Memory lane ignites
Hey Oys,Sorry for the late response!
Oys, Dashain doesn’t feel like Dashain anymore. There are hardly any kites in the sky. (WHY??). All the guys have left Kathmandu it seems. or maybe its just the incessant rainfall Honestly, there aren’t even guys teasing me in the streets of my neighborhood; they have disappeared too. Its strange, but I miss them. They have been part of my life and not seeing them anymore seems very void, something that has transpired for the worse, not better. All I see around me are security guards with their rifles gazing at me from head to toe and a few taxi drivers in the bus stops.
To add to my woes, my friend Sami surprised me in college today with the news that she’s leaving for US very soon. For me its not a surprise anymore. That’s the fifth friend from my class alone leaving for states recently. The trend is on. Maybe I will give her your email address; she’s my friend after all. Have your classes begun? How many years more left to complete your BS? and don't know what I will be doing for the next two years. I will be staying all-alone in the class now. Everyone is heading towards USA. Don't know how much they have to work out there.Heard sometime back from sudeep that he works 19 hours a day
Today, we decided to go to a new discotheque. There are teenagers everywhere shaking and beaming with their parents’ money. U know oys, Suddenly looks like, everyone has become rich in ktm. Am I the only one in shock seeing a teenager play around with a thousand rupee bill ? Its become an everyday thing now. As much fun we have out here in our college, its nothing like what it used to be. Everyone pays for me and buys me gifts. Is it because I am a gal? I don’t enjoy this inside. It was much more fun when I bought French fries and ice cream for Suman which he indulged every bit of it without sharing. That was bliss, this is pain for me. Heard he has a Vietnamese girl friend now. Suman is Suman.
All I have left are few memoirs of our school days that make me tick. Well, life is all but a compromise, those who left the country at least can write their own destiny, for few like us our future is predestined.
When I read your mails, I feel enraged sometimes: C’mon what on earth could possibly frustrate you out there? I am telling you, time and again, Don’t come back. There’s nothing out here. Besides, what are you going to do..alone? Remember Oys, there’s a whole selfish world vs you. Try to make your mark out there, and embellish your life. That’s what I hope to hear from you.
Next time you come back, maybe you can bring some gifts, not for me. But for my kids…haha… So long for today. Stay focused, and maybe you should stop worrying bout Nepal and worry more about yourself.
So long for now,
Memory Lane: Saturday Night Fever! [Aug 2002]
“oiee oys, katti suti ra, gham jhulki sakyo”, my mom’s voice echoes through my ears. Having stayed awake till 3 in the morning watching cricket, I am not in the mood to stir on a Saturday morning. But she continues “chiya kha chitto, daddy aaune time bhai sakyo”I ignore her till I hear the 125 cc Honda Engine roar from silence, with strange apprehension triggering me. I see my mom ceaselessly trying to sort out my clothes scattered around the room. Man by nature is a damn mess after all.
“hyaa maami, chadisyo k, ma milauchu”
“Milais taile, tero bihe nabhai kana yo kotha safa hudaina(maybe she’s right), la herr, nau bajisakyo, nuhauna ja”
“hass hass janchu, chiya ta khana disyo”
time drags on, and I drift back to sleep. Suddenly I hear constant grumbling in my room. I look up and to my horror, I see my dad trying to clean and sort things in my desk (Not again). I pretend to be sound asleep but I can’t ignore his distinct mumbling “aroo ko chora chori ta kasto smart hunchan(yah rite?)…yesko chala bhane yo cha, bholi bidesh ma eklai basna paryo bhane, kalle luga milaidine, kalle khana pakaidine???”(scary thought!!)
I sprout up in present suddenly stirred. been two long years. I circumspect my room for a second and can’t help laughing (at myself). My room’s still a mess. There are clothes everywhere, the desk is scattered out of sorts.(I read somewhere, “clean desk is a sign of a sick mind”) Well, just that there isn’t anyone to remind me constantly
yet my mom’s voice thunders through this odd silence “tero biha nagari…”
The stamping of my dad is a fleeting relief. It’s ten am..suddenly I remember there is a lakers game, there’s nothing like watching it live. I rush to the living room and turn on the TV. Lakers down by five; 3 mins to go……….I want this game..please no one disturb me for five mins (speak of the devils!). I hear feet thumping down the stairs invading my paradise.
“Oys, zee TV laga ta, top ten aaucha”
“chup lag! five mins disturb nagar ta, lakers game aai racha” I try to sound as stern a brother can sound.
But the battle is two against one. They rip the remote from me within seconds.
(Disheartened) “tara hijo rati matrai herya hoina ra top ten??”
