MANIPUR: In the wake of the ethnic riots in Manipur in May 2023, Thangboilal Waifei and Andrew, two determined medical students, embark on a perilous journey back home, only to face a treacherous 20-hour journey as they will resume their studies in chaos.
Having escaped their studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) in Imphal, where tensions between Meiteis, Kuki- Zomi led to violence and mass displacement, they fill in Andrew Waifei he takes another route to pursue his education Unable to return to Meitei dominated Imphal they Displaced students rely on National Medical Council (NMC) approval to attend online or hybrid courses and exams at Churachandpur Medical College (CMC).
As the SUV traverses National Highway 102B, threading through dense forests and unforgiving terrain, the journey becomes a constant reminder of time lost and dreams deferred. The students share stories of the violence they witnessed and the fear that their parents might meet a tragic fate.
Vaiphei reflects on the close ties between the Kuki-Zomi and Meitei communities and laments the impact of the conflict over generations. In between somber moments, Waifei lightens the mood by giving her fellow travelers tours of their hometowns, emphasizing the importance of their ethnic heritage.
The arduous journey marked by muddy and bumpy roads in Mizoram and Manipur is not only a physical challenge faced by displaced students but also a form of resilience and price a they are determined to follow their dreams against any odds as well Once in Manipur, the fatigue is palpable, and the students reflect on their uncertain future.
Andrew expresses an unwavering desire to become a doctor, while Waifei, haunted by past experiences, questions whether another option will serve her community better. When the SUV finally pulls up in front of the boys’ hostel, Andrew and Waifei’s journey not only represents a quest for education but is a testament to their determination to rise above adversity an uncontrollable spirit.