A Wedding (Part 3/4): The Ceremony

Birth, wedding and death are the three most important ceremonies in the life of a human. One does not know what happens at birth and what happens after death but they can witness their wedding. While birth is a ceremony of joy and death that of distress, a wedding is an affair that mixes both joy and distress. I’m going to see this just as the bride prepares to arrive at the groom’s house. Before that, I must attend the ceremony with the groom and and his family.

***

Nepali Panche Baja that also make the Naumati. The combination here is Naumati. Source: Wikimedia

The music of Panche Baja wakes up the neighbourhood. Panche baja is a set of five instruments: Narsingha, Damaha, Tyamko, Sahanai, and Karnal (often replaced by Madal). These instruments are traditionally played by Damai men. Wedding processions are led by these men and are called auspicious. However, they are also called “lower” caste and are “untouchables”. How hypocritic!
Anyway, the Mangal Dhun (auspcious music) has begun the beautiful day. The sun is shining but its not hot. The groom and his parents are in their house making final preparations before the Janta or Bariyat (wedding procession).

Janti (Bariyati), the participants of the Janta (Bariyat), have begun gathering. The number is increasing every minute. Soon, there are around a hundred men, women and children.
The musicians are encouraged. They begin playing some old folk tunes and some Lok dohori (folk song sung by two groups, one of boys and another of girls) tunes. This genre of Nepali music. During the latter part of the decade modernization shot down the folk part and reduced it to Dohori. Folk instruments are now replaced by computers and auto-tuning has been creating robotic voices.

But folk tunes that use folk instruments have become popular again. And these are the tunes the musicians of the wedding procession are playing. The crowd gets excited, gets to its feet and starts dancing.
The groom’s brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts and even some neighbours are dancing on the last available piece of land in the neighbourhood. Had it been covered by a house already, the dancers would be on the streets. They are, but no vehicle or pedestrian is disturbed.

The way the Janti is dancing without the groom, I feel they are happier than the groom himself. They seem more excited than the groom. Why? I don’t know. If you analyse happiness, the remainder can not make you happy.

The Janti is tired but the groom has not come out. Questions are increasing: “Where is he? Isn’t this the time for Bariyat Prasthan (the beginning of the procession)? Why are they doing it late?”

Its midweek and not a public holiday. Most of the Janti will have to go to their jobs. They look at their wrist watch and then the people who are still dancing. They look at their wrist watch and then at the groom’s house.
Dad is not worried. “Have you taken a leave?” I ask.

“Yes,” he says. “You must attend your neighbours weddings. Janti is a proof that the groom’s family is not alone. The bride’s parents will feel secured that the neighborhood will support the groom’s family when they are in trouble and they also feel safe because there is a society that will secure the bride in case the groom’s family tries to hurt her.”

“That’s beautiful!” I exclaim. Before this, I thought wedding procession was just a medium to show off and that it was something that added woes to the bride’s parents. Sure, it increases their expenses but happiness and security are far greater than money.

And if groom and his family beat up the girl and neighbours interfere, they cannot say, “Get out off it. It’s our family matter.” The neighbours have the right to say, “You brought this girl here with promises of happiness in our presence. We are the witnesses of your oaths.”

***

The priests and the groom’s father put Teeka on each of Janti’s forehead including the musicians. The groom comes out. He is greeted with smiles, laughter and hootings. He then revolves clockwise round a decorated car, hired for the day, thrice. The musicians lead. A column of women carrying Kalash and other items follow. The groom’s car then sets off. The road gets blocked for a quarter of an hour. Other people who are passing by get irritated. Some don’t hesitate to curse!

A bus can easily come to the street but the groom’s family wants us to walk to the Chowk. We don’t mind. Elders say, “A Bariyat without a walk is boring.”

***

Wedding at the bride’s home or Tole (community) in Kathmandu is rare these days. Party palaces have the catering, ample space and wedding ground. They may be expensive, but are more convenient.

The bride’s family, relatives and neighbours (Ghargaule) greet the Janti. As I am distracted looking at the people, the groom disappers. About fifteen minutes later, I find him seated on a chair with the bride. The bride’s relatives are washing both of their feet. Her parents have done the “Kanyadan”, i.e. they have given their daughter to the groom.

Janti is sent to the “Dining Hall”. They gobble up food quickly. Those who have their office duties rush. Some people have taken, on their plates, more food than they can eat. People waste a lot of food in weddings. It’s beyond my understanding how they don’t know what and how much they want.

Ghargaunle eat next along with the bride and the groom. More food reaches the trash!

***

The sound of Panche Baja comes up again. Everyone rejoices. The use of Panche Baja in weddings has increased again in recent times. There was a time when playing folk Panche Baja was looked down upon. Band Baja (a Band with European instruments) was considered “modern” and better than the traditional folk music.

The dresses too have changed. I hear an elder saying, “When we were young, wearing Daura Suruwal meant you were going to be teased at. You would be a cartoon because no young people wore it. Time has changed. Young people have begun taking care of their culture again.”

Yes, young people don’t wear Daura Suruwal everyday but we have at least adopted it as a formal wear. I believe the youth of other religions and castes too are now taking care of their culture. I am not sure but I believe this is a result of the socio-political changes in this decade.

***

While the music has woken up people, the bride and the groom come to the Yagya. There are several rituals before and after the groom puts sindoor (vermillion) on the bride’s head. I don’t remember all. What I notice is that the bride is to the groom’s left in the beginning. At one point, I’m not sure when, the groom lifts the bride and puts her to his right. She will always be at her right in Yagyas since.
In Hindu tradition, before his marriage, a man conducts Yagyas all by himself. He alone makes all the things necessary. He alone pours ghee to the sacrificial fire. It’s the same for the girl. After the first Yagya with his wife, they’ll always perform the Yagya together. Both of them sacrifice their solitude in the fire and unite for life.
We have rituals that can go for hours.

Some people find these useless. I too thought so before I saw American weddings. Christians have short weddings. Father reads something and asks the man’s promise to take care of his wife. If he replies “Yes”, he asks the lady if she will take care of husband. If she too says yes, they become “Man and Wife”. Our Priests too read out something and asks for promises–all in Sanskrit. Most of us do not understand.

When the short wedding ends, bride and the groom play different games, sing and dance. Now, our rituals already have games like tug of war, gambling and so on. I feel its alright.

***

As the rituals are coming to an end, I see a plethora of emotions. The bride and her parents look sad, the groom and the Janti look happy. The Ghargaule are happy as well as sad. These play of emotions makes the wedding ceremony special.

The bride has lived her life with her parents until that day. After the ceremony ends, she will move to a new place, surrounded by new people. She is full of emotions. Sadness of leaving her parents, joy of ending society’s questions like “Why aren’t you married yet”, fear of not being accepted by her husband and his society. I am not a girl but I can feel her pain.

