Part IV

 The cold winter morning in the beginning of the third week of January 1992, my parents drove me to my school in the motor bike…As they dropped me in the school there seemed no one had yet arrived. It looked so silent and dead with no people.

I could see the teachers had already come … I greeted them as I passed them to go to the hostel.
When I reached the room, it was only Santosh Thapa, that had been the people to be in the class. There were few other junior boys who had already been there. But from our class there had been no one other than him.

That afternoon we were so few… we had to have lunch in the police barrack closer to the office. The meal was like home like because it was cooked for few people … though no less than for twentyfive or thirty of the police personnels.

During the midday, the boys came streaming back from home… it the late afternoon few other friends too joined us so, for the tea … it was dining hall again …no more police barrack. As often there had not been classes for two days. It was the second day in the school. Everyone was still on the way coming back. All the two days We, older friends gathered on the shade next to the class building and spent the time looking over the highway seeing the people coming into school. After the tea in the late afternoon, today I was with a senior brother Robin, though was two grade senior than me we played a game. We would look for the traffics that raced along the high way. We, each of us would choose a side then when a vehicle came from a side, one of us whom it favour could get a chance to hit. So, the loser had to bring both of the hand forward and close it. The winner would get a chance to slap the hand. The loser would be given chances to make ecapes so the hit is not hard. But the winner would get several chances though unless he slaps the loser. It was a great fun.

Saturday we were told the formal initiation of the classes from Sunday. Few old friends left the schools where as few new ones arrived. Jiwan, Prajol, Yogen Rai, Nirmal grg and few others were the new comers. In all we were thirty five…

This year again, Sharma sir became our class teacher and the hostel teacher as well and “Sante uncle” for the uncle who lived in the same room with all of us.

Our English teacher, Kumar sir had left earlier after the finals. A teacher from South India then replaced him. He was tall, thin and usually was with the beard. He was a great storyteller. We often had a little part of the stories from the english classic novels. So, when we were on the lessons… he didn’t only explain about all that was in the lesson but also he told all the story if he had been know to it… On his earlier days… one evening he had told the story “Merchan of Venice” by William Shakesphear. For me it became a very impressive story for ever… because of it, a year later when he we got annex to a new library in the school… I started reading so many of classics… It did help me cover so much of the stories about the novels that we usually read only a part of it in our school lessons.

I did always like him and his class… I felt it always interesting… the main reason was I always hope for a story in each of his class. English was not only the subject he taught us. Even in the moral scinece… there were so many good stories. He did explain them well. Apart from this, there weren’t so much of the things changed only we had been upgraded… We had new new class and we had new books to study. This year we had our classroom on the upper floor…on the west part of the school building. In the late afternoon, the sun while trying to go down would fall on our back… on the ones taking the last seats in the class room. Just as the other years we had our indiviual desks and chairs where we kept all our books and copies all through the year except during the vacations.

For this time I was lucky, In the class I took the seat, the second last row with the window at my left. By my side was Gupendra. He would talk a lot about Hindi movies… once I made a great list of it promising to watch all of them some day. Perhaps it had been about a month or more. Sharma sir as a class teacher he was taking the first class, a science lesson. Gupendra was trying to explain something to me… From the front dest of the class, sir threw the duster, on him… it directly came to him… struck above his right eyebrow and went to the ceiling before it dropped down to the ground. It did shake my heart that moment. I was terrified with the horror. But he didn’t tell anything instead continued his lessons.

Next day the part over his eyelid was swollen and it took several days before it recovered. Sometime the snger and the cruelty of the teachers were beyond the range and they behaved as animals. This year some thing different proved to me … I was more associated to the brothers than my own class friends. Amar gurung, Mukti and few of their collegues became my good friends … so in the leisure I used to be with them… Often we went on the rooftop of the building and played carem everytime when we were free. I was so close to Amar he would give he so many things that he had. We were more like friend than having him called as a brother. There happenned no any differences in the day. Weeks after month the first came … and it was soon over.

