“Aama! Where is Hari Kaka?” Saney, a five years old kid asked his Mother in a curious tone while having dinner.
“I don’t know Kancha. He must have gone to the bazaar.” His mother Shanti gave a consoling answer adding pulse-cum-curry on his plate.
“But, it has been two days already.”
“He is a teacher. He must have been attending a lot of programs there.”
“Oh! I hope he’ll bring good toys for me.” A surge of joy boiled in his heart like the boiling milk in the deep cooking-pot in front of him.
“Don’t you expect too much. Eat quickly and go to your bed.” Pouring the hot milk into the glass, she ordered him.
Firewood burning, thick smoke raising above,dark stains on the ceiling and a kerosene lamp (Tuki) trying as hard as possible to light the dark room. Somewhere in the rural part of Nepal, asmall family in Sisnebhanjyang village wasliving somehow in such a bleak ambience.
Roshan, Saney’s elder brother was listening this conversation from one corner. He was studying under the dim light of the same lamp. He and his mother were having secret looks to each other while Saney was having queries about Hari Kaka. They didn’t want him to know the bitter truth.
“How long is your holidays Dai.” Saney, who knows nothing about the condition asked his brother taking the first sip of that hot milk.
“It’ll last until the end of this month. We just had our exams.” Roshan made up a reason.
“Ours is longer. My friend Krishna told that we don’t have to go school till the end of the festivals.” He was happy that he had long holidays than his brother’s.
After emptying the glass full of milk, Saney fell asleep hoping that Hari Kaka will return soon with toys for him.
“I hope nothing bad happens to Hari Kaka.” Roshan said in a very saddened voice.
“They are Maoist Babu. They can do anything. Make sure that your brother won’t know about this.” His mother replied from the other side.
Hari Chhetri, their neighbor was a teacher in the primary school in that village. It had been two days since he vanished from the village all of a sudden. Villagers were suspecting that Maoist had kidnapped him as they used to hear such news in radio frequently. Nepal army was assuring his family to find him and bring him back soon.
It was the year of 2006. The Maoist insurgency was on the peak. The armed conflict between the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and government of Nepal was at its extreme level. The mission was to end the monarchy system and establish democracy. The government schools and offices were shut down. Even the English boarding schools in city areas were closed for an undefined period of time. The condition was so chaotic all around. Brawls between Nepal army and Maoist, injuries, deaths and kidnaps were the normal headlines in daily news. Nepal government had announced the curfew in the evening time everywhere.
“Babu, wake up. I’ve prepared food for you. Eat on time. Don’t forget to feed cattle as well. I’m taking Kancha with me to the bazaar. Radio says that the condition is not that bad today. We’ll be back till evening.” Shanti told Roshan early in the morning the next day. She was going to the nearest the bazaar from the village to buy the necessary household stuffs.
“Ok! Aama. Don’t worry about me. You just come soon.” Roshan’s voice struggled hard underneath the blanket to reach out to Shanti.
On the way, Shanti was having the fear about the ongoing turmoil throughout the country while Saney on the other hand was cheerful for getting a chance to visit the bazaar with his mother.
“Aama! Would you buy me that dozer toy which I saw the last time at the bazaar? I’m tired of playing that small car. My friends have got new ones already.” Saney already had entered into his fantasy.
“That car is still good. We’ll have to buy things to eat first. If some money is saved, I’ll get that for you.”
As they were about to reach the bazaar, a battalion of army stopped them. They asked them where they were from and where they were heading to. They checked Shanti’s basket as well which was to be filled by household stuffs at the bazaar.
“The bazaar? I’m afraid that you can’t go there. The strike has begun there. Some unknown packages are found which Police suspect to be the bomb. So, the daytime curfew is imposed. You should return from here.” The battalion chief commanded Shanti.
“But, we have almost nothing to eat. What shall we do?” Shanti said in a pleading voice.
“Manage with whatever you have. We cannot let you go there.”
With the heavy heart, Shanti and Saney returned from there.
The protesters clash with Nepal police had burst out at the bazaar. Hundreds of rebels were arrested while lots were injured. The environment was filled with more of the tear gas than the fresh air. The situation was completely violent causing havoc.
“Aama! Who were they? Why did they stop us?” Saney was curious to know about the people in the combat dress.
