Memoirs from Gorkha – In and Out of Humanity (Part 2)

6.

 After our little adventure, I went back to Kathmandu with no intention of returning back to Gorkha. I had to continue with my studies and I didn’t think twice of staying back to get a position in the wormhole to supposedly help the earthquake survivors. I was qualified enough and could demand a hefty salary. But it was bullocks, I thought. Why do something half-heartedly when I could go back home and lounge in middle-aged rigmarole of gossips in the cafes. It was an easy decision. So one fine sunny day, as I and my precious little Sherpa was dawdling in a café, the earth shook like mother earth was having sex with a couple of Nepali gigolos. In a paroxysm of fear, we ran into the streets and stooped ourselves in the middle of the poorly done asphalt for safety. After the quake subsided, I knew that Kathmandu would again go on vacation for another month or so. I sighed at my misery. I was ready for college and here was fate, trying to knock me down with boredom in this godly city. The ennui was unbearable and I signed up for Gorkha again. Continue reading Memoirs from Gorkha – In and Out of Humanity (Part 2)

Memoirs from Gorkha – In and Out of Humanity (Part I)

1.

We had travelled for five hours through the marooned highway, along the perennial Trishuli, and through a dilapidated Bailey bridge into the district of Gorkha. Having made our entry late into the night, we were accommodated into Hotel Regent where an affable concierge along with a ten year old employee of some sort took us to our respective rooms. I was to share my room with a young adult whose appearance was that of a blue blood and had remained reticent throughout the journey. I didn’t feel like chatting up much with anybody, for I knew nobody, yet I had trusted these strangers to take me into their custody. There were seven such young adults. I entered the room with a rusty candelabra as the lights were out, picked out a bed in the nook, threw my impoverished rucksack on the cemented floor, and crashed on the straw mattress for a much needed sleep.

One of my friends had hooked me up with this group who were to travel to the district of Gorkha and provide some sort of comfort to the earthquake survivors. The ‘Gorkha Earthquake’, as it would be called later on in the ensuing days, had created destruction of ridiculous proportions in many parts of Nepal. Two days after the immense tremble of the earth, leaving behind uncomfortable teasing quakes and all sorts of demolitions, I managed to find my breath and left my relatively well-off neighborhood in the city of Kathmandu whose centuries old temples and monuments were pervasively in ruins; and took off randomly to whichever part of the country I could manage to get into. For some uncanny reason I ended up in the district of Gorkha; an ancient kingdom where my paternal lineage could be traced back on whose glorious past had my forefathers served. I wasn’t into this kind of identity crap, but little did I know that it would one day haunt my conscience. So, with much resistance from my parents and having taste for some adventures, I had arrived at the heart of chaos.

I woke up to a rattling sound from inside of the adjoining wall.  My roommate had just finished his bathroom chores and had flushed the toilet when a noise blew up, putting him into frenzy as he ran outside of the room, panting and shouting, ‘Bhuichaloo’.

I cursed him and went back to sleep.

When I finally woke up, the toilet had a valve cap broken and commode tank overflowing, which the ten year old could be seen pumping down.

In the afternoon, there was a commotion in apropos to the plan of action that was to be made. A delirious member of the group was rather enthusiastically suggesting that he would not enter any villages without any aid. He had heard rumors that the villagers had gone berserk after the indifference of the government officials to their plight and were attacking the outsiders who went to see them like animals in a zoo. Now, I wasn’t that much paranoid but it seemed that he had a point, and I and my roommate cautiously volunteered to visit a couple of villages that were nearby to the bazaar.

It turned out that I had to hike for three straight days to complete the trip, but little did I know at that moment of time.  I grabbed a satchel and threw some Cadburys and Rara noodles. My roommate had got hold of a local villager where we were to visit and do a detailed survey. He packed his white washed knapsack, and the local urged us to hurry because he hadn’t much time. When we were leaving, the leader of our group insisted that we take a group photo and kindly gave us a portable cell charger. He told us to use it when we were only in a desperate need.  My roommate had managed to snip two tarpaulins from a foliage of tents, tarps, snickers, crackers, popcorn, and crocs among other necessary articles we had bought at a friendly neighborhood super-market just before we left Kathmandu. He said that we were borrowing them but they never made it back.

After an hour of walking up the hill we remembered that we had forgotten to buy some pack of cigarettes. I had heard that it was scant in the villages. We had to take another route to get access to a marketplace and bought five packets of “Sikhar” each before we restarted our journey again. The local went bananas on us as it cost us an hour. During our detour, I managed to introduce myself and through our virtue of heavy smoking we became acquainted with each other in a proper fashion. I can’t really remember how many acquaintances I have managed to make through this unhealthy habit. For the love of this morbid penchant, it was a disaster that cigarettes were getting scant in rural areas of Nepal. The whole of Kathmandu was responsible for twofold sales of Cigarettes and crush-tear-curl tea after the quake. We brought a stale cupcake for the local as he cheerfully and ravenously gormandized it to the last bits with a big fat smile on his face. Harka the roomie was stout and wore a dreary countenance as zits attacked his creased forehead. He didn’t speak much and we got along very well throughout this misadventure.

The road was asphalted for almost five kilometers but then it was all dirt track from there on. The loose surface was only a two months away from being a long stretch of moats and burrows from the ensuing monsoon. After treading clumsily for another four hours along this marooned passage, squeezed in between spiked hills and bushy trees and only the whispers of northerlies for music, we arrived at our first destination.  There was a discerning smile on the local’s face. It was his village, Bungkot.

2.

The village hunkered through a steep hill, a common feature of villages in northern Nepal. The houses were arrayed in columns of dry cow-dung and black slates and juxtaposed to these small two storied buildings were sheds for hoofed animals and menstruating women. The polished slates in ebony provided for a bewitching spectacle from our vantage point. But as one got near to these mud houses, one felt a terrible fear and loathing against the gods who did this to their simple minded devotees. They were so arrested that young men and women were nonexistent. Wallowing in the filth of monstrous beauty and rural hardships, grandfathers take care of their petty arable lands and grandmother breastfed the children. I surveyed the hill though it’s narrow, steep tracks and ridged farms as the thin northerlies breezed through my fatigue. I had never walked for a kilometer in my entire life and here I was studying the devastation that had been left behind for my fellow countrymen to clean up. Was it the love for my country or my deep, dark inclination to anything chaotic? I asked myself. Either ways, I was here, in this uncanny village with a stranger for friend and another picaresque of a stranger for an escort.

‘Here, I show you what I think of this mess’ said a softly curt voice pointing at giant boulder at the apex. The earthquake had nearly uprooted a giant rock that was probably cursed to be there on the first place. If another aftershock greater magnitude would ensue, the rock could steadily roll through the serrated hill top and through the entire village, leaving behind a trail of flattened households and carcasses. It was surreal to think of but I was startled because it was not impossible. I climbed to study the colossal Sisyphean boulder which had averted disaster as the roots of hardwood Salla and dry raspberry shrubs which were very dense and thorny clung on to its torso. A happy little man passed me a glass of what appeared to be milk. I refused the drink. He seemed to have taken no offence.