After the term, I was again back at the school. Our class had already begun… Next day …with the classes, I decide to show my homworks. All during the vacation I never did any of my homeworks. This time I took help of my sisters on the last night before the leave… My eldest sister helped me with english where as the sister next to her helped me with Nepali.

It was always in vacation teachers gave a lots of homeworks... So much of it … it was more than abundant. Often we did them at school after our exams staying for hours in hostel to finish them. After exams we still had to wait for a day or two or sometimes even more to keep on waining for some one to come and take us home. So, we would easily make plenty of time for it. Teachers knowing our way… they would ask us to do in the copies that weren’t available at the school store. This always was the problem to us.

But once we were home for the vacation… for me … I would never turn my books unless I was again back at school. But as soon I was back… I would work every of my leisure minutes to copy the homeworks from my friends. This was the tradition not only for me … but also almost of all of my friends except every few.

The day I arived I showed my some of the homework to the respective teacher. It didn’t matter with others but while trying to get my copy checked with the Nepali teacherin his Nepali class, seated on chair closer to the door he asked us to come in a line to show us the home work… When my turn came he told me, the writing in the copy was wonderful. I smiled at him and proudly made a quick reply. I told him my sister had done it for me … he laughted at me. His expressions changed… Then he told “Then, do it again”.

My smile faded before I walked away from him… I did it again …it took me too days of all my leisure to finish it.

This season become more influental time for the poems… I was so influenced with the poets …their lifeways …their dedications, I too started writing poems. I even made collections of poems…. They were thirty of them… I used to show them to my mate Prakash Shrestha. He wouldn’t read it …but would look at it and count the numbers. Once, I even wrote a letter to my mother … it was a poem itself.

Later even I decided writing a poetry novel… “Hira and Moti” A life about an orphan boy and a girl… (Brother and sister) I did write about ten pages…. But I could proceed more because of our exam, which was getting closer. Then we had vacation. After vacation, my feelings for its continuity died.

The monsoon, we had a relegious festival “Jaina purnima” and everyschool had holiday. It was a day when a priest would tie a thread (after specially spelled in temple) around our wrist. Next day after it was called “Gai Jatra” it had it’s own importance to the Nepalese. It was the fun making day when the people would come out in the streets disguised in different fashion. They would come in a crowd, dancing and singing.

It had the legend … once the king had organised this to please his queen who had been depressed losing a son. So, the king had called on everyone in his kingdom in a disguise, the only one that had lost someone the following year. So, every year it would show how many people died the following year. From his he wanted his queen to realise the truth that she was not only the one to miss her child or her beloved ones.

In our school we often made some fun programs. Other times, senior brothers did perform … but they had decided not doing it this year… So it was only us that had decided to do it… This sort of program was to show the defects of the teachers or the staffs… we would make little drammas and jokes about the teachers or staffs… Those days… we had discovered, teachers used to gamble a lot in their room in the hostel. We had found it because they had the room on the ground floor where as we were on the adjecent floor above them. …So, we could see them playing during the leisure.

With my classmates we decided to do something… I made a song … with the sense that gambling and playing card wasn’t good which was sung on the day. We also made little drammas about teachers… and about the dining staffs … giving us little and having themselves the remaining… and so and so and so. It also included some dances from my friends in Hindi movie’s songs… Though it ought have to be performed on the day (It was the holiday too) but it was shifted on the following Friday late afternoon in the front stage of the hostel… where as everyone were outside in the lawn to watch it. Still something was unbelievable; I became the announcer for it. First time ever.

It was one fine morning…after our breakfast as we were coming to our class for the self studies… we were surprised to see few seniors guys… and one of our mate, Nirmal grg were infront of the school building. Under the shade of the tree… they were standing in a line all facing towards the school, with their hands stretched sidewise and stones in each of their hands. Non of them were in the school uniform. It was even a big surprise to see the school captain in the group. From this, we knew for some reasons they should have been punished by the teachers. But for what… ? Later from the friends we learnt, from some means… the senior guys were punished for mastubrating. I didn’t know how the things came to the teachers and why the teachers took it so serious that they punished them. For for our classmate, Nirmal he was punished for not dealing well with the teachers. Sometime he would even go to fight with them. For the senior brothers the punishment was for a day where as for Nirmal it was for three days… On the second and third day… he had to carry the log over his shoulder through out the day which should have been very hard for him.

