The Barbed-wire Fence (Prologue)

Prologue

The cold mist of air twisting and twirling in the sky above to give perfection to my tangled life, which was partially known and fully stranger to me, even failed to console me on this hardship. The drizzling cold seemed to add some essence in the environment. But for me, it hadn’t succeeded to penetrate in my heart because my heart was full of your love, my heart was full of your memories and it contained not a single space for anything.

And from here my story begins.

“Fluera, I’m back.” I was flattered to hear Ravin’s voice.

I was personally confused. Was this what I wanted? Did I want Ravin to come back in my life?

“No. But yes!” If yes, then why did I send Ravin to live his old life? Why did I break up with him?

I am the reason why those beautiful eyes of his wife have been covered with pain and tears. I am the reason why those two children have given up hope for their daddy to turn up with chocolates in his hands. How can I fall to that extent? Am I that much selfish?

However people say ‘Everything is fair in love and war.’

War? Okay, that was fair. But, love?

“I love you Fluera. And I know you love me too. I’ve come just for you. Now, let’s go somewhere else no one else can see. Let’s start our new life together. Let’s get lost into one another forgetting about these tantrums and the war. Come, come Fluera. Let’s go.”

I shook my head. He tried to look into my eyes but I refused because his sea-blue eyes wouldn’t let me collect guts to deny.

There was a fence in between me and Ravin. A fence called ‘The Barbed Wire Fence’ which wasn’t letting me to fall in love with Ravin.

We had nothing in common. I was volunteering as a nurse in this war-zone Nepal during the Maoist insurgency and Ravin was fighting for his country. I had humanity; he was trained not to have it.  I was a well grown up European girl who lacked courage while he was simple yet brave Nepali soldier. And most importantly, I had a life where love was always missing and he had plenty of those. Will this conservative Nepali society accept me as Ravin’s second wife? Will my father accept my aberrant relationship with Ravin?

“Everything is fair in love and war.”

The same dialogue, again. It might be fair in love but what about humanity? What about those dreams that my father had dreamt for me? Was it fair to shatter your father’s dream without his permission?

My hands began to tremble. I realized that the letter sent by my father was in my hands. I could clearly see those bold, heart punching words, although my eyes were full of tears.

He had written the letter to deny my relationship with my love.

Unquestionably, how could he accept it? I had come here as a nurse without his consent and he had fixed my marriage with some rich merchant, which I had denied. And, my love wasn’t that much rich. He was a soldier. His life was full of difficulties. He was married with two children who still thought that their father died in the bomb blast.

But fortunately, he had survived and unfortunately the bomb blast left behind his left arm paralyzed.

How will any responsible father dedicate his daughter’s future to a guy like him?

“Being a successful nurse is what I always wanted. To help people in need. And Nepal needs me now. The wounded people need a skilled nurse. I want to go to Nepal. And I know my happiness is in that. Are you not going to support me to be happy?” I had asked to my father doubting my own words.

“Sometimes in the search of happiness, people lose the essence of it. You run after it, try to get hold of it. But you can’t, because the mere fact is that you are not chasing happiness, happiness is chasing you. What you need to do is turn back and realize it before it’s too late. You never know when it will grab another’s finger. People often confuse with what they want and what they need, with their objectives and interest.” Her father had consoled her in a way which she did not understand then. But now, his words were becoming clearer.

Then a cold shudder passed through my veins, still not being able to penetrate inside my heart. It stroked a chill on my mind which did not let anything to play on it. Neither my father’s letter nor about Ravin’s wife and sons.

Words like humanity, society, support and pain seemed to disappear from my prospect. The vibes of cold were trying to reach my lips. My lips vibrated. I didn’t know what was going inside my body. My tongue moved. My lips trembled.hand

“Yes. I’m ready to come with you.”

At that particular moment, everything stopped. Birds stopped chirping, the sun stuck between the hills. The wind forgot to blow. That river failed to roar.

Although the Insurgency had left villages charred, family displaced and people destiny less; I couldn’t see those side effects. I could only see that the position of stars in this particular war struggled and fought to bring Ravin to me, to make me fall in love with him.

I believe everything happens for a reason. It might not be a coincidence that only Ravin survived the bomb blast with only his left arm badly injured and he came to our camp to first aid. Neither might it be another coincidence that our camp chief appointed me as Ravin’s nurse.

So, it was all planned up. It was all planned up by the stars. It was all planned up by his hands.

And suddenly after a moment, everything was normal. The birds, the sun, the wind, the river were all back in position.

I looked into his eyes that same sea-blue eyes of which I was afraid a moment ago. There was something unusual on his eyes; a great uniqueness into it. I had not seen anyone having those kind of eyes, here in Nepal.  It seemed as if someone boarded those eyes from Europe and put it into his eyelids.

It was a beautiful and artistic mixture of almond and aryan eyes. Maybe his eyes symbolized that we were meant to be together, meant to be beautifully engulfed into one another like his eyes.

“I will take you to my home.” Ravin said with his sea-blue eyes glittering.

“I’m ready to come with you; wherever you lead me, even in the path of death. Ever ready to climb the barbed wire fence, if you cheer me.”

“But I have already demolished the barbed wire fence between us with my immense love.”