Parents are the saddest when their children leave them. I know this. I had a kitten. I loved her like a child. When she died, I could not control my emotions. Daughters are more than cats. Daughters are more livelier than sons. They laugh, dance and sing. They help parents in chores more than sons do. They heal their parents’ griefs more effectively than sons can. Without their daughter, her parents will lose the home she had created.

Relatives, neighbours, all cry. They have special bond with the girl. Friends cry seeing their friend in tears.

The groom and his family are happy because she will make a new home, similar to what she had built, in their house. Their happiness does not touch me much and despite being a Janti, I get emotional.

***

Sadness is not going to stop the custom. She must leave her parents. Before leaving, she cries and along with her cry all her family members, friends, relatives and neighbours. By the time she reaches at groom’s, she does not look too sad. Some brides cry for hours. She does not. The groom and the Janti have done a magic. May the charm stay forever!

Leave Me Alone-5

Previously on Leave Me Alone:

Ajay and Sasha go Sasha’s house to celebrate her birthday. Ajay sees a portrait of a woman on red saree. A woman similar to that on the portrait attacks him and he runs to the police station. There he meets Dr. Shrestha, who tells him something about Sasha’s past. Ajay does not believe him. So he calls Parmila, Sasha’s maid to confirm his story. Ajay still has some questions about Sasha. 

What answers will he get? In this chapter…

“I still don’t understand,” Ajay said, “why I was attacked?”

“There are some probabilities,” Dr. Shrestha replied grimly. “It is a fact known to me and my colleagues that Sasha believed within her subconscious that her mother was alive. Sasha used to have hallucinations in which her mother would talk to her. Whenever that happened, Sasha’s personality would alter. She used to be more aggressive, and used to gain immense strength. Ten men would find it difficult to calm her down.”

“So you believe Sasha’s alternate personality influenced by her dead mother in her subconscious attacked me?” Ajay intervened. “But would she?”

As if he had not heard anything Ajay said, the old doctor continued, “Using medication, we had been able to suppress the hallucinations and to some extent, the alteration of her personality. Some years ago, when she joined nursing, I recommended the medication be stopped. That was the biggest mistake I made.

“Because the medicines were not being administered, the hallucinations may have begun controlling over her for some time. Her mother might have talked to her, and convinced Sasha that you are either the one or related to someone who led into her mother’s death,” the doctor told to Ajay.

“But I am not related to any bank manager who went missing.”

“There was a lawyer who proved falsely that Sasha’s mother was mentally ill.”

Ajay was stunned. Dr. Shrestha seemed to look through him. He stammered the question that came into his mind: How do you know my father is a lawyer?

Dr. Shrestha smiled at Ajay without being surprised. “I knew your father’s name from your license last night,” the doctor replied. “I had doubted that he is the famous lawyer. You’ve confirmed my suspicions.”

“My dad can’t have done anything wrong,” Ajay said, terrified by what the doctor was trying to say to him. He stood up and looking straight at Dr. Shrestha, announced, “He might not have been involved in the case.”

“He is a professional advocate. It’s within his right to do anything to save his client. Why don’t you ask him yourself about his involvement in that case?” Dr. Shrestha replied, unclenched.

‘Was my dad involved?’ Ajay thought, his fear escalating. His mind was divided. Prior to the talk with the doctor, he could confidently bet that his father advocated the truth. However, after the doctor’s indication that his father had falsely accused Sasha’s mother of being a psycho. Trembling, he inserted his hand into his pocket, produced his cell phone and dialled his father’s number. “Ajay, where had you been all night? I’ve searched everywhere for you,” a hoarse voice asked.

“I’m at a doctor’s, dad.”

“Is everything all right?” Ajay’s father asked him.

Ajay wanted to lie by saying ‘yes’; instead, he said, “No dad, something is wrong. My girlfriend attacked me last night and her guardian says that you are related somewhere in the case. That I’ve been assaulted because she believed I was you in her state of altered personality.”

“Who attacked you? Sasha, is it? Are you all right, Ajay?” his father asked and before Ajay could reply, he continued furiously, “Anyway, don’t believe in any nonsense. How can I be involved in your girlfriend’s madness?”

“Do you remember a case twenty years ago?” Ajay said. When he received only silence in reply, he continued, “That case in which a reputed bank manager had been accused of abusing his employee. Though that woman had written the truth in her diary, the manager’s lawyer had proved in the court that she was mad and her letter could not be solid evidence against the manager. Do you remember that case, dad?”

Ajay had expected a reply but he actually received a hanging up tone in answer. He redialled the number four times but his father did not receive the call. He looked at both Dr. Shrestha and Parmila sadly. He felt weak. His legs could not keep him standing. He sat down on an empty chair and covered his face with his palms. He wanted to cry but he could not. Ajay could not believe that his father had done something that had affected him twenty years later.

Dr. Shrestha broke the silence, “You need to go to your father and talk to him. You have to ask him everything. You deserve the truth.”

“I don’t think I can bear the truth, doctor,” Ajay said bitterly.

“You have to face it, Ajay,” the doctor said, “not just for yourself but for Sasha as well.”

“Oh, I can’t,” Ajay y and stood up from his chair again. He picked his phone and dashed out. Before he reached the edge of the garden, Dr. Shrestha shouted out these words, which Ajay would clearly recall the following week: “Talk to your father, Ajay. If you don’t he might harm himself.”

Ajay did not return home for a week. He stayed most of his time at the hospital looking at his unconscious lover outside the ICU. She did not show up much improvement. Ajay was sad but was hopeful. He ate at the canteen. He made friends with the doctors, nurses and other medical staffs. When he felt extremely tired, he called his friends and slept at their houses. That was because he never felt like going back to Sasha’s place. His father called him several times during that week. Ajay picked up just twice. He had no will to talk to his father. Ajay’s father too had not been able to say anything. Silence had ruled over both the calls Ajay received.

The call, which overruled the silence, was too chaotic for Ajay. The man on the other side said, “Mr. Ajay, I am Inspector Pradhan.” After a few seconds of silence, Inspector Pradhan added with a loud sigh, “I have a bad news for you. Your father has killed himself.”

Ajay felt as if the world had collapsed. The doctor’s words rushed into his mind. ‘That doctor had the tongue of a wizard,’ he thought. For some minutes, he could not stand still. He sat on a chair covering his face. He gathered up courage and rushed down the stairs. ‘He must have left something.’ Ajay’s instincts told him that his father had not gone without letting him know the truth. He reached the street and got on to a bus that went the nearest chowk from his house. All through the journey in the bus, he thought, ‘I made a mistake in choosing to avoid myself from the truth. I should have followed Dr. Shrestha’s words. He is an experienced psychiatrist after all.’

