Saturday, September 19, 2020

Happy Birthday Dear Brother.

(Few words of thanks from the youngest to the eldest)

I do not exactly know how and where I met you in the past.

But the impression you’ve had on me was simply incredible. I saw you as a superb and talented human being. Your attire and style of speaking had a lasting effect on my heart.

I remember my first visit to Kathmandu in 1989. I was alone and a little bit nervous about the chaos in the streets of Kathmandu. I was told you live in Baneshwor and was dead confident that I will find your residence. When I wanted to get a vehicle in the then bus terminal, for Baneshwor, someone nearby asked me, “Which Baneshwor do you want to go? Old or New?”

I was taken aback by this information, and really didn’t know which Baneshwor you lived in. Intuitively I answered, “old” thinking if I do not find Bijaya Cold Store in old Baneshwor, I will go to the new one. Fortunately, I happened to find the Bijaya Cold Store in old Baneshwor. God was leading me the right way. 

When I reached your home, you welcomed me with an affectionate smile. The love and care which I got from you there, was beyond any comparison. I remember I picked up the phone for the first time in my life with a trembling hand and stammering voice. I was on the first floor and there was nobody to pick up the phone. So, I ventured the task and answered blah blah.. as I don’t exactly remember who the caller was.

Thank you dear brother for the grand welcome to the city of temples.

My second visit to Kathmandu was not that much difficult though as I was accompanied by the lady, whom I venerated the most, my step mother. I was as thin as bamboo and remained sick most of the time. I suffered from a type of illness or other. Sometimes I suffered from terrible stomach aches and sometimes fever and cold. Our destination was, no doubt, your home. You took me three or four specialists to get me checked. When all sorts of tests were carried out, and I didn’t have any kind of ailment, I was a little confused then. You counseled me so convincingly that I forgot I was sick. 

Thank you for taking trouble to visit all sorts of doctors without a trace of worry and showering brotherly love all the time.

As far as I remember, my third visit to Kathmandu was in 1994. I had recently got married then. Three of us lived in Dhulabari; and I was working as a teacher in Dhulabari High School. Circumstances were such that I got very little time to spend with my better-half. I was busy throughout the day and evenings were to be given to my step mother, sitting beside her and talking about something in her mother’s home. I longed to spend time with my wife and it seemed almost impossible. Then, one day I decided to leave Dhulabari and go to Kathmandu in search of a job. Luckily, I was given a position of a teacher in GEMS school. Then a series of events unfolded which devastated the plan I had, of living in Kathmandu with my wife and giving her the time she deserved. But shamelessly, three of us stayed in your home for a week. The whole week was spent in searching for an apartment where we could stay.

Throughout the week, we never felt we were away from home. When we shifted to the new apartment, I realized what kind of love you’d showered on us.

Thank your brother for the unconditional love you’ve given us. 

I know my father was a great Sanskrit scholar and intellectual of his time. But when it came to the practicalities of social life, he remained a bit indifferent. I remember you sitting in front of my father and suggesting he divide properties proportionately to all of his children. Your advice was unbiased and fair. If he had done according to your advice, nobody would have had  any complaints. But it didn’t happen the way you suggested. I do not blame him now, as he is already gone. After this too, on many occasions you advised my dad on these types of issues.

Thank you dear brother for the role of a true guardian. You did that because you unconditionally loved us as kinsmen.  

There are numerous occasions we have met in the course of time. And every time I met you, a wave of energy and positivism entered my mind. Your concern and care for everybody of us is certainly worth sharing to all.

Thank you dear brother for being the number one motivator in the family. And above all thank you for being a role model for all of us.

Happy birthday dear brother!!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Thank You Anura !!!!

I still remember the day when your voice reverberated in school complex through a huge sound system in the school's Annual Sports Day, where you were emceeing the program. You were new to school then, and your voice captivated the audience which earned you a huge respect. You spoke with elegance, accuracy, and melody which many people yearn to earn.

Thank you Anura, for being a humane human being!
Later, when my daughter was promoted to your class, you became her best teacher per se. She would always talk about you, the way you spoke, the way you taught and the way you laughed. When Apekshya was born, she started counting days when 'the little girl' would come to school. I never knew you had that charismatic effect on my daughter. Even today, she cherishes the moments she enjoyed with you.

Thank you Anura, for making the permanent dent in my daughter's heart!

Your way of teaching and mentoring slowly became known in school. A lot of teachers appreciated your style of teaching, though very few ever tried to imitate it. When you became grade teacher of grade II, the grade became the best grade in pre-primary after Nursery. Happy smiles of students reappeared in grade II. None of the students wanted to miss your class. You had one-to-one connections with students. You cared about each of them, earning a lot of respect and love from all of them.

