated in Manipur, India on May 3rd, 2023.
My heart feels crippled and crumbled deep down as I type the hurdles my family has gone through. I’m at a loss for words, unsure where or how to begin.
Since childhood, we’ve lived in rented rooms, moving every 2-3 months. For the first time in our lives, we moved into what we call our own home at 44 Bethel Home, a four-story building in Imphal, Manipur. My parents occupied the third floor, while the rest was rented out as their source of income.
On the fateful evening of May 3rd, when chaos erupted, my elderly parents, paralyzed brother, and a few relatives were at home in Imphal City. My mom’s voice was low and timid when I checked on them. They had to turn off the lights, hiding in their house, holding their breath in fear. Within two days, the internet began to fail, and I lost touch with them for weeks.
When reconnected, I learned about shootings in the streets and that the Meiteis had tried to scare them. They had to evacuate to my aunt’s place, a small space where they stayed briefly. They couldn’t take the Army’s evacuation truck due to my brother’s condition.
Eventually, they arrived at an Army Camp, thanks to the Indian Army and my coordinating cousin. They endured cramped conditions until they could leave with an Army Convoy. They had to return halfway to Lamka due to shooting.
[My dad’s epilepsy/seizure, diabetes, and high blood pressure were a concern. He had a seizure, lying unconscious, while my brother lay motionless. I can only imagine my mom’s distress.]
Finally, on May 11th, they arrived at Lamka, facing terrible bedsores and a lack of immediate medical attention. My dad cared for my brother’s wounds, fever, and oozing sores without professional help.
A month later, a friendly doctor began treating my brother without charge, at home, though we bore medication and equipment costs. My dad is on medication, and my mom was diagnosed with severe arthritis.
I wish they were closer so I could help them physically as they age and face these challenges. I inquired about an airlift to Delhi, but the cost is unimaginable, especially since my brother can only be transported by air ambulance due to his condition. Their financial hardships only add to the woes.
I’m uncertain about their future, feeling helpless but grateful for the assistance of my mother-in-law, my husband and my family here in California.
Today, I share their experiences, hoping to provide encouragement and positive outcomes for them in whatever way possible.