In a late afternoon, reluctantly Tashi opened his tormented eyes as someone was knocking at door sharply. Dressed only in half-trouser, he moved towards the door cursing the one, who had just intruded into his sleep. After all, it was for the first time in a month or so that that sleep had come to him. Still yawning, he opened the door.
To his utter surprise, a girl was there. The moment he saw the girl, he became aware of the fact that he was half-dressed. Hurriedly he closed the door at her nose to get dressed. The only thing he found in that situation was a wrinkled shirt. He put it on and with hesitation went to welcome the unwanted guest. Slowly and carefully, he opened the door.
The one who had just intruded into his house was his old classmate. With surprise and hesitation, he invited her in. It was only after he had invited her, he realized that his room was in a big mess. Clothes, cushions, and pillows scattered everywhere. On top of it, the whole room was filled with odor of the cigarettes. He made a small place in the bed next to his and told her to sit. For a while, there was silence in the room. In that silence, he realized that he was alone with a girl in his room.
Silence started creeping inside him. To avoid it, he broke the silence. He didnï¿½t know how to start a conversation so he bluntly asked her the purpose behind her visit. Clearing her half-choked throat because of the odor, she revealed her purpose. She told him that she had passed her twelfth grade examination with first division marks and she wishes to pursue her higher studies taking English Literature as major. He asked her, how he could be of any help to her. She said that she wishes to do so in the Government College, in the same college where he was studying. She further told him that she had applied for the same in the college. However, she needs his help so that she can get admission. She had the information that he was studying the same subject in the same college and she thought he could help her to get admission into English department.
At that particular moment, he thought of telling her that it had been a long time since he had not gone to college himself. However, he didnï¿½t want to disappoint her or rather he couldnï¿½t muster up that much of courage to tell her. Therefore, he told her that whatever he could do, he would do it. He asked her photocopies of her twelfth grade mark sheet and the receipt of admission form. Her face brightened up the moment he told her that. She fumbled inside her bag, which was of bright red color and handed over the documents. It seemed as if she knew that he would help her and had brought necessary documents with her. After that, she asked his leave and departed.
After she departed, he shut the door and retreated to the bed. It was then, he realized that how inhospitable he had been. He did not even offer her a cup of tea. He was thinking about it, and then all of a sudden, everything flashed in his inward eyes about her. He realized that they had met after a decade. Both of them were classmates. Right from the kindergarten until grade three, they had studied in the same school. Then one day, during a class someone came to fetch her. After she left, someone informed that she was going to study somewhere in Dharamshala, a hilly region in the Indian State Himachal Pradesh. After that, he had just met her once, a year or two years ago, he could not recall. However, he knew it was at taxi stand at Darjeeling. He was returning home from college.
He was sitting at back seat of a Land Rover, a legacy left by the British, along with Tea Estates and many beautiful buildings when they left India in the year 1947. The driver was waiting for one more passengers to come. It was at that particular moment, he saw her standing nearby. At first, he hesitated however; he called her by her name Daden. She was pretty surprised to hear him calling her. He asked her in Tibetan language, although he was not so fluent, does not she wish to go? She was hesitating, and then he told her to climb unto the vehicle. She did climb and driver started the engine. During their half and hour journey, they only exchanged few words. In the vehicle, there was a monk, who happened to be well acquainted with her. They conversed throughout the journey.
During their conversation, he caught her looking at him sparing everyoneï¿½s eyes, even his too. When he caught her, she blushed. After that, even he too looked at her frequently and observed dark lush hairs of her trying to kiss her creamy cheeks whenever wind encroaching from the open window of the second seat provided opportunity. He did not realize how fast the vehicle had covered the distance of 8 km. It seemed to him that it was covered within fragments of seconds. When the vehicle approached his home, he asked the driver to pull over. He got out of the vehicle and was about to go, just then she called him and with a tender smile on her face, said bye! After that day, for couple of days, that tender smile of hers haunted him and flashed around his eyes most of the time. He didnï¿½t realize why it happened.
All of a sudden, he came to his self and again he was tormented by the mere thought of losing his love. It had been a month or so since his girlfriend named Zoden had eloped with another man. Still his wound was not healed. How could he forget her? After all, they had relationship for seven long years. He still curses that moment, when his friend gave him that omen tiding. It was at around nine in the morning of 16th August 2001, when he rushed to the road so that he can give her an apology letter. The night before, he had written an apology letter to her as he had turned down his loveï¿½s request to accompany her to the parade show at Lebong stadium at Darjeeling on the auspicious occasion of Indiaï¿½s Independence Day.
