issue 02


Editorial Note

Team ishi

What is it about love that we never really address yet seek? Is love patient and kind as the Bible says? Or is love simply a second-hand emotion like Tina Turner sang?

As the world preaches self-love, breaking generational trauma, healing the remnants of tough love or absence of love, ishi thought, maybe you and I could go for a cup of tea and observe the kind of love we are surrounded with.

In this issue, ishi explores the dynamics of love in different spaces and times, as we see and feel it within our bedrooms, homes, circles, community, and cross-cultural spaces. Love is personal yet universal, general yet subjective, simple yet complex.

Shall we get going?


My  Grandfather,
A Breathtaking View

Pamziuliu Gonmei

When I think of my grandfather, I instantly picture his tall frame in dark blazer and trousers, a carefully placed black felt hat, briefcase in hand, walking into the house at dusk. A picture but, I can't see his face. All I can focus on in this memory is his silhouette moving against the backdrop of the rising full moon, his soft footsteps carrying him through the front yard and into the kitchen. The house that he built for his children and grandchildren...


Beyond Homes and Borders
Community Love

Aton Mungleng

Recently I came across an auto driver much regarded by people in the locality, a diverse locality with people from different communities. I came to realize that it was because of his humanitarian attitude towards people and especially the elderly. In an unfortunate turn of events, his house was flooded, and the community came together with necessities to help him rebuild his home. This reminds me of a conversation from years ago with a friend from Jaipur in Delhi.



Postcards from  Pimpalgaon & Tamenglong

Anna Sireilliu & Pournima Shinde

During the height of the pandemic, there were two girls nestled in two different corners of the country, who were particularly more listless and uninspired than anyone else, or so they thought. These two had chanced upon each other through magical encounters and found an instant bond. This bond that channelled beyond their first meet and across 2,805.8 km to be precise spoke to them to write postcards to each other of the places they were in and so they photographed, and so they wrote...


Love Covers Everything

Sonia Vashum & Worthem Vashum

From known strangers to a miraculous phone call to finding a place to belong in each other, Worthem and Sonia sit down to walk us through their journey as batchmates to sharing life as a couple...


Oh iramwui lungchan shilak kahai Achon Amei ngara <3


Singlehood can prove to be challenging though serendipitous encounters and potential love interests sound nice and exciting. This is for the hopeless romantics (or not) stowing away all their love to heaven knows where!


Grammar of the Erotic

T. Keditsu

In our society, erotic love is not spoken about - it is essentially a kind of black hole around which we have devised many elaborate codes of conduct and methods of surveillance. Codes that acknowledge the existence of erotic love as a threat and at the same time attempt to bypass it altogether, lest we are sucked in and lost forever. The only people permitted to enter this space are those who are in socially sanctioned marriages - and even for married people, we must inhabit it like one would a black hole - once inside, no light must ever pass out. If married folk must speak about it, it is tacitly understood that this 'talk' must be done with other married folks. So erotic love is somehow there but always in the dark, a mystery we acknowledge but one about which we seldom speak...


Everyday Acts of Love 

Various Entree

Can there be one true act of love that answers all there is to know about love? They say love may have the longest arms and still fall short of an embrace. But maybe if we look closely, we will find this embrace in the snort amidst a round of laughter or perhaps, in a home-cooked meal. What is that warmth we receive or give on ordinary days when we least expect it, we asked our readers. This collage stands witness to the presence of love in our mundane routine. Love seems to be everywhere when we pay attention.


Thuikahai Khararchān 

Changshi Luithui

In memoirs, geniuses describe inspiration to be a hard-to-describe feeling. A feel you ‘feel’ and you simply know it to be right. That when the bulb suddenly lights up, all the small details that had been amiss start to make sense. But, do you know that this sudden 'light bulb' that made them 'geniuses' was actually floating in the sphere of their 'confusion'?


Something New,
Something Old,
Something Borrowed.

Thingminao Horam

Four generations, four weddings, four wedding dresses,four narratives but what binds them together?

My grandmother wore a kabuilu ngwe or a Kabui/ Rongmei wrap-around for her wedding day. I said, “What? What is a kabuilu ngwe?” From what she describes, it sounds like the Kabui/Rongmei pheysuai which is similar to the Meitei mayek naibi phanek. To a researcher, this is a vortex of research questions. Why did she wear a Kabui wrap-around and not a Tangkhul kashan for her wedding day? Was it generally practiced? Where did she get it from? What ornaments did she wear along with it? ...



Jim W Kasom

It was a shortcut, a handful of alleyways and steps sandwiched between bright painted wooden cottages. I took the same route each morning to the tuition centre. The late October air was crisp and cold, and I pulled the hood over my head and shoved my hands into its front pockets. I walked past a couple of old men catching up on each other, the sun on their back. Then I climbed up the steps where an unmarried woman ruled the neighbourhood, with her almost religious ritual of playing songs by Michael Learns to Rock. ..


Ikhipa;Gift of Oneself

Worchuinim Mahungnao

The story is about the quest of Ikhipa's uncle who leaves for the city in search of a partner. Coming across with the most unexpected encounter with different people which unfolds his life for good...


A Love That Cannot Live Yet Never Dies


How does one tell a queer story? The real-life stories we hear, movies we watch, and the books we read, all have loss, confusion, fear as common elements. Tragic endings, bygone bittersweet memories, and sweet nothings with no future. All tragic, it is as though they are unreal if they happen to end well or have a ‘happy ending’...


Tingly Memories for the Homesick

ishi team+ 
Vareching Valui

Kasathei is the Tangkhul term for chilli. Sivathei (a variety of ghost pepper known for its aroma and digestional attributes), Hao kasathei (a slender variety less intense than sivathei with its own distinct aroma) are the two most commonly consumed varieties...


What do we not talk about when we talk about love?

Various Entree

Comfort, assurance, security, thoughtful gestures and so on come to mind at the thought of love while people speak of the sacrifices, compromises and forgiveness that love demands. The highs and the lows, we hear and speak of. But what do we not talk about when we talk about love?