I need to write. It’s essential that I write today; right now. It has been ages since I last wrote. I have so much to tell; so much. So much my eyes have seen, my ears have heard and my mind has thought of. I should have written when my two years of fellowship had ended, how the pipe in my throat got that weird feeling every time I realized those were my last days in the village. The wonderful didis of village made amazing food for me, I had last supper with each of them for a month. Khir, masu bhat, khir, masu bhat, machha, khir, khir, sinki, dhido, achhar and… ah ya! Pidaloos, koiral ko achar, chamrey, lukmau. Didi haru le garnu bhayeko maya must be the reason I didn’t want to come back to Kathmandu even on the holidays. The last day I hopped houses to say goodbye; I could see sadness in their eyes and knew they would cry right then and guess what I did? “Ah, runa lagnu bhako? narunu hou narunu” and then they would smile. (I remember them every day but don’t know why I can’t call them and say hi).

That last night, I walked the bato I used to walk everyday on the way to school. It was a dark night but I could see everything around me like it was in daylight. My heart was restless, my eyes were blurry, my soul was dancing, my lips were smiling, my mind crying. If I could, I would pick every footsteps that I walked in that bato for two years and store it in a glass jar. Maybe they could remind me of my thoughts when I took that step. May be the bato has collected the prints of my footstep and stored it deep in the heart of earth, maybe it will give me my memories back when I walk on them again. Ah! Let me tell you about the farewell we had in school. Rohini dai (SMC president) proudly said “uha haru Giranchaur ma najanmiye pani hami le bhanda badi giranchaur lai maya garnu huncha. Uha haru giranchaur kai santan hunn.” Out of everyone I knew head-sir was the saddest to send us away. The love he has bestowed on us, is unmeasurable. He is the cutest. (and I really mean it) ah! And you should see our “prasansa patra” it’s amazing. My face has literal golden glow. I was so excited to get dosalla (how cool is that?)

Well, I am switching to something else now. Just to go with the flow let me write about my after fellowship plan. So, you know how I started painting the walls of my school and I got so addicted to it that I couldn’t stop it. I thought why not do it in some more schools. I’ll tell you my dream – I want to see beautiful colors in every school. I want the little kids to reflect those pretty colors in their heart and smile. I want to create a colorful world for every student. I am so addicted to this dream of mine that all my senses are so alert when I see any object; my eyes and my mind get started with observing and scanning the hues and shades. I google and pinterest like a crazy woman, saving every image that fascinates me. Fingers crossed! Wish me luck.

Mmm. So, what do I write now? I am working on a painting right now and trust me this must be the first thing I have put so much effort into. I am so eager to post it but waiting for it to get completed. It is nice but looks kinda weird to me. (you figure out yourself what has gone wrong, I am not telling you). And I am into water color these days. Guess what I am realizing? Youtube and Google are my gurus these days.

I am sorry I am being a frog, jumping from here to there and back again here. I feel so bad I don’t write anymore. I used to write about everything and everyone but I don’t anymore. I am confused – is it I can’t or I don’t. If it was the old me, I would have written about “Hamlet” ,third play I watched. I am confused about that as well, did I like it or not. I was wondering how could the actors not be tired and bored to be repeating the same act for so many numbers of time (I guess they staged the play for more than 2 weeks, two times per day). If it was for the old me, I would definitely write about the new mall (Lalitpur bishal bajar mall). It is amazing and wayyyyyyy fancier than any mall in Kathmandu. Trust me I would never leave a chance to boast about it being in Patan. If it was for the old me, I would definitely write about my pretty grey leather bag that I carry every day. How some people find it fancy and the others funny. If it was for the old me, I would shout it out loud about how my new hair color is bugging me so much. It looks “B_A_D”. (you know what Sujin would say now? – Don’t you know how to pronounce?). I am so happy to be posting this in my blog after so long.

Some more paints!!!

IMG_20160108_133557The wall was white, it was so white that I was being hesitant to disturb its whiteness. And like an elephant’s body it was wide, so wide I had to take many steps back to see the wholeness of the wall. That was the wall that had to be painted. I lined up all my art gears(I got enamel paints for the job and trust me I had no idea how difficult those paints could be) and pulled up my sleeves; then I held the brush, dipped it into the enamel box and with all the nervous confidence I tainted the wall with an uneven  brown stroke of the brush.IMG_20160108_173202

My hands were still and calm but my mind and heart were high on sugar I guess as they were burning up the insides. May be they were not enjoying the constant gaze of the people around judging every stroke I make. To worsen things, the enamel started dripping from places like a smeared kajol.  It was a nightmare, I tell you. I regretted for ever  nominating myself to paint the wall, I cursed my excitement then. After a while , I soaked the brush with some greens and then dabbing the wall like a child , then I added some baby greens on edges. Those green brought freshness in me and I got into my zone. This is how my art project started in school.

It all started with that white wall of ECD room and is now contaminating the hall ways, pillars, stair cases, old racks, cupboards and any other space. I have this compulsion of doing all the job; it’s like I need to get it done all by myself. This painting project taught me great lesson – to have helps.


I am so grateful to my co-fellows – Dipa and Prakash for being so supportive and painting whatever they could. Dipa had never painted before and yet is always willing to give it a shot at painting. These two people have supported me with all my crazy cravings to paint whatever my eyes spy.

