Archana came from Kirtipur, The hill of the noseless and earless. She was a Vajracharya woman Of the priest caste. She spoke a language Full of sweet monosyllables. A young woman with fine features, She could stare at one And see through to the depths of one s heart.
Raj was a Chettri from the Eastern hills With a sacred thread on his neck From the warrior and noble caste. They loved each other in the Nepalese way, Talking with their eyes and hearts. Never in physical ecstasy, Always platonic and united in dreams. No rumbas, no slow fox. Just the sweet odor of her hair and neck In moments of stolen darkness In a movie hall, With two hundred curious eyes, Focused on the Bollywood silver screen. Or was it on their necks?
Both were through with their colleges. She chose to study at Tribhuvan university. He was awarded a scholarship to Germany. Archana said, But no one is forcing you To study abroad. I fear that it will take years. Perhaps you won t come to Nepal.
Later, Raj sang, twanging on his guitar, Squatting below the temple:
Oh, Kirtipur, hill of the dead, The peak of my desire.
Humans who lay in grotesque positions Contorted bodies piled on top of each other. Hands stretching out Or clutching their amputated Ears and noses, As though to stop the pain And help their blood to clot On their wounds. The shame of the Gurkhas From the fortress of Gorkha.
On the day of his departure Archana appeared alone at the Tribhuvan airport, With a ritual silver copper plate: Scarlet yoghurt tika, beetle nuts, spices, A garland of lotus flowers and sweet meat. A traditional Nepalese farewell.
A letter came from Nepal. A physician friend wrote: Dear Raj, Archana of Kirtipur has married A Brahmin businessman from Pokhara. Sorry to bring you this sad news. Sincerely, Ashoke Sakya.
I m sad today' said Raj, As he buried his face In his blonde fianc'e's lap.