As I made my way through the dilapidated buildings, cracked houses, and rubbles of what were houses, I saw our local negotiating about something with another man who looked rather noble for a villager.  It didn’t take me much to figure out what they were negotiating about. The noble man was about fifty and had some whiskers along the corners of his mouth. He looked and talked like a gentry and didn’t fail to produce a faint smile when he started to talk. His hair was meticulously raked through the middle. He carried a small comb and pocket mirror on the back of his suit trouser. He would take it out and groom his rather oily hair occasionally. He wore hand loomed linen and a black waistcoat.

‘I will give you three bottles, not one less than three’ he said waiving his hand with three fingers upright.

‘But it isn’t worth it. What if the building collapses on us? That’s too much risk. Give us a crate’ our local countered ardently. The man frowned.

Harka had parked himself on a Muda for some time now, listening to their negotiation and appealed the grandee to be just. Some women clad in shabby cholo made their voices heard and tried to get something out of it. In the end, the local managed to badger the gentleman into taking claim of five bottle of Gurkha beers. The man had stashed two crates of beer in his attic just before the great quake had hit. His house was listed in Kh:a of which he would appeal against much to his distress. He would only be provided with partial compensation by the government but he already knew that because his daughter in-law was a social mobilizer. He knew what was going to happen in the village before anyone knew it, so we were glad to have made his acquaintance.

His house appeared fine from the outside but even the para-military police who were sent to observe the damage in villages had refused to go inside, for it looked like a shady deal. It was a three storied building with a mezzanine. The attic extended between two gable ends which was supported by a beam of hardwood. The thatched roof had been visibly damaged as a couple of rafters lay on the dunged floor. I gave the house a peak through its miniature door and refused to undertake such a venture. Harka backed down after he knew that he had to climb through a faulty ladder which made a squeaking sound as it pressed against wainscoting of the first floor. The frigid wooden ladder climbed all the way through to the attic. Two crates of brown bombers lay there hoppy and bitter. The local had to do the job alone. We thanked him for the beer later on. It tasted bitter melons.

3.

 

We left the village with hollow promises of returning and helping them build their houses, to have some more pints of indifference and stay for some local kukhura.  From my part, I didn’t even know which wormhole I was representing. I remained reticent for the fear of appearing dumb and untrustworthy while our local did most of the talking. This went on throughout our journey. There was more in Harka than one could see it. He was slowly unravelling himself like the misty mornings unfolds the beauty of black-slated rooftops and stucco houses in Gorkha. He walked in nimble gaits and assumed an appearance like he was strangely attached to everything that surrounds him. He was one of those people who are relaxed about everything and readily own the very spot they stand on. He was appearing imposing after every minute and I couldn’t help myself but be drawn towards this nonchalantly somber and deviously comical figure who was pleasantly sauntering alongside me in our quest to something that hadn’t been figured out. We were humanitarian workers searching for something far meaningful than humanity.

We tread for an hour and reached Namjung. Along the way we were accosted by leeches of all sorts, Democrats, Maoists, pillagers, rednecks, Red Cross volunteers and innocent bystanders looking for some sort of comfort that was supposed to soothe their loss. Some had lost their children while others lost their sense. The teasing aftershocks added butter to their Yagya. A yearning for divine intervention was diffused throughout the fatalistic mountains. The Rishis and Munis in ancient times performed rituals to lull the fear of unknown and as their wives spread their legs for divine comfort. Human and Gods existed for mutual benefit; humans for pacifying their anxieties and gods for using human race as brothels. For a year or so these mountains would brothel European services, Indian propaganda, Chinese affluence, and Nepalese bureaucracy, the worst of the lot. Here I was, a savage, independent observer looking for some morbid action in this heart of darkness. Where others were pursuing for the light, I was merely discerning the ontology of darkness.

 

The setting rays of the sun reminded me our tarps. There were two huge tarpaulins and little three of us. Just across the dirt road, in the reclining foot of a hill, some old men were setting up shelters for the whole village. It had a straw thatched roof and rusty iron sheets as wall to shade them inside. They were assembled from the nearby ruins. A few little, hunched men were applying bamboo braces. The skies appeared as if it would rain. Harka was having tête-à-tête with a young brunette who seemed to be leading the construction work. In a while, he could be seen shoveling trenches around the shelter home. Our local was chatting up with some villagers, playing to their hopes, probably depicting us as a Messiah of wine and grains. He persuaded them to take us in for the night. I was feeling philosophically grumpy.

In a paroxysm of grouchiness, I grabbed a tarp from the rucksack and gave it to the little, old men who were adjusting the rafters for them to properly roof the shelter. It created quite a commotion around the camp. Suddenly some old women with gold piercings bulging from their ears took me by arm and recited blessings, offering us Tuborg. The beer crates had been dunked in stream water, and it was chilled! Harka offered some cigarettes and Snickers to the brunette and we were heartily invited for supper. Our local couldn’t be more startled.

 

4.

As darkness slowly engulfed the night, and rain showered over the conscience of Kathmandu; washing away the thinly asphalted roads that it had commissioned to build in these god forsaken mountains, I laid senseless inside the newly built shelter-hut. By my side, an old man who had helped built this hut was wheezing and snoring. I could barely sleep. ‘What is the meaning of all this?’, ‘Why was I here?’, ‘What purpose does it serve?’ I couldn’t fathom. I wanted to go home and watch an amateur porn. If I was home, I would probably have been cussing all over the Xbox. What was it that I was pursuing that led me to lay beside this funny smelling old man and his village? I thought it was my own volition but I couldn’t be more uncertain. In times like these you question your own decisions. But how can one doubt free will and question your decisions. I thought I had run away from the comfort of Kathmandu in order to do something adventurous. The most adventurous I would do was to run away from the city of dreams. It was what I wanted to achieve and now that I had achieved it, I began to despise the very nature of my intention. I was a social work student and I had no intention of helping those who were suffering. I wasn’t in love with my country but merely in love with the idea of patriotism which I had none. I had a big ego that the country was built from blood and sweat of my ancestors. Those ancestors lived here, in this realm of hardship and beauty. I cannot even describe the beauty of this place. But the beauty was cursed, alright. I frustrated myself to sleep.

In the morning, we met the social mobilizer of this village. She was a decent, middle-aged village woman. In the absence of village secretary, she had proven herself in the eyes of her people. She had coordinated the rescue efforts, rationing of food supplies as the granary collapsed and had kept the village politically sane. We gathered useful information regarding the village and told her to keep in contact with the wormhole.

As I thanked some elders, our impudent local, managed to brag about how we would return with supplies and placate their sufferings. We were instructed to no make any promises. Harka starkly reminded him.