My greatest achievement would be working with the students (more like they working and me just observing). Also, I got smart I guess; I learnt to work smart and not hard. Every time I was painting, the students always asked if they could and I said “No.” cause I feared that they would ruin it. After a while I let few of them help me around with the painting work and lo, everyone would just grab the resting brush and at least for once smear the colour anywhere. The help started with coloring the old cupboards in creamy hues and continued with turning the white hallway into flashy colours screaming for attention.
IMG_20160207_123935 IMG_20160207_133051IMG_20160207_144035

May be even the god wanted our school to be colourful or may be it was just a mere coincidence. There were colours coming from everywhere. Rotaract Club of Sainbu Bhainsepati left few colours then we had the Korean team leave us with more colours. I was like Hallelujah!!! It fuelled up my work. But no matter what my favourites are always acrylics; those distemper paints are dull as foggy morning and enamel, despite being shiny, are unmanageable like a bad hair.


My favourite is the white shadow work in that neon green wall; it feels clean and clear. You should gaze at the wall during evening and you can hear the chirps of the birds, it looks so lively. As we were working on this, I got asked “you are not leaving it plain white right?” and I was “Ummm… yes I am. This is pretty much it.” I was literally yelling to everyone “THIS is supposed to be this simple. Other colours would not complement THIS GREEN.

The curves of the wall were white but all sprinkled with dust. As we had spare colours that would be damaged if not used soon, we thought about using it to turn the hallway all colourful. My energy was all low and I needed big time help. So, I asked the students to help me with it. All that it took was one simple instruction “Fill the boxes with alternate colours.” And poof! It was done in a while.





Here is the sea world which is taking me forever to complete. Every little kid would ask me what that yellow thing was and then I got tired of answering “Submarine”. So, one day I answered it was a fish and the dolphin was an aeroplane and then what the little kid did was teach that to other little kids and I laughed and said it was wrong. What she did next was, hit me in embarrassment . Other ramailo comment would be “Why is there a mushroom inside the water?”


Thank the person who made the staircase. It seems like the staircase itself volunteered to be of help by having eleven steps. Doesn’t it look pretty?


Here is the recent pillar week chart.


आत्तिएको मन

मंसिरको चिसोमा म फूल रोप्न तम्सिन्छु “यता हेर त। यो बोरामा माटो भर्नु छ। कताबाट ल्याउने हो माटो?”

“के गर्नुलाई हो माटो मिस?”

“फूल रोप्नलाई ” I reply them.

“खोइ त फूल?”

“ल्यौछु नि। पहिला माटो त भरम बोरामा।”

“फूल सर्छ र चिसोमा? त्यही नि बाख्राले खाईहाल्छ पो त।”

“खाँदैन, बाख्राले खायो भने हामी नि बाख्रालाई खाई दिम्ला।”

केहि बिद्यार्थीहरु मेरो इच्छा पूरा गर्न नजिकैको बारीबाट माटो खनी दिन्छन्। (बच्चालाई फकाउन काम गरेको जस्तो गरि) म भरेको बोरा तल लान्छु अनि यसो हेर्छु त मेरा बिद्यार्थीहरु छतबाट ड्याँग-ड्याँग भरेको बोरा झार्दै रहेछन्। अनि मैले “ए के गरेको भन्दा?”, “यसरी हुन्छ के” भन्दै झार्न रोक्दैनन्।

अघिल्लो दिन मेरो cofellow ले class nine लाई बिरुवाहरु लिएर आउने भनेका थिए। ऊ पनि चिसोमा बिरुवा रोप्ने दाउमा थियो। अरु बिरुवा नउम्रे पनि पानी अमला त उम्रन्छ जस्तो लागेर बेसीबाट आउने सुस्मितालाई वनबाट ल्याउन लगाए। सबै जना मैले के गर्दो रहेछ भनेर हेर्न बसेका थिए। “मिस के गर्न लाग्नु भएको?”, “मिस त्यसरी हुँदैन”, “माटो मज्जाले भिज्ने गरि राख्नु न पानी” “अहिले बाख्राले खाईदिन्छ पो त” (again same remarks) म पनि अमलाको त्यो बिरुवाहरु रोप्दै थिए, मनमा मलाई पनि शंका थियो। के भोलि बिहान सम्म यो बिरवा रहन्छ र? कि त बाख्रा आउछ, कि त चक्चक्के बच्चाहरुले उखेलिदिन्छ।

“मिसलाई नि के के गर्ने सुर चल्छ। कस्तो परिवर्तन गर्ने रहर चल्छ।”
That comment hit my heart and head at the same time. मलाई थाहा थियो मेरा बिद्यार्थीहरु मेरो प्रयास हेर्दै थिए, उनीहरुलाई थाहा थियिओ मेरो काम बालुवामा पानी जस्तै हो भनेर, म nervous थिए, दुई वर्षको fellowship सकिन आटेको थियो। पहिलो वर्ष देखि स्कूलमा एउटा बगैंचा होस् भन्ने हाम्रो चाहना थियो। त्यो पूरा हुन पाएको थिएन। म र मेरो cofellow समय सकिन लागेकोले आँटिसकेका थियौं। हामीलाई जाँचको अन्तिम केहि मिनेटहरुको अनुभव हुन थालिसकेको थियो।

