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The Graduates

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Dalli Maya sat on the handrails of a steel parapet which provided enclosure to the café. The café was on a cul-de-sac with alleys wrung in all directions. She wore a red ribbon around her braids as rings of her hair shone colorfully in the languid September sun.

Goloman assuming a meek countenance produced smoke ringlets which slowly drifted and grew as it moved towards an emaciated cat and suddenly garlanding the fascinated creature made it purr gently and in wonder.

Dalli passing the blunt to Goloman coughed, laughed and unveiled her plans happily and readily. It had been a week since they had graduated from the university and they felt like king and queen of the world. They had passed the dreariness of university with a sense of self-righteousness and languor. Now with a step into the unknown and another into the past, they found the company of each other more exciting and it gave them tranquility and confidence.

They were in the summer of their lives and they were young, carefree, loving and not cynical enough. They spoke with each other with their eyes, smiling, pondering and embracing the moment of time which would never return even though it was filled in love, friendship and innocence. Suddenly, they had admitted each other into their confidence and shared their hidden thoughts, desires and outlaid brilliant plans for future.

In the eternal day they became nutty professor with penchant for feet. An evil environmentalist lawyer. A real estate mogul in love with hooker. A gigolo. A pimp. A millionaire coder who promoted peace among worlds. An assassin politician who pursued rapists. A filmmaker with hot troupes. In the sublime moment of happiness, they were engulfed in incoherent and rash conversations leading to raillery, jokes and denunciations of all sorts, clanking their steel voices in clashes of inane excitement, furor and nonchalance; and when an unrestraint feverishness led them astray their joviality ended up in such a passionate sequence of kisses, which like a storm that gradually engendered a violent spiral of libidinal desires and carnal appetites for which they were readily thrown out of the café.

This full time fun suddenly changed in matter of months.

Dalli Maya’s happiness knew no limits when her father having been elected the new mayor of municipality obtained for his daughter the position of social mobilizer in office. She spent her days fooling around the municipal building chatting with all sorts of people with all sorts of bearings. In the meantime, she was enamored with Goloman having lost her hymen to his whimsical and youthful tenderness. Both were occupied in an ecstasy of lust, friendship and uncommitted courtship. Dalli Maya upon her wont of regularly reflecting on life found the affair most soothing to her nerves.

It was just as she had imagined life. A job that appealed for her lack of ambition and a man who didn’t want anything to do with her after sex. A life so sluggish that it could only be possible in Kathmandu. She felt reborn as the dull enthusiasm of university life was left behind. There will now be no homework or examinations. She didn’t have to bonk classes or perceive the piercing scrutiny of teachers. She would no more be upset in the labeling of bhaalu by her classmates. She could now breathe properly in the new dreariness of adult life.

It was stirring and undemanding. She would make a couple of runs to the ward meetings, pretending to note down concerns. She reported these concerns to the supervisor, a third class gazetted officer. He had a fleshy and sad nose. He would continue to nod comatosely till she ceased addressing him and then sighing like a smacked child he would reply in an undertone, ‘Okay. Dhanyabad’ leaving Dalli Maya to join her party of gossipers and idlers in municipal canteen where she would laze and fritter away office hours.

Goloman wrapped up his assignment and texted Dalli Maya to meet her at Hotel Chalise where he had booked a room for evening. He was interning at a nongovernmental, human rights organization. He was to write a brief in English on the case of Ganga Maya Adhikari, a woman in hunger strike for her teenage son killed during the Maoist Insurgency. He felt disgust and indignant for the case where the poor widow had to endure the death of her husband during the course of such hunger strike. He thought that the case was a sham. A political game of hide and seek. A never-ending search for justice that would never meet its end. A political bargain. A ruin of an innocent family. A public platform for civil society organizations to bring in dollars. And most appallingly, a symbol of transitional justice.

By the time he reached the scene of romantic delight, he inured the perjury, injustice and dark politics of the case. Crafting his way through an almost asphyxiation of a microbus ride, sandy streets, cappuccino colored potholes, ugly concrete houses made from ringgit labor and sparse Gulhomar trees, he completely forgot the day spent in smothering empathy and helpless agony.

He laid on the monochrome bedsheet and lit a fag. Uniformly drawing deep breaths, he scrolled through Instagram feed liking photos of his friends, cousins and strangers.

Hiking. Hashtags. Beards. Beer. Selfies. Self-Proclaimed Celebrities. Ubiquitous love emojis.

The room reeked of rainwater, unemptied ashtray and semi-gloss enamel. The attached bathroom wafted in smell of urine and lavender scented Odonil.

After a subtle and coded knock, the door hinges produced a protracted squeaky sound. Dalli Maya appeared all smiles. It was the last day of the month and she had received her first salary. Twenty-four thousand seven hundred and fifty rupees. Her happiness knew no bounds and the first thing she did was buy an expensive, ultra-thin, dotted condom pack for Goloman. She giggled at the mischief which seemed to turn him on. They made instant love, skipping tender caresses followed by kisses and foreplay which usually lasted at least half an hour. This sudden violence lasted almost a full minute.

‘I have to be home by seven’ Goloman mentioned nonchalantly. Then almost irate at the thought of guests at home, he added brusquely, ‘There’s a Shradha supper.

‘It’s almost winter and its dark so early. My mother phones me based on the darkness in the sky’ she lamented, looking through the aluminum mosquito nets of the windows.

Goloman looked pensively at Dalli Maya. Her bony spine disappeared somewhere along a soft bulge of her derriere. Four dark brown moles besotted her cervices. There were some more on her arms. A couple of dark ringlets extended to her nape. It appeared brittle and looked as if it could break easily off from her body with only a few sensual kisses. He felt a small nausea building in his chest. Her body was his edifice and he worshipped it. For an atheist a naked human body offers some degree of faith in the omnipotent.

‘Why can’t our ancestors leave us alone?’ Goloman murmured gaping at her body. She turned around gently. Her dark nipples seemed to greet him somberly. He had a broad smile building on her unsurprised countenance. Her teeth evinced cigarette stains on the fore. She shrugged spiritedly and with a lopsided grin, questioning his obsession with culture and dogmas. An inkling of such cultural transgression and he just cannot leave it alone, she thought. It had been dragging for a while now, unabated and now unrestrained and now it seemed to her that it would never stop.

‘Why can’t you just show up, smile, make small talks and be calm about it?’ Dalli Maya asked, suppressing her exasperation.

‘How can I? My relatives are such great people. They talk nonsense. They are full of concessions and wits which is just a droll and nothing more. I would say mildly amusing but I won’t give much credit either. That’s all they seem to care about, commentators and judges of our society. They talk like they can develop our country in a day’ Goloman replied.

He could hear them chortling with their jeers and repartees.

‘Boo, boo, baaa’ she made funny faces trying to distract him from unwise thoughts.

Dalli Maya didn’t know when she had fallen for Goloman. It wasn’t either love at first sight nor did they gradually allure each other. They never fell in love. They grew into one. Perhaps out of necessity, like siblings or couples who espouse through arrange marriage. Dalli Maya didn’t see a future with him but she perceived that he was certainly monogamous.

Goloman lay prostrate with his hirsute limbs. She thought it appeared thick and delicious. She wanted to make love one more time before she left for home. The strawberry flavored rubber united with sweetness of sex sweat unified their thoughts, anguish and cheers as the dark blue hues of the evening caroused with laughter of bugs, mosquitoes and frogs.

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