Ajay sensed a chaotic silence when he reached his home. His mother lay unconscious because she had cried a lot. His older brother sat beside his mother in silence. Some officers were roaming around, still investigating the house. Ajay noted Inspector Pradhan giving orders to his juniors. He went up to the officer and said, “Inspector Pradhan, where is he?”

“In his own room,” the inspector said, “I’m extremely sorry at your loss.”

“Did you find anything, Inspector?” Ajay queried. “Any note he had written before his suicide?”

“Yes, we did find a note,” Inspector Pradhan said. “It was inside an envelope on his table. Your father had written on the envelope that the letter should be given to you only. I’ve ensured no one reads that before you do.”

Inspector Pradhan then produced the letter and gave it to Ajay, who tore the envelope and read instantly:

Ajay,

I had made several mistakes during the early days of my career as a lawyer. Those immoral acts, I never intended to do myself. I had been forced to.

Those days I worked as the legal advisor at a bank. The manager was, at first, friendly. He used to ask me the laws related to everything he was going to do. He paid me well. But one day, he showed his true colours. He talked to me about a lady who worked in his office. He said she was beautiful and that he lusted for her. He asked me to suggest ways so as to incite her. I was shocked by the way his true self had come out. So I resolved not to help him.

He was a reader of minds, however. He told me that if I didn’t help him, he would not pay my fees and he would get all of us into trouble by messing up with the loans I had obtained from the bank. I remembered you, Ajay. I could not let you suffer. I had to oblige to that evil man.

I had just said this, “Be her Messiah.” The manager talked to the lady about a profitable business and she told that to her husband. They took loans from the bank but the information the manager had fed into them was fake. Their business collapsed. Their house was bought in the bidding by the manager’s relatives and he took the house himself later on. And when the lady was in deep sorrow, he increased her salary, promoted her and gave back her house as a “gift”. By doing that he gained her trust.

One day, the manager expressed his feelings towards her. Because she was married and had a child, she did not accept his proposal. The manager turned mad and brutally forced her into physical intimacy. I told him that he could get into trouble but he did not listen to me. He continued his brutality and the lady suffered a lot in her mind. Some months later, she ended up her miseries herself.

The note she left before she died could get the manager into trouble. He told me to help him by calling her mad and that she could not be believed. I refused to do so. He threatened me that he would torture me and my family so much that I too would get crazy like that lady and commit suicide. I had to give in to his threats and I saved him from punishment by doing whatever he told me to do.

After he retained his post, I quit the bank and practiced in the court. I never saw the manager again but then I heard that the wicked man disappeared. He deserved such a punishment and I thank God for punishing him.

I don’t expect you to forgive me Ajay. I have committed sins by letting that manager play with the mind of the lady. Because of my deed, you have suffered. You’ll never have to face any trouble I create from now onwards.

Your dad

P.S.: A doctor took custody of Reshma’s daughter. He is the girl’s biological father.

Ajay trembled. The letter fell off his hand. He had made a mistake by not talking too his father before the latter’s death. He cried bitterly until Inspector Pradhan said, “I’m sorry, Ajay. But I am curious about something.”

‘What is it?’ Ajay asked through his gestures. The inspector pointed at a small photo on the top of the table and continued, “Is that you?”

“No,” Ajay said in a low voice, “It’s Dad”. The officer then remarked, “You two look strikingly similar.”

Read Chapter 4

Leave Me Alone-4

Previously on Leave Me Alone

Ajay and Sasha go to Sasha’s home to celebrate Sasha’s birthday. Ajay sees portrait of a woman on red sari who looks like Sasha. Ajay is attacked by a woman on red sari and he flees. He goes to a police station and tells what had happened. Sasha wakes up on a cold street and returns back to her house, where police officers tell her to go with them. She is reluctant at first first but agrees later. At the police station, she faints.

Let’s look what happens to her and what truth Ajay discovers in this chapter.

The men at the police station acted quickly. Within minutes, Sasha was taken into the hospital, which she had exited some hours as a nurse. Ajay was devastated. He did not understand what was going on. Sitting on a chair outside the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital, Ajay began contemplating his relationship with Sasha. He realized that he did not know much about her. He had never asked her about her family and had wrongly believed that they were alive. Before Sasha had arrived at the police station, Dr. Shrestha had told him about her troubled childhood. He had also told that Sasha’s mother had died long ago. ‘Who was the woman who attacked me then? Was she Sasha’s mother? Or was she Sasha herself?’ Dr. Shrestha said she was Sasha but Ajay could not believe him. So, Dr. Shrestha gave his address and said, “Come to my house tomorrow at 8 o’clock in the morning. You will meet someone who will confirm my story.”

That night Ajay spent on the cold chair outside the ICU sometimes dozing, sometimes staring at the wall in front of him and sometimes looking at his unconscious girlfriend through the glass. When the darkness dissolved into the eastern lights, he talked with Rosa, whose shift had just ended. She told, “I had never thought I would see Sasha in such serious condition. I can’t still believe she is in coma. She was so lively last night.”

“Did you know about her problems?” Ajay interrogated as they walked out of the hospital.

“Everyone here knows that she had a split personality,” Rosa answered. “After long private sessions, Dr. Shrestha treated her. She got her nursing license after the treatment. Now that the disorder seems to have resurfaced, everyone is going to blame him. He is devastated.”

“I know,” Ajay said. “He is not happy with what has happened. He believes he made some mistake. The doctor thinks that if he had been a little more careful, Sasha would not have suffered the trauma.”

“It’s obvious he would think that way. He is her guardian,” Rosa remarked. They had already reached the bus stop on the street. Rosa bade farewell and went away. Ajay wondered, ‘Did she say Dr. Shrestha is Sasha’s guardian? He didn’t tell me that before. Why?’

He immediately resolved, ‘I need to ask the doctor.’

Ajay unfolded a small piece of paper in which the doctor had written his address. It was not far from where he was. Though he felt hungry- he had not eaten anything since lunch the previous day- Ajay decided to walk.

He reached Dr. Shrestha’s place in about fifteen minutes. He was not stopped at the gate. The doctor must have told the gatekeeper he was coming. He himself was waiting for Ajay in the garden. Beside him was a dark wrinkled woman. She smiled slightly at him. When Ajay sat on a chair opposite them, the doctor offered him tea and some slices of fruitcake. Ajay happily savoured them.

As they ate, Dr. Shrestha said, “Ajay, this is Parmila. She worked as a maid at Sasha’s from the time Sasha was born. Parmila knows their story better than I do.”

There was a silence for a while. Ajay asked, “Do you still work there?”