Thank you Anura, for being so affectionate mentor!

I know you never wasted a single minute of your work time in gossip. Gossipers have innate characteristics to pull people toward themselves. But, you were never deterred by them. In tiffin time I saw you in your desk correcting assignment of students. In your off hour, i.e. 7th period, I saw you in student's desk with slow learners, helping them to achieve their goals. Of course, you had deserving co-teacher Mr. Saniram Chaudhary(I've planned to pen about him too) by your side.

Thank you Anura, for showing exemplary dedication to your work!

When I became principal of the school, you were 'President' of school unit of 'Teacher's Welfare Union'. And as 'the President', I never found you coming to my office with bargains and complains. Of course, we had problems in the school, and you were always concerned with the solutions. You didn't bring the problems but solutions. Your philosophy of unionism was exemplary and beyond the imagination of many of the colleagues. I remain thankful to you for your matured leadership as a union president.

Thank you Anura, for 'thinking and working only for the welfare of organization' even as union president.

As principal, I did not have to worry about anything in primary section when you were working as 'Pre-Primary Coordinator'. You had regular meetings, discussed the problems, and came out with solutions and plans. Even more, you not only solved the problems of your section but also managed so many disciplinary issues in senior section too. There were many incidents I even didn't know, and when I knew, I found you'd already solved them. You took the responsibility without being instructed and did your work effectively. You were worried 'not to bother me' for the issues which may look trivial but were immensely dangerous.

Thank you Anura, for helping me in every way possible. Thank you for helping me, and the school.

We often talked about books, reading habits, the impact of social media on students and many other topics of importance. Your inputs were always valuable - be it on student welfare or on social life. You were a friend with whom I could talk even about my family and you did the same. This can be done only between close friends. I very badly miss your company now, but haven't lost hope to be in your company.

Thank you Anura, for being a very good friend and residing in my heart.

Thank you for being 'What you are !'   

Friday, February 9, 2018

Thank You Panita !!!

Some years ago, in an informal chat Ramesh Father said, "Entry of Panita into SOS HGHSS is one of the best phenomenon for our organization. My kids of SOS CV have started living their childhood since then. And when she walks, it is as though a dancer is walking." I couldn't agree more. Indeed, children who dreaded to go to school had started pestering their parents to take them school early. My kids were unfortunate; they couldn't attend your classes because you arrived late for them. Whenever a crying little baby went to your arms, they found another caring mother. At home, they could've got few slaps, but at school, they received nothing but love and care. They found your class to be homelier than the home. You brought smiles to their faces. They lived their childhood to the fullest. As an early childhood teacher you weren't comparable to anyone and still, you are not.

Thank you Panita for being so passionate about kids, for letting them enjoy childhood. 

As a focal person of Child Rights in SOS, you were exemplary dealing with the rights of kids. You handled each and every case so efficiently that, as principal, I didn't have anything to do. You listened to the plight of victimized students, counseled them; and you did listen to the offenders and counseled them too. Your way of dealing with all these made you a perfect counselor.

Thank you Panita for listening to the children's woes and caressing their aching heart. 

When you were Pre-Primary Coordinator, the school management was fully satisfied with your work. You not only did what you were told to do, you always did something extra. You regularly reported the activities of the pre-primary section, shared the problems, and sometimes shared with me only when a particular problem was solved. You did nothing but work for the institution in your duty time. Your internal inspiration was worth envying.

Thank you Panita for being a perfect middle manager and leader.

When visitors enter your room, nursery, they become spellbound by the beauty of the room. Your artwork for number, letters, animals, plants and everything kids love is extraordinary. You keep your room always new and you know, it is a very difficult task to maintain room where kids come for the first time. You had to work all the time. Even then your face never showed signs of tiredness.

Thank you Panita for that extra-ordinary zeal and enthusiasm which you have in your heart.

You are an artist. You've melodious voice with all high and low notes is really mesmerizing. And when you dance or teach dance to kids, all your art pours over your students. Ramesh Father rightly said, "When Panita walks her walk looks like a dance." You are an amazing artist. Once I asked you to teach me dance when you were teaching "Shiva Tandava Stotra Dance" to kids. When I had a doubt about my ability, you said that if a person can walk with feet, there is no way he cannot learn dance. Now, I regret, why I didn't become your dance student?   
Thank you Panita for making art as a part of your life. An artist is always an inspiration to everyone, at least I think so.   