“chup lag yo arkai. Ja ta nuhauna, ganauna thali sakis”
I shake my head and start off not missing the final laugh from the devils.
“katti na afu basketball player nai banne jasto”(OUCH!!!!) I hear a boisterous laughter
my mom bails me out “khana khayera nuhaune ki?”
The thought of food is provoking. Its 11 and I am still trying to shake yesterday’s hangover. I drag myself to the kitchen and check the refrigerator. Hotdogs, pasta, leftover, frozen vegetables, more hotdogs..i am trying to find rice…I take a sip of coke and go back to bed. Its too early to do anything anyways, hunger hasn’t really struck. I open the windows, and look outside. Everything looks empty. OH yah! Americans go home every weekend (poor lil things ;) Most international students live off campus. My roomie must be wasted from yesterday..and I am …………..
“maami, nuhayera matrai khanchu!”
After thirty minutes of grueling meditation, I find myself in “chaut” where I seek refuge from the chores of the house. I can still see Swayambhu distinctly. On a clear day like this one, if I focus, Phulchowki tower is visible giving me a quick recap of my cherished childhood. I hate houses being these close. The first neighbor I see on their veranda, starts with the most annoying question
(Neighbor: Person who knows more about you than you do!!)
“IOM ma niklena hai babu.ani k gardai chau ta aajkaal? K padne bichar cha aaba?”
(can’t u leave me alone when I am up here!!!) “hajur, try gardai chu”
I move to the far corner where I enjoy basking under the warm sun. Down in the “bari”, I see my dad, with his garden hat on manicuring the miniature grassland he made himself with months of hard work. Must have been the shadows, wrong place for rejoicing; I get his attention.
“oye oys, tala bharyang muni baata * woo* le ta. (woo??)
“K woo bhanisya?”
“chado le na(sounding enraged)”
I reluctantly head downstairs with (woo and ???? signs) bombarding my head. I am dazed and confused. There are pliers, kuto, pot, strings, boxes, cardboards, knives, khukuri…ma ta twaaaaaaa!!! now wooo…….must be the pliers..i go downstairs
“ lau thuikka keta, woo le bhanya ta!!”
I follow him back, he picks up the kuto and gives me a resigned look “yeti pani dekhdainas, aado” “bacha ma ta thikai thyo yo keta, ahile ta khattmai bhayera gayo…..”
I am about to lose my temper; my mom bails me out again.
“khanaa khana aija oys!!”
I start salivating as the fume from the kitchen reaches me. I realize then that I am really hungry. Masu, bhat, golveda ko achar with dhaniya, lapsi ko achar..i can deal with the woo episodes later. And I can’t start with my dad . NOT TODAY. I gotta be at suman’s place in an hour or so. Fathers are bankers provided by nature.
Finally hunger does strike. I look up around my room. My roomie is looking down upon me giving me a bewildered angered look.
“Do you know what time is it?” it is two pm (time for family movie in Nepal i guess, haha!!)
“oh man, I am hungry!!”
“yah exactly, what are we gonna cook today?”
I want to go back to bed. “Give me five more minutes man. Then I gotta take a shower. Then we’ll cook and ………”I am drifting off again
my roomi’s gone already, with the similar disgruntled mumbling.
[16 aug 2002 ]
Memory Lane: Terror in the Sky
The cymbals clatter, the bells jingle, and the drums beat; I find myself entangled in the begotten memories again.
It’s quarter to six, and I find myself wide-awake. The first day of a month long Dashain vacation, but there’s more to my exuberance. Wish I could explain.
“eh Oys, uthi sakis!! Ek maina kasari bitauchas hola taile”
The cool October morning sunlight makes its way through. “maami, ma aaja dudh lina gaidinchu ni” I volunteer. She acknowledges. “mm maami, 5 rupiya disyo na.” Mom reads me.
“hareyy! Manche lai k k kura ko tension cha. Yeslai chai khali “CHANGA” ani hijo kindeko dhago lattai ma sarisakis” suddenly she sounds like an expert.
I have a quick recap of yesterday…whining with my mom in Asanbazaar, to get me “Black nuk string” ever since my passion for kite flying soared, black nuk has been inseparable. “ahile pachi garchu..changa ta lyaunu paryo”
Time is very different then. The pitched road is still a dream for people out here. The traditional thatched roof houses are prevalent. It’s a time when every kathmanduian still makes a mockery of the culture, tradition and festivities of my god-ridden town. Despite living in this bustling locality, I am by no means a local. At least not now. I am here only for short spurts during vacation. It hurts inside not to have any real friends in the hometown. Few Dai-s here and there. After the primary chore, I head to “KT ko pasal” at the end of the street.