For us Nirmal was okay but he wasn’t at all good for the teachers… teachers too a sort of hated and ignored him. So, he didn’t even continue the class for longer. He left the school even before the finals. In August as the usual years the children’s day was organised in the ground, under the shade of the gulmohar tree… The speciality of that day was that during the speech the chairman gave the words that soon he would facilate with the star TV… he would halp getting us the disc antenna so that we could watch several channels around the globe. It was great news for all of us as well as for the school … thought it did take a year before it actually did arrive.

In October, before our second term, school decided to take us to the cave in the valley. It wasn’t for any occasion though. One sunny after lunch… in our school uniform and in our school bus they brought us to the valley. Even though it was in the valley where I lived I had never visited the cave before theough I had heard so many stories about it. When we reached the place, we walked out of the bus… then we were asked to be in lines… teachers went to get the tickets for all of us.

In two long lines we entered the boundry of the cave… it was located at the base of the hills… so many trees on both sides of the way… there were numerous guava trees… full with fruits. After sometime we came to the entrance of the cave … the first time when I saw it, it almost took my breath, I was so frightened… it was an underground cave that had the opening on the ground… It looked so dark… in the beginning I thought I didn’t have enough courage to get into the cave.
The teachers hadn’t arrived yet… so, some of us we decided just to walked down to see how it looked … we did walked the steeps and walked few meters from the entrance. But it looked so dark; it was very quite… except the droplets of water falling on the wet ground. I could also feel those cold droplets falling over us. It was something unusual for us so we ran back to our friends.
Moments later when everyone, even the teachers arrived then in a group we decided to enter the cave. This time it was easier because we were many. As, we entered I was surprised … it wasn’t dark any more… there were dim electic bulbs on a side placed at each corner and each turns. The cave didn’t go more than about the hundred meters… it di seem there was still a way but ahead of it, it was dark and there weren’t any light bulbs.

While we were in the cave … I saw some of my friends were writing there names on the wall, it was standstone … Due to the mosture… the wall was very soft. After the cave exploration, we again gathered out in the ground above the entrace of the cave. In the school bus they had brought breads for us… they had also brought a big drum… for cooking tea for all of us… along with other necessary accessories.

Mosty of them, including the teachers because busy with themselves for cooking and maintaining the things… We were free and there we had nothing to do… So, we just looked at them and sneaked out from the group… It was kapil that silently made all the plans… Four or five of us … we sneaked out and dissappeared in the bush… no body noticed us… then as we got a bit father from the group… we started flooking for the guava trees…. There were so many of them…and they all seemed to be heaved with fruit almost to be ready ...big ones and yellow ones. And there was no time to waste. Yeah, from there every one dispersed and made their own route.

I Climbed one of the trees near by.then got to it’s top the farthest possible… picket on the biggers ones… some tasted and ate… many were big though but still hard and sour. So, threw away… There were so many that I decided only to keep the perfect ones…. Looking for it … excessively I happened tasted and threw them.

Looking in the one …then the next …and then the other… I came through so many trees that my pockets of my pants were full with it … and now I was almost to the main entrance to the cave. Then suddenly a man came run and shouting from the top… he was still farther from me … I guessed he should have shouted to other of my friends… I was already full with it … and I had also taken so many of them. So, I decided getting back to the place. When I reached there, first I was a bit scared if teachers would shout or punish us … but I silently slipped into the group, nobody seemed to make the notice …

Sometime later, after the tea and bread, we were again asked to be in line and were counted. We were all there. Then we walked back to our bus at the main entrace in two lines … Once we drove around the city … before we headed back to our school along the highway. In the evening we reached the school. I still had the guavas in my pockets… I shared them, with my friend Manoj in the later days. In few days they were fininshed.

