“Yo desh ma neta chainan, sab daka matra hun. Ani daka ko kura garne ta jhan Majadaka hun.” Shanti re? Shanti. Hamile kahile nai ashanti lyayeka thiyeun ra Shanti ko kura garne? Ashanti ta aba suru hundai cha. 13000 manche mare, tara tyo thorai bho re! Suneko ho, thorai bho re!”
Afu bachiyekai cha, arkako ke pir (We’re still alive why bother about the rest?) the boy on the last seat laughs.
The old man in white beard continues his talk. He isn’t talking to me; he isn’t talking to the man beside him. He is talking to the entire bus.
“Kura ta thikai ho, tara yo bus paryo.” The man sitting beside the speaker reminds the speaker. It doesn’t stop him. He continues..
I sit beside the window, the last single seat on the Nepal Yatayat. I listen to the conversation in the bus looking outside the window. I think and once in a while live up to my name. An empty stomach as always is replaced by a thoughtful mind.
People, listeners are rare. Everyone is on the look out for one. Some are brave, they talk to everyone, some dare and they ask you to listen and some type “Bye” because they are, incapable of answering. I am the inquirer. I ask what you don’t want to answer. So I say “Hullo” and you bid me a “Goodbye”. I talk and you can’t shut me up! I don’t talk and you can’t turn me on. It’s an Extreme existence.
Another old man gets on the bus. The speaker starts a conversation with him. He isn’t too keen on answering. “ Ba ko khutta lai ke bho?” He asks.
“Ani kati jana chora chori ni?” the speaker questions.
“ Yo bus ma bhako jati sabai mera chora chori.”
The speaker gets off, finally.
“ Jasto prasna testai uttar dinu parena na babu.” The old man says.
“Ani ba kati barsako hunubho ni,” a commuter asks.
“84”, kasaile bhanideyaka thiye 100 varsa banchas, tara kaslai ke thaha.Afno bhanne koi chaina, arkako bhanne pani ta koi chaina. Hoina ta?”
“Ho” the commuter answers.
“Hoina bane hoina bhannus hai babu, maile vaneko vandaima mannu pardaina. Buda ra valak ka kura ko varosa hunna bhanchan….” The man continues.
“Afno vanne koi chaina, arkako bhanne pani ta koi chaina…” his words reverberate in my mental walls. I often see him on the Nepal Yatayat, but its only on this bus ride he makes an impression on me. “What a profound statement” I think to myself….for that’s all I can do and wonder how truth is revealed in the least expected of times.
Its just another of the busy days. An attempt to make it big and a failure not to have made it.
College life. The computer lab is crammed with people, the hustle and bustle, the keyboard rhythm and the distant me. I stare on my computer screen, another Google book search for a word I got acquainted with only hours before. It reads ” Interculturalism”. I should be doing what the rest are doing, working on the Middle East and North Africa project. But I am not. We’ve got the presentation tomorrow and still I am busy with “Interculturalism”.
Work. I’ve been there and done that. Takes the life out of you. No time to bathe, no time to eat resulting in too tired to study. She’s going through it. I am jobless now. JOBLESS!!? Its worst than having a job. Am busier now. The clock’s ticking. I am getting nervous by the moment. No time to visit the canteen too. It’s too much of a risk to take. No time to spare at all. Thankfully I am still breathing!
Damn the page’s taking too much time to load. I wait. He places an “Appy” on my table.
“Why?” I ask.
“Just have it.” He says.
“Want anything else to eat. Can I help? Anything to surf?” he continues.
I ask him to do something related to the project. He leaves. Another friend comes up asking “Can I help?”
“No, thank you. I’m fine.” I tell him. I can tell it’s the look on my face that has them coming up to me. Nervousness and hunger: it’s painted all over my face.
Its high time I left. I bid a goodbye. But food: its one in the afternoon already and the early morning glass of milk has stopped working. I dash to the canteen. An Appy again, A kitkat and a Choco-pie. Chocolate provides energy. I rush to my destination. Sip the juice and munch the chocolate hungrily as I walk hurriedly on the road. The road is different, so no danger of receiving another of those “Saw you on the road, rushing and drinking Real” emails from old buddies. Ha ha ha I laugh at myself. The choco-pie crumbles fall on my sweatshirt, I speedup my pace. I gotta make it happen!
The work is done. “Interculturalism” wasn’t even discussed. But it was a great help. My first experience and I thought I did well. Such a relief that it is over.