यो त एउटा मात्र कुरा भो गर्न “to-do list” को। हाम्रो दुई वर्षको fellowhip को अन्तिम समयमा आउँदा केहि पनि गर्न सकेको जस्तो लाग्दैन। लागोस् पनि कसरि, मान्छेको मनै त हो केहि कुरा देखेपछि मात्र पत्याउने। परिवर्तन फेरी दुई वर्षमा नै नि नदेखिने रहेछ। उनीहरुले पढ्न देखाएको जाँगर, उनीहरुका जिज्ञासाहरु, उनीहरुका प्रयासहरु सायद हामी अन्देखा गर्छौ तर त्यही साना कुरा नै परिवर्तनको बाटो हो भन्ने कुरा बुझेर नि ठूला भौतिक परिवर्तन तिर लोभिन्छौ।

फेरी हाम्रा विद्यार्थीहरु हामी जस्तै छन्। अनौठा छन् उनीहरु, माया देखाउन जान्दैनन् हामी जस्तै। उनीहरुको माया देखाउने शैली भनेको जिस्काएर हो. अरुले हेर्दा discipline नभएका जस्ता लाग्लान् तर त्यसरी नै हो हाम्रो सम्बन्ध गाढा भएको। अरुलाई भन्दा बढी विश्वास गर्छन, आफुलाई लागेको, चित्त नबुझेको कुरा फ्याट्ट-फ्याट्टै भन्दिनछन्। रिसाउछन तर त्यो भन्दा बढी माया गर्छन। सबै को कथा त थाहा छैन तर सबैको आँखामा चिहाएर मुटुसम्म पुगेको छु। कत्तिको नजिक भैसकेको रहेछु भने शनिवार काठमाडौँ फर्किन बसमा बस्दै गर्दा उनीहरुको अनुहार याद आउँछ अनि एकै चोटी घाँटीमा के के अड्केको जस्तो हुन्छ अनि आँखा रसाउन थाल्छ।

उसलाई बुझ्न खोज्दा

“आ… कति झगडा गर्छन् आमा बुवा… भोलि टेस्ट छ बिज्ञानको। पढेको केहि छैन। मिस पनि कति धेरै टेस्ट लिनु हुन्छ … जहिले राति भयो कि घरमा किच्‌किच् सुरु भै हाल्छ। यसरी त कहाँबाट दिमागमा छिर्छ … जा पढ्दिन  म”

“एकछिन पढ्न बस्न पाएको छैन, कति काम अह्राएको होला। दिक्क लाग्दो।  कति घाँस काट्न जानु पर्ने … सक्दिन म त … ह्‌या कति कराएको भन्या, एक छिन पढ्न दिए हुन्थ्यो नि, पढ्न मन लागेको बेला … ल ल गए म। अहिले घाँस काट, भकारो सोह्र, अनि एक छिनमा भात पकाउ, अनि फेरी भाँडा माँझ … काम सकाउ अनि तेतिन्जेल त पढ्न नि मन लाग्दैन … फेरी होमवोर्क पनि कति हो … आ……”

“मलाई साँच्चिकै सुध्रिन मन छ … कोशिस पनि गर्छु तर म सक्दिन बुझ्न … शायद पहिले नै ध्यान दिनु पर्थ्यो होला … अब त निक्कै अबेर पो भयो कि … फर्स्ट बेन्चमा बसेर ध्यान दिन सकिन्छ कि भनेर बस्छु फेरी टोलाउन पुग्छु … आ … पढ्दिन। घरमा आमा बुवालाई त चासो छैन, मलाई के मतलब। बिहान देखि आमा बुवा दुइटै खाएर मस्त हुन्छन्, मेरो कसलाई चासो छ र।”

कोही सबैको गाली खाएका, कोही केहि नखाएका त कोही हरेश खाएका … यस्तै केहि न केहि खाएकाहरु हुन्छन् मेरो कक्षामा … every action has equal and opposite reaction भन्छन् … (I wish नभनेको भए हुन्थे) मेरा विद्यार्थीहरुका ती सबै कुराहरुको भादस त कहीं न कहीं निस्कनु थियो। सब से राम्रो र एक मात्र ठाउँ – स्कूल। स्कूलमा पनि दुई-तीनवटा option हरु छन्। एक – साथीहरु, दुई – शिक्षकहरु, फेरि सबै होइनन्। अलि strict नहुने सर मिस।

म मेरा बिद्यार्थीहरुलाई धेरै माया गर्छु तर देखाउन र भन्न सक्दिन। उनीहरुसंग हाँस ठट्टा गरि रमाइलो गर्छु, त्यहि भएर होला उनीहरु मलाई रिस पोख्ने उपयुक्त target थान्छन्। त्यहि भएर मनमा भएका रिस पोख्न हिच्किचाउदैनन्। रिस पोख्ने भनेको, दु:ख पोख्ने होइन … उनीहरुको भित्रका अप्ठ्यारा irritations हरुमा म थप घ्यू थप्न पुग्छु कहिले काँहि। अनि उनीहरु पड्किन्छन् … जोड संग … अनि मलाई पनि पड्किन विभस गर्छन्।