“No,” Parmila replied in a hoarse voice. “I stopped working there three years ago, after Sasha joined nursing.”

“Is it true that Sasha’s parents passed away while she was about six years old?”

“Yes, that’s true.”

“But I saw her mother last night,” Ajay exclaimed in disbelief.

“You can’t have seen Reshma,” Parmila said.

“The woman you saw was Sasha, not her mother,” Dr. Shrestha. “Tell him all you know, Parmila.”

Parmila nodded and began, “She was a beautiful child. She laughed a lot, played a lot. She wanted everything to be perfect even at a small age. She never liked playing with broken toys. After she played she used to keep them in their exact places. She was so sensitive that she used to cry whenever someone spoke to her loudly. She had lot of friends even at a small age.

“Sasha’s father had inherited a lot of land, from which he began a business of his own. Her mother, Reshma, worked at a bank on a good salary,” Parmila sighed and continued, “But some days after Sasha’s sixth birthday, fortune began to disfavour them. Her father’s business collapsed. He had taken up a loan from the bank where Reshma worked. The house had been mortgaged. The bank sold it when they could not pay the debt. The family who bought the house through bidding were relatives of the bank manager.

“Some months later, I heard a rumour that the manager of the same bank obtained that house from his relatives. Sasha’s father started blaming his wife for their misfortune. He said that she could have stopped the sale by talking to the management. But he never considered he had invested wrongly. He solely blamed upon Reshma for his failure. They moved into a small house. They had to pay rents and could not afford keeping me on the work. I had to leave.

“Some weeks later, Sasha’s mother came to my house. She looked as if she had slept for days. She was not as bright as she used to be. She sat beside me and said, “My husband has changed. He does not support me. He is not happy that I am still working at the bank that auctioned our house. I submitted resignation letter twice but they don’t approve it. He does not believe anything I say. We have been quarrelling a lot lately. It is affecting Sasha. He wants to send Sasha to a hostel. She is too young to be sent to a hostel. I want your help, Parmila.”

““Okay, I understand your problem. I’ll take care of the child,” I said, “You don’t need to pay me as long as you are in financial problem.”

“Sasha’s mother thanked me. She looked a little brighter by the time she left my place. I looked after Sasha in the mornings and evenings, while working at other places for money.

“Sasha was really affected by the fights her parents had. She was gloomy. She did not talk to anyone. Her grades had fallen. I did my best to keep her happy. I talked and laughed with her. I helped her in whatever I could. Whenever her parents fought, I took her to my house in her sleep. But I feared, even at that time, that I had not been able to stop the psychological change the child was going through.

“The family’s fortune changed all of a sudden. Reshma got a promotion and her husband discovered a link to get hold of his business again. A few months passed in peace until one evening Sasha’s mother said they were shifting. “Where,” I asked.

““Back to the house we left some months ago,” she said. I could not believe my ears. I asked her again and she replied the same. That was the evening, I saw little Sasha happy in a long time.

“No one asked Reshma how she got the house back. Her husband did not look happy, though. I heard murmurs among the women that Reshma had got the house back because of her illicit relationship with the bank manager. Her husband might have thought the same but did not say anything. He also stopped fighting with his wife and was giving time to Sasha whenever he could.

“Reshma, on the other hand, was not giving time to her daughter at all. She had changed. She usually came home late at night, drunk. So much that she could not stand upright. The bank manager would bring her up to the door sometimes. I knew her husband was angry. He was like a dormant volcano, ready to explode anytime. I feared the destruction it would bring.

“One evening, he burst up. Reshma was drunk as usual. He could bear it no more. He shouted out, “What’s wrong with you, Reshma? Why do you come home drunk every night?”

““There is no use telling you. You’re not going to believe me,” she replied angrily.

““Why don’t you tell me what exactly has happened to you?”

““You know everything,” Reshma replied in a low voice this time. “Why do you want to hear it from me?”

““What? I don’t know anything. How would I?”

“I could not hear what Reshma said but her husband was terribly enraged. He slapped her hard and yelled, “I didn’t know you could fall that low. Didn’t you even think of me and Sasha?”

““I had no choice,” Reshma said, crying. Her husband did not even look her. From the corner I was standing, I saw Sasha looking at her father. I was scared. She had seen her parents’ fight.

“The next morning, I witnessed the most tragic incident of life. Sasha’s mother was found dead in her room. Her face had become blue. A small bottle of poison lay beside her. The police discovered a note inside her diary in which she had written that the manager of the bank where she worked had molested her several times. The note also said that he had offered the house in return. Reshma had to accept everything he did because he had threatened to harm her family.

“The police caught the bank manager but his lawyer saved him from imprisonment. They even proved that Reshma was mad and that her note was not trustworthy. A few weeks later, the bank manger suddenly disappeared and has not been seen again. God punished him for this deed.”

There was a long silence at the table. “What happened to Sasha’s father?” Ajay asked slowly.

“Oh,” Parmila said, “He fell down the stairs and died. In his will he had wanted Dr. Shrestha to become Sasha’s guardian. I kept working at their house. Dr. Shrestha provided me wages until I decided to leave work due to my age two years ago.”

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Leave Me Alone-3

Previously on Leave Me Alone:

Ajay and Sasha go to Sasha’s home to celebrate Sasha’s birthday. Ajay sees portrait of a woman on red sari who looks like Sasha. Ajay is attacked by a woman on red sari and he flees. He goes to a police station and tells what had happened. Let’s look at Sasha in this chapter.

Sasha felt cold. She had been lying face down on the frozen floor for she did not know how long. The cold hit her heart. She opened her eyes and sat up immediately. She was surrounded by darkness. She was stunned because she was not on the kitchen floor where she had fallen unconscious. She was on a street- cold, pitch-black street.

‘How did I reach here?’ she tried hard to recall but in vain. She had been attacked by her mother in the kitchen and had no idea what had happened to her after she fell down. She wanted to cry. She covered her face with her palms. They were sticky and smelt of rust. She peeked hard at her hand in the darkness. ‘Blood,’ she thought looking around. ‘But how did blood come up in my hands?’

Her hands went through her face. ‘There are some bruises on the corner of right eyebrow,’ she came to know and she formulated a hypothesis. ‘That wound wouldn’t have flowed much. My hands must have touched something bloody or smeared with someone’s blood.’ She feared, ‘Whose blood could it be upon my palms? Is it my mother’s or Ajay’s?’

She jumped up abruptly. What could have happened to Ajay? Her mother had wanted him dead. She hoped she had not been able to do anything to him but she was scared. ‘My mother can do anything,’ she said to herself. Her mother could have made a plan to murder Ajay and put the blame upon her. Sasha gasped, looked around through the darkness and realized that she was not too far from her house. She had to get back to her house immediately to protect Ajay from her crazy mother.