Back home, ah at 4:30! What joy! I finally get to watch a bit of tv!! The presentation comes to my mind but what the heck. A good movie never hurt anyone. But can’t watch the entire thing; have to move according to plan. Go to bed at 6 and rise and shine at 12. It’s nine thirty and he wants me to send the material for presentation. The 12 o’clock plan is amended. Am on my duty, I type and send it. The report needs to be edited and in sequence. Working in the eleventh hour, that’s the usual trend. Group work! A big Joke really. In the end its only one that has to see it all. Nothing new, nothing’s changed. One can only hope it will some day.
The day has finally come. The Good Governance Day! The presentation’s over at around one o’ clock in the afternoon. Could have done better, comes to my mind, as usual. Then is the time to head for a meeting at the opposite side of the city. Thankfully could have some “aalu” in the break. Or else hunger breeds extreme anger in my case. The meeting begins; the oldies keep beating about the bush. We have is all clear in our heads, its she who is entangled in her own nuisance. The tea arrives. “Wish there were cookies too” we joke realizing having nothing but aalu since last evening doesn’t really help. Student life and its glories! No sooner this meeting gets over, we have to dash for another meeting in another part of town. Meetings- I am seriously wishing them to be merely “meet for tea” sessions today! 🙂
A youth organization scenario. Some 15-20 people have gathered. I am damn tired and hungry. They speak and they remind me of who I really am. “Look at me, am in a meeting with real human beings!” I think to myself. “Here I am called for a meeting when there was a time I literally hid in closets to avoid people. Is this what I had in mind? What about being in some lab, having to meet no one, no needing to talk, but just work dream? What about it? Where have I ended up? I don’t even want to be noticed now. Don’t want to be seen by people, don’t want to say a hello. I wish I were invisible but look at this. Look around and see what has happened!” My mind magnifies my presence in the room. It seems almost like a dream to me. A dream that never was, yet it has come true today!
The people start talking. There’s something about media there.
He looks at me and says “Why worry when we have the columnist here?” I laugh.
I raise my hand to speak, which was the last thing I had in mind. But everyone’s looking at me already. I need to talk! I start, they listen, “God, people sure listen to what I have to say man” I think to myself. I can’t believe I have an audience! I continue talking, the suggestion creates enthusiasm and I end up saying ” babbal garnuparcha” instantly realizing it isn’t only him I am talking to but the entire crowd so my pitch instantly decreases. She laughs “babbal!” I can see him smiling.” It’s a meeting, damn it, not an online conversation” I think to myself.
She has no regrets
She accepts the past
All these things they
helped make to make she
She’s been lost and found
And she’s still around
There’s a reason for everything
Tea and cookies finally! I relish them with great Joy! It’s only a hungry existence that knows the value of a “free lunch” for sure. The meeting’s over.
He walks up to me and asks ” So know what happened?”
“Nope” I answer.
“Well, she got selected. … dai, just got an sms.”
” That’s good” I answer.
“She had the organizational background a plus factor” he tells me.
” Yeah.. They asked me if I belonged to any organization just as I stepped in the room. I said no and they’d told me “You’re lucky”, then.” I explain.
“No worries. Its still something to be the finalist among all the people that age in Nepal. Hares nakhanu ( Don’t be disheartened). Ha ha Jiskeko matra ho hai. ( just kidding) he says.
” Hoina ma ta aba dui char peg khana janchu” I reply. The three of us laugh together.
“Will surely inform you when anything of the kind comes along” he says with a smile.
“Thank you.” I reply and bid a goodbye.
The two of us walk. We talk. A calf comes along, I wave a “hi” in front of its face.
“La!” she expresses her surprise.
“It’s a normal act for me” I explain. “Don’t you think we all need to have someone to share our eccentricity with?” I ask.
Its dark already. I leave her at the bus stop and walk. It is a “Must Walk Zone” for me. Though not in a state to be jumping some 6ft above the ground, this can’t be helped. It’s Walkadiction. I remember a saying “You never win the silver, you lose the gold”. But it feels good, just alright. I just know I am not a failure for sure. I want to say that to someone, just anyone but I have no one. So I take out my cell phone and type “And I believe the best is yet to come. Life has just begun” saving it as a draft! Is the act pathetic? I ask myself. I don’t see it that way I conclude and walk on. A bus comes along; the stars must be shining on me for I get a seat!!