“घरको टेन्सन, फर्स्ट टर्मको question तेस्तै पाराको छ, भोक लागि सक्यो, मूड नै छैन पढ्न अनि मिस आएर भन्छन् आइतबार question paper को सबै उत्तर लेखि ल्याऊ। मलाई त्यो अलछिना question paper हेर्नु नै छैन।”

“ला हामीले धेरै नै बोलेछौँ कि क्या हो … मिस त रिसाउनु भएछ … ह्या … रिसाए रिसावोस … के मतलब …”

उनीहरुको attitude देखेर मलाई एकदमै सहन नसक्ने रिस उठ्छ … म गाली पनि गर्न सक्दिन … कराउन पनि सक्दिन … नेपालीमा कराउन मलाई अप्ठेरो लाग्छ, कुनै शब्दमा अद्किन्छु … फेरी बोल्दा के बोल्छु के, पछुताउने पो हो कि … फेरी बोल्दा tone ले नि निकै negative effect पार्छ। तेसैले बोर्डमा लेख्छु … एत्रा एत्रा handwriting ले …

म रिसाएको देखेर उनीहरु झन् बोल्न थाल्छन् … शायद they are letting go of the frustration in them. म teacher भएर रिसाउन सुहाउँदैन तर मलाई साह्रै नै रिस उठ्छ। सोच्छु म भने सबै छोडेर तिमीहरुको लागि केहि गर्न सक्छु कि भनेर आफुलाई यता उभाई राखेको छु भने तिमीहरु चाँहि यस्तो गर्ने? म घडी घडी समय हेर्छु कक्षा कति बेला सकिन्छ भनेर …  घण्टी बज्छ र म class बाहिर जान्छु, स्कूल वरी परि बच्चाहरु देख्छु अनि सोच्छु … उनीहरुको जीवन भर उनीहरुलाई खुला साँढे जस्तो छोडियो … गल्ती गरे गोरुलाई जस्तो पिटियो। Discipline मा बस्नु पर्छ भनेर सबैले पढाए तर सिकाएनन् … नदेखेको कुरा बुझेनन् पनि शायद।  न त घर म देखे न त स्कूलमा नै। त्यहि नबुझेको कुरा बनेन भनेर उल्टो गाली र कुटाई खाए।

सानै देखि यस्तो वातावरणमा हुर्केको, यस्तै व्यवहार सोसेछ्न क्यारे। अनि म एकै पल्ट आएर उनीहरुको बानीमा परिवर्तन हेर्न चाहने मुर्ख रहेछु। अनि स्वार्थी पनि रहेछु। मैले गाली गरिन, माया गरि पढाएर म उनीहरुबाट पनि त्यस्तै व्यवहारको आशा गर्ने रहेछु। अहिले सबै कुरा बुझ्छु तर थाहा छ फेरी कुनै दिन यस्तै परिस्थिति आएछ भने पुन: मेरो रिस पक्का उठ्नेछ।

उसले देखेको सपना

सेतो चार्ट पेपरको त्यो एक stripमा ऊ उसको भविष्य लेख्दै थियो। (newsprint paper लिएर हिँडीरहेको मलाई आधि बाटोबाटै तपाईँको जस्तो बाक्लो पेपर ल्याउनु न भनि फिर्ता पठाए, अनि सेतो चार्ट पेपर देखेछि पनि ह्या तपाईँको जस्तो yellow पेपर चाँहि छैन? भन्न थाले) एकदमै ध्यान दिएर उसले गलत स्पेलिङ्ग लेख्दै थियो DOCTER । मैले उसको टाउकोमा त्वाक्क हाने अनि भने… E होइन O हो, उ तेता बोर्डमै लेखिदेको छु त स्पेलिङ्ग। निच्च परेर ऊ हाँस्छ अनि इरेजरले मज्जाले मेट्छ र E लाई O बनाँउछ। उसको मन भित्रको त्यो सपना कागजको टुक्रामा लेखिएको देख्दा म खुशी छु। ऊ साँचिकै डाक्टर बन्यो भने त म संसारकै सबै भन्दा खुशी प्राणी हुन्छु होला।


DOCTOR को ती ६ वटा अक्षरमा ऊ थरी-थरीको रङ्ग घोट्छ। उसलाई त्यो चिट्ट बुझेन अनि फेरि अर्को टुक्रामा लेख्छ। फेरि DOCTOR (मैले सबैले एक-एक वटा बाँड्न लगाएको थिँए तर उसले दुईटा पेपर सुटुक्क हालेको रहेछ) म उसलाई हेरी बस्छु, उसले लेखेका ती अक्षरहरु बाँगा-तिँगा अक्षरहरु। त्यो लेख्दै गर्दा उसको मनमा के कुरा चलिरहेको होला, मलाई थाहा पाउन मन थियो। के साँचिकै उसलाई डाक्टर नै बन्नु छ त? छ भने किन ऊ डाक्टर नै बन्न खोजेको हो? यी प्रश्नहरु त मेरो मनमा नाँचिरहेका प्रश्नहरुको सतहमा भइका प्रश्नहरु मात्र थिए। गहिराईमा त म सोचिरहेको थिए – के ऊ साँचि कै डाक्टर बन्न सक्ला र? Is it even possible? के यो सपना realistic छ त? म पनि त सानो छँदा “my aim” शीर्षकको निबन्ध लेख्दा कहिले my aim is to become an engineer, कहिले CA, कहिले teacher, कहिले artist लेख्दथिए। मलाई याद पनि भएन ती निबन्ध लेख्दा मेरो मनमा कस्ता कुरा खेल्थे। कुरा खेल्थे पनि र? कि म कति शब्द भयो निबन्धको अनि कति जति मार्कस् आँउला भनि सजक हुन्थे।