After tea, we hit the road. For some morbid reasons, I was feeling sick. I had a burning head. The fever was incalascent. I began to feel weak as my legs went sore and it became apparent to Harka that I began to show signs of fatigue and feebleness, he slowed his pace and offered to carry my gears. After an hour of treading along the narrow corridors and crooked hills, it began to rain. I stood on a precipice, soaking and snuffing, observing the undulations which had no end in sight. If it wasn’t beauteous, it was like a somber leviathan which had been sleeping for a millennium and wouldn’t wake up for another. The occasional aftershocks were a stark reminder that we needed to persevere.

Our next destination was Phujel. From there on we planned to take a bus to Gorkha Bazar. But the bus did a roundabout only once a day. While we did have time, we needed to finish our business and rest for a while before catching the bus too for, Harka had also significantly withered and I was already smoking my cigarettes with some dab of Sancho. For two straight days, we had sailed in mountain waves with sun, rain and cold northerlies. While we went to observe and gather information, having witnessed the devastation, we had to compose ourselves and appear emphatic while retaining human side. While we were buying Sancho at Namjung, two dead bodies were dredged up of the debris. Nobody could identify them and the departed lay on the road without anyone to claim them. They were an old woman and a little child. One had a furrowed countenance, silver hair and was decrepit while a mere child lay juxtaposed to her. Little did they know their fate and death was obscene in deliverance. Harka was poignant at the scene. Any man would be touched by such a sight, for it was the sight of death. It doesn’t really matter how we live our life but much thought is given to how we depart this world. Maybe our rationale that life is short and death is eternal provides us such incentives to part this world in a jovial way. I do not truly understand death, but it is an incentive for me too. An incentive to live my life to the fullest. Without death, I would have been long dead. Better death than dead, I figured.

5.

Just before noon we reached Phujel. Our local acquainted us with the village secretary who inquired about us. He had dispatched his officials and had merely debriefed a team to conduct a survey of the village. He invited us to have lunch at his house and directed our local to a nearby inn. We were to wait till the evening to gather our information. We would miss the bus which came once a day. But, we happily obliged at the prospect of some decent food and a lot of rest. We dozed off in a classroom at a nearby school. The school was used as storage for dry food, fruits, water and tarpaulins which were being distributed by the government. The secretary had sent some goons to loot the government stockpiles in Gorkha Bazar. The villagers couldn’t be more thankful. So were we. We dozed off till the evening.

We reached Gorkha Bazar on a pickup truck, courtesy of the secretary. He reminded us that his village should be prioritized over others. We told him that it will be done. Our local implored us that his village be highlighted in our report. We told him that it will surely happen. A local Maoist leader called up to persuade us that their village be shown most in need. We told him not to worry. Even the man whose beer crates we rescued called over the phone to remember his beer. Of course, we did.

In the course of time things were happening in the capital which would change the course of history in Nepal. The lepers had decided nothing of any consequence regarding the welfare of its people. They hid inside their SUV’s for shelter and had baguettes and mineral water for supper. There was no water at all in some villages in Gorkha and were sending in dry rice through Heli’s in sacks. People complained about toothache. The government complained about the mineral water being made in Nepal. They thought it was detrimental to their health. One day a Heli crashed in the hills, seven people died. The people grieved over the Heli. It was one of the three Heli’s that the government had. Two of the remaining Heli’s could be seen hovering over the countryside a decade later.

Yes, there were some precursors to a historical event in Katmandu. But here in Gorkha, ancient kingdom of the sub-continent, there was real panic and lethargy. You can ask how can there be panic and lethargy at the same time. In soothe, it serves a purpose. It serves to stall the grief. People of Nepal live their lives contradicting themselves. One may say that it’s a lie but if a lie is believed to be a true then, it serves the purpose of truth. Because the quintessence of truth is not to lie and when believer of lie has his faith in it rendering the veracity of it as a quintessential truth, the equation supposes itself. Here we think like a communist and live like rich men. In cities we feel that we know everything yet everything eludes us. Only mere rumblings and sarcasms benefit the order of men. One who speaks need not believe in what he talks about. He need not be right to do justice to his arguments. Here, the jests and witty dialogues murder ideas and progressive thoughts before they can be conceived. One argues for the sake of arguing and winning the argument from the streets to the parliament. Thunderous applause to the one who can make us laugh at our own misery and woe to those who provide elucidations to our dreadful existence. Either one is a conformist or a nihilist. The nihilist is merely a mad man running around to make something happen to enlighten the people yet to his utter dismay, the people fail him. And haven’t people failed this so-called glorious nation.

Sometimes, I don’t understand what glory is. Why we should be so coveted. Is it for the glorious to rejoice or the enemies to have a grudge on?  Whose purpose does it serve? Living in a glorious nation, one cannot help but feel helpless in being able to become a rebel of its glorious banter. Camus said that when the slaves rebel they go for all or nothing. To keep quiet is to allow yourself to believe that you have no opinions, that you want nothing. Despair, like absurdism, prefers to consider everything in general and nothing in particular. But ironically, absurdism and fatalism goes hand in hand in this glorious nation. Could it be pseudo intelligence or modern day systematic slavery? When one knows that one is a slave and there is every chance that one can be emancipated yet one doesn’t choose freedom but choses to live under the same system because it fits his existence; it isn’t an inability but a choice for any mundane reason as good as the Jew genocide. It may come to one’s notice that one’s preservation depends upon how worthy we feel we are. Camus again asks, why rebel if there is nothing worth preserving in oneself?

I had a friend who committed suicide after the earthquake because he found out that the nation was already doomed. He tied to help his fellow countrymen. It wasn’t a worthy deed to undertake. It was bullocks. Maybe that’s why he blew his face first. When you have a mass masquerade then there is nothing better than to partake heartily and laugh at yourself. But such people who refuse to believe in the invisible chains and fat keyrings to the doors of perception, one doesn’t aware them but run away from their contagious stupidity. Yes, stupidity is contagious! All the merrymaking, festivities, songs of wisdom and dances of ghosts, colorful homes and hue less government offices, meaningless chatters and sweet ales which gives meanings to them; all are the part of such a contagion. And so was the great earthquake.

On Freedom, Suicide and Other Things

3.

The clock stroke four and not long after, there commenced a minor hustle-bustle at the café. Gradually, other members of the society began to appear and then the café was engulfed with assertions, witticisms, complains, admirations and ridiculous reasoning’s. Though it was a daily routine, it appeared sprightlier than ever. The next day would always transcend the previous day when it came to the general clamour and mood of the members. It was always a majestic sight to those who knew who they were and what they were conversing about, the ludicrous jeering and sally tongues would amuse the bystanders and observers while the owner of the café would rather discreetly shy away from the company. He always thought that they were too intelligent and sharp tongued for him. Anyways, he was well entertained through the busy evening when the rush hour would cease as emaciated officials, nonchalant pedestrians, young folks, rebellious teenage girls and retired old bureaucrats would give the café a visit.

