Yes she caught my eye as I walked on by
We shared a moment that will last till the end.
You are beautiful, its true
I saw your face in a crowded place
And I don’t know what to do
Coz I will never be with you……….
But its time to face the truth
I will never be with you.
-You’re beautiful by James Blunt
Album: Back to Bedlam
PASSENGERS OF THE NEPAL YATAYAT
I remember him as if he were the last person I saw before I went to bed. I remember if he were the first person I talked to this morning. He would sometimes get on the Nepal Yatayat from Putalisadak, sometimes from Naxal. Most of the times I saw him get on from Putalisadak, I heard him one morning say that he had his maternal home there to S. Dai. He would get on the bus with headphones covering his ears and I would comment on it in my mind “Boy. This guy sure has some style.” I remember his Jansport bag, the way he used to walk with both his hands in his jeans and I remember the black sweater he used to wear, the same as my uncle’s and how cool I used to find that. I remember him wearing that same sweater on the day his group gave their English presentation on Nirvana. And why I have such vivid memories of him is something I just cannot answer.
One morning he was talking to S Dai on the bus about his Philips Music system saying he liked Sony better … the next day he was talking about the gas stove at his house, there was something wrong with it and yes that day he had got on the bus from Naxal. I would as usual be seated on the last single seat of the Nepal Yatayat, a silent listener to his conversations .We were but familiar strangers journeying to the same destination everyday.
We were together when we had one of the most insulting moments of our life at “Bal” something NGO A had taken us to. There were some ten of us and after the terrible and intimidating talk with the Whitehouse guys we stormed out of the meeting and went to a coffee shop. Some of us were smoking and when they were asking the non-smokers to try it out Pukar had said, “No, you should not force the ones who do not smoke.” And I had thought what a nice thing to say. Another picture of Pukar I have is of the picnic. Behind a bush, Pukar and K were engrossed in creating clouds of smoke around them. And when later someone was talking about leech he had said, “If the leech were to suck our blood it would rather be at a loss and die of intoxication”. I was like what is this guy talking about?
I had never indulged myself in a real conversation with him until both his and mine group were to prepare a report on the Employment pattern of men in Panauti. It was one fine day he came up to me and asked if I could help him. I shared with him the way we were doing it, referred some sites and since then we used to talk about it. And it was his idea that inspired me to discuss the jobs separately in the report. Even today as I open the report in my Assignments folder I can see his impact on it. It feels like yesterday I saw him sitting on the steps of the cyber early in the morning, printing the report and the commotion in the cyber the day we were to submit it to Vaijayanti Maam. How time flies. How it takes off its wings and soars is way beyond my understanding.
I remember the morning of our Ecology exam. He happened to get on the same bus as me He did not have the Dispersal handout; I lent it to him as he read it sitting on the last seat. Then it was in the middle of our First Semester exam the news everyone was excited about was Pukar obtaining a visa. Jan 6, 2005 our End semester exams were over. I was walking out of the college gates with my buddies and Pukar, clad in the familiar black top was coming towards our direction with Varad and the gang with him. A red car was parked outside our college gates. We met when we were both beside the car, he extended his left hand and a surprised me shook hands as I fumbled for the right words to tell him. I do not remember what I said though hope it was not something silly like have a nice flight. Something inside me tells that those exactly were my words not to forget Have Fun!!! in the end. I can still remember that I felt utterly foolish as soon I uttered those golden words. But the moment had passed. We had parted ways and he was gone.
THE LAND OF DREAMS
US IS THE PLACE TO BE
The computer lab was the place where everyone loved to be. Then the MSN chat wasn’t banned and when in the lab there would always be someone or the other chatting with Pukar. His picture near a tree on the desktop of Comp 4 is still fresh in my memory. Pukar in a slightly overgrown morning shadow look half facing the camera, a brown jacket with other people in the background working on their computers was another desktop background I will never forget.