उसलाई डाक्टर बन्न मन रहेछ। मलाई थाहा भयो। अब म के गर्ने होला उसको सपना थाहा भएर। “डाक्टर बन्न के गर्नु पर्छ? कसरी पढ्नु पर्छ? उसको काम के हो?” भनेर बुझाउने कि? तर मेरो मनमा थियो यथार्थ – “डाक्टर पढ्न त थुप्रो पैसा पो लाग्छ। धेरै गाह्रो पो हुन्छ त। अरू केहि छ तिम्रो सपना?” मेरो सोचाई गलत छ तर मेरो मन यी कुराहरुले पिरोलिरहेको थियो।

ऊ मलाई एकदमै मन पर्छ। कक्षामा अरु साथीहरु हल्ला गरिरहेको छ भन, “चुप लाग। कति कराउन सक्या तिमीहरु” भनेर उसको त्यो ठुलो घोक्रो तीखो तर मलाई मन पर्ने स्वरमा कराउँछ। ऊ मलाई “ओ मिस” भनि बोलाउने पहिलो विद्यार्थी हो। उसको hairstyle ऊ जस्तै रमाइलो छ… साइड साइडमा छोटो सफा कपाल अनि अगाडी तिर silky लामो कपाल। निच्च परेर हाँस्दा उसका चम्किला आँखा लुक्छन अनि गालामा कता-कता दिम्पल बसेकोक झै हुन्छ।

मलाई कति खुसी लाग्यो उसले DOCTER लेख्दा। फेरी अर्को कागजमा लेख्न थाल्दा उसले अरु नै पो केही लेख्ला कि भनेर म आत्तिएको थिए। तर उसले फेरि सच्चाएर DOCTOR नै लेख्यो। मैले उसलाई लेख्न सकिए पेपर बुझाऊ भने किनकि मलाई डर थियो उसले त्यो कागज कच्याक्-कुचुक पार्ला कि भनेर। “ह्या मिस” गर्ने उसको बानि छ। ह्या ह्या भन्दा भन्दै उसले उसको सपना आफै कुच्याउने पो हो कि भन्ने पीर थियो मेरो मनमा। ऊ यस्तै छ। उसलाई चित्त नबुझ्यो कि ह्या ह्या गर्न सुरु गरि हाल्छ।

ऊ सँगै बस्ने साथीले मलाई “मिस, FARMER को स्पेलिङ्ग के हो?” भनेर सोध्यो। मैले बोर्डमा लेखे। उसलाई कृषक बन्न मन रहेछ। उसको सपनाले मलाई खुसी लाग्यो। किन हो मैले “पढेर कृषक बन्यो भने मज्जाले पैसा कमाइन्छ। अस्ति पत्रिकामा देखेका थियौँ नि कृषिबाट मान्छे केहि वर्षमा नै करोडपति भएको” भनेर सुनाए। भनिसकेपछि किन भनेछु जस्तो लाग्यो। I don’t know why I thought I needed to explain that being a farmer was an amazing dream; was I explaining it to him or myself?


He wanted to become a social worker. म अचम्ममा परे। आज उसले मलाई “मिस, ईङ्ग्लिसमा मलाई समाजसेवी मन पर्छ, म समाजसेवी भएर गाँउमा मद्दत गर्छु भनेर कसरि लेख्ने” भनि सोध्यो। मैले मख्ख पर्दै लेखे। कक्षामा उसको बेवहार हेर्दा मैले सोचेको पनि थिएन कि उसको मन यस्तो पो रहेछ भनेर।

सबैको सपनाम रङ्गहरुले सजाउदा कति राम्रो देखिएको थियो। कतिले रमाइला बुट्टा पनि भरेका थिए। मैले सबैको सपना हातमा बोके अनि मनमा सम्हालेर राँखे। DOCTOR, SCIENTIST, FARMER, POLICE, BRITISH ARMY, TEACHER, SOCIAL WORKER. भविष्यमा उनीहरुले यो दिन अनि यो कागजका टुक्राहरुमा आफुले कोरेका यी शब्दहरु शायद नै सम्झन्छन् होला तर म भने सम्झि रहेनेछु।


म्याङ्गो रोमान्स

After a year I understand the mango romance of Giranchaur and its people.