He looked at me; I looked into his sea-blue eyes. Truly I couldn’t see any barriers now between us. I could only see love on his eyes and on the air between us. He approached towards me and kissed my forehead .His cold lips touched my warm body.  A kiss of love, a kiss of winter love which surely and finally penetrated my heart.


 

Wait! Wait! The story isn’t over yet. It was just a prologue.

Long journey, Fluera has to go.

What happens next??

Chapter 1, next FriYay. 🙂


XOXO,

Rizasa ❤

 

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We Are Going To New York

 

“We are going to New York.” I heard my sister yelling.

First of all, I thought it was my dream and partially neglected it but soon after I heard loud strides on the front corridor towards my room. I heard the door being unlocked. I still pretended to be asleep. From the corner of my eyes, I saw my mommy.

She came nearer to me with the jolliest smile ever. I still pretended to be asleep but she gestured as if she didn’t care.

“Honey! We are going to New York.” Her enthusiastic voice was enough to wake up a dead person, let alone me who was pretending to be asleep.

I blinked my eyes in surprise. I just couldn’t believe the reality. I wanted to speak something but nothing came out from my lips.

The very first thing that stroked my mind was to hug my mommy tightly and so I did.

I closed my eyes, enlightened a large smile on my face and spoke softly, “Daddy I am coming.”

From the very next day, our packing started. That was going to be my first travel on an airplane. I was on cloud nine dreaming all about life in New York. Would it be like they show on TV? How would be the sea and the beach?

More than that, I was excited to get boarded. I was excited to experience the hustle of the airport and I was excited to get my passport stamped.

And finally the great day arrived; we were seated, buckled up on the seats of the plane.

“The plane will be taking off in few minutes. Please buckle up your seats. We hope you’ll have a pleasant flight. Thank you!” We heard the announcement.

My body was filled with many unencountered emotions.

I crossed my fingers. My sister whispered with a warm breadth on my ear.  “Good luck darling. ”

The plane took off. My heart thumped a little for a while.” I am coming New York.”

I could see the full moon shining brightly, closer than ever.
My mommy and sister were asleep but I couldn’t sleep because the brand new experience of my life didn’t let me to close my eyes.

And then something happened. The plane jerked with a loud noise. I saw my water pot trembling. And soon after, the plane jerked for the second time.

My heart beat faster. My hand began to shake and I looked at my sister.

She was lying motionless starring at me with watery eyes and open mouth.

“Dear passengers, we have encountered an engine problem. We are trying to fix this. We request you to take your seat and buckle up the belts. Thank you ”

Everyone panicked hearing the announcement. Just after few moments, the airplane jerked for the third time. This time louder and I closed my eyes.
————————–

I felt as if I have been dead for more than thousand years. I tried to open my eyes but it seemed impossible. However, I collected guts to stand up.   I sensed blood on my forehead. I looked around and what I saw was a misery. I was surrounded by corpse all around and parts of the plane burning here and there.

Just beside me, I saw my sister’s handbag. I approached it hoping to find her somewhere. She was there; beside her handbag, pale with deep wounds on her forehead and her stomach.

I could bear this no more. My head spun as if someone had hit hard and I fell to the ground.

——————

I heard someone yelling again from a far distance, “We are going to New York.” I pressed my hands against my ears but still the voice echoed inside my head. “We are going to new York.”

When my eyes opened, my head felt heavy. A chill ran through my spine. I shrugged a little and got up from my cozy bed of my room.

I was glad the accident was just a dream or a nightmare, I must say.

“We are going to New York” I heard it again and this time I knew this wasn’t a dream.

I managed to get up and go to the kitchen.

“Who is going to new York?” I asked in a sleepy voice.

“Nobody” answered my mommy, without any interest and enthusiasm.

My sister rolled her eyes and looked at me, “Actually there is a new movie of Leo ‘We are going to New York’ and my friends say it’s too good. I was requesting mom to take us to the cinema hall. But she doesn’t want to.”


XOXO,

Rizasa ❤

Echoes

1

Exhaling the deep warm breath, sitting on the only bed of the semi-dark room; she cried at the top of her lungs, only to hear her echoes crying back to her. Tears rolled down, heart thumped louder and she cried once again; louder this time, with more effort, unconsciously knowing that no one would come for her rescue.

She tried hard to stop shivering, collected guts to be strong and stood up. The bed creaked and she was used to it. She took out a piece of worn out paper. It  was a newspaper article.

It read “Woman, 31, jailed for killing her husband.”

The article also had a half-turned picture of a beautiful woman. She looked at the mirror, only to find the similarities between the picture which was taken a few years back, and the reflection on the mirror.

The beautiful woman with a perfect features and a big smile was nowhere to be seen in the mirror. The still look, swollen face and red eyes and a deep scar on the forehead; she wondered if she knew the woman she was staring at.

She heard a sound as if someone was approaching and quickly turned back and listened for a while. She saw the jail keeper coming with a bunch of keys. He was trying to open the door. She wondered why anybody would be interested in her at this peculiar hour. As long as she could remember, the door only opened twice a day; during the meal times.

“You have your final hearing today.” The jail keeper told her.

She starred at him with a blank expression.

“C’mon lady” this time he was louder.