Soon we had the second term… Exams were over soon… and I was again waiting for some one to come…. To take me home. This time mother din’t take longer as the other vacations… along with many of my friends I was also on a way to go home.

Seeing my mother…. With a sort of exitement …but so desperate in seeing her … I went to meet her. Just as everytime … I got down touch her feet…. It was something I did it for my parents all through my high school. He glorious smile … and herconstant look showed how much she loved me … I came couldn’t look at her face before I hurried up to get my packed things …and my bag to go for the vacation. With the glories of thevacation… she told me a sad story…

Father had been kept under the police supervision in the district police office. He had been involved with a different for about three years … the third year, he had left us and had started staying with her… nad once …some thing went wrong between them, he had hit her so bad... she made the report and he was then brought to that place.

Instead of getting to home… she took me to the district police office. He was there on the bed in the second floor of the building seemed, as it should have been the living room of some police personals. Seeing me … he brought me into his arms… his eyes filled with tears and soon started running down his cheeks… he moaned and then told he was not going to do the same mistake again.

I too couldn’t resisit it. My eyes to fiiled with tears … I couldn’t speak anything … I just kept listening him. For the night he asked me to stay with him. Though I had the feelings to go to home rather but still I did feel at all to deny him. So, decided to stay there for the night. I hadn’t any friend there so I was always with him. There he in respect to the others, he was free to walk around the place … but couldnotleave the place… so I wasn’t bored being there. That late evening… I was tired so after food soon I was asleep…

Next morning he woke me up then he we went for a tea… it was a sunny… and the sun was already high up in the sky… I would always walk with him… see his newly made friends but never did talk to any one. Just some time before the noon, mother came to see us… he was working to settle the dispute and make father free from it. I was always with mother and her great patience… thought I had always seen so much of the realities when he had humilaiated her for little things but when he was in troubles she was the one that would come out to help him… fogetting all the offends… Perhaps, forgetting his betrayals and his humiliations… after all she perhaps should have always thought he was her man… and there were kid that always had the necessity of a only father. I know she would do anything, she would make any try… she would weep to people she would tell her stories … she would do everything but she would never let the home devastate …to destroy the future of the kids … the life of kids … our lives and our future.
The same day I was back home. It was about two weeks later… working all day and pleading so many people she finally set him a free man again. But later I never think he ever realised it ever.
When he was back… things turned normal again… but he couldn’t keep us satisfying with the decision of the police personals for not taking charges on the woman who he had been in affair with.

After the relation wrecked, he had accused her for so robbing him for several other reasons. But no chages were taken over her. So, to humiliate them…we wrote and article “ Prahare duara Chor Ko Shamrachyan” (The robber secured by Police). He had given it to different journalists….
On Friday…luckly it was published in one of them. He was so glorified… it took a paper to show it to those police personnels and the officers… Next day, we even made several copies of it and pasted it at different corners in the cities.

Sunday, afternoon A small truck came with fully dressed police personnels, came to him and showed him the document for the arrest. The scenario completely terrified me; unknownly I had brust into a scream and terrible cry. A police personel came to me and told there was nothing so serious and they were to let him free…

Somehow it did give me relief. The shop was to be closed they took the photocopy machine with them… With them… I crept inside the truck… they left me home where as took the father with them. There had been only few days left with the days of my vacation… There was sad news again before leaving. That evening, she told … the matter was serious and they weren’t to let him out so easy. The same day she carried a bed for him… Now this thim he was put inside the bar with the others. (Few months later I was told he was there inside the bar for consecutive fourteen days before we were made to pay fourteen thousand Ruppees deposits to them. More then a year later … the fund was returned … he used it for his own purpose didn’t give any word for the mother through I didn’t know how much she much efforts she must have paid to gather the amount.)

