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Humans of Wanderlust #21: Zeenat Parveen from Imphal

Zeenat Parveen is 57 years old and is from Imphal. She provides financial support while doing business in Ima market. She lives with her husband and three kids. An interesting fact about her is that her father belongs to Pakistan and her mother belongs to India. They shifted across the border to Imphal during the partition of India and Pakistan.

She’s the youngest daughter in her family with two siblings. Zeenat sells different varieties of eggs in Ima keithel (market). She has proudly supported and raised her children in crucial times. Earlier her mother started working when they shifted to Imphal at that time. Her mother’s aunty used to have a spot in the market.

Imphal Manipur

She introduced her mother to fellow business-women. She told them about the entire scenario they faced during the partition and that’s how her mother got a spot in Ima market. The best part about this market is the ladies’ good heart to accept and understand the problem of another lady.

“Since I was 16, I started coming to this market with my mother and used to sell vegetables from our own garden. We sold vegetables for quite a long time but then it was not giving any good amount of profit, so we shifted to the egg selling business. My husband had a contact in one poultry farm, so he used to be my distributor for the initial phases of the business. Later, we added different poultry farms which gave us a variety of eggs to sell,” Zeenat said.

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Imphal

Ima Market Imphal manipur

She came into the egg selling business in 2004 and is still stuck to the same business. “It is giving me enough profit to support and feed my family. Although my children earn their own money, still I like to do it. This place has given me an identity to live my life independently,” she said with pride and a huge smile.

Has tourism changed your life in any way?

“I observe many tourists in the area and yes, it has given me an idea of what to sell so that I could maximise the profit I’m getting. Tourism has always been a part of Imphal. People come and see the women-centric culture and they love the fact that women get higher priority when it comes to socio-economic development here. Tourism has always given me an idea of how the world is going and in which direction. Sometimes I tend to sell more to tourists compared to the locals. Mostly commodities like eggs can be used by the people who live over here,” Zeenat said.

What kind of travellers do you meet in this market and have you met any interesting person?

Breakfast at Imphal

“Mostly in this market, only women travellers come to see the culture and the working of how things are over here. Men don’t come to this market because this place has always been with women and for us, it’s a pure platform where we interact with and most importantly, we solve each other issues. I met one girl from Kerala who said something that I can never forget. She asked me, if I ever want to give this market spot to another person, she’d be honoured to work over here. She even stayed here with me for more than a week. I saw the passion and respect for the place which made a deep impression on me,” she said.

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What do you think about the future of this place?

“I believe the future of the place is great because women had taught their daughter, sister, cousins, or any female relative of theirs. As far as I believe, my daughter and the coming generation won’t let this culture go anywhere. It will be here for a longer time. The mothers don’t do anything alone over here, mostly daughters help them with their daily work which makes me believe this,” she explained with confidence in her voice.

What do you think about technology, is it a boon or a bane?

“Technology is good, but it shouldn’t be a necessity. Earlier people used to still work and be happy even though technology wasn’t there. Now the world has become dependent on it. My five-year-old nephew is addicted to technology in such a way that he couldn’t have his meal without watching a TV show. I feel scared to see such major changes. I think the feel was better when there was limited technology,” she said.

Have you felt any kind of pollution in this place?

“Due to commercialization, the place is becoming more and more congested for the ones who are already doing business over here. Even due to the road traffic and emission smoke from a vehicle, we tend to feel suffocated here. But the effect is not that visible. If things continue, it will affect our future generation,” she ended.

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