Though all this, Rita, who had conspired rather thoughtfully about her being acquainted with the society was more than amused. She was gleaming. She didn’t speak but listened to the raconteurs, rather attentively and admired their oddities with her shimmering teeth and juicy pink lips as it stretched beyond her rosy cheeks, evincing her adorable pointed nose and narrow nostrils. Throughout the evening, her countenance assumed a wide and taut smile. All she did was, ordered more coffee, smoothed her folds, spiffed her round shoulders and have a hearty laugh which would always turn out to be more voluble than she had planned. Time to time, she observed Mr. Floyd who turned out to be rather soft spoken today, almost a chivalrous knight of the former centuries, galvanised yet inhibited.

He had managed to acquire a seat at the nook, just adjacent to the back door. He didn’t speak much. She thought, maybe he was not in the mood or was also enjoying the conversations. It was true, the latter assumption that had passed her thought. He had suddenly decided to listen to his fellow brothers and clever ladies of the society.  For him, the society was a woman and to sway her away, he needed to keep his quiet sometimes yet at the same time make her feel that no love was lost. But suddenly, a paroxysm of silence had clutched him that he didn’t even hesitate a moment let it go. He wanted to be esteemed at the expense of Rita just some moments ago, but that was how he was, never dogged and patient. They sometimes chanced a fleeting glance at each other but it wasn’t awkward for him who it seemed was a veteran of this situation. He always seemed a way to loll with women though it wasn’t his basic intention. Women crave attention and they always seemed to procure his fleeting considerations which always made them uncomfortable and undecided.  For now, Rita was undergoing such undulations and she couldn’t decide if he wanted to have a tete-a-tete with her or he was just nonchalantly observing everything that met his eyes.

There was a sharp commotion among the members. They were talking about a rich man who had managed to squander all his property on a drunken revelry, his wife having committed suicide and his two children were working in a quarry, carving stones and dredging up the new found sorrows of life.  It was all over the newspaper and they seemed to get hung on the story.  There were two groups discussing on the topic at hand. One was talking about the matter pertaining to suicide of the wife, which consisted of the young members and women mostly while another group which had swerved from the topic were discussing about madness in general.

“……….she showed her character in the end. If she was a good wife then she would have had the courage to face the ensuing sorrows”, Sharma spoke ardently.

“But, goodness and courage are two different things, you are mistaken, my friend”, replied Thapa, promptly. It got the crowd going. “Yes! Yes! He is right”, they chimed in together. Thapa continued, “I don’t dare to talk about the character of that poor woman, but I tell you my friend, she was courageous and it was up to her to decide which bold path of courage to tread”. He looked at Sharma for any sign of rejoinder but seeing that there was not any yet, he said, “Don’t you think you have to yield an enormous amount of courage to commit suicide? Don’t you feel that the poor wife deserved to at least die in peace rather than live in shame for what she wasn’t guilty of ?”

“But at what cost? Her children are rotting in some suburban quarry, she should have thought about it. I understand the anger and grief that might have fallen at her but to give one’s precious life at the blunders of other is ….is….not just crime, it is much more severe than a crime. Mr. Sharma began to stammer. “It was a….a…… ….” But before he could complete his sentence Mr. Thapa got reinforcement in the form of Mrs. Chaudhary, “So, you think it’s a sin, to commit suicide”. She smirked and gave a long sigh. “I think it’s more than stupid for us people to judge such a woman without knowing her background. One should understand her personality before we jump into any derisive conclusion”. She threw a glance at Rita, the psychology student. But, Rita didn’t evince any expression. She continued, “But, that’s her. What I don’t understand is that why shouldn’t we be allowed to give up our life? I don’t understand it. Nowadays, we talk about freedom and equality and love and hate too easily, as if we are unaware of the weight of these words. And to be true, most of us are not. Why can’t we be free to just give up our life when we want? We are thought to be free on how we want to live our lives but then when it comes to death why aren’t we so liberated. Isn’t that the whole gist of freedom? To be free of societal volitions and prejudices”.

“Yes, you are truly right Mrs. Chaudhary, when it comes to these words; we have been using it indiscriminately. Nowadays, I am quintessentially confused on love and hate. Are these even different? We are all murderers in the end”, Thapa asserted, rather with some loftiness.

“Why do you say so?” replied Sharma, with his mouth full. He was voraciously gorging a pineapple pie as he scooped some sugar to his tea.

“The matter of fact is that…..well, lets say, when a lady aborts a child then she stands against humanity, everyone sees to it that she has indeed done a great sin, the greatest of them all, to derive a child the right to live but and it is us men who make her stand in the pulpit of shame and demand her life be fraught with guilt. Ha-ha but then, we are but men. Sometimes i am plainly ashamed. It isn’t the same case when we masturbate; we fancy it’s all too trivial to concede any sin. But if science is to be taken into consideration then at such mere fancy we end up murdering millions”.

Everyone was mortified. There was a stern silence. Nobody knew how to react to such a claim. Was he ridiculing or was he being truly deliberate. In any case it seemed like a valid argument. Yes, one could equate such claims with freedom and it could be considered ludicrous yet, they were all here for glory. “Yes, Mr. Floyd, care to share your insight?” said, Mrs. Chaudhary. Mr. Floyd who was sitting cross legged, leaning on his elbows and listening indolently to them gave a broad smile which depicted that he was content with leaving them up to themselves. He sat in this position for the next one hour or so till he left the place and he barely spoke.

 

(This chapter has been continued from The Masochist Men and Sycophantic Women)

To be continued….

The Masochist Men & Sycophantic Women

Chapter One

Through a common friend of Goloman, a chance meeting happened with a rather eccentric social circle who indulged themselves in discoursing and philosophising about the nature of their thoughts and nothing more.  Goloman who himself had his idiosyncrasies and was somewhat considered a peculiar little fellow by his compatriots, divested himself from the natural, abhorrent social circle of men and now he was gleeful that he had found in this world what he thought were extinct, a congregation of enlightened men and women.  This flock of capricious people appealed to his very soul. What more, they accepted Goloman as their own.

They met, ate, conversed and dispersed. They were ordinary people with extraordinary ambitions. It was apparent at the onset, to Goloman, that, they were never going to attain anything in life except what was ordinarily achieved. Goloman, who was a pseudo recluse, had met his perfect social circle. It consisted of masochistic men and sycophantic women.  They went late to bed, woke up early in the morning for their office, spent a dull day at work and then met at Café Devkota,  conversed fancifully and whimsically, engaged themselves in a vehement and rueful discussions at times, paid their bills and went home to watch the 8 PM news.  This was too good to be true for Goloman.

