My Friend's death in Nepal
by Kamala Sarup
I arranged my hair, and I looked at myself in front of the mirror. I lighted the stove and boiled tea in a kettle. My heart began to boil as the tea was boiling into the pot . I compared my heart with the boiling tea. My friend Rupa and I were good friends at school while she was in class 9. I was in class 10 and used to help her in many ways. It was necessary to step upward to the footwalk to reach school.
On the way, there were raspberry and peaches. Rupa was short. She could not reach the fruits, so I helped her pick them. I protected her from the raspberry thorns, which I collected and gave to her in a leaf plate that I brought from home.
We walked together hand in hand. Oh how we used to enjoy watching cattle graze, and eating Gunduruk, maize and curd milk. We used to sing and dance on the way home.
I could not remember more than that. I tried to remember, "If you study hard, we will go to Kathmandu. We will share our joys and sorrows in a small rented room there. We may get good jobs also. A teaching job might be easy to get." On the fifth day of Dipawali she had said to me and my brother, "Studying in Kathmandu is not as easy as you think. It is very hard to lead a life in Kathmandu. It takes a lot of money. Studying without money is impossible. It is better to search for a job first. In Kathmandu money does not grow on trees. Money will do everything," my brother answered. "Do you understand? I will be happy if I will join the police."
She used to make such jokes to keep me happy. I poured the boiling tea in a cup and entered the room.
I stood in front of the mirror and sipped my tea. I began to wait for my friend Rupa eagerly. It is ten minutes to four. I adjusted the screen of the window, and lay on my bed and put the hands on my heart. It beat rapidly.
"Which one is Kamala's home?" I heard the voice of one of my school friends, Kumar, from the yard. I stood up, went to the mirror, adjusted my eyeliner, put the red spot (tika) on my forehead, rosey lipstick on my lips and went down to welcome Kumar. He was standing in the yard. "We are meeting after a longtime. Thank God for reuniting us." Kumar stared at me. I just smiled at, Kumar thinking this was his habitual satire. We entered my house. "When did you come?" Kumar asked the personal questionswithout hesitation, which I didn't anticipate.
"I am still searching for my future", I said. I dashed into the kitchen. I started to fry meat. I prepared tea. After a time, I gave Kumar meat, fried beaten rice and cups of tea. Placing the things on the table, I spoke. "I am still waiting for my friend Rupa. Why is she late today?" While saying so , my heart trembled. I wished to weep, embracing Kumar at that moment.
"Why do you weep? I know you love your friend. In a long two years, not only is your heart pious but also it loves Rupa. She also wept for you. You would be surprised to read the note in her dairy. Do you know Rupa's parents tried to force her to marry, but she didn't listen to them. Her mother perhaps died from grief and father has been a heart patient for 4 years. It was Rupa who wanted you to come to her marriage. She did not want to get married without your approval of the man. She could not trust her parents." Saying so, Kumar wept excitedly.
"Please eat these things first. The tea is getting cold. Eat everything now; we will continue our conversation after breakfast." I tried to change the matter from the serious to the simple. "Your friend Rupa struggled with life in many ways. She was against an arranged marriage. Only the day before yesterday day she was engaged and she died today in a bus accident." He expressed himself in a minute. I was dumb. My eyes were full of tears.
Kamala is an editor for www.mediaforfreedom.com. Her specialties are in-depth reporting and writing stories on peace and anti-war issues, women, terrorism, democracy and development. Some of her publications include: Women's Empowerment in South Asia, Nepal; Prevention of Trafficking in Women Through Media; Efforts to Prevent Trafficking in for Media Activism. She has also written two collections of stories.