But she refused to move. She knew the hearing wouldn’t be in her favor after what she had done.

“I think criminals nowadays want themselves to be treated in a way they deserve.” He entered the room, grabbed her arms and dragged her outside.

She closed her eyes and compressed her lips. Her arms hurt but she had been used to it.

 

                                                                    2

 

“You will know how it feels to be my wife.”  Ranveer grinned at her.

She smiled back, keeping in mind not to offend him.

He unbuttoned the white shirt revealing his muscular body and threw it on the floor.

She was about to pick up the shirt when she felt cold hand on her waist pulling her up.

She closed her eyes, a drop of tear rolled down her cheeks.

He passionately kissed her on the neck and she tilted her head.

“I love you Suhani.” He whispered on her ears.

She could bare this no more. She opened her eyes and took a deep breath.

He turned her around and kissed her on her wet cheeks.

He looked at her in bewilderment.

Her eyes were still open but immediately looked down, afraid to make an eye contact and tears rolled down again from the beautiful almond eyes.

“Why are you crying Suhani? What happened?” he asked.

She shook her head.

“I know. I know it’s hard for you. First, losing your husband and then losing your unborn child. And suddenly marrying me; your brother-in-law. I know it’s not easy. But at least you can try, try to be happy.”

She nodded, still afraid to make an eye contact.

Ranveer rolled his eyes. He went to the side table and opened the water bottle. But then realized there was no water in it.

He breathed heavily and looked at Suhani. “Where is the water?” He shouted at her in ablaze.

Suhani looked at him, frightened. “I’m sorry. I’ll just fill it up” she tried to get the bottle from him but he grabbed her hands.

“Come I’ll show you where the water it.” He clenched his teeth and began to drag her outside.

She moaned in pain, cried for help, pleaded many times but he was a monster and she knew it.

He took her in the swimming pool.

“No, please No. Forgive me” she begged.

But he wouldn’t listen.

“Enjoy drinking water” he said gaily and threw her in the pool.

She could sense the cold water through her body. She gasped for air, splashed water, flapped her arms but she couldn’t stop feeling the water pull her into it.

She saw a blurry vision of a man standing by the pool. She smiled contently. She could see Kabir, her first husband smiling at him and she closed her eyes.

 

3

 

When she opened her eyes she saw a familiar ceiling. Her vision was still blurring. She turned her head and saw Ranveer; still and calm as if nothing has happened.

She shivered violently.

Ranveer came closer to her and kissed her forehead.

“I’m sorry I did this to you. You almost died.”

She shivered more violently and turned her head to the other side.

Ranveer stood up.

“I’m not a good person Suhani. Why are you living with me? Just go away.”

Suhani was astounded to hear this.

“Go away” he shouted.

She nodded, still shivering, got off the bed and began to run, run away from the monster, run away from her life and her fate.

She was about to open the main door when she felt a strong force grab her hair and pull her back.

She cried but she knew he wouldn’t listen. “How dare you run away from me?” He yelled.

He pulled her into the bedroom, threw her on the floor, slammed the door and walked away.

She knew she was locked, locked for days and trapped forever. She cried, begged to open the door but only thing she could hear were her echoes crying back to her.

Suhani confronted herself “This is it. This is the end. I’m gonna put an end to it.”

She approached the closet, opened the locker and took out a knife rapped in a plastic bag. The knife had a wooden handle with a pointed tip and sharp edge. It still had strains of thick blood in it.

She cried heartily looking at the knife which had an untold story compiled in its sharpness.

 

4

 

A year ago, she remembered, Kabir had said, “Happy anniversary darling! I’m taking you for a dinner date tonight. I’ll come to pick you up at five. Get ready.”

Suhani had just had lunch and washing the dishes and was planning to reveal the news of her pregnancy to Kabir the following night.

She felt a warm breadth on her neck. She could feel her waist being grabbed.

“How did you come home so early?”Suhani whispered.

“Where did I even go, Suhani?” she heard a familiar voice, it was not of Kabir’s. She turned back and realized it was Ranveer, Kabir’s brother.

“What are you doing?” She shouted furiously.

“Falling in love.” He said casually.

“For god’s sake, I’m your brother’s wife.” She yelled.

“Ahnn. Maybe Kabir forgot to tell you. Whatever is Kabir’s is mine’s. From toys to cars, from parents to home, books and games and how could you be left out.” He said coldly.

“You have lost your mind.” Suhani couldn’t believe she was talking to Ranveer.

Ranveer moved forward. Suhani, afraid of him, stepped backwards.

He grabbed her hair, pulled her near and murmured, “You are my half-wife. The sooner you understand the better.”

 

5

 

Later that evening, Suhani had told to Kabir about the incident but she knew Kabir wouldn’t believe her.

“I know Ranveer is a little hard to handle. He was a spoiled child, too stubborn. He needs what he wants. And after what he went through; I mean losing his pregnant wife in an accident, he needs time to overcome. And we need to help him.” He pressed Suhani’s hand.

“Kabir, you don’t understand. He said I’m his half-“she was interrupted.

“I understand my brother very well Suhani. Now, I want no more discussion on this topic.”

Days went, weeks passed and Suhani continued to suffer alone. The house where laughter once prevailed was now being haunted by the echoes of cries. She didn’t dare to speak about this to Kabir because Ranveer had warned her: if she did, Kabir’s life would be in danger.