After the second term, I was two days late coming back to school. Later… that evening we had the counting. The ones who had come late (including me) were called outside the room… There were two… other friends of mine who had also been back the same day. Outside in the wall of the corridor or passage, we were asked to stitch on the wall. So, we had to stand and face the wall touch the wall with the tip of our nose. We quitely accepted the punishment. About an hour later we were freed. It was horrible, to be punished on the same day of arrival … it tortured more when the feelings were greatly heaved with sadness returning to school.

This year we had some difference with our final exams. In about six weeks we were to have the district level exam… it was only was for the 5th grade of different schools over that district… and in a week away from it… we had the finals of the school itself.

It was sort of amusement and surprise for us…. It was necessary that we had to pass both the exams. It wouldn’t be difficult with the papers of the finals from the school this we knew … but the papers from the district examination board… It was a sort of confusing and distressing. But we were confident we would do it at any cost.

About a month later, I wrote to my mother, telling her I would no more keep with the studies in the hostel… I told her… I would better love as a day scholar. I had talked to her about it so many times… it was only that I wanted to remind her… If necessary I had to give the entrances so… I had decided for it. I was also telling my friends I was soon leaving the school. I knew mother would hear my say but the future … it was still yet a mystery.

Two weeks later, we had the district level exams. For us exams were supposed to have after the noon.

On the day for Sanskrit, only three of the friends were in the class… Jipendra, Santosh gurung and myself… Suddenly I happened to open the door of the teacher’s room adjacent to our classroom. It was a small room…it looked almost occupied even only with two beds a table and a chair. I quicky caught sight on a roll of papers bundled to one. Was it the question paper…? I questioned to myself. Slowly I creeped inside and took one. I was shocked… it was the paper of the exam that was to be held only in about half and hour.

Then quickly I tied up everything and placed it just the way it was… then came out with the one that I had taken out. I gave surprise to two of the other mates… We, three of us, went to the rooftop of the school building and sat and circled around to look over the questions carefully. Soon I wrote all the answers on the paper and promised to help them giving them after I was done. The bell rang… I was happy for feeling lucky but also frightened for what I had done. Unlike to the other subjects we were as in the other days we were asked to do the answers on the question paper it… It was a first blow to me … Next was two more new questions were added, as the teacher told it had been missing. However… with patience and confidence… taking all the chances I managed to work out all the answers from the paper for the two new ones… I made it by my own.

But then I thought of helping my friend… The teacher told … it was for an hour and we were not allowed to leave the room unless we were done. This was the second blow. Though I did want to keep my words and promises but I couldn’t make out for it … because there was no way I could get the paper to the friend Jipendra and santosh. Things didn’t come to the end… That day I was over excited with my deeds, I hadn’t realised so well what I had done after the exams… I couldn’t keep it up with myself… I told rest of my friends about it. Many of my friends didn’t like it at all. In the evening, the same teacher took the class… a friend Rajendra did almost veiled the reality … he had done it that day… but the teacher wouldn’t make out of what he had meant…
It had definitely been a serious mistake that I had made. It did always frighten me for the next five more years… until the end of the high school. I was frightened in anguish … if my friends would bring it out for the teachers… but nothing bad happened … with time it was almost forgotten… no body talked to me about it later.

And a week later preceeded the finals of the school. It didn’t become difficult, as we had already been prepared so well. After the exams… it was gain the same… burning books and copies at the backyard of the hostel for the wamth in the cold and dark foggy mornings in winter… teachers got busy preparing the results of finals …

This year for the excursion the school decided to take us to Gorkha, a historical place about seventy or eighty miles from the place.

One morning everybody prepared to go…. I decided not to go. Later I found a friend Manoj who too didn’t go for the tour. We just stayed in hostel until the evening when the friends returned. We did enjoy their great stories and adventures.

Before the winter vacation, we had the result of our finals. As usual I passed the exams… though I didn’t succeed keeping up with my position. I was in the ninth place. It was a sort of desperation for moment but… later, proved to be a sort of inspiration instead, as the story overturned for me.