There were about a dozen of them but most of them managed to squeeze past the rush to manage a meet with their fellow anomalous characters. Within short amount of time Goloman was already on the pulpit and his influence burgeoned with time. It was apparent that he had begun to be a no match for anyone which owed much of it to him being a recluse. He wasn’t a typical loner for; he liked the company of people very much. In fact, he was always among people of all sorts, loquacious men, quiet women, fervent grandfathers, wayward children. He gratified himself in company of people but ironically he was very much a recluse.  It was so because he rarely conversed with anyone but himself. He observed it all and took such frivolous part of life to his heart.  He’d read Blake by the age of fifteen and by adolescence, he had already completed Sartre.  It is rare nowadays to find people who read, especially people who are autodidact and willing to go lengths to comprehend even a speck of knowledge. We are all mortals living together to act impishly in our own ways. Some read, some coy, some go distance to be normal while some are just born from Gogol’s bosom. Goloman was one of those, who knew the meaning of all this stupidity was merely to exist and procreate.  Now, he was here, a prominent member of this social circle.

One day, Goloman had arrived much earlier to the café and sat there in his usual temperance. Reading the newspaper and drinking coffee, concentrated, yielding sweet delight, he sat cross-legged in a regular chair and while the table was recently furbished ebony dark. He knew he should have to wait for his comrades for more than an hour and he waited callously. He would wait without any restlessness and anxiety; such was his sober demeanour at such moments of time. He assumed an air, like, he owned the very place. His companions, time and again acknowledged such manifestations that exuded from him.  Much more of this yielded in him being revered.

He had just finished the front page when he noticed a woman was also sitting beside, in another table. It was littered, cigarettes left at odds and in ends, it was a mess, cups of coffee left astray and in the edge of this small, ebony, round table was a Dostoevsky, closed and placed upside down. By chance, their glances met and both of them assumed a faint smile, Goloman nodded naively as he ensued.

After a couple of minutes, the woman enquired, “Are you also waiting for Mr. Joshi?” Goloman thought she spoke like a nightingale. He had never heard a nightingale but he assumed such must be its tone.

“Err……yes……yes…..Care to join in?” he drawled.  She got up from her seat promptly, raised the book, nimbly came over, sat down and lit a cigarette.  “I’ve seen you here before, I also came here early for, I had nothing much to do”. Goloman let a grin.

“So, what do you do?” inquired Goloman and lit a cheap cigarette of his own.  The woman hastily drew a packet of cigarette from her sling bag and said, “Care to?”

“No, I like this, it’s hard”, he said, callously.

“Oh, I am sorry”, she giggled and added after a while, “Oh, I am a student of Psychology at the University of ____”.

He sighed, “Good…and what brings you here to this nook of Kathmandu”.

“Well, my rented apartment is just across the street, so one day, you know, I stumbled upon some of the guys here and ever since I manage a visit”, she smiled. She had a childlike air, her neck was going to and fro, she was fair looking and her dark long hair depicted her of a stereotypical non-conformist. Kathmandu is almost full of such apparitions.

The little waiter came over with an inquisitive glance. The woman said, “Bring me milk coffee, nanu”. The little nanu left nimbly as she had come. “She is sprightly, I tutor her sometimes”, said the woman. Goloman gave a slight nod and a faint smile; he was feeling despondent at this point. He had an idea of being alone. But what can one do when someone takes a fancy upon you, thought he. He was merely cloying along.

“What is your name?” he asked brusquely, just to be courteous, ironically.

She said, “I am Rita”, in her almost inaudible rejoinder.

Maybe she felt a little taken aback, felt a scrap of condensation. Who the devil cares, thought Goloman? As the moments ensued, he began his investigation with her.

“I often frequent this place, I am sorry but, this is the first time I have heard from you”, said Goloman apologetically. He was merely masquerading. He knew he was getting good at it.

“On the contrary, I have heard from you many times. I often wonder what brings you to your lofty conclusions. It’s almost paradoxical. I am very much beguiled”, said Rita, graciously. He almost blushed.

‘So, you are testing your academia upon me, I presume’

‘Let’s say you are not exactly inconspicuous’

‘Ought I to be?’

At that moment, the little nanu brought her coffee followed by a pup. Who knows what scent it follows, thought Goloman. But wagging its tail, it gently sat on his right foot and thus lounging, began licking and panting. On his part, Goloman indiscreetly kicked it. Rita noticed that he looked rather repelled at its presumed indolence. The pup lashed out immediately.

‘So, you don’t like dogs?’ she inquired rather slavishly so that he wouldn’t be offended.

‘Do you?’ he replied promptly and indifferently, reading his newspaper.

She replied sharply, ‘Who doesn’t like dogs? That too, a little puppy?’ She raised her brows and started, ‘Look, I am just saying, you know, I hope we are cool’, she concluded briskly. She thought Goloman was rather taken aback with his big pudgy eyes suddenly looking at her. He certainly was smirking.

‘Yes, we are cool. Why not, it’s not that I don’t like dogs but I am not in the mood to pamper one. Besides, there are number of things in my mind that make it detestable, right now’. He replied ardently.

After a while, addressing to the new acquaintance, he began, ‘What do you think about dogs?’ Now it was he, who had taken a little fancy upon her. He began frolicking with her and he began to ply his art.

‘I am kind of, an animal right activist….’. She beamed.

‘What are you, a vegan?’ he acrimoniously chimed in, still reading the paper.

‘As a matter of fact, I am. Why, don’t you think that we all are equal beneficiaries to this planet, that, we stand in equal footing with the animals, that they are like us and we are very much like them?’ she questioned timidly yet confidently. She tried hard not to show that she was even slightly intimidated at the moment.

‘Yes, I also think the same as you and we are all equal as we all are god’s own children. We share the same lofty ambition, that, we all have the inherent need to survive and compete. That, we all share the same indulgence, to love and be loved. That, we all share the same inhibitions, to evolve and continue to procreate’. Goloman let a grin as he looked at her and she also let a smile rather reluctantly.

He ensued, ‘Well, my new animal loving friend, I do have to add that like animals we also manifest our volitions in our behaviour but I ask you can we still argue that like humans, animals are also prone to conduct its behaviours out of fallacies and crossness. Do they also conduct themselves in the name of god and its numerous doctrines, do they even perceive god or are they even apt to recognize humanity. We, on our part, can identify with their vulnerabilities and act accordingly. But, these questions are mere manifestations of my main apprehension……….. Do we really stand on an equal terms when we as human beings are more indulged in loftiness, gluttony, lust and thousands of other habits pertaining to decadence. For we are intelligent than them, that you, my vegan friend, cannot take it away from me, and what do we do with our superior aptitude, we try purge each other as often as we fancy. We try to cleanse ourselves, our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters and even their unborn children. We wallow in an unique filth of loftiness that even gods cannot match………My dear friend, how can we as humans be on equilibrium with gods other children when we outweigh them in terms of both love and hate.  We stand superior to them in all regards’, he concluded callously.

There was a brief silence. However, feeling unable, to be lashed out like that poor little pup, Rita said, dejectedly, ‘So, you are implying that, since we human being are superior in the matter of love and most essentially, we are superior at indulging in hatred, that, they are inferior to us. I find it a little vague, Mr. Goloman. But more than that, I think it speaks volumes about you rather than about the eminence of human beings’.

