The Graduates

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.

Nirmala !

If I were a priest, I’d pray to the gods
For they seem only to listen to men
Who banter and applaud
Cheap nudity.
Manly gusto.
Tore up labia.
Bloodied justice.

I lament! I lament-
Birth. Caste. Boobs. Country
I am –
In mercy from wedding makers
In anguish from son seekers
In between dicks and dishes
Under duress, naked esteem.

If I were a priest, I’d pray to the gods
To give birth to men
Who love strangers as much as they love themselves.

Nausea

Wednesday 12:30

The Self-Taught Man came in to the café expecting me. I was scheming a public suicide in a short fiction I was working on. He came in through the sliding door, almost in rapture. His aquiline nose never ceases to fascinate me. Today the nose seemed slightly sad. He expected to die sooner because of his nose. ‘I inhale too much dust. I am surely getting an asthma in my early forties. Hear-Hear Kathmandu. Our love will kill us.’. He was convinced. I never doubted him. In fact, I never doubted him at all.

Friday, 3:00

It’s late afternoon and I am dizzy. Saala. I just had an Espresso. Double Shot. I smoke too much. The waiter waved a glossy pink slip. A thousand rupees. Eight hundred for Surya Lights. These cafes charge too much for cigarettes. I merely recalled my new habit, recording expenses in a mobile app. It’s futile. What would I do if I had an inkling of my expense pattern? Why, I know what I spend on? Last week, I had bought a little book on Chinese poetry. I thought it was cute. Today, I got myself a shirt from one of a footpath dealer because it was cheap. I didn’t need it. My mother always harangues on the virtues of making a pilgrimage to Pashupatinath. I made it along with her. I was broke by the time a fourth sadhu brandished his parched palm towards us. She screwed her eyes. I grinned nervously.

I pick myself up languidly. A guilt similar to post-jerking engulfs me whenever I am leaving cafes. It’s the same morbid lament. The deed is done. I have an urge to run away. It’s mildly disgusting now. The Self-Taught Man caught up with me as I was leaving the vicinity of the sin. The motorbike didn’t start. I check the dashboard. It’s empty. I slap my forehead. I go back the cafe. He is resolute. He is awake. I am tired. He’s about a song now. Cotton Eye Joe. He’s memorized the lyrics. I try to keep up, but I jumble up the words. I keep telling myself that he’s a freak.

Saturday 10:00

I get mail. Invitation to sit for an interview at an NGO. I look for their contact pages. I don’t recognize anyone. To get a real job is all about knowing people in Kathmandu. I will be skipping the interview then. I haven’t done anything substantial today. I feel sad. I think of Dali. Talent and hard work. I lack both.  At the age of six he wanted to be a cook. At seven he wanted to be Napoleon. In mid-twenties, I still haven’t figured out if I like mo:mo or mo:mocha more. I light a cigarette and smoke nervously. Should my mother wake up, she would reproach me not with fanged words but with monstrous faces. The bland breeze of the night calms me down.

Sunday 10:00

The June breeze is as lazy as me.

Monday 8:00

My little niece tells me that I am boring. She doesn’t know what sort of porn I watch incognito.

Tuesday 2:00

It’s deadline day. I merely finish the story on time. I send it to my editor. He promptly rejects it stating that it’s obscene. I reply that his self-righteousness is what’s obscene. He’s artless. Maybe that’s why he’s an editor instead of a writer. I am fuming. Some beautiful girls eyeball me. I bonhomie enough for one of them to blow me.

Wednesday 10:00

I apologize to the editor. ‘It was a paroxysm of rage and to tell you the truth I was a little bit drunk’ I entreat.  Damn it! A cliché. Nevertheless, he buys it. I wonder if he gets such responses a lot. He’s a nice lad. He offers me coffee and biscuits. His office is huge. The loft even has a window overseeing the city. It should be nice to be an editor. I promise to come up with a social critique of commercialization in medical sector by the end of the week. He consents. He’s such a sweet lad. I am good at chakari.

Friday 1:00

Having spent half my day, walking from one room to another, I questioned myself, in the dreariness of the afternoon, ‘Why does it even matter?’ In the sanctity of my house, I seemed to have collapsed under the influence of an ennui so dreadful that I only realized in the evening, the condition of my mental faculties.