बिहान स्कुल पुग्दा बच्चाहरु दाँतले हरियो काँचो आँप तास्दै गरेका हुन्छन्, सम्झिँदा नि मुख रसाँउछ।  हरेकको हातमा साना-साना हिस्सी परेका रमाईला आँपहरु हुन्छन् भने हात खाली भएकाहरु चाँहि आफ्नो पालो कुर्दै साथीलाई टोलाँउदै हेर्छन्।

बच्चाहरु मात्र होइन ,केटीहरु मात्र पनि होइन; केटाहरु पनि उति नै लोभिन्छन् काँचो आँपमा। हाम्रा सर पनि “दालमा दुइ तीन वटा काँचो आँप मिसाउन पाए त कति मिठो हुन्थ्यो।” भन्नु हुन्छ।

हामी बस्ने घरकि आमा दिनहुँ आँपको अचार बनाउनु हुन्छ। पहिलो पल्ट खाना खाँदा, थालमा भएको अचारले मेरो जिब्रो मख्ख परेको थियो, खाना थपौँ भन्दा लाजै नमानि मैले “अचार चाँहि बरु थपिदिनु न, के को हो यो?” भनि सोधेँ। “आँप कोरेर बनाको हो” उहाँले भन्नु भयो। त्यसको लगत्तै दिनहुँ जसो नै खान पाइयो काँचो आँपको अचार। बाहिर शित्तलमा बसि कहिले काँहि आमालाइ आँप तासिदिन्थ्यौँ, भरे अचार खान पाइने लोभमा। काँचो आँप, नुन, खुर्सानी, तील। that’s all it takes.


“दिन को चार-पाँच वटा काँचो आँप ता चाहिन्छ नै मलाई” रमाले भनिन। I was like “Seriously, man?” It’s not even ripe. It tastes all bitter”. अनि एक दिन हामी रमाइलो हावा खाँदै आँप ताँस्यौ, दिपाले नुन खुर्सानी ल्याई, अनि स्याउ काटे झै पीस-पीस काटि नुनमा चोप्दै खायौँ। Man, it was so good. I didn’t know it would taste that good. काठमाण्डौको भ्यागुताले काँचो आँप खाएको यो पहिलो पल्ट थियो, अनि त्यो भ्यागुतोलाई स्वाद औधी मन पर्यो क्यार, त्यसपछि त पल्कि हाल्यो।


अर्को सर भन्नु हुन्थ्यो “मिस, अहिलेको आँप खानु हुन्न। पानी परेको छैन। अब पानी परेपछि मात्र खानु हुन्छ।” I memorized यो tips पनि। आमा जहिले नि आँपको अचार यसरी बनाउनु पर्छ भन्दै सुनाउनु हुन्थ्यो हामीलाई। आज पानी पर्न लागेकोले पधेँरोमा छाता बोकि पानी लिन गयौँ। पानी लिइ फर्किदै गर्दा, एक जना दिदीले बोलाउनु भयो अनि “मिस, आँप खानुहुन्छ?” भन्नुभयो। “हुन्छ” भन्यौ। अनि नविनले बोटमा आँप टिप्न हिँड्यो। “दुइट मिसलाई १-१ वटा भए पुग्छ होला।”  He brought बदेमानका आँपहरु अनि दिदीले एक मुठ्ठी बोडी तरकारी ल्याउनु भयो। झोला थिएन, रुमालमा राख्न लागेको नविनले आँपको चोपले दाग बस्छ भन्यो। So, I opened up the umbrella, तीन वटा आँप अनि एक मुठ्ठी बोडी बास्केट रुपि उल्टो छातामा राखि गाग्रो बोकी घर फर्क्यौ। दिदी पर सम्म पुग्ने बित्तिकै we said, “Let’s make आँपको अचार आज।” घर पुगेर आमालाई आँप देखायौँ अनि अचार बनाउने भन्यौँ।

फटाफट आँप टाँसी, टुक्रा टु्क्रा बनायौँ, कराई ततायौँ, मज्जाले तेल तताइ मेथी पड्कायौ, खुर्सानीको धुलो र बेसार नि राख्यौ, सुकेको खुर्सानी को अभावमा ठुलो खुर्सानी राख्यौँ, आँप खसायौँ अनि मज्जाले पकायौँ अनि नुन। अचार चलाउँदा चलाउँदै मीठो बाँस आउन थाल्यो अनि त तातो नै दाढु बाट अलिकता अचार चाख्यौँ। We were so मख्ख, भोलि स्कुलमा खाना खाँदा रमाइलो हुने भयो, सबको लागि लगिदिनु पर्छ। We are so flaunting the आँपको अचार।


कराईको अचार चिसो पनि हुन पाएको छैन, मलाई सबैलाई सुनाउन हतार भइहाल्यो र लेख्न बसिहाल्यो। अचार चिसिदैँ छ, सिसि पनि थिक्क पारिसक्यौँ।


I kept on saying “I wasted one year of my fellowship doing nothing. I simply did nothing.”

But my first SLC batch proved me wrong. They doubted me, scared me, worried me, loved me but more – they made me.
I still remember my nervous classes in Grade ten where all those twenty faces would look at me with their pretty eyes but with pinch of doubt hidden on the corner. My tongue struggled with “biyutkramanupatik (inversely propotional)” “urdhopatan (upthrust)”, my mind got nervous with cell division, circulation, taxism and tropism, electricity, finding groups and periods and “baraf ko kati bhag pani bhitra huncha?” numeric and so much more. I was their new bigyaan miss; note nalekhaune, kantha parna lagayera nasodhney, gaali nagarney, nepali ramrari bolna naune, harek hapta jasto ktm janey miss. Few of the boys would just complain me right on my face, I had horrible dreams intimidated by those complains.

I am grateful to the girls in grade ten who looked upto me during classes with so much trust and belief (I am not saying the boys were unsupportive, they just had few doubts). Somehow village girls are pictured to be more fragile but these girls were nothing like that. They were ambitious, they were proud to be a lady even though they sometimes said “only if I were a boy I would be able to do so much with my life.” The fire in them always made me alive.

