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A Letter ...
|by Wangdi Gyalpo|
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.
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
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.
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.
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08/01/2012 15:08 PM