At dusk, I observed a fly banging itself on the glass window. The fly flew voraciously towards the pane and having banged itself on the hard, polished surface; it repeated itself. ‘It is rather foolish of the fly’ I reckoned but thereafter soon grasping how I had been banging myself into an invisible window in the form of employment, I was aghast of the similarity between myself and this fly. We were the same. Well, at least, I got bored of the meaningless, incessant banging and got myself out my situation. At least I had the privilege of leaving my window pane on a whim. Then I realized that the poor fly will kill itself and in a paroxysm of sympathy, I drew the window, letting the poor creature fly off to wherever it fancied.

At bedtime, I list my inspirations.

Hemingway. Ganeshman. Kathmandu. Lalitpur. Bhaktapur. Girija. Oli. Prachanda. Nima Rumba. Underside. Cruentus. Tashi dai. Bhimsen Thapa. Maldini. Dostoevsky. Apple. Freud. Woody Allen. Camus. Tolstoy. Star Wars. Peanut Butter. Guevara. Napoleon. Corleone. Manjushree Thapa. We didn’t start the fire? I sigh. I am tired of all these influences. I am a mere scumbag.

Saturday 2:00

I am sleep deprived. I am in desperate need of a routined life. Well, I left my job which somewhat scheduled my time and now I can feel my entrails revolting against my mental faculties. This bohemian life of a story teller is rather repulsive. All I had to do was dispatch diplomatic mails. Here I am trying to get published and I can’t even write a decent paragraph. The office does want me back and I could use some dough. I am almost broke. The Self-Taught Man thinks it’s disgraceful to ask for money with one’s parents. I could use some filial reproaches. They are nuts in the most loveable way. The whole nation has gone nuts anyways. Well, history has it that the bewildered sati of Bhimsen Thapa cursed the country from the burning pyre. If one thinks about it, Kathmandu was probably cursed by a hundred thousand satis. I think I am cursed three times already. I am cursed for being a man. I am cursed for being a resident of Kathmandu. I am cursed for my mere birth in a so-called high caste. The whole of the country is excommunicating people like me for the sake of positive discrimination. The sins of the fathers do remain with us younglings. I should go back to sending mails.

Everyone told me that I shouldn’t quit my job until I had obtained another appointment. Friends. Cousins. Parents. Strangers. When one feels reduced and the learning curve is on all time low, how can one endure the tyranny of monotony, politics and unyielding gossips at offices? When I go to work, I don’t want to think that I am going to office. I want to feel that I am going to work. And how I worked when I did so. The slow gratification from working, I guess, that’s what life all about is, waking up each morning hoping to add to the foundations of yesterday’s work.

Now I can’t even find a decent job. The Self-Taught Man asserts that our nation literally leaped from thirteenth century to twenty first century in the last twenty years only. The Chinese want to invest in high tech infrastructures. The Americans sense that discourses about rights are redundant. The Europeans don’t want to empower women anymore. Nepalese people think that thy have received enough trainings. The Indians now know that Buddha was born in Nepal. I can’t relate to my country anymore.

Sunday 9:00

I run my fingers through a Kantipur Dainik. The title reads, Balla Underpass. It’s a sin to be a Nepali. Why can’t the heading be ‘Ae hajur kholyo hai underpass’. Such cynical and partisan reporting is killing a whole generation in Nepal. Well, worse than killing. We don’t die. We live to die daily devoid of hope and love. The journalists who feed on the people’s hopelessness and lovelessness are equal to rapists. Both lack compassion.

P.S. Bon Jovi is a Boy Band

Dear Mr. M, In the morbid bareness of autumn, I finally found, deep inside my heart, a sort of warmth, a fiasco –a friendship, which helped me persevere the brooding lust of death. Leaving behind the beauty of ethereal convictions, I fell upon your knees and you accepted me as I was; marooned by self and vain in nature. As I made strides towards the darkness, essential moments of love and compassion escaped me and primal emotions which sustain life were already numb. Having experienced life, I was disappointed. I wanted to experience death, for in certes I knew it wouldn’t disappoint.

Continue reading P.S. Bon Jovi is a Boy Band

Ebooks

Buy E-books from contributing authors of The Kathmandudes. 

  1. Fear and Loathing in Kathmandu, A Confession – Short Story Series 

Publisher : The Kathmandudes

Year: June, 2010

2. Fear and Loathing in Kathmandu, The Moraliste of Bhaktapur, Short Story Series 

Publisher : The Kathmandudes

Year: December, 2017