I never saw you sad; your face was never gloomy. I didn't see your tears,(except for one occasion when I too cried bitterly in my heart). A kind of aura of happiness emanates from your face, your body, your work and everything you do. I don't think the words 'worry' or 'sadness' have entries in your dictionary. Sometimes after the school, when you saw me down while I was in the office and you were teaching dance, you came to me, asked me not to worry and lifted my spirits.

Thank you Panita for possessing so much 'happiness' in you in spite of odds in your life, and spreading that happiness to all.

Thank you Panita for being my friend. Thank you !!!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Thank you Shalikram !!

Sun had made its way down the horizon when my cell phone rang. With approaching darkness, my mood was little gloomy. When I looked at the phone screen, I was not the least expecting the person to be on the phone. It was a pleasant surprise; Shalikram you were there on the line. You said, "Namaskar, just wanted to say hello when I was in the valley." Our conversation lasted a few minutes.  You were staying at your boys' in Kausaltar. You said that if the conditions favor, you'd see me in my office next day. I was delighted to hear that. I knew you'd do it when you think you should.
Next day you called me from New Baneswhor and I rushed to escort you to my office. We chatted for about ten minutes and you left. It was such a joy to chat you with so dear friend of mine, that too after so long period of time.

Thank you Shalikram for sparing few minutes of your precious time for a friend.

Right from the time you joined SOS, we became close friends. And, that closeness has remained till date. And, I don't think it will fade away in future. I vividly remember the day we had the meal at your house. You'd invited us to the morning meal. We all sat cross-legged on mats and started eating. The memory of delicious meal prepared by bhauju still fills my mouth with water. Especially, I remember the amount of Ghee I have taken that day.

Thank you Shalikram for inviting us to make us a part of your family.

It was around 2065BS, my house was under construction. At that very time, new members were being added to K.S.C. board as the shareholders. Actually, I wanted to get involved in that institution right from the beginning but circumstances evaded me badly then, and my misfortune this time too, the same happened. When I talked to you about the matter, you suggested so many ways to manage the funds. You even proposed me to help personally. It was me who couldn't dare because I was in debt.

Thank you Shalikram for being so close and giving a helping hand.

In 2014, Mr. Helmut Kutin, Honorary President of SOS KDI, visited Itahari. I was in the post of acting principal. You know the way we welcome dignitaries in SOS. Students were lined up along the road to welcome him. So did other co-workers. Class teachers were to stand behind the respective classes. As a leader, I requested all the class-teachers and other teachers to do the same. Lady teachers from primary section did the marvelous job. Among senior teachers, you were the only one who stood alone behind a row of your students. At that time, I wanted to hug you tightly and thank you from the core of my heart.

Thank you Shalikram for understanding plight of an administrator and act in the friendliest manner possible.

As a principal of the school I had to address plethora of problems; from cleanliness of the floor to contacting DEO; from supervising classes to sending reports to National Office; from dealing with problematic students to dealing with undutiful staff. Many times, my mood would go down. Every time I was down, you were there to offer me help and encourage me with your actions and words.

Thank You Shalikram for being a wonderful colleague to whom I will be indebted all my life.

I know you are like father to your younger brothers. You've spent so much of your resources to educate them and settle them in their spheres of life. In this selfish world, how the eldest brother does all this for three of his younger brothers. You are an exemplary human being for the society and a rare species of human being. I know God will always do you good. Because you've always done well. You've loved your parents, cared for them and obeyed them without conditions. You are a hero to your parents, to your brothers, for me, and of course for society you live in.

Thank you Shalikram for being so good son and so good brother.

Thank you for being my friend.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Thank You Rimala !!!

Thank you Rimala for your unprecedented respect and support which you gave me during my tenure of principal in SOS Hermann Gmeiner Higher Secondary School Itahari. You are one of the most loved people to reside in my heart.

Although we worked together for long, more than two decades, I couldn't know you better than in the days of my principalship. We had interactions, for every detail of financing in the activities of the school. We worried together to save funds, to purchase the supplies, to make the best use of resources, to facilitate the staff, to make annual budgets and what not.

There are many unforgettable moments which I shared with you. I still remember the day, your face beaming with happiness when I was selected as a school leader. You congratulated me the way nobody other did. Then our meetings and interactions increased. I learned so many things of the financial part of the institution which was unknown to me till then. Thank you very much for sharing information on such matters, which you did with great enthusiasm.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Miss You Tribhuwan !!!

He was a man of posture. With his bulging pot-belly with the vest drawn up to the chest and “Malkhan Sing” style mustache; he had started greeting me lately whenever I went to his fruit shop in the north eastern corner of downtown Itahari. I was buying fruits from his fruit shop from the time I came to Itahari, 19 years back. I rarely visited other fruit shops. A kind of affectionate and loving friendship had developed between us.