He rejected, as his examination was round the corner. The only thing he wanted to do was to finish his studies fast so that he could stand on his own feet and could marry her, as his family members and relatives were against their relationship. He thought of wishing his friend, ï¿½Good Morningï¿½ before going to give her the letter. It was at that time, his friend Lobsang gave him that omen news. He told him that, he had heard that his girlfriend had eloped with another man on Independence Day.
At first, he thought his friend was kidding. He kicked him and told him not to joke. When with somber face, his friend told him that he was telling the truth, everything around him turned dark. He could not differentiate whether it was dream or reality. He was stupefied. He was brought back to the world, by a shake from his friend.
When he found that, it was not a dream. It was then a lump came over his throat. He could not talk at all. He found it very difficult to breathe too. At that particular moment, he felt as if the land below him had slipped away. He still found it impossible to believe so he rushed to nearby her house to find out, whether it was true or not. On his way there, he just prayed that, may whatever his friend had heard be a rumor. He even smelt blood in his mouth.
When he reached near her home, he found that everybody was looking at him with a surprise, even her mother and her relatives. It was later he came to know behind their surprise look. Her family and relatives had thought that she had eloped with him. Every body thought that she had eloped with him. When her family and other relatives saw him, all of them panicked and rushed to know about her whereabouts.
Finally, when he came to know that it was all true. Sadly resigned to fate he returned to his room escaping others eyes. After he reached his room, the only thing he could do was to cry. He wanted to control himself however, tears just flowed from his eyes as if a dam was damaged and water was overflowing. He did not realize, for how long he cried. His eyes were swollen and itchy. He could feel irritation in eyes because of weeping.
It was about midday he came out of his room, looked for a taxi and rushed to Darjeeling, where his parents run a small restaurant. Half an hour journey seemed eternal at that time. In the vehicle, other passengers looked at him with sympathetic face. It seemed to him that the entire world had come to know about his woes. He hated that sympathetic look at others face. It reminded him of his failure. When he reached the restaurant, he rushed to the kitchen. As saying goes, ï¿½Bad news spread faster than good news.ï¿½ The news had already reached the ears of his parents. The moment his parents saw him rushed to the kitchen, they followed him. With sympathetic look, which he hated, his parents told him that this day was to come. At that particular moment, he wanted to hug his parents and cry but before he could do that, his concealed anger poured out. Eyes filled with tears he started crying like a three years child and blamed his parents for this day. He screamed as loud as he could and said, 'If you two had not gone against our relationship, then she would not take that step.'
He was not in the position to listen to them, at that time the only person on whom he could rely on was his best friend Tshering Sherpa. He called him through phone and told him to come immediately. He just kept on accusing them for everything. After few minutes, his friend turned up and was shocked to see him lying on the floor and crying. The moment he saw his friend, he hugged him tightly and started crying bitterly.
Tshering was still oblivious about what had happened. When Tashiï¿½s mother briefed him about the whole matter, he too got shocked. Tashi could see that, only his eyes expressed the genuine grief. He even saw that his eyes were cursing her. For around an hour or so, he continued. When he was tired, then his father came near him, looked in his eyes. When he found that his eldest son was crying, his eyes also filled with tears.
For the first time, he felt his father bold, strong and emotionally caring. He told him that if he loves her so much then why he doesnï¿½t fetch her. He further added that he would happily accept their relationship. He was shocked and stupefied. It was at that cosmic moment he realized that how selfish he had been all this years, how mean he had been with his parents all this years, and how coward he had been all this years. His friend was watching very closely everything.
Suddenly the genuine feelings that he had seen in his eyes were transformed into anger. He dragged him and said that if he really wishes to bring her back then let us do it. He said that they needed weapons too. He justified his point stating that since his girlfriend had already eloped with another man. In such case, the boy with whom she had eloped will not allow him to take her back. In such situation, the only option left for them was to win her through fight.
Tashi stood up and at that moment, he was ready to do anything to get her back. He along with his friend were about to leave out of the restaurant, just then he saw something that made Tashi ashamed of himself and he was overpowered by feelings of guilt. The sight that he saw was, his father, and mother were both crying. It was then he realized that, what a hellish crime he had committed. He had brought tears in the eyes of those parents who had brought him to this world. They were the one, who sacrificed so many things for the welfare and happiness of him. They were the one, who slept countless nights without food. They were the one, who wore same old tattered clothes for years so that he could wear new clothes. Moreover, today he was there blaming and cursing the same parents for a girl whom he had met just seven years ago. It was the same girl, for whom he went against everyone in his family and now she eloped with another man without caring a bit for him and left him to suffer.