“Oys babu, kaile aayou” her soft voice breaks out.
“hijo aako sauni, changa dekhaunu na!” I get down to business.
I rememeber rajesh dai’s advice in selecting a kite “dherai lulo pani hoina, dherai kada ni hoina” I run my hand over the kites one by one, taking my own sweet time. I choose “teen dharke, baba ji, and rato sada”
“Oys, agaadi kati dum re?” my sister asks innocently. She’s probably my best friend during the vacation. I am glad that she keeps me company. She doesn’t run next door to play with other gals doing fake marriages of dolls.
“agaadi teen, pachadi char” I sound convincing. The “kakka” process is tedious. I feel the roots of a good flying kite lies in the knots of these strings tied to the kite. The weather is still bleak, though its one of the most beautiful days.
“Oys, tero dhago ra paila ko dhago katera heraun ta” I agree, and in an instant, the old string snaps out. “WOW! She exclaims. “panjabji ko dhago lai ni katcha hola hai” she seems optimistic. But everyone knows, panjabji is invincible; he creates terror in the sky whenever he flies kites.
As the fresh gust of winds tear through the trees, we are in “chaut”. I see few kites in the sky already. I hate this three story yellow house next to ours. I despise its antenna too where I have lost dozen kites, so I pray hard that the wind is in other direction. Fate is on my side. Soon, my red kite flutters in the air. I am jubilant seeing my kite move up straight when I tie the string, and go round and round when I untie (rajesh dai’s definition of a perfect kite).
Soon, impatient, my sister asks for the lattai…
“de na oys, ma pani uduana sakchu yeslai ta”
I agree. She is not bad at all. Others laugh at her when she tries this. But I admire her for not joining other gals in stupid games. “Oys, laloo le udayecha, parum na”
I agree, this local laloo is one hell of a flyer. With his amazing maneuvers, he does not only cut kites, but takes them too.
This seemed like a perfect day for vengeance. I give few “kamtis” and take the kite to his direction. He does the same. Battle of cat and mouse. No matter how hard I try to come on top, he makes twists to come over me. I give up. I tie up the string with my full might. today is different. He loses his dariwal. We shout on top of our lungs “DARIWAL CHETTT” It was eternal bliss. Soon, not so local Oys is terrorizing the skies of Handigaon. Every dog has its day. I see my red October soar proudly in the skies, dancing yet obeying my commands.
It is around two when we hear the agonizing voices, “panjabjee aayo”. I shudder in irrational fear. I feel my hands shaking holding the “lattai.” We could see “pahelo sadha roar in the sky behind us. Roar,literally. Then I realized the insurmountable as my sister exclaimed “abbui, sankha ghoteko changa po raicha” I gaped in disbelief at the knowledge my sister had. She then had the uncanniest idea.
“Oys, ta changa lai tala le, ani tyalle paryo bhane, “MANDALE” hanne ni” I was shocked now. She can’t dictate my ways here.
“nai pardaina. Aja yeslai ma afai thik parchu”
Soon I entangled with panjabjee, and to my astonishment I was on top. Soon we let go of the string and it continued for sometime, till the kites looked like two distant birds in the sky. I looked at my string. More than half of it was gone already. I stopped….POW!! the tension on my string could not withhold the panjabjee’s flowing string
I heard a voice from distant “rato saada, chettt” we both stared in disbelief. I saw my red superpower disappear into the horizons. People say, when you lose a kite, it takes away all your depressions away with it. Seemed like the depression had just set in. My sister tried to cheer me up. “ajhai duita cha ni, arko pali ta taile katchas!”
“bhai go, boru jaum tala, bhok lagyo”
“Katti gham ma khelchas Oys! Ani po tero tauko dukcha ta”…my mom massages my head with tori ko tel. I don’t like the smell, but I can’t complain the massage I am getting. I introspect my lattai and the new black nuk once more. My dad comes in. My sister gives him the account of the day; she has switched sides now. All three are in merry mirth.
“yesle k udauna sakthyo ra!!” He is about to leave when he remembers something “oh Oys, jhannai birseko, sanibar dubin haroo aaudai chan, Nathaniel changa udauna aaucha re” I perk up at this news. That is what I like about Dashain. I never even talk to Nate throughout the year. But Dashain always brings us together, despite all our differences. The love, the passion for flying kites stands tall in both our hearts. I always wonder where Nate developed this passion; Kuire bhaye pani ……
“ la bholi chai nakhel hai ghaam ma, talai tv herera bass” she gives a final twitch in my head.