As she began running to her house, she noticed that she was wearing a sari. She clearly remembered that she had worn a different dress before her mother had hit her with a steel rod. She knew she had not chosen to wear a sari. She did not even know how to wear it properly. Her mother must have put it on her while she had been unconscious. ‘How did she manage to do that?’ Sasha could not understand. Nevertheless, she understood that her mother wanted to kill Sasha as well. A flimsy cotton sari would not have protected her from cold on a frosty night. ‘She really planned it well,’ Sasha thought. She also had several questions in her mind. ‘Why did she want Ajay dead? Was it really because of the revenge she wanted to have?’ However, she should have understood that he could not have harmed her at all. He had not even met her once. Sasha felt her mother had really gone crazy. Her mother had to answer Sasha’s questions honestly.

With an impeccable sense of direction, Sasha reached her house quickly. She was shocked by the fact that the gate and the main door were open. ‘My Mom must have fled already. She would have acted behind shut doors and windows. The lights are not yet turned off.’ A cold chill ran up her spines. Had she already taken Ajay’s life? ‘I should not think of such things,’ Sasha controlled her thoughts and ran in. Her hope that nothing had happened to Ajay increased when she saw a police van in front of the porch. There was a sound of people speaking and creaking of boots everywhere in the house. Sasha rushed into the kitchen, where the sound was bigger. The room was in a mess. Broken glasses lay here and there. The police officers were taking notes of what they saw in the crime scene. Sasha also saw a clean-shaven police officer giving instructions to his juniors. He noticed Sasha and stopped giving directions. Everyone started looking at her. The officer walked forward and asked her, “You’re Sasha, aren’t you?”

“Yes, I am,” Sasha answered abruptly.

“Thank God,” the officer exclaimed. “Your boyfriend had told that you might be in danger. Do you know what he meant by danger?”

“My mother,” Sasha said, relieved that Ajay was safe,” she wanted him dead.”

“What? Why did he want to kill him? When did you know of that?”

“She did not tell me until this evening,” Sasha replied. She said that I did not understand; that I had been blinded by my love to Ajay. “She had even attacked me with a steel rod. I had fallen unconscious over there.”

She pointed to the floor before the sink. The officer looked at the rod with grimace. He did not seem to understand something. He asked her promptly, “If you had been attacked here, why weren’t you here when we had come here? Where were you?”

“I don’t know,” Sasha said plainly. “Even I don’t understand. I think she dragged me to the street and left me to die in the cold.”

The officer looked at her with distrust. He thought over for a while and said, “That’s very unlikely for a woman. But if she had someone to work for her or if she is strong, nothing is impossible.”

The officer’s phone buzzed. He seemed to receive some orders from the other side. When he cut the call off, he turned to Sasha and said, “I’ve been ordered to take you to the police station.”

Sasha trembled. “B . . . But I’ve not done anything. I swear it was my Mom. I can’t even think of harming Ajay.”

“You don’t understand, Sasha,” the officer said. “You’re not being arrested. This place is not safe for you right now. What if your mother attacks you the moment we leave? You’ll go with us for your own safety.”

Sasha nodded slowly. The officer was right. Besides, she could also meet Ajay and ask him what her mother had done to him. When the record taking was completed, the officer told everyone, including Sasha to move out. Within minutes, they were at the police station.

The officer led Sasha into the office of the Inspector. She saw three men talking with each other in one corner of the room. They were speaking in low voices. Sasha could not listen to anything but she thought they were talking about her. The officer who had brought Sasha with him said something to the trio. As Sasha went towards them, Ajay looked towards her. His eyes widened with fear. “You’ve been tricked, officer,” Ajay shouted out. “This is not Sasha, officer. This is the woman who attacked me.”

Sasha covered her ears with her hands. She could bear no more. Ajay did not believe him. Who would help her? Sasha had always loved her mother but she had got pain instead. Her pulse increased. She felt her temples were being seared. She clutched her head with her hands; howled out in pain and collapsed.

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Leave Me Alone-2

Previously on Leave Me Alone:

In the first chapter, Sasha takes Ajay her home. Ajay, who had never gone in before, is mesmerized by the decorations. However, the portrait of a woman on red sari who looks similar to Sasha (Sasha says it’s her mother) grabs his attention. Later, he sees a woman on a red sari. Before he can who she is, he is attacked. Ajay flees away from Sasha’s home.

Continue reading Chapter 2 here. . .

Ajay was gasping. The chilly wind that hit his nose and lungs did not help him. His legs, too were giving in and his feet were burning on the cold pitch. He did not stop, however. After a few minutes of run, he had realized that he was not being chased anymore but his mind had warned him that it could be a trap. Even under fear and darkness, his sense of direction had helped him reach the police station. As soon as he had stepped in, he had collapsed.

Ajay opened his eyes upon a hard wooden bench. He saw two men in front of him. One of them was a bespectacled man of about sixty. He had white beard and his demeanour spoke of experience. The other was clean-shaven man of about thirty. He looked the more curious of the two. “Bring him something to drink,” the younger man ordered. In less than a minute, Ajay was offered a cup of tea.

“Hello, Ajay,” the bespectacled man spoke, “How do you feel now?”

Maybe because of the tea, Ajay’s body had felt a little better. But the very thought of what had happened at Sasha’s place chilled his spines. “Sasha is in danger,” he said to the old man. “You don’t look like a policeman. Who are you? How do you know my name?”

The old man smiled. “I am Madan Shrestha. I am a doctor and I live nearby. I had been called here by Inspector Pradhan,” he pointed at the younger man, “who also happens to be my son-in-law. We had personal matters to discuss. That was when you stumbled into the station.”

“And I asked him to helped you,” Inspector Pradhan said sternly. “We took your identity from your driving license. You look well off. How did you come up here without your shoes? Who is Sasha? You were muttering that she is in danger even while you were unconscious.”

“She’s my girlfriend,” Ajay said and gave the Inspector her address. He took the case in his hands immediately. Leaving a junior officer Krishna and Dr. Shrestha with Ajay, he set off with some cadets. Krishna, who had been intently listening to everything earlier, spoke asked, “Let’s know what had happened to you and your girlfriend, shall we?”

Ajay said, “We met at a conference about a month ago. We discovered many similarities between us and we soon got fond of each other. We exchanged numbers. Text messages soon converted into phone calls. The more we talked, the better we started knowing each other. A week later we went on our first date.”