A year later Jan 8, 2005 to be exact I have The Kathmandu Post in front of me. The headline “4 more Nepalis die in US car crash” catches my eye. I go Oh God not again. The second para first line goes ” Quoting a spokesperson…..those killed were Amrit Dhital,21, Pukar Acharya, 21, Subhash Gurung, 20, and Prahlad Gurung, 22. There addresses in Nepal could not be known”. Pukar Acharya I know that name clearly but I do not want to believe that I know a person with that name. I think no Pukar had a different surname. Something that I am not being able to remember at the moment. I just do not want to believe my eyes. But I can hear the voices in the computer lab Pukar Acharya, Texas …chemical engineering.
Pukar, the familiar stranger on the bus, the cool guy with the headphones, the one who did Nirvana presentation, in front of the cyber, in front of the red car…it cannot be him. No way, no how… It just cannot be true. Young, handsome, good guys like him do not die. Death is not for the young. God cannot be so cruel. What about his dreams and aspirations? What about his desire to live, a desire to succeed a desire to be someone? What about his family? What must have he felt when the other car crashed on to his? In a foreign land, a car crash, you are a mere emergency patient; there is no one to worry about you pacing in the hospital alleys, no one to shed a tear that you are gone. No one to cry telling the doctor what a wonderful person you were, no one to plead to save your life by trying a new technique. It is a lonely affair in the end, a lonely affair after all. You are declared dead, covered in a white plastic you are moved to the mortuary for someone new needs the bed you were laid in. It is an impassive process, you are just another patient, victim of a car crash, rushed to the ICU, too late, declared dead and it is over.
I once read that death is consummation. There is nothing as wanting it or not, it is the only truth in this life full of lies. Birth is like getting on a train. However you choose to spend your time on it read, look outside or meditate the destination will be reached. Death is always lurking around us. And as I remember the tragic affair everything around me starts to fade away. My dreams, my hopes and aspirations all turn into strangers. I find them useless. What use of them if the very next moment is to be my last? What use building castles in the air? I see life as a huge balance, on one side is the longing to live, my dreams and hopes, and I am the guest in the feast called life. It is heavy almost touching the ground. The other side is way up hanging in the air and I never think of it. Still once the other side grows heavy it comes down all at once its force throwing everything on the other side off the balance. It is death, sudden and strong, dismantling it all, blowing my house of cards with a storm reducing it to nothing. Only this time I will not have the chance to stoop and build it up once again. Everything is gone, gone with the wind.
And how I wish death was a comical affair. How I wish Pukar was the Preeti Jinta in the Perk ad hanging on the branch after a car crash and how I wish he could fool the God of Death with a Perk. If only it was a bad dream, if only it you would mail back replying LOL and that you were just fine. If only God was a friend of mine.if only I could make Him undo the wrong He did to the good people. And all of a sudden I find myself wondering if God does exist at all? Isn’t He supposed to be the all loving, benevolent, Ahura Mazda, Jehovah, Allah and Jesus. Isn’t he supposed to dote on his children, protect them from harm? So where is He now? It cannot be God. No. Where the hell is He? And then the other part in me argues He is there, of course he exists. What has beginning surely must come to an end. It is the way the world works. I want to believe there is heaven far above me. There is kind man waiting to take care of everyone after death. And Pukar now resides there in safe hands, riding in the fluffy clouds like in my childhood fantasies, feasting in the land of happiness, looking down upon us all and telling us he is just fine. Maybe that is just an effort to make the truth more palatable; maybe it is the ultimate furtive just revealed….
And when, I, a mere familiar stranger to Pukar feel this way I cannot even dare to imagine the emotional turmoil his family and friends are going through. I hope somehow their pain is reduced, don’t know how but someway, there must be a way…
I pray to God that He come to them
In the form of the strength to carry on,
To live for the one closest to their hearts who is now gone,
To manifest on their lips as their smile
Dwell on their tears as they fall
And stay as love in their hearts.
Time: 11:20 pm
Jan 10, 2005