 

6

 

One day, Suhani was preparing  the dinner, contemplating about life and wondering how life had taken a U-turn since that day.

She heard Ranveer yell “Suhani, I want a cup of tea.”

Suhani, afraid of what he would do, quickly turned on the stove and started to make tea.

She poured the tea on the glass and was about to take it to Ranveer’s room when she saw him standing at the kitchen’s door.

“Why are you late?” he questioned.

“I was about to….” Suhani was interrupted.

“Why-are-you-late?” he said every world clearly and individually and came nearer to her.

He snatched the cup of tea from her shivering hands and without wasting a second he splashed the tea into her face.

“Drink it yourselves.”

Suhani screamed in pain. She could feel her face burning. She couldn’t open her eyes. Her senses stopped functioning for a second.

“Suhani!” she heard someone call her name from far away.

“What did you do to her, Ranveer?” she heard Kabir yelling.

“No, I was just….I was just helping her.” She heard Ranveer answer politely.

Suhani tried to open her eyes but it was hard.

“I cannot believe this. You bastard!” Kabir slapped him.

Ranveer stared at him for a while, “Me neither” he said clenching his teeth and grabbed Kabir’s collar. He pushed him to the wall and grabbed his neck.

Suhani had to do something. She couldn’t see Ranveer choking Kabir to death.

She searched the drawer, hoping to find something which could stop Ranveer.

She found a wooden handler knife with a pointed tip and sharp edges.

She approached them without having a second thought. She was going to put an end to it. She was going to put an end to her suffering. She was going to save Kabir’s life. Taking a deep breath, she. closed her eyes and stabbed him.  She could hear him moan in pain. She remembered the brutalities and stabbed him once again.

Her eyes were still closed.

“Su.. ha….ni” she heard Kabir’s voice, completely soaked.

Suhani opened her eyes and realized she had stabbed Kabir instead of Ranveer.

Suhani went blank for a second. She couldn’t figure out what was happening.

“No, Kabir. How did it happen?” she stumbled.

Her eyes filled up. She gulped in some air in her dry throat.

“I’ll call the doctor. Everything will be alright. You’ll be alright.” She was trying to confront herself.

But Kabir held Suhani’s hand.

“It’s of no use Suhani” Kabir stammered, struggling to speak.

“I’m sorry Kabir. I didn’t mean to.” Suhani cried leaning into him.

“I know Suhani. I want you to know I’ll always love you Suhani” he stumbled in pain.

“I know. I love you too” she wept, holding his hands.

But this time there wasn’t a reply. She looked at Kabir, still and pale; staring at her unconditionally.

“No no! You can’t do this. You can’t leave me alone.”  But she felt his hand slipping off from hers.

“Kabir wake up” she shook him but instead he lost his grip. “Wake up” she shouted and bawled.

She could feel her stomach arch., sending veils of pain through her body. She shouted once again holding her stomach and lost consciousness.

 

7

 

When she woke up, she was in her bedroom.

She looked around but no one was to be seen.

She saw someone coming through the door.

It was Ranveer.

He came closer callously and leaned down to her.

She turned her head to the other side. The vivid image of Kabir dying still haunted her.

He kissed her forehead gently.

She closed her eyes with much effort, tears rolled down her eyes and she gripped the bed sheet tightly.

Despite detesting him so much, she couldn’t do anything.

He said in a rough voice. “It’s okay Suhani. We lost our child. It’s okay”

Suhani gripped the bed sheets even tighter. She compressed her lips and she wept strongly.

Ranveer stood up., dusted his sweater and said “And yes! Nothing happened yesterday. You understand? Nothing happened yesterday.” He repeated. “Kabir will forever be missing in the records. I have done the other arrangements.”

 

8

 

Suhani stared at the knife. She stared at the incident which had changed her life forever. She stared at her guilt and the blame which would unconsciously kill her inside every day.

She had had enough of it. She decided she couldn’t take it no more.

She could hear the strides on the corridor and became alert. “Darling I’m home.” She heard Ranveer shout.

She took a deep breath and collected guts. Her hands were shivering but she consoled herself, “I should do it.”

The door creaked and Ranveer walked inside. Suhani was laying on her bed; calm and quiet, covered in a thin blanket.

“Honey! I missed you” Ranveer murmured and kissed her forehead. Suhani gulped in, her heart was pounding hard, her hand shivering, she took out the knife and stabbed him on the stomach, screaming.

She heard him moan in pain. She remembered all the brutalities she went through because of him and once again stabbed him.

She heard his teeth being clenched. He laid a hand on in stomach. He looked at Suhani through the corner of his dreaded eyes. “How dare you?” She could feel his eyes burning. Suhani was shivering and all of a sudden she felt his strong hands on her neck. Suhani gasped for air.  He pressed her neck as hard as he could but his grip was losing.

In no more second, he fell to the ground.

Suhani coughed, tried to take deep breath and kneed to the ground, sobbing.

She couldn’t believe what had he just done. She had killed the monster, who sucked away all her happiness and filled it with soberness and grief.  She realized she was now free, with no more fear around.

