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Kamala Sarup: Freedom And My Old Friend

Freedom And My Old Friend


By Kamala Sarup

I had a dream to go to America since I was just 12. I used to dream every day of going to the US to learn and to make money. "Study hard I will help to fulfill your dream" my father told me, and I started to study hard. I have been in the US some 3 years and I have learned many things because I learned to write many articles on peace and freedom. I have learned more about terrorism and it has make me a very strong and a wonderful woman. Now I realize I have gained more strength and power to defend my values, my freedom and my rights as a woman. I might be going back to my village to implement the things I learned from America.

Today is Monday, I arranged my hair, sprayed scent on my dress and decorated eyes with eyeliner (collyrium) and I smiled myself in front of the mirror.

I lighted 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 boiling tea. I could not bear the sorrows of my boiling heart and there fell a drop of tear on my cheek. I poured the boiling tea in a cup and entered the room. I stood in front of the mirror and added powder on my face.

This morning I was shocked by a strange voice at Kathmandu. ' Aren't you kamala? Do your recognize me? I am that Kumar. Kumar of Sindhuli market' , My eyes clicked for a moment and spoke 'oh' Kumar ! What are you doing in Katmandu ?' saying so I sat on a bench in front of ticket counter in Kathmandu Bus Park.

The encounter made me happy and a drop of tear came down of my eyes. Me and Kumar were good friends at school while I was in class VII. Kumar of class VIII used to help me in many ways. It needed step upward foot walk to reach school. On the way, there were raspberry, peaches and guavas. I was short figured. I could not reach to pick up the fruits. It was Kumar who helped me to pick up the guavas and other fruits. He protected me from raspberry thrones, collected them and gave me in a leaf plate which he used to bring from home. We walk together by keeping hand in hand. How we used to enjoy cattle-grazing and eat Gunduruk, maize and curd milk. We used to sing and dance in picnic. Some times we fled to see movie by ignoring our guardians.

I could not remember more than that. Again my tears came down. I tried to remember, ' if you study hard, we will go to Kathmandu. We will share our joys and sorrows. We may get good job also. Teaching job might be easy to get'. On the fifth day of Dashain, my friend Kumar had proposed me near Nanda Khatri's house under the mango tree.

' Studying hard and working is not so easy as you are speaking. It is very hard to lead life. It needs a lot of money. Study without money is useless. It is better to search a job first. In Katmandu money does not bear in a tree. There is no dear and near. Money will do everything'. I had spoken to Kumar at his propose .

'Do you understand ? I will be happy if you be the officer. Being an officer, your status will go up in society'. I used to make such jokes to keep kumar happy.

Now the eyes feeble by tears. It was my friend Kumar who used compose lyrical ballades in me. Seldom he expressed 'without a look on you neither I can eat nor sleep'. I would leave for Kashi if there is anybody to compare your honesty, do I preserve the same position ? He used to tell me.

I started to sip my tea. He was to arrive at 4 O' clock but still there is a no call at all. I began to wait Kumar eagerly. It is ten minutes to four.

'Which one is Kamala's home?' I heard the voice of Kumar in the yard-down. I stood on my foot, went to the mirror, adjusted eyeliner, wore the rhododendron flower on my plait, put red spot (tika) on my forehead, and went down to receive Kumar. Kumar was standing there in the yard. 'we are meeting after a longtime, thanks God to reunite us; you are welcome; why you came late ?' I uttered these sentences in a breath. I am not so late, five minuets is nothing. Hearing the word 'nothing', I turned to Kumar, ' you are counting five minutes so seriously instead of many years that we couldn't meet'. Kumar stared at me. I just smiled at Kumar thinking that to satire was his habit. We both entered the room. 'The room is beautifully decorated , the flowers are blooming, all the necessary goods are available inside the room. What are you (service) ? Kumar asked all the personal questions without hesitation which I didn't anticipated, 'I have lost my family due to the violence, I lost my wife".

He exposed himself in a minute. I became like a dumb. My eyes were full of tears. Why did he face such a violence ? I dashed myself to the kitchen. I spoke ,'I am sorry to hear that you have faced violence and lost everything. There would have been your family life, what can I say more than this?'

While saying so , my heart trembled unlimitedly. I wished to weep embracing Kumar at that moment. 'Why do you weep ? I know you too faced violence. You would be surprised to read the note in my dairy. My parents forced me to leave the village but, didn't listen to them. Perhaps, my mother died due to that grief and father has become heart patient. Saying so, Kumar wept excitedly.

'I struggled the life in many ways. Hardly I could pass intermediate. Now I am holding a permanent service in land revenue office, but I am alone." He said. Actually, I was mortally pained and could not analyze the present at all. Therefore, I fell over the dead body of my wife and went on crying nonstop.

"Really, it is hard and dangerous in life to live with violence. I know you had said that the meaning of the word 'friend' in life is created not like any other word just to write, read and speak. I told him and I pray for wisdom, strength and peace.

*************

Nepali Journalist and Story Writer Kamala Sarup is an editor of peacejournalism.com, She is specialising in in-depth reporting and writing on Peace, Anti War, Women, Terrorism, Democracy, and Development. Some of her publications are: Women's Empowerment (Booklet). Prevention of trafficking in women through media,(Book) Efforts to Prevent Trafficking in for Media Activism (Media research). Two Stories collections. Her interests include international conflict resolution, cross-cultural communication,philosophy,feminism, political, socio-economic and literature. Her current plans are to move on to humanitarian work in conflict areas in the near future. She also is experienced in organizational and community development.

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