At this, Mr. Goloman reddened and he had an astute look, that of a man who had been ridiculed sternly. He immediately lamented what he had commenced, that fancy, he now knew he shouldn’t have acted capriciously. It was a frivolous attempt to sham his intellectual eminence to this little, pesky Madame.  Mr Goloman didn’t speak much. But when he spoke he would speak out of passion. He realized that he got ardent at the wrong time. She was a mere fancy he had taken to, but, it was the wrong time. There was no audience, he reflected.

‘Looks like you are quite the meticulous one’, he said calmly, looking directly at her eyes. ‘But, I can assure you that I am not quite as vain as you have assumed. However, at times one cannot help it’.

He didn’t feel that way but in order to avoid any fortuitous confrontation, he just spoke it. It was his reflex to subside any further altercation. Rita, for her part, was pleased at her opponent’s subjugation and at the same time she was confounded. She wanted to continue this tête-à-tête, but she resorted to feeling content. If only he could give it to me, she thought.

Mr. Goloman continued to read his paper. He already had finished reading the daily in the morning but he still read it nonetheless.  People with a sharp tongue usually get updated once in a while to adhere to the existing trends. They know repetition is the guaranteed formula to success. The least they do is masquerade. Most of them just want to look sharp and intelligent to others, it may be an argument for the sake of the argument but nonetheless they lust approval and applause. They want to be revered to, as some sort of cult personality. With their vast previous failures they know how to manipulate the crowd and be the witty and dazzling master of ceremony.  If they fail at it, they will think and rethink, will pander to their habitual series of monologue, listen to others meticulously and will again try, the next time. Such is their brutal vanity. Their nonchalance is just another masquerade but inside they will be burning for another opportune moment. And so was Mr. Goloman, at this time. How he wished he had an audience. How he wished to thrash this unwarranted visitor. He was piqued.

 

Chapter Two

He sat there, silent as the sky, as it is said, “like a calm before the storm”. A portentous one was soon to thunder at her head, he could feel it. He was feeding on it, the sensation. It consumed him like a filthy pond, laden with man eating planktons and guileful creatures ready to devour a victim. If he wanted then he surely would have blasted her off at this moment but he was patient. Silence engulfed the place for more time than Rita wanted but she knew well that Mr. Goloman was somewhat disconcerted. However, she didn’t have a hint what laid in his heart. She only wanted to acquaint herself with such a prominent member of this circle. She was as innocent as they come. Mr. Goloman was ready to pound on her innocence and what great gratification would it ensure; only he knew.

Mr. Joshi came in with his long black umbrella. Everything about him was long or huge. He wore a long overcoat which was exquisitely sewed by the famous New Road Tailoring which evinced his broad shoulders, tactfully, almost magnificent, only if he didn’t have a small face.  He wore a cravat which was black and one could assume it was a veritable silk and his moustache spoke of the times he had lived in. Men don’t don moustache today, it is uncannily considered despicable nowadays, to have a moustache and be clean shaven.  Sometimes time changes so fast that one keeps on pondering, what it would take to reverse it back?  Mr. Joshi was one of those nostalgic fellows who would forget about the present and tell tales from the days of yore.  He could go on for hours until of course; he would lose unconsciousness from inebriation. He was a regular. There was no craving for him, he just gulped impetuously. Drinking, for him was also on a grand scale. Everyone would be merry when he got drunk. He had a way with drunkenness, almost suave and uncouth at the same time.  Only Goloman, his comrade and dearest friend knew that he was always inebriated on ludicrous ideas and conjectures.

Mr. Joshi arrived quietly, sat down nonchalantly, and ordered an eggroll. He assumed a faint smile at them and started skimming through the papers which Goloman has just finished. There was a silence for some time again and Rita who was most affected with it started, “Looks like the strike has been concluded”. Both men simultaneously nodded their head as silence ensued for some time again.

Mr. Goloman gave a sigh, folded his hands and assumed a grim countenance merely looking at the tainted wall. Mr. Joshi began to read aloud, a poem from the Assorted Pickings section of the paper. It was poorly written one, but Goloman just knew he was bantering around.

 

I looked into my dish

And found a fried fish,

Poor little silver trout

Was no game for human bout.

I ate the little creature

The smell had me lure,

And filled my hungry need

Without a guilt`s creed.

 

There was a brisk laughter, Goloman sniggered the most. The little Nanu who had overhead the Joshi`s rhetoric oration shouted, with the puppy in her lap `wah-wah-wah` and chuckled. Rita also let out a giggle, looking at her. She asserted, “I don’t believe such literatures are even produced on the daily paper“. Mr. Goloman who had now read the paper two times, callously replied, “It can be produced, if the poem is written by a eight years old, I think we are going to read more from the little poet in the future“.

`Yes, the little poet is a genus, we need more of such literatures on our paper, otherwise its plain whining and consoling, what else have we been reading for the last twenty years, other than such nuisance“ added Joshi rather ardently.

`Look at the paper! It’s full of sadistic and morose news and ideas, it’s like we have no hope for the future. It’s blatantly appalling“ drawled Mr. Goloman, callously again.  He furrowed his brows. He spoke like he had already uttered the phrase more than a couple of times in his life.

“It`s a shame! It`s a shame! “ said Joshi despondently as he continued throwing his glances at the newspaper.   Rita kept her quiet. She was in her early twenties, yet full of hope. She knew it was hard to argue with these old hogs regarding the matter of progress. They had seen enough hypocrisy from society and the governments which were to deliver happiness to their fellow men. More than once, she had been harangued by such perturbed elderly citizens and she didn’t want to trail that path again with these men. She just wanted to have a good time and she constrained her impulse to exude optimism.  One is always judged from the ability to keep silence rather than from words that come out.

`So, what do you think, Rita? Tell us your opinion on the matter of progress with your youthfulness. Don’t tell me you are also exasperated like us silver-haired bureaucrats! ` He exclaimed.

“I don’t know what to think! I am almost somewhere between hope and despair Mr. Joshi”, replied Rita subtly.  It was almost true on her part. She just didn’t want to get harangued all over again by old folks. She was veteran when it came to silly, old, impulsive men. She was experienced when it came to diplomatic rejoinders. After all, she was a woman.

 

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

vs. The People

1

The town of N____ was a small and peculiar place. About seven miles from Kathmandu, the small town was nothing sort of lively or murky. It was peculiar place because nothing significant ever occurred there as the town lived in boredom, and as it was prone to happen, it lived very much in peace.  It was a small town with a bazar where people gathered every evening and like the town, basked in dull apparition of the descending fat old sun. The days trudged their way through the wrecked dreams of the people and the people were old, furrowed and grey. All their children had moved away in the pursuit of a modern life or to say, the western life, and only the middle aged and their old gaping fathers and grumpy mothers existed in this limbo. The bazar was the only place holding the people from insanity and the tediousness of life, as people amassed in the tea shops and taverns and gratified in each other’s company, amusing themselves, sallying their way through the lassitude of their daily life. The women were indulged in gossips, moping though time, and resenting for their blunt husbands while the men evinced their judgement through drunken brawls. The night usually ended in such a carousel that the boulevards were full of lamentation, remorse, rage, and vomit. But when the day commenced, it was all sluggish and lifeless. Like the town itself suffered from bipolar disorder.

