Happy New Year Nepal!

3…2…1… HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

A couple of claps and the echoes of screams around the valley welcomed 2074 with a warm hug. A rocket pataka was to be seen in a far distance which exploded just below the shining moon.

We couldn’t have ended 2073 in any better ways.

 

And Nepal couldn’t have started 2074 in any other better ways.

Well, when I was small and when unfortunately I had to travel through the chaotic and crowded public transportation with irritating sounds of horns now and then. I so much wished that a Genie would appear out of nowhere and grant me three wishes.

First, would be of course to have a limited number of passengers in a public vehicle i.e. not more than the capacity of the seats. Second, Please Genie smash all those vehicles producing that dark, polluting air. And Third, Take all those bikes and vehicles pressing that infuriating horn even when knowing that pressing the single button won’t lessen the traffic or broaden the lane.

Now, after 10 years, I finally feel that the Genie really listened to me. However, he was a little miser; fulfilling only my last two wishes. But, yeah considerable!

The sounds of the soothing horns and the aroma of the black perfume from the vehicle’s really helped us to relax after an exhausting day. And may I not say about the overcrowded vehicles. Oh! What a massage therapy it was.

Packed micro bus old bus park
Packed micro bus old bus park

Dear Nepal, I am going to extremely miss these therapies in 2074. JK 😛

Well, what I really want to say is that those three wishes aren’t only the “Fancy wishes” of an eight year old child; those wishes were of every common Nepali who travels through public vehicles to work, from work, to school and back from the school.

With 2074, Nepal has welcomed new traffic rules; better ones actually. Once in a blue moon, we get to see our government doing something good. Now, it is upon us if we really execute it into action or let it fade away like a Genie does after granting the wishes.

Happy New Year Nepal!


XOXO,

Rizasa ❤

The Barbed-wire Fence (Chapter 1)

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!!


XOXO,

Rizasa ❤


 

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 ❤

 

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 ❤