After this revelation, he kneeled down on his knees and tears rolling down his cheeks, he asked his parents to forgive him. He could not keep himself out there because the feeling of guilt was eating him like a hyena as if he was a carcass and it was unbearable for him. He wanted to cry a lot. However, in such situation, he couldnï¿½t cry. He left the restaurant, and thanked his friend for his support and asked him to leave. At first, he was hesitating. However, when Tashi assured him that he is going to be fine, then he left promising him to meet next day. After his friend was gone, he hurried towards taxi stand. The only thing he wanted to do was to reach home. In taxi too, passengers were giving a curious look. He tried his level best to avert their eyes. The ride of 8 km turned a hell for him. Before he was about to reach home, he paid the taxi driver and the moment the taxi pulled over, he just rushed out of the vehicle and headed straight into his home.
Although he had realized that, he was wrong. It was his heart, which was not normal. He tried his best to console his heart but he failed. Again, his love, love for her started gushing out of his eyes. In that course, he didnï¿½t realize when slumber crept inside his room and overpowered him. When he opened his eyes, it was twilight. He gazed at the distant horizon that was turning into darkness. He felt as if his life was that distant horizon, which looked so enchanting just couple of minutes ago, however darkness has slowly engulfed it, transforming its whole existence into black. That melancholic sight made him more desperate. He felt that he was thrown into a dungeon where there was no glimmer of light. He didnï¿½t realize what came over his head; he washed his face with cold water, which chilled his fingers. Wiping his face with a towel, he rushed outside the room. It was getting darker and darker every moment. He could see bald bulbs illuminating almost all houses. However, the streets were dark, which he liked for the first time as no one could read sorrow in his face. In the past, he had always despised the dark street. On several occasions, he had even cursed the concerned department for not putting up streetlights.
He didnï¿½t know where to go. His feet led him to a nearby house where a govt. hospitalï¿½s staff lived. He greeted the man and asked a prescription for sleeping tablets. Before the man could ask, he said that his grandmother was having problem in sleeping. Knowing such, the man immediately gave him prescription. He felt elated, the moment he grasped the prescription. He didnï¿½t know why he felt so. He then rushed to the nearby chemist and bought ten pills. After that, he went into a restaurant and bought a bottle of beer. It was then, he realized that why he bought pills and beer. He had decided to give up his life. Determined he returned to his room. That night, until one in the morning, he wrote letters to his friend, family, brother and many others. In all letters he apologized for he had realized that he had been wrong all these years. In his letter to his friend, he requested his friend to publish his poetry collection, which would be a great favor to him. Among them, he wrote a poem too. His poem readï¿½
Ah, ultimately the time has came to tell you adieu
but remember, the share of love, which I was to receive, remains a due.
Now, I plead thee to bid me farewell
and allow me to sink deep down into the hell.
My dream to make you my wife
I promise, Iï¿½ll fulfill it in my next life.
Donï¿½t ever think, you have suffered
remember, to thee my heart, body and soul I have offered.
I wished, I had that power
to show thee my love and to shower.
I lack and lacked to understand thee-a belle
thatï¿½s why my life has now turned into hell.
The dreams, which I had dreamt in seven years
have now shattered and had left my eyes with tears.
Now, I donï¿½t have anything worth to cherish
itï¿½s better, for your mirth, I should perish.
The moment he finished composing above lines, he put all pills into his mouth. When he was about to swallow it all with the help of beer, something struck his mind. He took out five from his mouth and placed it on the table. He swallowed the remaining pills with beer. He thought that now, everything is going to be fine. Slowly darkness started spreading in his eyes. Everything turned vague. He was now sure that pills and beer have started working. Slowly darkness engulfed his eyes and he didnï¿½t realize when slumber had engulfed him.