Ajay told them that he had planned a special treat to celebrate Sasha’s birthday. A cake and dinner was ordered at 9 o’clock that evening. He had reached Sasha’s workplace ten minutes before her duty would end. He made a call, which Sasha had received on the eleventh time. She had soon come down, smiling. He had gone to her and had dragged to the car. He had opened the door and pushed her. He had been a little harsh and Sasha had been face down upon the seat. Ajay had never wanted such a thing to happen. She had looked a little furious. He had run to his seat and played her favourite music before he had driven them to Sasha’s house.

Sasha had smilingly asked him to come over at hers. Ajay had thought that she was angry with him because of what had happened earlier. He had not struck a conversation because of the very reason. He had been surprised and had denied the offer as he had often done. But she had pressed him hard. He would not have given in if he had not planned the treat himself. So he agreed. If he had agreed to go to her house earlier, she would not have been as excited at that moment.

Sasha had walked off the car and opened the gate. She had also shown him the garage, where he had parked the car. While he was walking towards the main door, he saw Sasha standing still on the porch. She looked like she was thinking something. When Ajay had called her, she had come out of her trance, or whatever it was, and had said that she had been waiting for her. Soon she had taken him through the main door, which opened into the living hall.

He had been mesmerized by the grandeur of the room. Its floor was covered by fine red carpet all over. In the middle of the room were three couches arranged in the shape of ‘U’. The bigger middle one faced the door that they had just entered from; one couch on its left faced the kitchen and the other in the right faced the bathroom. A low table lay in front of the bigger couch.

Two stairs went up from the living hall, one just from a little left from outside the kitchen and the other symmetrically left from outside the bathroom. They met on the other floor to form a balcony. Under the balcony, within the living room, there were several paintings. Due to low intensity of light on that part, however, Ajay could not properly see them from far.

While he had still been wandering about the hall, Sasha had entered the kitchen. He had heard the sounds of the gas stove being lighted up some minutes ago. The God of Mischief had led him into the kitchen. Sasha had turned her back towards the door and had been watching the milk-pan. Ajay had walked up slowly looking at his own face in the mirrors on the kitchen wall. He had also noticed a small mirror over the sink. As noiseless as a cat, he had reached Sasha and all of a sudden, grabbed her from behind. At the same time, the milk had boiled up and fallen over the stove, ceasing the fire. Ajay had been scared. He had made a mistake again. However, instead of punishing him, Sasha had pulled him forward to kiss him. The stench of the LPG had hit her nose at the very moment and she had pushed him away and had taken care of the situation immediately.

Though Sasha had not said anything, Ajay felt that his mischief had been enough to make her angry. He had quickly left the kitchen and had rushed into the living room again. He had explored the part under the balcony that time and had seen a portrait-like photograph. It was a life-size photograph of a woman on red sari and a matching blouse. Her shoes and bag too were red. She had put on a small bindi on her forehead and sindoor above it up to her hair. Her hair had been tied in a bun and curls were left out just above her ears. The photo stunned Ajay because the woman looked so much like Sasha but the photo did not look like it had been recently produced.

Therefore, while Sasha had entered with two mugs of coffee in her hands, he had asked if she had taken a photo of that sort. She had said that it was not hers. An idea struck into his mind that the woman on the photograph could be her mother instead, and she had confirmed it.

“After that, there was no question in my mind,” Ajay had continued. “I had strolled a little, sipped the coffee, I sat on the long couch. She had soon come and rested on my lap. I could see her beautiful eyes. They were full of love. I could not keep my own eyes off them. All of a sudden, her facial muscles twitched. The eyes that were filled by love had become furious. They looked as if she was about to pounce upon me.

“My reflexes tried to keep me away from her. As I jumped up, a little coffee fell upon her uniform. She lamented for a while and shot upstairs. Meanwhile, I emptied the coffee mug and put it on the table. I also noticed that Sasha had taken her mug upstairs for I could not find them in the room and I clearly remember that she had not gone into the kitchen either. I do not remember how long I sat alone in that living hall waiting for her. I was attracted to her mother’s photo and had taking a closer look at it again when I heard the sound of breaking glass from the direction of the kitchen.

“I hadn’t noticed if Sasha had come downstairs or not. I had no idea if she had been into the kitchen. I guessed she might have and dashed into the kitchen. Fragments of glass were scattered on the floor. The big mirror on the opposite of the sink had been the victim. I was careful not to step on them. (I had kept my shoes on the shelf outside the living hall.) Then I saw a woman advancing at me from the right corner of the room. I don’t understand if the photo had enthralled my mind already, for the woman who was sprinting towards me looked exactly like the one it.

“”Get out of the house,” she shouted at me. I refused to budge. She came forward at me and furiously swung her left arm at me. What I had not earlier realised was that she had carried a knife. By the time I could notice that, it had already landed upon my face.

“I howled, cursed and ran away with my hand pressing the wound on my face. Whoever this woman was, I was sure had gone crazy and was after me. I don’t know if she was Sasha’s mother whom I had not seen earlier; nor can I say what she has done to Sasha. At the time I fled, I just wanted to escape the wrath of that woman on the red sari. A little later, I mind just told me as I ran hard, ‘Go to the nearest police station, Sasha needs help.’ That’s what led me here and I collapsed before I could speak out anything to you.”

 

 

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Monthly Feature 9: Inside Out

 

What happens when you don’t know the role of all the emotions in building your personality? The movie Inside Out answers the question.

Summary

By the personification of the core emotions: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger, director Pete Docter takes us into a journey inside Riley Andersen’s head. All the emotions, except Sadness, work together in developing Riley’s personalities. Joy is in constant conflict with Sadness, because of which Riley loses her “core memories”. When the family migrates from Minnesota to San Fransisco, the conflict increases, and both Joy and Sadness are sucked up from the emotion centre, “the Headquarters”. As they wander along the labyrinth of “long-term memory”, they witness the crumbling of Riley’s personality islands. To save Riley, the other three emotions, take control over Riley’s emotions. Except for occasional moments of joy from the long-term memory, they destroy Riley’s ability to feel anything.

In the maze of long-term memory, Joy and Sadness meet Bing Bong, Riley’s imaginary friend. He helps them get into “train of thoughts” so that they can reach the emotion centre but the family island falls breaking the train and it being dumped into the “Memory Dump”, a place where old memories are thrown to fade. As Joy tries getting to the Headquarters through a suction pipe that projects the saved memory, the pipe breaks. Joy and Bing Bong fall into the Memory Dump, where Joy understands that Sadness helped Riley when she was distressed. Bing Bong, on the other hand realizes that he would fade out soon. So, he and Joy take up his rocket and helps Joy get into the Headquarters. Once Joy manages to get Sadness and herself into the Headquarters, Riley’s is for the first time controlled solely by Sadness. Riley, who is about to return back to Minnesota alone, goes back and apologizes to her family. The five emotions, then work together to build up newer aspects of Riley’s personality.

