Thursday, March 30, 2017

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.

Thank you very much for being my best friend. I vividly remember the day when a teacher shouted at you in your office. When I arrived in, both of you were in very bad temper and were shouting at each other. Later we (I and a friend about whom I will write later) tried our best to take the situation in control. You were upset so badly because you were at no fault and all of sudden it happened. It happens to everybody, dear friend when on gets shouting without any fault. It was my mistake not to discuss the matter with you beforehand. You came later to my office and asked for forgiveness. Thank you very much for showing respect and realizing that shouting in the presence of principal was kind of uncivilized act. Only the people with a great heart do this.

When I used to check the files of financial records and statements, it always filled me with pride and happiness that I have such perfect colleague in account section. I never found a single fault in your filing system, keeping records, and maintaining the accounts whether in a computer or in paper form. Everything was perfect, neat and clean and very systematic. Thank you very much for all that precision and accuracy.

You had a true heart of a learner. Whenever you found problems, especially with a computer and IT, you approached me for help. You wrote reports and approached me for correction. I did help you in a way I could, and you always thanked me in the end. Do you know Rimala, that only very few people have such attitude: coming and asking about things which are difficult to understand, with the utmost degree of politeness. Thank you very much for being a life long learner. You know, I am still learning and will continue to learn till my last breath and I have very strong conviction that you will do the same.

When you had a workload of things to do, you compromised everything and stayed long in the evenings, even up to nine. You had problems, there were family members waiting for you at home, there were kids waiting for momma to arrive home, there was loving husband waiting to receive wife; even then you stayed and did your duty. You never demanded extra pay, or overtime or any other facility. For you, your duty was your first priority. Thank you very much for sacrificing so many things for work. You are a precious asset to an organization. The organization should be very proud to have an employee like you.

As friends, we shared so many things. I always liked to sit in your office after the office hours to discuss a whole lot of matters. We had a range of subjects to discuss: improving the school, managing budgets, acquiring tenders, parenting children, health, fitness, society, and religion. Whatever we discussed, we did so with sen a e of respect to each other. We valued each other's opinions and learned a lot. Thank you very much for sharing everything.

These are some good memories good person like you have given me. Thank you very much for everything you did. And hope to be friends forever !!!!

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 !

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Thank You Papa !!!

Papa, you are gone now. My mind knows that you are gone. But my heart refuses to accept your going. It longs for your ever smiling face, your words of love, your praise and your satisfaction of an accomplished man. It desperately wants to talk to you. It is my heart papa that seeks to be with you all the time. It didn't know you'd leave so early. It had a story to tell you, it had a few confessions to make; it needed you for a mentor.

Papa, I was sitting by the side of the bed you were lying. Minutes before I had changed your diapers. You were so feeble, that you couldn't speak properly, couldn't eat properly. You didn't have control over your words, over your answers to nature’s call, over your own body of which you took utmost care throughout your life. I was holding your wrinkled hands and caressing them. I didn't know whether you were feeling my touches or not. But Papa, I had access to your hands, your hug, your affection which I wanted desperately when I was young. Back then, I was afraid of you. I couldn't tell you that I wanted a good hug. I just couldn't. Now I know how much you loved me. It was just that your way of showing love was different.

Papa, we took you to the hospital with a great expectation that you'd recover. Your blood group matched mine. And when doctor asked us to make arrangements for blood transfusion, I readied myself to donate blood to you. It was my 37th blood donation. My dear papa, my 37th donation made history in our lives. My blood flowed in your veins and arteries. But It couldn't save you. May be, God didn't want the things to go as per our will.

We couldn't save you papa, despite efforts. You breathed last in front of our eyes.

I imagined the smiling faces of yours and mom when you changed my diapers. How happy you’d have been then, 50 years ago. But Papa, I couldn't control my tears when I was changing your diapers. I wished I could do more for you. I wished you’d have no troubles anymore.

I have no words to thank you for whatever you did to make me what I am now.