She laughed at the moment, laughed at the top of her lungs with tears flowing down her eyes. She could sense the revenge being taken and her victory on the air.

She closed her eyes and fell to the ground.

The view was silent; silent for a while. Only thing that was heard was the echo of her laughter, laughing back to her.

XOXO

Rizasa 💋

The Anglo-Nepal War

When we think of war, we think about chaos, pain, suffering. Have you thought of the other-ways? Well this story might change your perspective!

The war which took place in the year 1814 A.D between Nepal and British East India Company is called the Anglo-Nepal war.
And the most interesting war among the Anglo-Nepal war was the Nalapani ladai which was fought in Nalapani, a place near Dehradun. This war officially began from 31st October and ended on 30th November.
This is the story of a girl named Aashima who lived in the heaven of Nepal; Dehradun and Dave; a British soldier in around 1814 A.D.

[In may; six months before the war]

Slowly she stripped with what so-called desperate manner. With cheer and open heart she was waiting for him. Recalling those past memories watching herself in the mirror and just the difference when she last saw herself. Following her deep thoughts and passing through the vain, she was unaware that her cheeks were wet. Her legs were shaking and then cold fingers ran through her belly which distracted her.

That awesome moment which she was waiting for two months had finally arrived. Just putting a stone on her past she turned back to kiss him. Feel him and love the way she used to. Tell him all those things which had happened in these two cruel months. Make love with him like she did.

She was in a long list of things to do with him when the door bell rang. And she opened her eyes. There was no one behind her but the reality not the dreams which she often dreamed.

For a moment, the view was silent, silent for a while. Even she was silent staring at the wind charm which was gifted by him.

And then suddenly the wind charm began to move violently. More than ever; even the wind was absent. Once again she realized she was in her reality. Then, she heard the doorbell again. She quickly dressed up and went to open it.

There, she saw a short fat man wearing a khaki color uniform outside the door. He was carrying a bunch of letters in his hands which was being shuffled by his fat fingers. He was a post man.

“You Aashima Chetri?” he asked.

“No. Aashima Roberts.”

She felt something wrong. Wrong on reality but always true on her dreams. Her heart always loved her as Aashima Roberts but the world represented her as Aashima Chetri. She was fighting against herself, against the world and against the reality.

“Sorry ma’am, I’d rather mention it as an incorrect address. And once again sorry for the disturbance.” The post man apologized.

“Hey! Wait. I am Aashima Chetri.” Aashima stopped the postman from turning back.
Two curious eyes were staring her and then it showed up into a gentle smile remembering she had made the same mistake two weeks before.

As she was about to get the letter from the post man when the letter was snatched by her mother not letting her to see saying “it was financial, sent by her father from India”

The day after was the first day of June and as always as in the 1st day of the month she dressed up and set off for temple. It seemed as if gods reminded her of him. She could feel the presence of him on the air of temple. For her, only one prayer echoed around on the walls of the temple “god! Please bring him back into my life.”

While she was returning from temple she felt a chronic pain on her head sending waves of nausea to her mouth. She couldn’t help vomiting.

Sumitra, a close friend of Aashima saw her and took her to the nearest Vaidhyalaya.

Sumitra: What is this?
Aashima: What?
Sumitra: Don’t act like you don’t know anything. You’re pregnant.
Aashima: so what then?
Sumitra: What do you mean by so what? It is a sin. A girl shouldn’t be pregnant before marriage.
Aashima: He is going to marry me.
Sumitra: Who? Don’t say it’s that British again.
Aashima: He has a name. His name is Dave and he has promised me that he will marry me.
Sumitra: Don’t act foolish. And if he had promised to marry you than where is he now? Why hasn’t he written to you till now? Why hasn’t he turned up yet?
Aashima: Maybe he is little busy.
Sumitra: Yes indeed! He is very busy. So busy that he doesn’t have time to keep his promise. Why don’t you accept the fact? He is gone. Gone forever and gone for good in his own country.
Aashima: He hasn’t gone to Britain. He is in Calcutta.
Sumitra: How do you know?
( Aashima didn’t speak)
Sumitra: Tell me.
After a long pause, Aashima finally spoke.
Aashima:

It was the time of March when I first met him. Dave and his friend Jack came to our place as paying guests. They introduced themselves as journalists who were examining the beauty of Dehradun. I took them to various places. We went to Nalapani fort where he bought me a beautiful wind charm. I sensed that he wanted me to be interested on him, wanted me to like him. I thought I loved him but later on I just parted it as an infatuation which often belonged to me. Never had I imagined that I was in love, deeply in love with no symptoms because it was hidden, hidden in my deep passage of heart.

One day when mother was plating dinner for us, I felt something unusual. I looked at Dave. Dave was staring at me. I don’t know why but I was enjoying what was happening. For a long time, our eyes kept on the silent conversation.

After I finished my dinner, I was in the balcony enjoying the very first hint of love. My mind was playing all those love songs and my brain was recalling every moment spent with Dave.

Then a hoarse cough grabbed my attention. Looking back; I saw Dave. He was smiling at me. I smiled back trying to hide my feelings.