I lurk towards bed thinking out loud. “Wish I could explain you this passion!!”
Memory Lane: Fragmented Dimension
Morning frostiness finally disappeared at the advent of the warm sun. I could hear people slowly appear in their chaut and bardali, starting their mundane talks. It was very "nyano gham" for a cold winter morning. Dhaad sekayera, badam khadai sutne deen jasto. I lied down in "gundri" and within seconds, i succumbed to nindra devi.It was one of those FRUSTRATING days after high school: holidays, unlimited!
"Hari saranam, pravu saranam...."my hajurbuwa's soar voice filled my ears, but i pretended that i was sleeping basking under the sun. My granny was a very resilient man for his age. I see other old men in their eighties around barely managing to stand up straight, but my granny... a different package!
"Eh! Raat bhar sutera napugne, katti suti ra ho yo keta" he mumbled so that he could hear himself, but it was loud. He continued "yesko umer ma ta hami, "bachha" kadh ma rakhera, aandi beri ma sunkosi tarthyoun. aajkal ka keta haroo, kamai nalagne, aroo le gardinu matrai pardyacha" I had no choice but to give up that irresistible sleep. I had been assigned to look after my granny for that day, for everyone else in the house, had WORK, except me.
"Hajurbuwa! katti tala mathi gari ra, yesto mitho gham lagi racha, boru dhalkine ho ki, sirani leidim". I proposed. My trick didn't work, it never did.
Leaning on the railing beside my granny, i looked at the never changing "gully" of ours.It was peaceful, though i knew it would never ever be broader. Suddenly, i saw "her" coming. Probably, she's going to college. WHen will i be going? Guilt prevailed. Her long wavy hair, big almond eyes, and her fair complexion left me spellbound. I remember playing "intu vintu london ma.." with her and my sisters in childhood. We were very close indeed. What transpired in the middle,she doesn't even return a smile now, let alone talking.
"Aajkaal ko kt haroo lai laz sharam chaina! hamro jamana ma parai mardh lai mukh samma dekhaunna thiye, gati chaada haroo"I was hurt for no reason. I was scared, not at his comment but he was so loud that i presumed she heard it . Thankfully, she continued her way.
He moved around the bardali, introspecting the vicinity of fields. "lau! ahile samma hamro bari kasaile khaneko chaina?" He seemed anxious. "Oys, timro aaja kei kaam chaina, boru ek chin yeso bari ma jane ho ki...kauli ropne tyam bhayo ni aaba ta" I was taken aback. I protested "haina hajurbwa, chinta nalisyo k, bholi bari khanne manche aaucha re, dady le bihan bhanisya" my words didn't seem credible enough. He was prolly jealous of bari nextdoor, where panku dai was busy making neat lil rows with his kodali.
"woo tyo manche ko hun babu, bari khanne manche hoinan?" I gasped. Panku dai has a MA in economics. "Hoina hajurbwa, uha ta afai ghar dhani" i convinced my granny, before he quipped anything stupid, but all in vain. "OHOOO, babu" he shouted. "afno bari ta katti ramro parnu bhayo, ek chin boru samaya cha bhane, hamro bari pani deuso tira aayera, ..ehehehe" he smiled wryly. Panku dai gave us that dare devil look without saying a word. I was embarrassed. I had to take my granny inside for a while.
"hajurbuwa, bhok lagya chaina? bhitra jaam"
"hijo ko jasto MAKAI KO BISCUT, cha babu?" my granny is crazy bout cornflakes.
We returned back to bardali. My granny didn't care bout anything. He could get on with pointless conversations with anyone in sight for hours. Every now and then, he would repeat panku dai episode, so i had to be on my guard with him all the time.
"Oieeee, kera lyaye, kera kera" the vendor passed by our house, made a round of gully and returned back. I have been observing this bhaiya for more than 15 years now. He has the same tone, except it has become feeble. His robust body has emaciated, and his hair has grown light gray.I wondered where he lived, how he managed his family, walking and shouting all day, in scorchy or freezing conditions.
"Oiee madhise" my granny quipped again "yo madhya gham ma kati karai baschas, ek chin thakai marr, aaja kasaile kincha jasto chaina tero kera" He smiled. Bhaiya looked up and obliged. "sauji, aynus na, milayera dinchu" i intervened "hoina, bhaiya, chaidaina" he moved on but granny was still skeptical "baba, katti karauna sakcha deusobhar" i could not take it anymore, as all the neighbors started giving me THAT look. I resigned downstairs to watch some tv, with granny right behind me.