And its only when I take my seat I realize how tired and hungry I am. A man sits beside me with his goat. The goat has got black eyes, the corners are yellowish brown. I look at the goat. The goat looks at me. We look at each other. 🙂 But damn, the villainous man, he forces the goat to turn away. The goat denies. He’s looking at me once again. I have an intense desire to smile, so I look at the goat and smile. Of course, the goat smiles back!! he he he Opposites surely attract! His is a meaty existence, mine a bony one. He is dark; I am comparatively snow white in this case! I am never bored. There is something to see, where ever I look.
She’s been down and out
She’s been wrote about
She’s been talked about, constantly
She’s been up and down
She’s been pushed around
The cell phone vibrates. I see her name on display. ” What perfect timing! ” I think and smile again. My fan! I mean My Fan!!!!!! Can there be a fan of a person like me! She is undoubtedly the eighth wonder I know.
She talks. I listen. She’s disheartened and says ” Here I am waiting for your calls and you never call me. And you don’t even sound interested in talking to me now. How can you be so mean?”
” No, am really sorry honey. But I can’t talk to you laughing as other times as I am extremely tired and hungry” I explain, telling her of my day.
“Sorry dear. Poor thing, you must have grown thinner. Go and eat well.” She says.
” Surely. But please keep talking, I mean I just want to talk to someone…it feels good. Don’t keep down just yet.” I tell her. I am talking in half English and half Nepali, am travelling in a Bhaktapur bus crammed with people. But tonight I am not bothered about sounding like a snob by doing that, I am just not bothered about anyone on the bus, I just don’t care if the man beside me gets to know of my day too…I am just a tired girl who doesn’t mind the whole world knowing that she feels lonely in a bus bursting with people…
The goat goes ‘ May….” looking up at me. Perhaps it got jealous!
” The bus sounds very noisy” she tells me.
“Yeah it is…” I tell her “Will call you later then…”
“Don’t say that” she cuts me short. ” I don’t want you to give me false hope. You never call, you don’t even mail me..so don’t say that!”
“As you wish” I tell her laughing slightly.
“And how is your damn boss. You don’t know how angry I felt last time. Damn the man, he had to call you when we had barely said a “Hello”. Tell him I hate him for that!”
Boss. I smile at myself. “Sure I will tell him that. He is fine…” I tell her. The conversation comes to an end.
Now she’s older now
Yes, she’s wiser now
Can’t disguise her now
She don’t need
No one tellin her
What to do and say
No one tellin her
Who to be
Fan. She is a genuine shock! And she reminds me a recent event.
It was during the trip. Five of us sat on a table and waited for food. The three sitting across the table were people I am not close to. Then my friend looks at my face and says “Look at your teeth. What if it never gets back in proper place? Ha ha ha. What if it stays that way? Ani soch ta talai ta kasaile pani magna na aairako re kya! Tero ta biha nai nabhairare kya? (What if no one ever proposes you? And you never get married! ha ha ha). Nothing new for me. I am almost immune to such statements. So I generally don’t mind being told that. But being laughed at, that way in front of strangers was not something I enjoyed in the slightest manner. If everyone at the table had laughed at that, it would have been easier. But there she was roaring with laughter in her own joke while the three were confused not knowing how to react. I found the statement so utterly lowly that I didn’t even think it was worth refuting. For an instant, I was thinking “What am I doing here with you? Who are you? I can’t even believe that I know someone like you!” How come I am a part of this pathetic conversation?!
So here I have a fan! A female nevertheless. But still a fan, since I was in Grade 3!! Isn’t it paradoxical?
The irony keeps me preoccupied. I finally get off the bus and head home. I stop by at his place, as usual and wish him goodnight. Finally home!
“Hungry” he asks.
“Very, very” I tell him. “Will heat the food for you, in a jiffy” he replies.
I throw my bag on the floor, turn on the radio and its Jagjit on air..
” Tum ko dekha to yeh khayal aaya
Jindagi dhoop tum ghana saya”
(I laid my eyes on you and the thought struck me “Life is a scorching heat, and you are a huge shelter from it…)
My eyes fall on His picture on the table. “You’re surely a Ghana Saya” I think and smile. I just know that He’ll step out of the frame someday, someday he will and give me a hug when I am back home after a long busy day.
So I smile. Just smile…
Afterall its a hungry, hollow but a very Happy existence.
She’s on solid ground
She’s been lost and found
Now, she answers to G-O-D
And she’s confident
This is not the end
Ask me how I know
Cause she is me.