I asked him “Don’t you have to go to bed? It’s late”

Instead of answering, he took a step towards me and everything happened quickly to even make a sense. He slipped his arm around my back. He was holding on the same smile, knowing that I was falling in love with him. He pulled me closer and kissed me on my lips. We spent the whole night making love and talking about every beautiful thing of the world. He told about his country, his world, his dreams, his childhood and his life. And I shared mine childhood spent in a very strict Indian school. There were only three girls in the school, all the daughters of commanders. I told him about the British teacher who had taught me to speak English. He was very rude and cruel. I thought every British was like him until I met Dave.

Dave had gone to bathroom and I went to the closet to search blankets but couldn’t find anything other than shawls. While I was about to take out one, something dropped from the closet. I picked it up. It was an official letter written by Rollo Gillespie, the commander of the British army.

My eyes went wide open and my breath came in a whooshing sound. I was reading the letter and suddenly Dave snatched that letter from my hand. I couldn’t believe what I read.
I had so many questions which were to be answered. I hadn’t imagined Dave as a secret messenger of British army. How could he lie to me?

The person whom I shared my life stories, my feelings, my life was a scoundrel! He had cheated on me. I told all my secrets to him but he hadn’t told me the vital secret of his life.

“Look Aashima; let me explain” he muttered with a rush.

I realized my love with the pain in advance. I didn’t want to hear what it was. I headed towards the door without turning back.

Then Dave signed, louder than before “We are going to attack Dehradun.”

This time I couldn’t help stopping by the door. These words had sent a chill through my spine. My breath was heavy. How can I fall in love with a guy who was secretly planning to attack my country?

I turned back and asked rudely trying not to reflect the pain of my heart “why did you lie to me?”

His voice softened “because I had promised”

“Promise?  You promised me to tell everything. You lied…. You are a liar.”

“No Aashima. I love you and this isn’t a lie.” It sounded true. “But a soldier’s professional life wins over his personal life”

This time I couldn’t reply. I was well aware about the life of a soldier. My dad was a commander and I knew what he said was true.

“So, when are you leaving?” although I knew there would be an answer, I was afraid to find hear it.

“Tomorrow, before the sun rises. The commander has called us in Calcutta”

“Dave” I pleaded “can’t you stay one more day?”

I felt something unusual that I hadn’t felt before. A sensation that something was merely going far from me.

He said despite he didn’t want to “No Aashima. I have promises to keep. But I promise you, I will come back one day and I’ll fill your life with happiness. I promise”

His eyes glittered. His eyes carried truth. His eyes carried love. The first love of my life.

By the time Aashima finished telling her story; Sumitra’s eyes had filled up with tears. Sumitra hugged Aashima and whispered “You are brave.”
                                                             

                                                                     *

Three months had passed since Dave’s departure but still no letters arrived.
Her belly had swollen up a little. She didn’t want to eat and with the beginning of the day she felt nauseated. Her feet were swollen. Her mother enquired many times about the way Aashima was responding. But Aashima told it was just food poison and nothing more.

One fine day of July, Aashima was home alone thinking about the beautiful night with Dave while the wind charm gifted by Dave was making mesmerizing sounds.
Then the bell rang, bringing her to present.

She went to open the door, hoping to get a letter from Dave. But when she opened the door, she saw her mother. With her mother there was another person. She had seen the person but couldn’t recall when. She thought for a while and then remembered she was the Vaidhya who had treated her three months ago.

Her mother spoke, “This is my daughter Aashima. She says she is suffering from food poison. You need to prescribe her some medicine”

The Vaidhya smiled. This was the cruelest joke played on her. She wished the land would split up and it would drag her to hell.

“Madam there’s nothing to worry about. In fact you should be happy. Your daughter is going to be mother”

Her mother stared at the Vaidhya in surprise “Are you sure?”

The Vaidhya answered “yes indeed! In fact I have already prescribed some medicines to her.”

Her mom looked at Aashima with more surprise than she had looked at Vaidhya. “Is this true?”

Aashima couldn’t deny, “Yes mother”

Her mom screamed, “Who is that man? Tell me Aashima!”

She wanted to answer but her lips trembled. She confessed “His name is Dave”.

“Who Dave?” this time the words were little soft as it contained seriousness.

“The British”

“What? How could….how?” she stammered “He is a Christian.”

“He is a human” Aashima corrected her mother.

“Your father will kill you. Aren’t you afraid of him?”

She did not fear death but what she feared about was love, which she didn’t see in the eyes of her mother. Therefore there was nothing to fear about.

“Aashima, just go away! You don’t deserve to be here. Leave us alone” she pleaded.
For the first time in the entire conversation, Aashima looked at her mother and said “I thought at least you would understand. I was wrong mother. You aren’t the best mother alive.”

Her mother’s eye filled with tears but she didn’t want to show it. “Can’t you hear? Pack your stuffs and go away before your father comes.” This was said as if she didn’t mean to.

Next day:

She looked around only to find herself in the middle of nowhere. She screamed, she shouted but the sounds diminished as invincibly like air in the surrounding. She shouted one more time on top of her lungs but not with the hope of being listened as she was in the middle of nowhere.

She began to shiver. Her legs were shaking. She could feel her hands tremble and finally she was unconscious.

When she opened her eyes, she found herself inside a hut. There seemed to be just a room in which a bed was in the middle, a big dungeon, one chair, a table and a fire-place where milk was boiling.