Those bunch of girls were my first friend in the new village. My leisure periods and lunch breaks would be so lonely, I would sit on the pile of blocks at the front of the office or make myself busy with a book in my hand. They would come up to me, sit by my side for a while and make small talks. At the beginning they used to complain on how I had to go KTM so often but one day she came to me and said “Miss, tuition class ko fee linu na, ma class ko haru lai ni bhanchu. Tapai kati Kathmandu janu parcha, kati kharcha huncha hola, fee linu hai.” I felt so much love when she spoke those words.

I could not be any proud today of my students. They have the courage and belief in themselves to get out of their comfort zone to pick out their own colours for the grand canvas. I asked them “K padhney SLC pachi?” they would be “khoi tha chaina.” Today, I met her. She wanted me to go to her new college to help her change faculty. She had chosen to study science but every one discouraged her to. She shifted to management. I am not disappointed that she didn’t study science but I am so proud that she even for once believed that she could.

Today, more than half of the students left village for the cities but not in search of job. They stepped into cities to study more,in search of a better future. Finally, they spread their wings. Now, it’s their time to learn how to fly and soar high in the sky.

विचित्रका राजकुमारहरु

एकादेशमा एउटा खोला थियो। त्यो खोलाको रंग अरु बाँकि खोला भन्दा भिन्न थियो। त्यस खोलाको रंग गुलाबको फूल झै रातो थियो। भनिन्थ्यो धेरै बर्ष अगाडी “haemoglobin” नामको साधुको वरदानले गर्दा यो रातो हुन गएको हो। यस विचित्र रातो खोलामा एउटा छुट्टै संसार थियो। यस खोला मुनि छुट्टै एउटा राज्य थियो। शक्तिशाली, प्रतिभावान र दयालु हृदय भएको राजाले यस विचित्रको राज्यमा राज गर्थ्यो । राजाका तीन छोराहरु थिए जसलाई राजाले औधी माया गर्थ्यो। नगरोस् पनि किन? एक त आफ्नै सन्तान, अर्को ती राजकुमारहरु बाँकि जीवहरु भन्दा फरक थिए। “विचित्रको राज्यका विचित्रका राजकुमारहरु”। ती राजकुमारहरुको रूप मात्र नौलो होइन अद्‌भुत गुण पनि थियो।


जेठो छोराको नाम थियो राते – उसले आफ्नो शक्तिले जनतालाई चाहिने हावा, खानेकुराहरु, खनिज सबैको जोहो गर्थ्यो।
माइलोको नाम थियो सेते – ऊ चाँहि जेठो भन्दा अलि भिन्न थियो। सेते चाँहि राज्यको सैनिकको सेनापति थियो। राज्यमा कोहि वैदेशिक हस्तक्षेप भयो कि जाई लागि हाल्थ्यो। अनि जनताको साथै राज्यको सुरक्षा गर्थ्यो।
कान्छो छोराको नाम चाँहि खैरे थियो – खैरे भने त्यस राज्यको मात्र नभई सारा संसारको प्रख्यात वैद्य मानिन्थ्यो, कारण खैरेले जस्तो सुकै घाउलाई पनि जाती गरिदिन्थ्यो। कतै पनि नपाइने “fibrinogen” नामको दुर्लभ ओखती उसैलाई मात्र बनाउन आँउथ्यो। त्यसैको सहायताले खैरेले घाउलाई सुकाई दिन्थ्यो र केहि दिनमा नै ठिक बनाइदिन्थ्यो।

त्यस राज्यमा सबैजना खुसी थिए। परेको बेला एक अर्कालाई सहयोग गर्ने, हरेक काममा मद्दत गर्ने गर्थे। रिस, राग, इर्श्याको भावना कसैमा नि थिएन। त्यहाँ सधैँ खुसी र हाँसोमा दिन बिति राखेको थियो।

एक दिन अचानक त्यस राज्यलाई विपत आइपर्यो। राज्यमा बाहिरका शत्रुबाट हमला हुन गयो। सुखी त्यो संसारमा कसैले सोचेको थिएन कि उनीहरुले त्यस्तो डरलाग्दो दिन पनि देख्नु पर्छ भनेर। हमलाको सूचना पाउने बित्तिकै सेतेले आफ्ना सैनिकहरु भेला पारेर भने – “हेर सिपाही हो! आज हाम्रो राज्यलाई हाम्रो खाँचो छ। हामीले आफ्नो सर्वस्व लगाएर आफ्नो राज्य र जनताको हिफाजत गर्नु पर्छ। के सबै जना लड्न तयार छौ?”
“तयार छौँ !!!” सबै सैनिकहरुले एकै आवाजमा चिच्याए।


सेतेका सैनिकहरु बहादुर भएर लडे। शत्रुहरु एक दमै भयानक र सयौंको संख्यामा थिए। सेतेका सैनिकहरु धेरै नै घाइते भए। त्यस लगत्तै पुरै राज्य कम्जोर हुन थाल्यो। चारै तिर हाहाकार मच्चिन थाल्यो। खैरेले आफुले सके सम्म सबैको घाउहरु निको पार्न तिर लाग्यो। रातेले त्यसपछि एउटा उपाय सोच्यो। जे जसरी गरेर भए नि आफ्नो सैनिकहरुलाई बलियो बनाउनु थियो। त्यसैले उसले थप पोषिला खानेकुराहरुको जोहो गर्यो। जसले गर्दा सेतेका सैनिकहरुलाई तागत मिल्यो। विस्तारै सबै सैनिकहरु फुर्तिला हुन थाले।

