Not So Best Friend

Published in The Kathmandu Post on Sep 6, 2015

Picture Courtesy: The Kathmandu Post

Picture Courtesy: The Kathmandu Post

You know how difficult it is to live a wounded life and yet tell the world that you are fine, that you are doing okay. You are suffering, still suffering, and yet you hide all of this. This is difficult, this is goddamned difficult.”
You tell her this.
“Learn to give a damn,” she replies, as usual, sucking on a cigarette. Then she blows the smoke out of her mouth and tries to catch a cloud with her hand. “Sometimes, some things are impossible, so learn to give a damn,” she says.
You are confused about whether you are her primary or secondary smoker: you inhale more than half of the cigarette she sucks on as she blows it out into the air, you try to catch each fume like she does.You are not troubled by the smoking, but you don’t dare smoke yourself, because you don’t want her to start thinking badly of you—or maybe you don’t want the world to start thinking badly of you.These thoughts are characterised by confusion, but you don’t care because these thoughts have been in your mind for too long—every time she smokes in front of you. Something in the way she talks amazes you all the time. Sometimes you find yourself in front of a mirror, trying to imitate her gestures: the way she moves her hands and head. And you know you are going to fail, the same way you fail to smoke as well. You say to yourself, “Come on, that is so not you.”What about that perfect image that you have built through all these years, you think to yourself. You are that perfect woman, and how can you let go of that? The thought of it scares you, and you suddenly see yourself in multiple pieces. You have to recollect the puzzle pieces that make you and make yourself perfect again. You have to smile in front of the mirror. But your feet start trembling, you can’t stop. You remember the dark black Americano you had with her.
You think of telling her everything that happened to you with the mirror and the puzzle pieces, so that she can calm you down. But you also know that she will take it easily and a cigarette talk with her will make you completely fine—you need not share it. And you wait for the next time you see her.  You become desperate in the waiting for her to come. You will never tell her how you actually feel—and she will not make you tell her either. She will not ask anything, unless you ask her to ask you anything. Alas, you think, she might never know how you say yourself fall into a myriad of pieces.
You never ask her anything, and she never asks you anything, but you have the feeling that she is curious, that she will go into the depth of everything she really wants to know. You sometimes lie to her and she accepts these lies, but you know she knows you’re lying. This is when she takes you along with her on one of her cigarette breaks, because she wants you to suffer.
“You have to either bear or share,” she seems to say. Continue reading

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Secret Sacred Silence

The Kiss by 19th Century  Austrian symbolist painter

The Kiss by 19th Century Austrian symbolist painter ( And used by The Kathmandu post for this story)

After twelve days is my second marriage. People have been invited, and I am excited. Yes, this is the second time I am marrying. Oh, I am all excited to marry Surya—yes, the Sun God. I have already gotten married to the wood-apple fruit. Thinking of seeing the sun after this 12-day-long seclusion makes me anxious, nervous, happy, shy. I will be a bride—a real one—not the make-believe one I play with Kali, Chaturi and Muiyaa, without any ornaments or makup. Their caste doesn’t have such provisions as ours, which turns us into a bride thrice in life. Oh, I am so lucky that I can be a real bride three times—three golden times. My happiness today is different—it is kind of mixed, as the rituals are strange. They tickle me too. I feel tickled when I am made to do things.

“This is kwon, for scrubbing your face and taking off your dirt,” says Hajur Ma. I call her Ma.

“This is just the beginning, but you will learn shringar, the art of makeup soon,” she adds.

That means I will be allowed to use my mother’s many colours, which she puts on her lips, making them luscious, her eyelids and cheeks. The colourful bands and flowers she puts on her head. Like hers, my ears will be covered by golden earrings, my neck, with necklaces and beads, and my feet will be painted red with alaa. And the attire, yes the attire: the dark red sari along with ornaments and many things. I will look as beautiful as her, maybe more beautiful than other girls.

“We missed playing with you,” says Kali as she enters my dark room where the sunlight can’t infiltrate. (I will be seeing the sun only after the 12th day). Continue reading

Prem Srem at Galli Salli

It was her on the phone: “Bring my photo and silver sikri and come to the galli.

May be the year was 1985. It was an obscure time to love.

With a lump in his throat, he opened his old steel box. He had glued her photograph onto a cardboard and punched a hole through which he slung her silver sikri, for safekeeping. It was his favorite, but it belonged to her

****

“At the Galli, I saw her with a bunch of women. Their faces blurry like photographs of moving objects . My heart and eyes were focused on her. Only her”

****

“I borrowed 10 rupees for a taxi, called him through a public phone , gathered my friends to demand myself back.”

****

That evening at the galli,she left him. He didn’t say a word. He was giving himself away too.

****

Then, one fine Falgun evening, he wrapped an American Cross ballpoint pen in a shiny paper, put on his ironed white shirt, black pants, polished shoes and walked through the same galli to get to the place where her wedding band played.

( This is my first try to write something Post Modern though it is very small. It was written for a Project called Galli Galli and published in the Kathmandu Post)

Sapana ( Tale of a dream )

Tale of a dream, tale of unreported rape, tale of women, tale of betrayal, tale of pain

Tale of a dream, tale of unreported rape, tale of women, tale of betrayal, tale of pain

Published on JAN 06  in The Kathmandu Post Daily

She is going to the Mantri’s house. God has listened to us, finally. With her going to Kathmandu, our dreams will be fulfilled buda,” Ama had said to Buwa that day.