Then an old lady appeared. Her face was wrinkled but a gentle smile made that invisible. She was carrying a herb in her hand. She smiled after seeing Aashima.

Aashima couldn’t figure out what was happening “Where am I?” she asked.

The old lady smiled and answered “You’re in my hut. I found you lying unconscious on the street.”

Aashima had lots of queries. “Who are you?”

“Everyone calls me Aama.”

Three months passed. Now, Aashima was 7 months pregnant. Aama had lied to everyone that Aashima was her daughter-in-law to protect her from the society’s scoundrel. In this mean interval Aashima and Aama had developed a strong bond. Aama told Aashima that her only son had gone for war and she was waiting for him and Aashima told Aama about Dave. In a way, they both were on the same turning point of life.

On 31st October, Aashima was alone in the hut waiting for Aama to come so that they could have dinner together. She was wondering how on earth she had been lucky enough to find Aama.

After some time, the door bell rang. She went to open it picturing Aama with herbs on her hand which she’d promised to bring for Aashima from Nalapani.

But whom she saw outside was not Aama, it was Ram, their neighbor “Aashima. The British has attacked. They have attacked the Nalapani. And…” He stopped.

“And what? What Ram?” Aashima asked curiously.

“Aama…Aama was near Nalapani ….and she died.”

These words were twirling inside her head. She couldn’t believe what she just heard. This was the most unfaithful moment she ever lived. Whoever she loved, they would either leave or betray or would die. First it was Dave and then her mother and now Aama. It seemed as if love never belonged to her dictionary.

The war was going on; time and again the news arrived stating the victory and losses. The regular ups and downs were making the war even more devastating.

She prayed for the victory of Gorkhas but well wished British. The Anglo-Nepal war was not only the war between British East India Company and Gorkhas but also the war between her dreams and reality.

After one month of sitting idly inside the hut letting the loneliness to haunt her, the war finally ended resulting the victory of Britain.

It had already been 8 months since she last saw Dave. And with the passing of time, the time spent with Dave began to be vague. She had made herself busy, not letting her past to haunt her anymore.

That was till one day; the wind charm began to shake violently. This reminded her of Dave. His promise. He had promised to come back to her after the war ended. But Dave didn’t know she had left her home and was now staying in the hut. So how could he find her?

She made up her mind to go to Nalapani where the British Army lived. She pictured her dreams to change into reality. Wondering how Dave would be like, how the war had changed him and how would he feel if he found out he was going to be father of her child.

With much struggle, she finally reached the British camp. The day was cold, cold enough to make the water freeze. It was a December morning and she could hardly see anyone because of the presence of fog.

When the rays of sun became successful to penetrate through the dense fog, the view got clear.

There, everyone was packing their stuffs, getting ready to return home. There was a smile on everyone’s face.

Aashima desperately searched for Dave. She even asked the other soldiers but none knew about Dave.

Then, she heard someone call out her name. It was a familiar voice. She turned back. It was Jack, Dave’s friend. She went towards him with a certain hope of finding Dave.

“Where is Dave? Tell him his Aashima has come. Where is he?”

Jack was silent. He didn’t answer. Instead he faced the ground for a long time.

Aashima couldn’t figure out what was happening. She shrugged Jack and yelled “Where is Dave?”

Her voice was so loud that for a moment everyone stopped whatever they were doing and looked at her.

He still didn’t reply. He rubbed his eyes, put his hand on his pocket and took out a paper and handed it to Aashima.

Dear Aashima,

By the time you’ll be reading this letter, I wouldn’t be alive. But my love is always alive for you. My love is always there even if my heart stops beating.

As I’ve promised to tell you everything, I am going to tell you another truth of my life.
Aashima, I am not a nice man. When I first saw you, the first thing that stroke into my mind was to get intimate with you. I did every possible attempt to make you to like me and I was successful too. I had planned to spend the night with you and then flee the following morning. But when I saw the pain in your eyes after you discovered I was a secret messenger, I couldn’t resist myself. I realized I had already fallen for you. This was the first time I ever had that kind of feeling within me. I didn’t know if that was love or not but when I got separated from you, I couldn’t forget you. All those moments we spent together, all those talks we had were always lingering on me. Though I tried to forget but now and then my mind recalled the vow I’d made to you about returning to your life.

If this is what the world calls love, then yes Aashima I love you!

Aashima, I want to meet you before I die. I want to whisper ‘I love you’ in your ears and see you smile shyly. But that does not seem possible. Everyone says I am dying.

Aashima, I’m going and I don’t want to see tears in your eyes. Now, you promise me. Promise me you’ll restart your life and forget me. Promise me you’ll be happy. Promise me you’ll never cry remembering me.

This is the last letter and I surely do not expect reply of this letter as you’ve never given reply to my previous letters.

But I know you love me and you’ll always do. And that’s what matters.

Truly yours,
Dave Roberts

She felt a heavy turf rest on her heart. Her eyes were full of tears. But she’d promised she wouldn’t cry. So she rubbed her eyes raising the tears off her face.

She couldn’t believe what she just read.