 I still vividly remember the day when I stole ‘puries’ and got your kick on my buttocks. We were in our home, Maghe. It was some kind of festival I don’t exactly remember now. When I was trying to find something to play with, I discovered a ‘dalo’full of ‘puries’ under your cot. I was hungry and I just couldn’t resist the temptation to eat them. I picked up two, came out of the room, moved to verandah, and started eating. You were right below me downstairs. When you saw me eating ‘puries’ you called me down. I descended trying to control my trembling body and trying to think of what I should speak.
Then you shouted, “Why did you steal puries?”
I mumbled, “I was hungry.”
You said,"Why didn't you ask mom for them?”
With tears rolling down my cheeks, I said, "She wasn’t there, and I was too hungry.”
“OK, this is your punishment.” You said and kicked lightly on my buttocks. Then you picked me up, kept in your lap and said,”Kumud, you are such a good boy. Just take permission before doing anythings. The ‘puries’ are for eating and we could’ve given you if you’d asked.” That was the first and the last case of theft I was ever involved in.

Thank you Papa for teaching me the first lesson of honesty.

Then a day came when I went to Darjeeling with you for study. When we went to our home in Darjeeling I found a large bookshelf filled with books. You had a variety of books and magazines. I was overwhelmed to see so many books at home.  The concept of 'library' had just begun to form in my mind; and then I happened to be in your personal library. It was in your library that I saw, for the first time, the several issues of 'Reader's Digest'.

When I got admitted in grade VII in Government High School, I didn't have good English. But you saw me turn the pages of 'Reader's Digest' and taught me how to read. Those lessons were my first lessons in English. After that I kept on reading the issues of 'Reader's Digest'. You taught how to read anecdotes, and then articles, and then book sections. You were a guide on all difficulties in reading. I fell in love with the 'Reader's Digest'. I saved my 'Tiffin' money to buy old issues of Reader's Digest, Navneet, Kadambini, etc.

I became a regular subscriber of the magazine when I started earning myself. I bought books and magazines and started making my own home library. I never thought twice when it came to books. 

Thank you very much papa, for inculcating reading culture in me.

When it came to study, you took all other burdens yourself. When we were two, you cooked yourself, washed the dishes yourself, swept the house cleaned and did all the shopping yourself. I wanted to help you many times but you insisted and said, "Please put all your efforts in study, You've got to excel and be very successful  in future. Don't worry about all these. I can manage all the chores." You never sighed, never complained and never ordered.

Thank you papa for taking so much pain. And thank you again for showing how parents should behave.

I passed the secondary board exam in first division. And that was the record in itself. The school had no first divisioners for two whole decades. You were ecstatic and happier than I was. And you know papa; I was happier for your gifts which you gave me later. Those were spontaneous, unasked-for  gifts. An hmt Kohinoor watch ( a popular and prized possession then), a Chinese Hero pen, a Chinese automatic umbrella, a green jacket and black Bata shoes. I went to St. Joseph's College, Darjeeling with a confidence of an actor. You made it all possible papa.

Thank you for knowing what your son needed and what made him happy.

Years later I moved to Kathmandu in search of better career prospects. We were expecting our first baby. I had a meagre income then and was engulfed in hardship. When I wrote you telling my condition, you readily accepted and sent me a good sum of money through mother to support me. With the sum there was a two-page long letter, every word charged with love and affection. That night I silently wept, holding thousand-rupee bills in my hand and hiding away my tears from everybody around.

Thank you a million times for being so caring and so affectionate.

Thank you for being my father. I feel I am the world's luckiest son to have a father of your kind.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thank You Manu..........!!!

