The guy smiled. I was back.
The smile must have nearly killed me. But dying wasn’t an option.
I was a customer after all not a lover.
Five minutes and ….turned off. Not me, the computer. I was in a cyber café. There was nothing he could charge me.
Time: 5 00 pm, Feb 14, 2007
The sun was out by the time I stepped outside on the streets. Incessant rain, snow and the sun peeping through the clouds. Could Kathmandu get any more romantic on a Valentine’s day? The day was good…hmm only Good? Nah.it was GREAT.
It began at 2:38am to be exact, my Valentine’s Day. Any Valentine Messages? Nope. So I became the first to wish a few of my friends. Left home and reached college only to hear my voice echoing on my phone. “Baudik satthi had performed another baudik act by presenting “Soch” . She was to come anyways. On the spur of the moment we decided to go to “Pashupati” on a 7 degree cold and rainy Valentine Day morning. “Ooooo” some yelled from their vehicles. Others splashed the murky water on us.“Lonely Drivers” we laughed under the red umbrella. “Valentine chaina jasto cha!”
Rebels are often dubbed atheists. But radical in thoughts and actions isn’t the outcome of one’s spiritual beliefs. The belief in the existence or non-existence of a formless entity is a personal thing. A territory which I can’t stand any intrusion. You don’t want to answer any fool that asks “Do you believe in Love? Do you?” Same with the “Do you believe in God?” question. She doesn’t ask anything. She knows. I don’t ask her either. We like the peace, the calm and the psychological bliss that belief in the “Unknown” provides us with.
We fold our jeans to reach our knees, take off our shoes and walk barefooted towards the main temple. There is no queue on a cold rainy Wednesday morning. God after all is a Monday ritual to most.
“ Pashupati” ( The Lord of Animals) I like the name. Sometimes there’s everything in a name. “Leave behind your entire animal like traits to Him. He’ll take care of them. Leave back the anger, the hatred, the frustrations and the despair.” I remember his words every time I am there. I bow to surrender my bad. When I do it isn’t the “symbol of male sex” I think of. It’s the feeling. The best things in life after all can’t be seen or heard of. They can only be FELT.
“Why can’t they play the bhajans a bit louder?” she asks.
I tell her of Meera bhajans…” Kabira jab hum paida huye jaga hasen hum royen….” It plays in my head… Brings back the longing to be there, be back there and just be there once again….
Times change. You change with time. But some things are meant to stay the same forever. And that’s what makes you different from the rest. That’s what makes you who you really are….
We peep to see the statue. An army man comes to suggest us “ Khutti tara raknu, sadhu le marlan ni!” We play deaf. Do it our way. “ Kasto matteko! Khutti re, khutta ni bhanna nasakne” we mutter.
The phone vibrates. The message reads: “I’ve been listening to the sound of rain, like in summer ananda aira6. Mero chahin office ma romance with work! Working class generation pariyo 🙂 ”
I reply “Whatever dear Hami ta blend of ancient and modern pariyo bhagwan dekhi premi samma sab vyaunchau 🙂 ”
We laugh and head to the usual spot. “Beautiful Danda” she says but I doubt its name! There are two couples there. “Look unsure, so must be a recent admission of love” we laugh again. “I’ll wish them” she tells me. “Noooooooo” I beg. She doesn’t obey.
“Yeh aja ta Valentine’s day hai! Happy Valentine’s Day!” She laughs nearing the couples. I want to vanish into thin air. She is bold in ways that shock me!
Then the walk to Guheshwori. The stone paved stairs is covered with leaves. Its Romantically rainy!
“Sad isn’t it we’re the most romantic people one can find. Still we can’t be anymore than friends!!” She tells me. “ HA..HA HA…HA” We exercise complete freedom in roaring with laughter. Then we’re hungry. Too hungry. But we want the best 😉 so head to NDs, Mahabaudha.
Cheese pizza, veg burger, two cups of coffee, a chocolate pyramid and a chocolate doughnut. We’re overstuffed. A couple sits right in front of us. “Oh God! Why can’t you sit facing the walls” I think to myself. She knows the guy. Perhaps the guy pretended not to recognize her.
They’re a cute couple. He feeds her coffee. We are the compulsive spectators. No way out. Sip the coffee, raise your head and watch them express love! They take out a newspaper “Let’s go to watch traffic signal” she says. “Noooooooooo” I want to recommend. Obviously I don’t. If only Couples went to theatres to Watch Movies!!
The Girls Day Out isn’t over yet. Time to stroll in Basantapur. We don’t have any specific destination there. Just walk around. We realize we’re standing in front of the museum gate. I have never been there; neither has she. Only Rs 10 we’re thrilled. ( Rs 250 for foreigners!!)
And wonders of wonders I stumble into the most romantic things ever in a Museum! (Well, I don’t really enjoy visiting museums..find them so boring. As Saif Ali puts it in “Hum Tum” woh bacche, school teachers aur Budho ke liye hai 🙂 )
Well, it was a poem titled “असमर्थता” by M.B.B Shah. Was thinking it must be something inspirational like the saying we’d come across sometime ago:
“अल्छि हुनु भनेको जिउँदै मर्नु हो,
हिम्मत हर्नु भनेको मा न सिक कम्जोरी हो,
इमान्दारी छाड्नु भनेको आँफैलाई धोका दिनु हो । “
But it was such a romantic poem that I turned a Huge Mahendra Fan then and there! She’d already gone to the next room so called her and read out the entire poem. (The museum had no visitors when we were there)..I didn’t have anything to copy it but still remember some lines (though not exact..tell me if you know the poem hai)…भाव यस्तै थियो
“त्यो झरि परेको बेला हिँडेको म भुल्न सक्दिन…..
त्यो हातमा हात लिएर हिँडेको चाहेर पनि बिर्सन सक्दिन ”
What a Day to be stumbling into something like as romantic as that! The five hour long date finally came to an end. “Let’s sing a nice romantic song” we laughed shivering under the umbrella and head home singing:
सावन बर्से तर्से दिल क्युँ ना निक्ले घर से दिल
बर्खा मे भि दिल प्यासा हे
ए प्यार नही तो क्या हे
देखो कैसे बेकरार ए भरे बाजार मे
यार एक यार के इन्तजार मे …………………