The Funniest and the Emotional Moment

To me, the funniest moment in the movie is the one in which Sadness gives up walking she is tired and Joy drags her catching Sadness’ leg.

The most emotional part is the one inside the memory dump. Bing Bong realizes he is fading. Yet, he helps Joy get away from the dump. He waves good-bye and says to Joy, “Take Riley to the moon for me.” He does what a true friend would do, even if he is  imaginary.

Some Memorable Quotes

Do you ever look at someone and wonder, “What is going on inside their head?” Well, I know. I know Riley’s head.

– Joy

 

Something’ s wrong with me. It’s like I’m having a breakdown.

-Sadness

 

Without you (Joy), Riley can’t be happy. We gotta get you back up there.

-Sadness

 

Ya ha ha! You (Joy) made it ! Ha ha! Go! Go save Riley! Take her to the moon for me.

– Bing Bong

Cast (Voice Artists)

Amy Poehler as Joy

Phyllis Smith as Sadness

Bill Hader as Fear

Lewis Black as Anger

Mindy Kaling as Disgust

Kaitlyn Dias as Riley Andersen

Diane Lane as Jill Andersen, Riley’s Mother

Kyle MacLachlan as Bill Andersen, Riley’s Father

Richard Kind as Bing Bong

IMdB rating: 8.3/10

My Rating: 9/10

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inside_Out_(2015_film)

 

The Faults in our God

It is said sinful to put a debate on God. May I be punished for the sins I will be doing here!

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The question I think of often, “Did God create us or did We create gods?” There are ample evidences for the latter while there is a huge amount of speculation for the former. Yet people seem to believe in some supreme force that governs them. There are also people who dare to challenge the Divine Authority. I find myself in the middle.

How can someone be in the middle of believing and not believing God? You might be thinking. Well, that’s where I am. Sometimes I believe in God so much that every inexplicable/unexplained thing becomes Divinity. Take the origin of life (not evolution), for example. Sometimes I doubt God so much that every progress in human-induced. For example, the technological progress is the best thing humans (especially the Western World) have done. I am really confused about the existence of God.

But in the Geeta, God is said to “exist and not exist” at the same time, that God is “as small as microbes and as huge as universe”, that God is both “the creator and the destroyer Himself”. If God preaches duality, maybe I am following his path of duality at the moment. Maybe it is that fault I am unwilling to accept.

God is said to balance both Good and Evil within Himself. He is said to possess both physicality as well as spirituality and he is said to create everything visible and invisible (let’s not get into destruction right now). So, we should possess both the Good and Evil within us. We should have similar physicality and spirituality as that of God; that we should be able to tell right from wrong. And we should be able to tell differences between God and god.

You might have recognized that I have been writing “God” and “god” in different senses. If not; by God, I am talking about the Omnipresent, the Omnipotent and the Omniscient Being: the “Creator”. By gods, I mean the ones created by Humans. To God, death is “soul changing its body” like we change our clothes. (Hence, no emotions!) To a god, death is emotional. Shiva mourning for Sati is an example. A god is driven by passion, like Indra seducing Ahilya. And God is not jealous as Indra envies kings.

But I am confused again. If God created us and if We have created gods; and if we have all qualities of God and god have all our features, aren’t gods the same as God? Shouldn’t God be as emotional, as passionate and as jealous (if not more) as us and our gods? Are the faults in me (or those in God) confusing me?

A Walk, A Bent Back!

The world runs in weird ways. People here run in weirder ways. I didn’t choose to run, however. I walked- from home to college and from college to home, alternately on alternate days. I wanted to save my back.

Whoever has known about the micro-buses in Nepal will understand my problem. These vehicles with low height are meant to carry twenty people max at a time. Four people, including a khalasi ( aka conductor. My teacher once called them handyboy, I don’t know why) can be adjusted in most vehicles (usually manufactured by Toyota or KIA). These vehicles are faster than the buses and mini buses and are also operated on smaller roads. That’s why most people use them. Now the vehicles are not enough for transporting people during the “office-time”. There is always a battle to get a seat. If not, one  has to bend their back for at least ten minutes- if luck favours. Otherwise, one might have to stand in that Yoga posture for more than thirty minutes.

I try to avoid such a situation as much as possible. If I have to “stand up” on the micro bus, I will have to bend my low making ninety degrees with my feet. The back pain that sweeps in is the worst. Walking feels much better than this bent standing up.

I walked. This week I walked everyday until Wednesday. On Wednesday, I walked to college in the morning. While returning back home, I thought I climbed on an empty vehicle but unfortunately, it was filled by people in no time. Within seconds, I was squeezed by the people and within ten minutes, I was gasping. The windows were closed because it’s cold in Kathmandu these days. Ironically, I was sweating. People had seen that and had started commenting already. I had to get off. No, not because my destination had arrived but because I could not bear the pain on my back any longer. I got off at Tangal, almost twenty minutes south of my home. I walked again- tired and limping!

The effect showed up on Thursday. I could not dare to walk for forty five minutes between my home and college. I chose micro bus again. Thankfully, I got seats on both occasions that day.

It’s Friday and the pain continues as I write. The only satisfaction is that Saturday is coming up in almost two and a half hours. Hope (the biggest of the troubles released by Pandora) is making me think I can walk to college on Sunday again. Wishing her good luck is all I can do now.

Does Crying Make One Weak?

I asked the question last Saturday. How that question came up? How I tried to find answers? What were the conclusions? Coming up in this post.

Background

On Saturday morning, while I went to the barber’s for a haircut, I saw a couple with their daughter there. The little girl’s head was shaved. Her mother said, “She does not have nice hair. Will she grow nice hair after the shave?”

For me, the hair seemed nice. At least it was better than mine. But that’s not the real thing. The girl, like most of the girls, loved her hair and was crying as the electrical razor was moving over her hair. Her mother first said, “We’ll not throw the hair. We will braid it and keep at home.” While the girl was not convinced, “Don’t care what other will say. Your hair will grow up again. You need to be strong. You should not cry. Crying makes you weak.

The first response my mind gave was that the notion was wrong. Occasional crying has actually helped me psychologically and emotionally. Later on, as I thought more, I felt that she might be right.

[Note: It would be unfair if I did not tell you that the woman was actually obsessed with the hair of her daughter. I was compelled to think that the hair was not bad at all. The couple might have thought about selling the hair to make a wig. I can’t be sure, however. God knows what they wanted to do with it- sell it or keep it on display.]

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Discussion

I debated within my mind. Whether or not crying could make someone weak, I could not say. Thankfully, I am a member of a blogging forum, Blogger’s World! (Blogging 101:Alumni, until December 9- you can note the old name on the web address!) I posted this question on Sunday, December 6, 2015 and received comments from about at least ten people.

