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UKHRUL | Apr 11 : Otrei, one of the practises by Tangkhul forefathers to exhibit strength, endurance and technique, is still treasured and emulated by villagers of Phalee of Ukhrul district, and usually done during harvest time.
The elders of the village usually do the packaging in the field and it takes an expert to do the tedious packaging with a capacity of 20-25 tins of rice. The rice is wrapped and package in a traditional shawl ‘Pheingui’ and ‘Shurkhom’. The elders tied the wrapping using 7/8 yoke depending on the size and contents. The shape of the packing is done in a unique style, where the upper side is little bigger than the lower side. After much kicking and punching in all the corners the desire shape is moulded and is ready for carrying.
The bachelors took the onus of carrying it from the field to the granary. The elders pass on the technique of carrying the enormous package weighing 340kg or 425kg in their back, climbing the steep road from field to granary.
There are two types of Otrei: Ngahei Otrei and Samwot Otrei. The former is usually done by peer group age group or ‘yarnao’, a platform to challenge whose age group is stronger, while the latter is a kind of challenge by the bachelors to woe the maiden. The winner is made to sit at the highest stool and served with the biggest piece of meat on a large plate.
Usually all Otrei is done after the ending part of harvest season. The owner provides the best food and finest drinks to all the participants. During Otrei not a single grain should be left in the field.
Moreover, a special yoke is designed and woven to carry the heavy load. A Cockscomb is perched on the load as a way of invoking for more grains in the granary and marigold is fitted for keeping away the pest and insects.
For Phalee, Otrei is one of the most treasured practises of their forefathers. During the recently concluded triennial fellowship of Tangkhul Baptist Churces Association, the villagers exhibited and displayed the skill and technique in the presence of MLA of 45-Chingai assembly constituency, Khashim Vashum and 5000 delegates.