Thus, when I heard of his sudden demise from his neighbor fruit seller few weeks ago; I felt as if a lump of flesh has come up to my throat and is choking me heavily. I was finding it hard to regulate my breath. I never thought he would pass away so soon. That day I didn't dare to look at his shop, closed though it was. I just avoided look towards that direction and went home with gloomy face and weeping heart.

We casually talked about so many things that sometimes other buyers got irritated. He mostly claimed about the best quality of the fruits he sold and I believed as if whatever he was telling was not anything but the truth. And sometimes, his claims became totally untrue as the grapes or oranges I bought from him would be as sour as tamarind. Days later I would forget about the sour fruits and go to his shop again. We talked again; I bought fruits and parted with smiling faces. The cycle continued for 13 years. I brought fruits from his shop and he sold me. I didn’t know his name he didn’t know mine. Actually we didn’t need the names until one day:

He said he had bagful of grapes detached from the bunch. If I wanted to buy he was ready to sell me a kilo or so of grapes in half the actual price. I examined the grapes and they were in good condition. I nodded, he weighed and I was happy to have them.

Then a thought crossed my mind and I asked, “Can you inform me if you amassed such grapes? I would love to buy them.” He readily agreed and asked for my phone number. Then to save his phone number, for the first time in 13 years I asked his name, “Your good name please!”

“Tribhuwan Shah.” said he.

Then I told mine. We exchanged the numbers, with renewed enthusiasm, and of course, with names.

He continued to call me for grapes since then. This happened for another three years. He still called me when I moved to SOS quarters after three years, and couldn’t manage to go to his shop regularly. He stopped calling but became little bit shy; and started greeting me ‘Namaste.’ But nonetheless, we were still friends and I didn’t stop buying from him.

Yesterday, I gathered courage to go to his shop. A young boy was there. I knew he was his son. I paid heartfelt condolence and said about the relation his father and I had. The boy was in tears. I tried to hide my tears and went away to my bike with a kilo of black grapes.

Tribhuwan, rest in peace. I promise I will find you in your son. I promise I will continue to buy fruits from your shop. Our friendship won’t die; rather it will find a new dimension. Bye.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Thank You Rahma !!

I don't know exactly where and how in the world the threads of relationship are spun. How Supreme Creator weaves the lives of people with love. Rahma, I have my eyes full with tears as I write the post and I can't forget the tears in your eyes when we said good bye to you in Fikkal. I hugged you then and said, 'don't cry my daughter, don't.' But you know I had a very difficult time hiding my own tears from you and others. You became a part of our family. You became our daughter; we became your baba and mamu; and all it began. When we left you in the bus I felt a lump of flesh from my heart has come to my throat and it was choking me.

Rahma, I remember very well the moment when I saw your photo with Neha shot in Aitabare. We were totally unknown to each other. Our homes were thousands of miles apart. We had different languages, different culture and different religion. But when I saw your photo for the first time, some corner of my heart said you are our daughter. Strange this feeling may be, but it is true, and when you came to Itahari, and when I saw you in person for the first time, I said,' you are my daughter.' I didn't think you as my daughter's friend. Rahma ! I don't know what made me say that. May be it was Allah's blessing, may be it was God's blessing. Since then, my mind and soul say we have three children: two daughters and a son. I believe relationships are not mere coincidences but they are something made in heaven and are beyond the understanding of a common human being.

We spent so good time together with you for eighteen days. We ate meals together. We roamed around together and enjoyed life as it came to us. We clicked so many photographs. We locked memories in cameras, phones and computers. Memories become alive as we everyday we look at them. Your mamu and I talk a lot about you. We talk about your courage, your interests and adventures you take. And we are very proud of you, my dear daughter ! And proud of your parents who gave you such good education, courage, love and ethics. We have seen that the threads of love are much stronger and they can bind people with immortal relations. I believe when relation of love prevails, the boundaries of language, nation and religion disappear.

Rahma, there is never a single day which passes without us not remembering you. Whenever we get time, we open the folders in laptop where we have saved our photos. We take time to rejoice every moment we spent with you. The memorable trip to Maghe, our home; you putting on Sari and clicking photos with Neha. Then our visit to Bhedetar; you and Neha getting your faces painted. The hot cup of milk- coffee at Charles Point.

These memories enliven us every day. That's exactly how we live.

Thank you Rahma, for coming to our life as our second daughter. Thank you very much. Love you !