It was a small town, about two hundred brick houses, pitched and slated rooftops, two storied with a mezzanine and mostly hueless or withered. The east nook consisted of wild copses and groves through which a deep muddy road passed and into the city. It was so much covered with mud that people trudged their way and slogged their belongings though this narrow field of bureaucratic misdemeanour in which the town whole heartedly gratified. The culture of silence weighed upon the travellers more than the gratified townsmen as they cursed and resented this filthy predicament unlike the hundreds of pigs wallowing in this festivity of filth. It was nothing extraordinary that all the pigs would come up every noon when the sun would be over the head and the little children, amused and overwhelmed, would join in as their dutiful errand and ramble into the groves, spirited and lively, bonding with some and fuming with others over some petty argument. Ah! Children, how true are they to the world, the only hallow entity of the world.

Goloman reached this small trivial town of N____, mid June when the monsoon finally relieved their fury over the region. It was  cold,  dripping and the breeze blew bland, just hours after a heavy rainfall. The town was laden with mud and ditches while everyone stayed inside their homes and a deserted swampy road lay ahead of him. He veered from his intention and turned left towards a hotel-inn and treaded towards its narrow doors as the slackening rain grew heavy. As he entered through the door he could smell the peculiar fusion of the floor and old belongings that were kept in the room which usually engulfs a traveller in Nepal. The sordid cotton curtains, the rickety furniture, the riveted gods, the elevated raw meats in rusty grills just above the stove, and the never ending boiling of tea, all combining to reek of this peculiar Nepalese smell inside this dimly lit melancholic room. There was a small archway towards the kitchen from where the innkeeper came and wiped the long chair though not dirty or wet and it was understood that Golomanwas to sit there. He sat there and put his belongings on the floor, a mere handbag, and ordered a glass of chhyang. The innkeeper nodded and went inside the kitchen and came instantly with a tainted red jar in one hand and a glass in the other, put the glass in the table which evinced its inner structure, worn out, and poured chhyang into the glass very prudently and slid it towards Goloman.  “Do you need anything ?” asked the innkeeper, Golomansaid, “No, thank you. But what’s the matter with him ?”, pointing his head and raising his both eyebrows towards the old man opposite to him, they were sharing the same table.

The man leaning with his arm against the wall sat there morosely and his another hand held a cheap cigarette which hadn’t been smoked for a while as can be assumed with the ashes piling up and suspended through the narrow filter. He was a stout looking man, sullen cheeks, dark circles made a semi arch above his eyes, unkempt dark hair with shades of grey. He was draped in hue of  black and blue striped woollen scarf while the blue old tweed coat made an impression that he was to be some government official. He sat there with his eyes closed and Golomanthought that he must have been crying a little while ago as there was a thin dark line in his cheek.  “Oh! He’s just from around the corner” replied the innkeeper. “Poor old man! bad luck seems to have taken a liking to him, it seems”. “Why,  what’s the matter?” asked Golomannonchalantly. The old man seemed not to care the stranger’s curiosity, maybe he was deeply engulfed in his own thoughts, ruminating fate. “ One should not test fate it seems, I am a poor man too, sir, but I don’t run around complaining my present, my life, if it’s an innkeepers life I should live then I have no sorrow. Not that I am happy with this petty business but I am not complaining, you know”, said the innkeeper. Golomanseemed to have lost his curiosity but still for the sake of being polite added, “Yes, Yes, we should not complain of our lives if we don’t have a solution else it’s just plain whining, nobody likes whiners”. The innkeeper now standing with a glass of chhyang of his own smiled at Goloman, a broad smile revealing his yellowish teeth. “It wasn’t a long ago this poor soul was a well respected man, sir. A government official at the forestry department, you see…..it’s all fate in the end, if we are to end up in the palace or in the ditch…at least the man has a bed to sleep” drawled the innkeeper, probably already more than tipsy. “You see my dear sir, he was struck by Blitzkrieg , as my old papa would have said, he served in the second great war, and I am proud to be a son of Gurkhali……he was wise,  my papa, he could have had it all, all the pain fate could afford, he was a true man, what are we nowadays! Just mere shadows of our fathers, only more lofty……..”

“It wasn’t a long ago this man right here, poor man, he was robbed……..robbed of his dignity, his right to stand up and act respectfully, at least masquerade such an act. But here is a man, my dear sir who has been robbed of what a man most desires…….a man may desire a beautiful wife, he may desire plump little children, small house to live in, a Ford or a Chevy, he may be obsessed about drinking exquisite whiskey or wine, he may even desire to keep a mistress for some fun, harmless, until one gets caught……but sir, you have to admit, no man desires more than being able to masquerade about his dignity”. The innkeeper stopped for some more chhyang, poured in carelessly and drank that fill in a hearty big gulp. He began, “…..so sir, this man obviously desiring…….but but sir”, he drawled and lit a cigarette for himself then began again, “ This man obviously yearning for respect made a common mistake that a man makes, that is to let one’s impulse loose, this may dear sir, was his mistake and that has now cost him one hundred and eighty one rupees in my humble tavern, ha-ha-ha-ha roared in the innkeeper. It was an allusion to the old man who apparently began to raise himself but faltered here and now. So, Goloman, after raising his chin and assuming a slight grin also raised his elbow for the old man to hold on to while the man tweaking and trudging, his trousers protruding, carelessly rummaged his pockets for the money and threw out a bundle of crumbled up hundreds and walked out through the narrow door. “Umm…..he seems generous today”, chimed in the innkeeper, apparently happy from his earnings for the time.

2

Goloman began to feel drowsy now and he wanted to put an end to the innkeepers gibberish rumblings for, he wanted to be left alone at least for a while. “So, this old man, what struck him you said, eh?” Goloman asked, sluggishly. The innkeeper was busy ironing the wrinkled notes and seemed not to care what Golomanwas interrogating about. He drew out a thick book form the bottom drawer of the cupboard, indiscriminately  opened the book and slid in the crumpled up hundreds. He was very meticulous in doing this that the way he pressed the both ends of the book after sliding each hundred into the book was almost with the same prudence and force. A kind of discretion was in his ways now and he nimbly stepped towards Golomanlit another inexpensive cigarette and began “Not long ago, the old man was a well respected officer of the forestry department. You know the kind, simple folk, simple ways desiring nothing much from his work but convenience, a hard worker in his own ranks yet timid and susceptible to the flaws of bureaucracy. I heard it was more than thirty years of service sir, that the old chap had done to for the forest around these hills, a undemanding soul certainly……..”. Golomanchimed in the innkeeper for another refill and he unhesitatingly brought a full jar of chhyang in the same tainted red jar. Discreetly poured the glass and continued, “………you see sir, the poor chap was living an ordinary life, peacefully in his home with his lovely wife and a son, who had been sent to a boarding school in the city when he was a child and later was able to acquire a job at a private firm, life couldn’t be more flawless, I’d like to add”.  Then the innkeeper began to talk about the boy, how he was, is character and flaws, how he’d risen up to the occasion one day and had bequeathed large sum of money to an old woman stranded by her children and how, one time he, in a drunken carousel had nearly broken another man’s neck with his beefy, sturdy hands. The innkeeper went on and on about the boy instead. He was drunk now and there was no stopping to his rumblings and annoying little tittle-tattles. No thought escapes from the mind of the drunk, like myriad of notions in a speck of light through a mindless thoroughfare, stirring, glistening, vibrant, blissful yet no direction home.