Manu, you'd nearly frightened me when you didn't utter a single word in Nepali for whole three months in the office. I thought of you to be different species as this was unusual, even though ours was English medium environment. You spoke English as fluent as the native speakers do and so, I thought you to be a different breed of human being. But there was something in you; you had so many things that others didn’t have. You could see beyond horizon; you could see the unseen and you reached those heights of imagination which others only dreamt to fathom.
You could create beauty, you could create hope and you could create art. Manu! You babbled with us and told us things that were, sometimes, impossible to believe. We too acted as if we believed you and enjoyed every bit of your words. But within this babbling, you had something that all of us lacked. You had creative genius inside you. You meditated in the long hours of night and you wrote poems. 
We thought you are nothing more than a babbler.
We listened to your talks with interest. The interest never faltered. The attention never diverted. And that was it. Thank you Manu for those great many things you told.
Manu, I thank you for igniting the love of literature in the people around you. I remember the day when I showed to you the very first story I translated from Bengali. You were elated to read it. Later, the story entitled ‘Ek muthi aakash' was published in our publication 'The Kosedhunga.' I didn’t tell you that I too wrote things in the wee hours. Many a times my writings didn’t make sense. They were just a jumble of words. But still I loved to write and still do. I thought nobody would like to read what I wrote. So, stories which I wrote were hidden in the pages of my notebooks. Then I decided to translate beautiful stories from other languages before showcasing my own. I believed I would be able to create a little space in literature one day by translating stories.  Thank you Manu, for those first words of praise.
Some years later I came up with a compilation of translated stories from Hindi : “Jindagi Ek Photo Frame.” Many thumbed down to my effort saying it was nothing more than idiocy to translate somebody else’s stories and publish them at my own cost. But I knew I was right. I lost nothing. Instead it gave me a stage to perform- as translator,a story writer and  an editor.
My work of translation got very wide recognition. Specially in the Hindi speaking world. A London- based Hindi writer Tejendra Sharma approached me for translating his stories into Nepali. I readily accepted, translated and showed the manuscript to you. You were again elated, and at my request wrote a beautiful prefatory note for the book. You wrote about my style of translation, my style of using language and the type of stories I wrote. You wanted to see me shine in the world of stories. You crafted every sentence with care, and lifted me to the arena of contemporary literature. Thank you Manu. Thank you very much.
Slowly and steadily I started churning out stories. You loved them as you loved my translated stories. Your comments added poetic beauty to my writings. And then, years later, I again wanted your pen in my book. You took time, but came up with such a balanced and beautiful preface for my collection of short stories 'Tyo Pahenlo Phool' for that I can say nothing except "Thank You Dear Friend" from the very core of my heart.
You told sometimes that by writing poetry you've added beautiful things to the existence. It is indeed true that a beautiful poem is something that makes this world more beautiful. 

Thank You for writing poetry and Thank You for being my friend.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Thank You Dinesh.............!!!

Thank you Dinesh, for making me a friend and keeping me in the most sacred and revered place: your heart.
Remember how we spent our times together! The days have gone, the months have elapsed, the years have passed; but there are permanently embedded memories here in my mind.
Ha ! I still cherish those after-school evenings in Itahari. We used to enter a narrow passageway from the main building on the southern side across the highway to reach a strikingly simple and homelike teashop to enjoy our evening tea. We sipped tea and talked about art, literature, music and what not on end. Once I very badly nagged you because you couldn't say who Hariprasad Chaurasiya was. I knew I acted a bit too much as I considered myself to be 'know all' but you took it very naturally, as if I haven't said a thing: a gesture of true friendship. In your heart you've nothing but goodness.
And those roasted corn-cobs from that nearly African looking woman by the roadside. She used to roast larger corn-cobs for us and wait eagerly; we were her regular customers. Holding hot corn-cobs in our hands we hanged around the Municipality Office area and chatted endlessly. It is with you, friend, I learned that another relation exists between the buyers and sellers: the relation of humanity. I still have a few fixed shops for buying my necessities. I may pay them a little extra or they may charge me a little extra; but I don't mind. I buy things on purpose; not because I have money. And when you buy things on purpose you don't complain about being nasty, expensive or cheap.
Our evenings transformed to tea parties every day, alternately at mine and at yours, after our forced bachelorship ended. We had our apartments a hundred meters apart. We could add our dear ones to our friendship circle. We were families with so many common characteristics and interests and we enjoyed virtually everything. We laid mattresses on the ground, talked and laughed. We saw the clouds together and dreamed better careers together. We clicked photographs from your Yachika- MF2. I forced you to buy this camera and didn't buy myself on pretext of buying an SLR one in the near future. Look, sixteen years have slipped through, and the age of digital camera has come and still I don't possess an SLR. Never mind, I have a friend like you.
We started the blissful journey of literature. You showered me with your immense knowledge of language and grammar. It was during this tenure we ventured on so many things together, from knocking the doors of shopkeepers to correct their signboards to the training of commercial painters on how to write correct words and phrases in signboards. You've an exceptional quality for accuracy of language. It is around this time, my friend, I learned what it means to write things correctly; and what it means to love our country, language and literature.
Years ago I brought one of my writings to you. You read, smiled, patted me on my shoulder, shook hands and said, 'You can write stories. Please continue. This is the way one writes stories.' That was one of the steps, dear friend, of the ladder to reach where I am now. Thanks a tonne.
Dinesh, I am not exaggerating, you are an editor with excellent skills. You've been doing it for a long time. I am indebted to you. You edited my three books, spent days and nights doing so and didn't charge a penny. Only a true friend can do that.
I owe you a lot. But still I beg something more as a friend, (friends are always beggars you know !!!). Will you give me a nice hug every time we meet? Ha...........