“They are Armies Kancha. They are good people. They said the the bazaar is closed today and they returned us from here so that we won’t have to suffer walking.”
“Oh! Then, I’ll become an army when I grow old. A good person to not let people suffer.” This made Shanti smile.
On the way, Shanti remembered the most heartbreaking incident of her life from five years back when her husband Suraj had taken the last breath of his life. He had died while serving as an Indian Army in a war. She had vowed to raise her sons with proper education. With her had works and money she had got as compensation, she was able to admit Roshan to English boarding school far from the village while Saney had just started his schooling in the government school in the village itself. She silently asked God, “why is this world so full of mayhem? Why is peace so expensive? Why can’t you make everything fine?”
That night she didn’t sleep. Her eyes cried a lot along with her half-filled tummy.
The following day, Saney came running towards home.
“Aama! Aama! Why is Sita Kaki crying? Why are there so many people in Hari Kaka’s house? Those good people are also there.” Saney asked breathing heavily.
Shanti was cooking inside. A scary feeling ran through her mind hearing that haste voice of her son. Her heart started pounding so fast. She couldn’t hold herself. She asked Roshan and Saney to stay there and ran towards Hari Kaka’s house.
As she reached there, she discovered that the thing had happened which she was scared of. A man covered with white cloth and flowers was laying down at the front yard. Hari Kaka had already left this world. It felt like the world just stopped right there for a moment. All she could see was that energetic man, who always wanted to provide good education to the kids in that village. All she could hear was the wailing sound of his wife. All she could wish at that moment was a peaceful country.
After three days of being vanished, his dead body was found hanging in between the thick forest. The villagers again were suspecting Maoist behind this.
People would barely get out of their house after that incident in Sisnebhanjyang.
After few months…
It was early in the morning, the sky was so clear, the sunrise was so beautiful after long time, the birds were chattering and flying around; Shanti was sweeping the dusts from her house when the same old radio announced, “the comprehensive peace accord has been signed between Maoist and government of Nepal. The civil war had ended officially. Maoist will now join the government of Nepal.”
She was shocked hearing the news. With the profound joy, she threw the broom, ran inside and woke up her sons.
“Roshan. Wake up. The peace talks have been successful. You will now go back to your school. We can live a peaceful life again Chora.”
After few years…
Roshan completed his secondary school with good marks and came home in the vacation.
“Aama. I’ll join politics when I’m old enough.” Roshan said to Shanti in serious tone.
“Why Chora? People say that it’s not good for youths.”
“I want to serve my country and bring everlasting peace here Aama. I don’t want to see my country under the dim light like that of ‘Tuki’ but a bright light like my name.Our teacher said that the bad politics is making this country unstable even if the civil war has ended. He said youths are the pillars of this country to build peace and prosperity. And I’m one of them.”
That was the moment when Shanti smiled with all her heart after so long time.
In the meantime, Saney returned from school and hurriedly said, “Aama! A teacher asked the meaning of our name to all of us today. We couldn’t answer him.”
Before his brother handed him the toy brought from the the bazaar, he added, “By the way what’s the meaning of your name Aama?”
Shanti and Roshan were speechless.
Gopal Pun Magar Receiving his prize from Bishnu Khadka, Director of Nexus Consultancy
Question and Answer with Gopal
1. What do you feel after being one of the winners of wordism final?
–> Off-course, I feel wonderful. Even if I hadn’t won anything in the finale, I would have been happy because the experience of writing the finale article taught me many things and it made me realize my hidden capability too. The happiness is priceless.
2. What do you think about wordism competition?
–> Well, I found the word, ‘Wordism’ itself very fascinating. Through Youth Legend Nepal, Wordism has provided very effective platform and exposure to the young writing enthusiasts out there. The good thing is, it happened in monthly basis because of which many of the writers could participate and be a part of it. I am very much thankful to YL Nepal team for coming up with Wordism Competition.
3. Anything you want to say to those reading this?
–> Whoever is reading this, if you have sheer interest in writing, then don’t hesitate to participate in the Wordism Competition in coming months. Or if you don’t write, then suggest your friends and relatives who can to participate. Support YL Nepal by being a part of it and help in bringing out the hidden talents of Nepali youths.
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