We were on the top of the hill, a small hill engulfed by beauty. Down the hill, there was a small valley with limited number of houses. A narrow busy river was slithering its way through it. People were occupied, as usual, on the farm beside the river.
Slowly the view was starting to become hazy. The heavy mist of cloud was trying to curl up the village, down the hill. I was scanning through the fog, increasing the length of my neck to get a clear view but every attempt failed.“Don’t even try it’s useless.” Ravin said examining my gestures.
“Is it like this every time?” I asked.
“No, not every time, only during special hours.” He said raising his eyebrows and looking down on the fog where once a beautiful view of a valley was.
“And what is so special about today?” I asked trying to sound interestingly inquisitive.
“You.” he said looking directly into my eyes with his see blue eyes.
We stared at each other for a long time. Ravin came closer to me. I stayed where I was, shivering as his breath pierced my skin making me skip a beat. He put his right hand on my waist. I imagined his left hand too. I put my hands on his shoulders. He came closer. I closed my eyes and welcomed him. My lips were waiting, waiting to be adorned, waiting for his lips to be compressed on mine.
But instead he took his head across my head and whispered on my ears, “The view is clear.”
I opened my eyes in surprise. This wasn’t expected. I looked at Ravin and then down the hill with the surprise on my face.
“Pain comes and goes so quickly in my place; you will not even know it existed.”
I beamed at him. He smiled back.
We walked down the hill, towards his home; leaving the beautiful and artistic view behind. Ravin was wearing a mask, afraid that anyone would recognize him. He didn’t want to create the scene as for everyone he was dead during the bomb blast.
After we crossed the marketplace, we finally reached the residential area.
The residential area was a quiet place after the walk from the market. Ravin pointed to a small mud house. The house was two storied. In front of the house was a small yard. There was a hen coop on the side. A woman looking stunningly beautiful was standing on the door as if she was waiting for someone. Her white sari explained it all about her reason of loneliness. Two boys were playing on the yard; one looking not less than ten years and other looking not more than seventeen years.
I remember, Ravin had once mentioned about them. The elder one was Rajen and the younger one was Rojen. The woman on the door was most probably Ravin’s wife, Geetanjali.
As soon as the younger boys’ eye met Ravin; they came running towards us, shouting, “Buwa Buwa.”
I wondered what they meant.
“Daddy” Ravin whispered. I smiled at myself.
Seeing her sons running; Geetanjali looked at us. She was taken aback. She blinked her eyes, unable to believe the reality. She stood up and walked two-three steps steadily and then paused for a second. She opened her mouth trying to say something but nothing came out.
Instead she closed it with a gentle smile. A tiny tear drop rolled down her cheeks and touched her pink strong smile.
Geetanjali still had no reaction; she stood with that same expression.
“Geetanjali, I’m back.”
For some reasons, I felt a chronic hurt. I tried to avoid it but somehow it didn’t go away. I tried but still it hurt.
Ravin took me inside the house and introduced me to everyone. Although, I knew them but it was good to meet them personally.
Rojen; the younger one was shy at first but afterwards he became comforted. Rajen was frank from the beginning. He never failed to impress me with his cheerful talks. Every evening he used to come running after school to me to learn ‘your type of English’ he said. That meant the British accent. He was quite funny.
I too had developed a very good bond with Geetanjali. She insisted calling her Geeta as everyone close to her called her by this name. “You are my new sister.” She always told me. People over here are quite easy and fast to make relations. Geeta had kept a nickname for me ‘Ful’ which meant flower. She justified it by saying I blossomed like flower. But actually she was finding difficulties pronouncing my name and I knew that.
One evening Geeta was teaching me to make rice pudding; I heard Ravin’s voice from the next room.
“Geetanjali! I am hungry.”
“Okay, today Ful is making dinner. Patience pays off.” Geetanjali responded and laughed at the same time.
“Really? Can’t wait then.” Ravin exclaimed with enthusiasm.
Geeta was smiling at herself. She was elated to find Ravin back. She had unexpressed love expressed on her smile.
“You love Ravin very much.” I said sounding confused whether it was a question or compliment.
After hearing my words, Geeta’s smile faded. She looked at me; her lips were trembling. She took a long breadth.
“I hope but…” She looked on the floor and a roll of tear dropped from her eyes.
The silence was becoming longer and weirder now.
“But what Geeta?”
“Yes I love him very much.But love doesn’t happen from only one side.”
“Oh… I’m sorry. Why did Ravin marry you then?” I asked unable to understand what she was trying to say.
“That’s a long story. Marriages at our part of country, at our time were different than marriages you have seen. People married in a very early age and spent the whole life together. I married Ravin at the age of 10 when Ravin was just 15. At that age we didn’t know what marriage meant.
With the passing of time, our relationship worsened. Family said, “A child can fix it all”. So we gave birth to Rajen but still nothing progressed. And again the priest told it was because we lacked a daughter in the family. And the second time, we gave birth to Rojen. Genetically, we had no chances for daughter, doctors said. Realistically, we had no chances to improve our relations, we both agreed. And till now we regret marrying each other.
By the time she finished her part of story, my eyes had filled up. I put my hand on Geeta’s hand and said, “You’re brave.”
She forced a smile.
“I thank you for coming into Ravin’s life. He is a good man and he deserves love and I thank God for sending you in his life. You are made for each other.”
This awe stroked me. Neither I had told about my relationship with Ravin to Geeta nor had Ravin discussed. How did she know?
It seemed as if Geeta read the question from my face.
She said, “The very next day of your arrival, I was thanking God for saving his life. Ravin heard me and he said ‘God didn’t do anything. Everything was done by the angel sent by him, Fluera. Fluera saved my life. This was enough to make me believe that he was deeply in love with you. And your love to Ravin can be easily noticed. It sparkles on your eyes. I am happy for you, Ful. I have lost him once. Don’t make me lose him again. Love him.”
My hands were still on Geeta’s hands.
“I won’t. I will pray to god to send love to your life soon.”
She puffed out some extra from her nose, showing her disagreement.
“Things are different for a man and a woman. Seriously Ful! You need to learn many things if you are planning to stay in Nepal.”
And we both laughed.
The next day, Ravin was going to the VDC to renew his documents. The thing was Geeta had already made his death certificate and Ravin was officially dead. I insisted going with him. I wanted to explore the village. But he disagreed.
Ravin was off to VDC. Geeta and I were working on the kitchen. Rajen and Rojen were at school.
It was around 5. The evenings in Nepal had a heavenly feeling in it, so differently beautiful. This was the best part of the day. But that particular day, I was feeling unusual. I was feeling like something bad was going to happen, like my life was turning upside down.
Then suddenly, someone knocked our front door vigorously. It seemed like someone was running out of life. Geeta went to open the door.
Outside there was a man, probably on his fifties. He was wearing a shirt and trousers bigger than his size and a worry on his face. He was sweating. He was carrying a polythene bag.
“What happened Dil Bahadur?” Geeta asked.
“The Maoist… the Maoist …” he stammered.
Hearing this, Geeta and I were both alerted. It was the most terrifying word at that time. They were the one to inaugurate the insurgency.
Dil Bahadur continued “the Maoist knew Ravin was a soldier… “
This time we needed no explanation.
But he continued “…And they shot Ravin and took his body.”
Everything she dreamt was shattered into pieces. How will be Fluera’s life without Ravin?
Long journey, Fluera has to go!
Chapter 2, Next FriYay!!