भोलि पल्ट युद्धको मैदानमा सबैजनाले फुर्तिका साथ शत्रुको सामना गरे। कसैलाई लात हानेर भगाए, कसैलाई लौरै लौरोले थताए, कसैलाई भुइँमा मज्जाले पछारिदिए। शत्रुहरुको विजोग बनाएर राज्यबाट भगाइदिए।
जाँदा जाँदै तिनीहरु “अब यो राज्यमा झुक्केर नि पाइला टेक्दैँनौ” भन्दै भाग्न थाले।

एक एक जना गरि सबै जना शत्रुहरु भाग्दै सिमानाबाट हराए। राज्यका सबै मान्छेहरु हर्षो उत्साहका साथ जित मनाउन सडकमा उत्रिए।
विपतको बेलामा आफ्नो छोराहरुको पराक्रम देखेर राजा दङ्ग परे र सबैलाई स्यावासी दिए।

fine china

I put the water to boil on the stove to make a cup of tea for me… then I picked up a china cup, opened the water tap and swirled the white china with gush of water.( ahiley samma nothing had occurred in my mind, it was just making a cup of tea for me)…then my eyes caught the sight of the same cup I was holding ,only that it was handicapped, without its handle…then thoughts started to swirl into  my head softly. Those neatly shining china were so delicate. I remember how mom had kept her china cup sets away from us when we were little. She had saved her wedding gift from breaking up. Me and my sister used to be so amused by those cups which we rarely got to hold. She had kept those babies safely so that they wouldnot break, in this process she hardly used them.

So, now let me narrate what really was playing in my head and what might actually make some sense. One year of fellowship I spent whinning “I know and am aware I can do amazing things, I have so many ideas in my head but why “oh sweet why” am I not being able to do any of those things.” What came to my mind was, I was keeping those ideas to me safely in a cupboard just like those fragile china worrying and getting scared if it might break apart (more like scared of failures).

What I was missing was the delight of drinking in that fine cup made of those finest clay with white glowing glaze, decorated with beautiful  strokes of brushes in fear of breaking it.

The year.

I still remember me counting months all over again and again… days counted numerous times like a kid trying to memorize seven days of the week… sometimes I would do the maths dotting the three lines on my fingers when I would be alone and for the times I was not, I would get it done in my head. Oh sorry, you must be wondering about the relation here of week days, months and numbers. 😛 Well, I kept track of the number of months that passed by and of those that were to be passed to complete a year. Sometimes it would be the days left for a fat vacation ahead (trust me days would just not pass, I would just count the days on my fingers and yet the thumb would just stop at the same stop every hour of the day :P). And now look! A year passed by just like that.

My year teased all my tastebuds with sweet, sour, bitter, tangy moments. Just like people say “life is not just white or just black, it is grey”. Likewise all the days were not just bitter and sweet, it  tasted different every day (sorry, I know not the names of all tastes). If you ask me how was it? If you are a stranger, I would surely say you the good parts of it. If you are better than a stranger I would tell you about all the burnt tastes as well.

The heat! Whether it be due to those walks on sunny mornings uphill or reaction when your class goes all crazy or that one student pulls up your nerves. I have lost my temper and been a mean person occasionally; I get furious  and throw my temper at the students but then I feel myself shiver getting all nervous and worried if the student might hate me. They curse me for being too strict during exams. They get mad at me if they don’t get things their way.

The frustration! What did I do? Do I matter? Is me being there instead of some other person makes any difference? Why am I so lazy? Why do I have to get back home every week? Why do I feel this unnecessary guilt and worry myself? Should I really be here? What would life be if I were not here? What after two year? Why did they not study at home for exam? Why are you not remembering “Na” is Sodium and not “So”? Why are you asking me questions?

The learning! “Yay!” for me. I got the most out of this year. I must have learnt the same quantity as to totalling all my life (approximately). First thing, my vocab for nepali words have  swollen like crazy. I actually taught “bigyan”. I still remember when grade ten waited for the moments I would take a long pause translate English to nepali, they would just have a wicked grin on their face. Man, they intimidated me good. The most important lesson was understanding people and life in village. One thing is for sure, you learn the most when you live your life as a teacher.

The love! ‘Miiiiiiiss’ little kids call you out and I answer back “hajuuuuuuur”. This has been my routine. I love being “miss”.

IMG_20141110_141639 IMG_20140918_165823The little gifts that they bestow on us…padhaudai garda she would call me up and then take out kakro(cucumber) and offer

IMG_20140609_142546…that enormous green mango she gave me all wrapped in her handkerchief…those tiny sweets presented in those wee little palms(which probably they needed more than me)…IMG_20140613_142926

ah!and those bunch of prettiest orchids that she gave me and I wore on my hair that induced giggles amongst the girls… And all that satires that screamed love…gleam of joy in those eyes when the story ended with a happy note (that joy encourages me to be a better  storyteller).

The year was all about the love that I got to relive, the love that I gave my teachers when I was a student…