These days, I want to ask Aama—if she would ever desire to listen or if she could only listen: What was your sapana like Aama? I scream: It wasn’t my fault—I never dared change your beautiful sapana Aama…but can you hear me…it was just not me…

“She is coming here! Go away. Go away you bitch…”

“Give me some food, the thing inside is kicking, give us something to eat,” I demand.

They call me a bitch, they throw stones at me. One hit me right on my back. I fall down and cry out loud, give them some gaali and then curse at them slowly and silently. Ah! This stomach hurts. If I could sleep for sometime right here I would sleep soundly. But they call me a bitch.

“Go away! Don’t ever show your face again,” they shout.

I shut my ears and try to run away…Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah! My belly, I run. I run. Ah! Hurts. Ammmmaaaa it hurts. Ammmaaaaaa it hurts, hurts, it hurts. Ammmmaaaaa….

“Don’t shout you bitch! You are disturbing us—get away from the road. You’re occupying it as if it’s yours. You will be kicked if you show up here again,” someone yells.

But then, what wrong have I done? This growing belly is not a choice, but an obligation. A severe, painful and disgusting obligation.

***

“Climb here, don’t leave my hand chori.” We are going to Kathmandu to the Mantri’s house today.

“Buwa, this box is moving, I am squeezed Buwa, I am dizzy Buwa, I am dizzy.”

“This is your first time in a bus chori. When you get to Kathmandu, you will have to ride many more of these.”

It was a bus…moving towards an unknown destination…clearing my little footprints…the wheels turned continuously—Kathmandu was waiting for us. Continue reading

Walkers III

We were at the cross roads and we meet often at the crossroads of life. There is enough distance between us now. Unnoticed are we, by each other. Pretending as if, we have never seen each other in life. As if we never walked along together. BUT we both know we did. We walked along, surpassing boundaries, feelings and sometimes ourselves. We walked. We had walked. We dreamed. We had dreamed. In thousands of dreams, only one gets fulfilled. Did I trespassed your heart? or is it you who trespassed mine? Or we both did and we both are guilty of it? And is it because of that we are facing forever painful “boil” in our life.

Memories are now locked as in Pandora’s box. One by one, if I open it it stings, bites and wounds time and again. Difference is such that, Pandora’s box ended up with “Hope”, but you forgot to gift me hope. Heavy are eyes with sleep. But there is no wish in these eyes to sleep. I want to wake up. I want to open this box of memories that you gifted while you moved away. Was our meeting only a coincidence? Diving over the ocean of memories suffocates me.
Continue reading

The Photographer

Published on April 15, 2012  in “The Kathmandu Post” –

Picture of Old Woman don't know who took it but matches with the story

Picture of Old Woman don't know who took it but matches with the story

I have never seen a camera as big as the one he has in his hands

in these seventy five years of my life. He is young, well-built and smiles continually as he clicks away at his big camera; its lens pointed towards me. I have never seen such a wonderful young man in my life, apart from you. What’s with age? He proved that I am more beautiful than these young chuckling girls by taking hundreds of pictures of me. Something amazing happened while he pointed the “straight” camera lens right at my face—it reminded me of our unification.

It’s you whom I saw in this young man. Who knows I might still be awaiting your arrival. I have waited fifty years already. I have never put on white clothes because no one has bought your dead body to me. “Dead,” thinking of this makes me suicidal. But again the hope of your arrival has kept me alive till today—till the age of seventy-five. It’s you whom I saw in this young man. Is it that you died and were born in the form of this man? Is it that—in the form of this man—you came to meet me? Or is it that you married some other woman and this is your son? No!! No!! These things can never be possible—I console myself.

“Aama please smile,” the photographer says.

“Please stay in the same position,” he demands.

“Don’t go away, please wait Aama,” he stops me as I try to turn away.

I smile from ear to ear. I am shy; I hide my face with the edge of my bright red dhoti. I move my head. What is this young man doing? Why is he taking pictures of me? Why does he like me so much? Why does he ignore these young girls and come after me? Am I that beautiful even now? Why would I not be beautiful… my ears are decked with gold earrings that have lightened my face all these years. What about the gold necklace from my marriage? Does this young man not see that I am a married woman? A line of sindoor parts my head—proving that I am married to someone else—I belong to someone else. What will he do with my pictures? Will he hang these pictures on his walls and look at me day and night? But why? Am I more beautiful than these young girls? Is he fascinated by me, like I with him? Can I be compared to these young girls now when I am a 75 years old? Well I was young, some fifty years ago. But now, each year my skin loosens, my face is shrinking and my cheeks are no longer seen. Continue reading

~~~Parasmani

Parasmani ~ the touch of yours turns iron into gold or anything into gold ~ how can I not chose to turn into gold for the single touch of yours? 

Here we are again~ the bank of Sunkoshi welcomes us. You can call me “Sunkeshari” today ~ the eternal princess, as the golden rays of eternally glowing sun has lighted up my hair today. Something is special today I feel ~I look at the mirror of the flowing Sunkoshi and try to fix my hair, put a veil because I want to keep you waiting to see me, feel me and praise ~ beautiful me~ today? The face glows today because it is the first day of my womanhood. The moment is just that I have just left my childhood back and have taken a step forward to become a woman, your woman. One thing is to be done by you~ the unlocking of my womanhood, without which I can’t move forward.

The morning is growing slowly with the sky turning crimson and rosy. The sun is spreading its color all over sky and it feels like the sky is menstruating for the first time. The sun has just arrived and washed its crimson face into Sunkoshi and is slowly and gradually turning golden.  Continue reading