The first comment came from Piyusha @Wandering Soul.

I strongly disagree that it makes one weak. People certainly perceive the one who is crying as weak, so it may make you look weak. But doesn’t make you weak. and honestly, which is better? To bottle up emotions inside you and not let them out because you are to scared to express yourself or to be brave enough to freely express emotions and hence, emotionally healthy even at the risk of being perceived as weak because people don’t understand emotions as much as they should or as much as they think do.

The next was from Heather @heathernotes.com, began the conversation with the evidence of physiological difference between men and women:

Scientists speculate that women cry more because they have shallower tear ducts than men.

The third one came from Anand/Vibrant @Blabberwockying. His comment was worth a post and he did it as well. In short, he said that crying could be weakness if we do not care when and where to cry. He also said that devotees cry for their God, thus attaining a deeper connection with the higher consciousness. (He was also attacked by other bloggers for the comment, but because that does not meet my objective here, I would want you to click the link to the forum above.)

Cathy Lynn Brooks@cathylynnbrooks.com said that children should be able (allowed) to express emotions and cry. Ishita @!shita believed that crying was healthy no matter however people looked at it. Ria @koko boocro, Amanda @raniamanda, 21 Time traveler agreed that crying was not a weakness at all. It was an emotional outlet, difficult to handle to most people. Darshith Badiyani and Bethany Harvey @Overlooked Nature said that people had to embrace crying as any other human emotions. Rashmi @Mind and Life Matters said that crying was just as important as laughing. Dawn Marie, Indira and shinepositivepower accepted that crying did not make one weak, but was a method of cleansing one’s soul.

Conclusion

It’s impossible to say whether crying makes one weak or not. Though, the participants in the discussion generally agreed that crying did not make one weak, I now believe that it actually depends upon the situation.

When can crying become your strength?

  1. When you are in a problem and need help, crying can help you get help easily.
  2. When you feel sad from deep within, shedding a little amount of tears can help your soul.
  3. Crying can be a process of healing your psyche.
  4. If you can manipulate someone by crying.

In short, when you cry to let out your emotions, you become healthy. What can be more beneficial to a person than a healthy mind?

When can crying become your weakness?

  1. When you cry in wrong places and at wrong times.
  2. When your fears and emotional problems are exposed to your enemies.
  3. When you can not decide when to cry and when not to.

The Dual Nature of People Who Cry

Being sensitive can make you weak, so is the condition when you become too expressive. Becoming insensitive or inexpressive does not mean you are strong either.*

Almost every one in the discussion believed that we cry while we are emotional and it is difficult to handle someone who cries often. We also say, “Don’t cry,” to someone who is going through an emotional stress. But we also encourage someone to cry if their burden can be decreased.

All in all, crying is a result of overwhelming emotions- sad or happy and it has to be accepted as a part of our emotional, spiritual and bodily health. (Crying is good for your eyes!)

[*Final Note: The topics of sensitivity and expressiveness were also prominently discussed in the forum. Here is the link again. These are the inherent characters of humans, which tell people of your strengths and weaknesses. For example, seeing you cry often (expressiveness) people might say you are weak, even if it is not the case. Also, crying may not always solve one’s problem.]

What NaNoWriMo did to Me

NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, popularly known to the participants as NaNo (though I would prefer WriMo because it’s more a Writing Month and a National Novel. Is the name appropriate, though? I will come to that in a while.) is a global event, (that’s why I will discuss that again!) for the aspiring novelists. Thirty days of work for at least 50,000 words, the golden number for something to be called a novel – did not know before I signed up the event! That’s what NaNoWriMo about.

On October 17 of the year, I saw a post from Rashmi Menon on Blogging 101: Alumni, a forum of WordPressers. I clicked the link and there I was, where I could have been earlier if I had not been confused by the name of the event (it’s irresistibly coming up again and again). Anyway, I signed up. I already had something on my desktop that could be a novel, but I had no plans for it. So I decided- within five minutes since I signed up- that I would write on novel based on a short story I had sent to the Fiction Park section of the Kathmandu Post, but had never been published.

That was the beginning of it. Once I decided what I was going to write (type for most of the part), I built up some characters and drafted their personalities, thanks to an ebook, Crafting Unforgettable Characters, I had downloaded from K.M. Weiland’s website. On the first day of November, I started writing. About twenty six hundred words I typed that day. (Never broke the record. Such enthusiasm! Phew.) And then with the short story I used, I quickly moved to a higher word count than most of my buddies in the website.

Days went on. Managing at least 2,000 words per day, I was cruising slow and steady. Among my buddies, only Kristina Van Hoose was ahead of me. (She was updating her word count at rocket speed and was the first among my buddies to reach the golden number! I can’t really tell how she managed it.) From the second week of the event, festival of Tihar gripped me. The festive mood did affect me, and I was slowed down.

The third week was terrible. College had commenced after the vacation and I had an exam. While focusing on that, I lost hours of time for creating the novel, but whatever time I got, I crawled along. By the end of last week, there have been horrible things. Power cut off, college time, and assignments, all reducing the time  I sit in front of my computer. That was when I got traditional. I began writing on a exercise book. And that had its own perks.

Sitting in front of the computer, adding new words to the novel, I have heard complains from my parents and my little sister. Ignoring their talks and discussions, keeping aside the political issues that enrage me, and keeping aside the matter of the fuel crisis going on in the country, I wrote and wrote. I finally reached the golden number in time, but there was a big problem: HOW DO I VALIDATE?

At the end of the 50,000 mark, the website asks to validate the novel (an official word-count) to declare the participant a winner. Now that I wrote the last few parts in a copy and that I can neither scan nor type within the last moment of the event, I don’t know how I will be declared winner by the site. Therefore I decided to declare myself a winner. I even got a feast. Well, actually that was because of the birthday of my mother.

Typing a novel from an unknown location (for the site; Asia: Elsewhere in Asia), updating the word count every hour from a computer that can break down any time, I have learned one great lesson: Novels come out of great effort. Novelists are just as crazy as my father thought. One month is an extremely short time for a quality novel to come out (mine has not finished yet), but it’s an initiation and a great experience. It’s time I get out of the hangover now. (It’s also a high time I get acquainted with all new WordPress, which my friend Anish had said some days back, had lost its word-count on the editor. I saw it while scrolling down. How excited I was seeing that!)

 

Wait, did I forget something? Oh, yeah. The name of the event of course! You must have noticed the contradiction while I wrote National Novel Writing Month is a global event. Had I known that the event was actually a GloNoWriMo (Global Novel Writing Month) and not only for the USians, I would have prepared myself. Would I have, though? That would definitely have made another story.