She couldn’t imagine her mother preventing her to read the letters sent by Dave. Once she had seen her mother burning letters. And she’d asked too but her mother stuttered saying they were old and of no use. And she also remembered the day when her mother had snatched the letter from her hand. Her mother knew all the time that she loved Dave but why did she act as if she didn’t know anything? Why did she bring the same Vaidhya who cured her though there were plenty of Vaidhyas around the house? Obviously her mother knew the symptoms of pregnancy. She had gone through it. So this was all planned up.  Her mother kicked her off the house probably because she knew if Aashima’s dad found out about the pregnancy, he would kill her.

Aashima’s head began to spin. She had a chronic pain on her stomach as if someone had punched her intimate areas. She couldn’t help crying. Jack held her and called other members to help her. She was kept on the log.

This was her labor pain.

She was trying hard, laboring heavily while some of the soldiers were involved in bringing towels, some were involved in boiling water and the others were beside Aashima giving her courage and hope.

Finally, she gave birth to a baby boy.

She was happy and along with her all the soldiers were. But she wished Dave was there. She missed Dave, the one who would be the happiest at the moment.

                                                                           *

One day Aashima was sleeping in the hut when she heard the wind charm making mesmerizing sound. She woke up and found her son was awakening too.

His eyes were glittering. His eyes carried truth. His eyes carried love, the love which once shone in Dave’s eyes.

Then she remembered what Dave had said “I promise you. I will come back one day and I’ll fill your life with happiness. I promise.”

“Oh Dave!” she signed.

Five years have passed. David was growing up fast. She had named her son David as he was the replica of Dave. Now, she had what happiness meant but always lacked the presence of Dave in her life, the vital necessity of life.

One day again, the wind charm began to move violently making pleasant sounds. It was an omen that something was going to happen.

Then after sometime, the door bell rang.

Aashima went to open the door, wondering who might come in this hour of time.
There was a man in an army uniform.

“Yes?”

The man questioned “Hi. Where is Aama?”. He seemed shocked to see Ashima.

Aashima had almost forgotten that the hut belonged to Aama. She said with rather pain vibrating than throat, “She went to heaven five years ago.” she analyzed the man. “Who are you?”

He opened his mouth to speak but instead shook his head. A drop of tear rolled down his cheeks. He was silent for a moment. “My name is Devendra. But my friends call me Dave. I am the son of Aama. I’ve recently returned from war.”

Aashima was looking at him with surprise. Aama had mentioned about him; about her only son who had gone in a war. She smiled at him. No, she smiled at the co-incidence. His friends call him Dave. What a coincidence!

Devendra was also looking at Aashima. He was looking at the depth of ocean into her eyes. The only thing that came from his mouth was “beau-ti-ful”

“Yes everyone says our house is beautiful” David muttered.

Devendra was shocked. He shrived. He couldn’t reply. He was talking about Aashima not the house. He remembered the letter sent by Aama in which she’d mentioned about Aashima, her past, her condition and all those kind things she did for Aama. Aama had also told him that she lied to the society about Aashima being his wife to save her from accusations. He thought for a while, Aama had forgotten to mention about her beauty.

It was almost a year Devendra came to live with them.

Every morning Aashima used to wake up listening the first rhythm of the wind charm. And her day would start by remembering Dave and his love.

But one day, she hadn’t waken up. The sun was on the top but still she hadn’t waked up.

Finally when she heard a cry from David, she woke up. She wondered how long she had slept that night.

She looked at the window where the wind charm used to be. Her eyes went wide open. The wind charm was not there. She searched it everywhere but it was nowhere to be seen. It was there in the window the night before and now it had just vanished.

That day Aashima couldn’t help crying. This was the first time she’d cried after the vow to Dave.

Suddenly she remembered her promise. She had promised not to cry. She missed Dave.
She took out a paper from the desk and started writing. Her first reply to Dave’s letter.

Dear Dave,

Time has changed. Circumstances have changed. My nationality has changed. Once I was proudly called Nepali but now I am compelled to be called Indian despite I am living in the same place. But one thing which hasn’t changed is my love for you.

Yesterday, our son asked me “Who is Dave?”

First, I was shocked to hear your name from him but then I figured it out Devendra might have told him about you. And do you know what I replied? I told him, “Dave was an angle; he came from heaven and gifted you to me.”

Oh sorry! You might be wondering who Devendra is. He is a nice guy. After five years of your departure, I met Devendra. He is so much friendly and funny. I couldn’t resist sharing my life stories with him. And along with the passing of time, our bond became stronger. He makes me feel complete. 

And one day, I saw love on his eyes for me. But I knew I couldn’t love him. You are my love, my everything. No one can take your place. And moreover, whoever I loved god or the Anglo-Nepal war snatched it away from me. I couldn’t loose Devendra. I couldn’t lose a true friend of mine.

And if the world calls it loves, then yes I love him.

I realized my love for him when the wind charm made a serene sound. This reminded me of you, your letter and my promise. I had promised to move on and live happily and my happiness was with Devendra, I knew!

He is adorable. He loves me and our son too. He takes care of every aspect of our life. We married a year ago. He is making a perfect husband.

P.S  As I have promised to tell you everything. I am going to tell you another secret of my life.

Nobody knows it till now. Not even Devendra.

I am pregnant again!

With lots of love,
Aashima Roberts.

XOXO,

Rizasa ❤