"ani nani, bari khanne, manche kaile aaucha?" it was still bothering him. "hajur chinta nalinu na" my dad retorted "ananda le sutnu, khanu, basnu! bhai halyo ni, yo umer ma das thari kura ko chinta linu pardaina ke" i couldn't blame my granny. He has lived all his life in the village under trying conditions, engaged in all sorts of chores, yet adhering to the traditional taboos. To adapt to the city life all together, must be nearly impossible for him
He was still mumbling "buda paka ko upadesh, aajkaal ko manche lai kina hunthyo! GAI khane bhasa sikdai ma shristi ko rachaiyeta nai thanchan afu lai, Parmesworii"
We were all transfixed in latest Govinda's movie that nite. My granny enjoyed watching indian movies more than watching sports with me, though he didn't understand a thing. It was a very typical govinda movie, total masala. We were near the end of the movie. Perhaps my granny couldn't take it any more.
"Aaaa! tatto na sarho ko yo! He rose up and headed towards his room, stooping to conquer. "Madhise, anek chatak dekhaucha. chin ma runcha, chin ma hascha, kasto batho moro. Pheri ekkai chin ma nach gan ma ni pugcha. Millika kata kata pugera, kt lai sumsumyaucha pani ! kutna pani sablai sakne! chataki nai ho yo moro ta"
We gaze at each other and burst into a boisterous laughter. My granny is a nonagenarian LIVEWIRE!!
Memory Lane: Another City, Not my own
Sakar sat on the wet rock, wondering ceaselessly at the waves splashing onto the rocks. The ocean always had a rippling effect on him. Besides these waves, he could not relate anything anymore in life. Everytime waves rushed to the shore, they brought memories from the past, and for some fleeting time, it would wash away all his current dilemmas far into the horizons. The waves today were raging with a different note bringing the subtleties of his past, he had never probed.
Sakar called up Dinesh. “Oy, bholi jach cha! Kata cha mero notes”.
“Oh yaar Sorry! Her na hijo raati tanna gaako, tero notebook ta Dan ko gadi ma chadechu.”
“Ani Dan kata cha ta?” “He’s gone to NY , bholi matrai aaucha re, mero ta test barbad hune bhayo.” “Talai, responsibility bhaneko kei thaha cha?”
“sale, saku, jaile ni ta afno matrai sochas yaar, sun na....”
Sakar slammed the phone down. It was not the test he was worried about...
“Sakar, timi sanga $250 jati cha” It was rabin dai. “kina chaiyo dai?” “hoina bhai, apatai paryo, Boston ma party cha, maile mero mastercard nai harayen, pheri bank pani parsi samma bandha, ma next paycheque aaune bittikai dinchu ni.”He sounded desperate “ la la huncha dai!”
A couple of weeks later, financial crisis was grasping Sakar. Despite knowing rabin dai, he called him up.
“Bro yaar! I really am in need of some cash.....”
“Hera bhai! Ek dui maina samma ma sanga paisa ko kura nagara. Mero situation timlai thaha cha ni. Ek dui maina kura na, paisa hoss, ani”
Sakar couldn’t say anything. It was not an excuse Rabin dai made, but it was excuse Sakar used to console himself. “ani sakar, aaja raati aauchau? Dinesh ko ma party cha, jhaap hunu parcha la!”
“Khoi ! sakar exclaimed. “heraun dai k huncha?” Sakar was actually validating Dinesh, whom he had called up earlier.
Sakar was busy cooking. He knew he couldn’t make those mouth watering dishes, but something he could fill his stomach with. He had made enough, so that his roomie and niru baini could have too. Sakar hated eating alone. He couldn’t concentrate though.. The words of Chris had pierced through him.
“myan Sak, how can you not go home for five years. Don’t you love your parents? Common man! Don’t be so selfish!”
He was nostalgic, just this time it wasn’t for a very good reason. The ring of the phone ended his painful odyssey. It was his sister seven seas apart.
“Sakar! K ho.......yetro deen bhai sakyo! Euta email pani chaina? Talai mamu, daddy, didi kasaiko ni wasta chaina hai, ani kasto chas?”
“Thikai chu! Tyai ta ho usa ma dd......” (too much to earn and too much to learn)
“asti aama ko mukh herne deen! Taile kehi pathais mamu lai?
“dd, maile ta bhusukkai birsen”
“tyai ta kina samjhinthis ni afno family lai , tero shivani huda hudai! Herr sakar, maile talai katti bhani saken, shivani is playing with you. Serious na ho. Tini haroo ko santan nai thik chaina k. They are trying to take revenge, and they have found you as the scapegoat”