A severe headache aroused him. He didnï¿½t realize where he was. When he surveyed carefully, to his utter dismay he found that he was in his room only. He checked at the wall clock. The clock had just strike 9 a.m. He was confused and later on when he started evaluating. He came to a conclusion that even death has deceived him. From somewhere, a thought stroke his head and it was, may be Almighty wants him to live for some better cause. Knowing such, he made up his mind that he will now face whatever comes on his way and he wonï¿½t be a coward anymore. Still something was not clear in his mind. It was how come nothing happened to him accept the severe headache. He went the man, who had given him that prescription and asked him. What kind of sleeping pills he had prescribed. He lied to him that his grandmother complained that she couldnï¿½t sleep even after taking two pills. It was then; the man told him that the prescription that he had given to him the day before was for herbal medicine for digestion. He also told Tashi that he had already heard about the tragedy that had befallen him. Therefore, he thought it was not good for him to give him. So, he gave herbal. He even confessed that he chose for herbal because he thought that Tashi might take it with liquor. To avoid any mishaps he had to give him fake prescription. Knowing such, he thanked the man and came back to his room.
He came back to reality and realized that exactly a month had gone by. Until this date, he didnï¿½t know what to do. Now he had something to do and that being to help his old classmate. It had been almost two hours since she had departed from his room. He jumped out of his bed and went to freshen up. By the time, he got dressed up the clock had already pronounced 2 p.m. He felt bit awkward to step on the street after a month. A villager even asked where he had been. He lied that he was out of station and came just couple of days back. He was waiting for taxi to come; just then, a friend of his came and with sympathetic look said, ï¿½I was so sorry to hear about the tragedy that had befallen you. Donï¿½t lose hope, you will find a better girl than her.ï¿½ The thing that he had hated the most and for which he had confined himself between four concrete walls of his home encountered him there, the very first day when he step out of his home.
The only thing he could do was smile a bit and said, ok. He kept on talking however, everything floated above his head. After couple of minutes, he felt saved and relieved the moment he saw a bus coming by. He hurriedly stopped the bus and it pulled over. He hurriedly got unto the bus and bid bye to his friend in relief. When he got unto the bus, he didnï¿½t realize how crowded it was. It was only after few moments, he realized it. It was State Bus, with all seats cover torn and seats dilapidated. By the time, the bus had covered few miles he started feeling giddy. To aggravate the condition, the stench of fish, which had glued in every nook and corner of the bus from the fish brought by fishmonger to sell at Darjeeling, made his stomach churned as if to throw out water that he had drank that day. The only thing he could do at that time was to pray that the bus ply faster so that the bus reach Darjeeling. He sighed in relief the moment the bus parked at bus syndicate. He rushed out of the bus and gasped for fresh air. He felt so relieved, when the chilled air passed through his nostrils and chilled his lungs. Then he rushed towards college in an ambassador.
He felt like a stranger in the same college where he had gone every single day for the last two years. He didnï¿½t see any familiar faces nearby. So, he went straight upstairs where English Department lay. He feared that in English Department too he would encounter strangers. To his joy, his best friend, Tashi Sherpa was in the seminar room discussing with HOD English. He sought HODï¿½s permission and went inside. Both, his friend as well as HOD were surprised to see him after such a long time. Tashi made some excuses for not coming to college for so long. Tshering didnï¿½t say anything however; Tashi could see happiness in his eyes. After talking for a while, Tashi asked the HOD about the admission procedure. HOD then told him that he is going to work on it from the following day. Further he asked Tashi, whether he could come to help him. He looked at Tshering and he nodded in approval. It was 5 p.m. so both of them asked professorï¿½s leave and came out of the seminar room. Tashi wanted to make some excuse and leave Tshering, as he feared that he might again receive sympathy, which he despised the most. He refused and assured him that he is not going to talk about the past. It seemed that Tshering knew him well. For a moment, Tashi thought that he might have read his mind, after all Tshering was a student of philosophy and once he had told him that he need to study psychology too.
They decided to go to a nearby canteen, where they used to go together. They ordered for two cups of tea. Sipping tea with cigarettes brought all those past memories, memories of those happy times that they had spent together with many other friends. Moreover, with all those memories, memories of his girlfriend too came along. He didnï¿½t want to think about it. He hurriedly sipped the tea, made an excuse, and left the canteen.