The smell of rain, rusty, oily and funny hovered inside the room for, the rain was heavy and laden with victory. The outburst of this sudden heavy rainfall made Goloman melancholic as he rubbed his forehead with his rigid fingers, eyebrows raised and a furrowed temple. The longer it rained the more he had to keep up with the fibbing drunk innkeeper. The soothing sound when the divine raindrops make while striking the earth, ditch, grass, dilapidated wall, slated and pitched roof, the hackneyed black umbrellas, the shuffling girls and pacing children, such mosaic of insipid and nimble sound, the drum indiscriminately played by nature pacified Golomanfrom the propositions his new friend was making.

The innkeeper was saying, “…..and the boy when he became a full grown man, moustached and prudent felt he had to enter into a wedlock and thus a girl from this very town was arranged”. Then growing solemn the innkeeper spoke boldly and pompously,

“But sir, I will tell you what I think of such marriage, I will tell you what I believe, I believe sir, I believe in what the Chinaman said about the inclination of society to marry off women in such a fashion, what do you think sir ?”,

“What about it”, replied Golomanangrily.

“That…that…arrange marriage is a social rape”, drawled the innkeeper.

“Maybe. I don’t think of it in such a way”, answered Golomanand lit his cigarette rather listlessly.  The innkeeper immediately and impulsively said, “But don’t you think it is a progressive idea”.

“I don’t care what those communists say. It’s all a web, a web of charming philosophy and rhetoric they weave upon us and what do they deliver? Huh. What have they delivered to us here. A decade of so called civil war, hostility, freedom from oppression. Oh yes, we were down trodden but not from zamindars, we were chained but not by nobility, we were wronged only by the silence that we adhered to, we were riveted into the wall of subjugation not because there is doctrines like Communism, Capitalism, Socialism, Hinduism, Absurdism or Asceticism engraved in our society like leeches sucking and draining us but I tell you that the latent doctrine of Fatalism chains us, oppresses us and consumes our very soul, exhausting us of our buoyancy and progress. And you tell me that that arrange marriage is a social rape! No my friend, it is the sadist attitude that is riveted in the very fabric of our society that rapes women and men alike, murders babies before they are born, guillotines the creative and dauntless few”, roared Golomanand thumping his fist into the table evinced his rage against the loathsome ways of the society he so much hated and feared.

The innkeeper was startled and grew timid at the paroxysm of vigour that absorbed Goloman. He saw Golomanbecoming red with hatred, his lightly tanned and fair countenance did little to conceal the vexation he felt against the hypocrisy that the society was procuring and breeding, like a vile organism itself, sucking, ravaging, draining the life of the host it was clung to. And like that men cling, embracing the masquerade, thriving under it, affectation based on crude familiarity with the existence of one’s soul. To Goloman, hedonistic dispositions would have been acceptable than such pretence of magnanimity.

“Religion has poisoned our country more than politicians ever could”, plainly added Goloman, contemplating after a while.

3

There was silence for a brief moment but for the innkeeper, timid and startled, silence was taking its toll until it became unbearable for him. He could hear the nimble and uniform drumming of his heart and feel the rush of blood through his nerves in his head. He looked at Goloman, he was solemn and looked dejected, still chafing his furrowed forehead with his coarse fingers and dilated nostrils. He was probably still vexed at the supercilious realm that society has become and it was mirrored in his countenance.

The innkeeper who just couldn’t keep up with the silence blurted out, “As I was saying sir, when the girl was arranged for….”, but before he could really begin, Golomanabruptly, with a condescending tone chimed in, “Let me tell you one story, you see, I have waited for some time now for you to finish your story but since you wouldn’t care to finish it, I’d like to tell you one when I was arriving at this insolently silly town with obnoxious people who mirthfully have accepted hypocrisy as their way of life and still you-you….”, he took a long breath and immediately realizing that was uncalled for, he felt ashamed, dropped his head and silence ensued.  This silence lasted for a long time, Golomanwas penitent of his impulsive nature, the innkeeper was ashamed of his unwarranted idealistic pretence, he knew in his heart that Golomanwas right and that it was hypocrisy and the whimsical nuisance was all that he could afford to provide along with the sour chhyang. Both assumed a grim, rueful and stern countenances but it was evident that nobody was going to yield up to the inconvenience each other had rendered.

“You say religion has poisoned our country, I think you are wrong, sir…..I may be just an innkeeper and you may be a learned man but your education seems a bit unruly, it may sound progressive but religion provides a moralistic perspective to people and consequently keeps them sane from the hypocrisy you are suggesting”, said the innkeeper quavering yet it was obvious that he wanted to prove that he wouldn’t succumb to insult from anybody. Pride! the evil within oneself.

It was no surprise that Golomanfelt denigrated and so was the innkeepers intention even though there were only two of them in the entire room.  Golomanassuming a grin in his face derided the innkeeper, “You my friend prove me right. Hypocrisy at the finest…….Didn’t you say earlier that arrange marriage is a social rape? And you believed in it and here you are asserting like an idiot that I am wrong. You support the reds when they say equality is inherent and crucial and you suddenly turn into a communist, an ideologist, conformist, a radical rebel and all that hypocritical lamb you can be but then they say ‘religion is opium of the people, the abolition of religion as illusionary happiness of the people is the demand of real happiness’, you don’t like it, you loathe it, why, why do you despise it so much so that it pollutes your soul? I ask you. Such a society that will not even pursue an ideology in absolute and what more, it reeks, that smell of duplicity, napalm, the stench of fickle mindedness. Rejecting the ideology that very much is near to perfection, the most wonderful ideal that man ever imagined, Communism, has to be compromised, it has to be made flexible to the needs of the time we say. What time is it? It’s time for hypocrisy, it’s time for people all alike, citizens and politicians to masquerade the denigration of an ideal. It is time for us as a society to alter the very nature of an ideal and follow a new doctrine, hypocrisy. A society guided from the love of god is the society most inhumane. Morals are essential but we shouldn’t forget that they are intrinsic to all humans and religion is not required to exert morals. It is but the complete pursuit of idealism that guarantees it. What fallacy we are living in!”

To be continued…..