On his way home, everything around him seemed new. He could feel something within him, which was giving him energy to tolerate the pain inside him. It was already dark, when he reached home. Therefore, he decided not to come out of his house. After a long interval of time, he cooked dinner, ate it and made himself comfortable in the bed. He didnï¿½t realise when sleep overpowered him. When he opened his eyes the following day, he found that the wall clock had already pronounced half past eight. He hurriedly woke up and dressed up to go to college as the day before; the HOD of English Department has asked him and his friend to come to college to help him to sort out the admission of the students into the department. When he reached the department, he found that his friend and the HOD were busy sorting out the admission forms. He entered the room seeking HODï¿½s permission and started to help. During the whole course of work, the only thing his eyes were looking for was none other than the admission form submitted by her friend, who had come to his house to seek help. He felt relieved when her name was enlisted in the first list, which was supposed to be pasted on the notice board the following day. As soon as he came out of the college premises, he rushed to a nearby telephone booth to inform her. His heart elated when she thanked him for helping her to get admission. That night, something overpowered him and slumber came to him without any efforts from his side. He had a sound slumber. From the following day, he went to college everyday. Deep down his heart, he had no intention to attend class however, he went, he didnï¿½t know why.
It was after a month or so, when he wrote letter to her, he realized why that tender smile haunted him for several days that he received from Daden in the Land Rover, why he immediately agreed to help her, why he set out of his house for college for her, why he was elated when she thanked him. The letter read,
Before initiating this letter, I would like to request your kind self to condone me, as this particular letter of mine is going to pull off your legs from your busy schedule as well as this letter is bound to give you an anxious moment. Nevertheless, I do hope that you will excuse me, as I have addressed you as a ï¿½Dearï¿½. I think, if not for any other attachment, as a well-wisher of yours and as an old classmate of yours, I stand here to address you in this way. Am I right?
Now allow me to come to the point. For some time past, I have been trying to muster the courage to have a serious talk with you, but I don't know myself, why I can't even summon up that much of courage so as to talk with you. However, now I am feeling suffocated by my own feelings towards you and now it is totally unbearable. As such, I have decided to relieve my mind and heart by writing you this billet -doux. Whether you tear it up in disgust or preserve it, as a memento for the future will not alter the decree of fate.
Oh! Honey, I am in love, and you are that belle who has taken my heart captive. I wish, I could tell you this in flesh and with bunch of red, red roses but what to do; I lack that courage to do so. I know you will smile when you read this ridiculous confession, but it is nevertheless true as gospel, and you-who are the most generous of your sex, will pardon me for the abrupt manner in which I have disclosed my secret. Now, please don't laugh at me.
I am quite sure that, so far you might have received quite numbers of proposals letter as you are not only cute and affectionate but also handsome. Nonetheless, you might been flattered by many boys and had mentioned you thousand and one more reasons, that they found in you to love you, but as far as I am concerned, I don't know how to flatter girls. As far as my feelings are concerned, neither do I love you because of the fact that you are handsome, nor do I love you because you belong to respectable caste and we belong to same caste. I love you just because of two fascinating and admirable characteristics of yours, firstly, I lost my heart for your naturalness, I mean your ï¿½Simplicityï¿½ in everyway and secondly, of your child like ï¿½Innocenceï¿½ which I always saw in your deep like ocean eyes. Others may think that, these much reasons are not enough to love someone but for these qualities of yours are more than enough to love you.
I can simply tell you that I love you and if you give me an opportunity, I shall try my best or shall I say that, I will try my outmost enthusiasm so as to prove myself to be worth of yours. As such, now itï¿½s up to you to provide me an opportunity or not. I will not coerce you to respond. Believe me, whatever may be the response from your side , I will accept it with full heart heartedly and I will try to adjust myself according to circumstances as my real intension is not to acquire or to possess you but to ease myself from that powerful feelings residing inside my tender bosom. I don't care whether you love me or not but I will love you. I know if you reject my love, society will tease me by saying, ï¿½Your love is one-sidedï¿½. However, I will not care for that. After all love is love, whether it is one-sided or both sided. I just wanted to know, whether my love is one-sided or both sided.
Knowing such, I hope that you will take small trouble to send me the response, whether affirmative or negative. I promise you, even if your response is negative, I will not bother you after that. This will be my first and last letter to you, if you do not reciprocate my love.
Finally by means of conclusion or by means of summing up this billet-doux, I would like to implore you one thing and that isï¿½ while giving me the response, please ask your or do ask your tender bosom once whether you can trust me or not. If your heart replies, ï¿½Noï¿½ then send me the same response without any hesitation. If by chance your soft bosom proves or rather turns out to be in favor of me, then I shall consider myself the most happiest and fortunate chap in this whole cosmos. I shall wait for your response very eagerly.
I have hope against hope that you will not torture me by remaining silent by thinking, ï¿½Speech is silver, silence is goldenï¿½, as at this hour, your silence is going to be fatal for me.
I will anxiously be waiting for response.
At present, I cannot sayï¿½