राधाको सम्झनामा

देख्दैमा राधाका दुई नयन बसिगएथ्यो पिरती
कोकिल वाणी, मुस्कानको मधुरता मन हर्ने अति ।
खेल खेलमा मित्रता भएको थियो गहिरो जति
टुट्ने हो कि ती प्रिय सखीको साथ लाग्दथ्यो पीर अति ।।

अर्कैकी बनेर डोलीमा चढी जब गइन् राधा रानी
भन्न नसकी गुम्सिएका भाव सम्झी बढ्यो ग्लानि ।
कान्हाको मन छ धेरै बलवान् भन्दछ सारा गोकुल
देख्दैनन् ती मुहारको मुस्कानले लुकाएको शूल ।।

मुरलीको दु:खी विरही धुन गुन्जाई वृन्दावनमा
डुल्दछ सम्झनाले कृष्ण यो, सन्ताप बोकेर मनमा ।
योगीको मार्ग चिनी ती बुद्धिमती प्रियाको सङ्गतले
राधाकृष्णको प्रेम अमर भनी चिन्नेछ जगतले ।।

Why Kazuo Kiriyama did not win the Battle

Kazuo Kiriyama is the best “player” of the “game” that involves killing classmates. He alone kills twelve of his classmates. Yet he ends up dead. A lot of Battle Royale video game fans seem to be annoyed by this fact. They say, “He deserved to win.” I say, “He didn’t. A novel or a movie is different from a video game.”

The kid who never smiled

We get the first and the most important insight into Kazuo Kiriyama’s character through Mitsuru Numai in Chapter 11. Mitsuru had been in an occasion, saved from bullies by Kazuo and since then, he had revered the latter. He believed Kazuo was the one capable of beating the system and destroy the Battle Royal Programme because he had defeated local yakuza (Yakuza is an organization of powerful Japanese gangsters or mafias).

Mitsuru and his friends make him the leader of the gang called the Kiriyama family. Despite being called notorious in the city, the Kiriyama family never bullied upon others in the school. They all relied on Kazuo Kiriyama and did things for fun. However, when Kiriyama kills his gang within an hour of the beginning of the game, Mitsuru Numai notices one thing that they had always ignored: “Kazuo Kiriyama never smiled.” (Chapter 11, Battle Royale)

Kazuo Kiriyama is apathetic. He does not feel anything. Neither joy, nor sorrow, no pity, no guilt. We later know that while he was still in his mother’s womb, she fell in an accident and a stake had entered Kiriyama’s head. The accident destroyed his emotional centre. Whatever the reason, Kiriyama is what Shogo Kawada tells us: “A hollow man … There’s no place in his heart for logic or love, no. For any kind of values. That kind of person. On top of that, there’s no reason for the way he is.” (Chapter 67, Battle Royale).

The coin toss

If one thing that changed the complexion of the story, it is Kiriyama’s coin toss. He had two options:

  1. To participate in the game, and
  2. To destroy the Battle Royale Programme and the government.

Kiriyama’s choices are not based on logic. They were based on chance. Had he used logic, he would have chosen the second option. He would have been a great helping hand to our heroes Shogo Kawada, Shuya Nanahara and Shinji Mimura. None of our heroes believed he was capable of killing his classmates. He hadn’t even bullied one! Kiriyama’s coin toss, thus becomes a bane for all his classmates.

Even if Kiriyama had not been thinking logically, had the coin toss made him destroy the Programme, he would have got support from his gang as well as the others. They would not have to fear their own classmates. Forty of them could have brought down the Programme in no time.

In the movie, however, Kiriyama is a new student like Shogo Kawada and is a mystery. In the novel, he is their classmate and still a mystery. Kiriyama from the novel, to me, is a bigger villain. But he could have easily turned into a hero.

Why Kiriyama did not win

Simply, because letting Kiriyama win was against the books theme of love and kindness. Kiriyama is the exact opposite of love and kindness. Had Koshun Takami, the author, let Kiriyama win, he would have set a wrong example. He had to save the lovely Noriko and the lucky Shuya to send a message: “Apathy is a vice,” and: “Choice made without reasoning is a curse.”

Had Kiriyama won, another theme of the book would have been crushed: rebellion. After the coin toss, Kiriyama’s chance of being a rebellion dies. Rebellion stays alive in the form of Nakagawa and Nanahara. They didn’t get long lecture from Kawada about the system and change to get killed in the end. They are there to bring about some change. Kiriyama’s victory would have shattered Shogo’s dream, and our hopes that the Battle Royale Programme would come to an end. Kiriyama did not win. We still have a hope.

[Featured image obtained from fdzeta.com]

Who teaches her?

I am astounded every time I look at her. She moves with grace and agility, plays with the table tennis ball as she should play with a mouse (and like a pro footballer), and jumps like an athlete. She grabs a piece of rag and drags it around. She smells the ground and discovers every corner of the house. She covers up her liquid and solid excreta. When she is hungry, she looks up, her eyebrows narrow, and cries, “Myau Myau”. Except during such hunger and times she’s irritated, this little tabby kitten understands the instructions we give her. Who teaches her to do all these things she does?

IMG_20171228_150218.jpg
Billy on the stack of chairs

I met her first the first time in November with her twin. Their mother had left them after keeping them in a drum under the stairs. They were crying. We waited for their mother’s return but that cat did not return. We kept them in a box and started feeding them with milk in a bottle. The nutrition in the dairy milk we get is non-existent. The twins survived but were malnourished. We named them Lily and Billy.

Even when they were malnourished, Billy was the smarter among the two. She had figured out how to jump out of the box, how to play with her sibling and how to irritate her. Life was going on pretty good for them until two weeks later when their mother came back with two other kittens. Would she recognize and accept Lily and Billy and take them away? We thought it would be good if she did and at that, we made the mistake we should never have.

We showed the cat Lily and Billy on our roof. They were smaller than the other kittens she had brought but she seemed to recognize them from their scent. She wanted to take Billy first but the kitten was too stubborn and reluctant. She did not let the cat carry her. Lily too resisted but she was not as smart as her twin. The cat caught her scruff and took her away.

IMG_1313.JPG
Lily and Billy the day before they were separated

The mother cat came back again. We decided to give up Billy as well. We did not know whether Lily-Billy could survive. Even if they died, it would be nice if they died together, we thought. After an effort of more than half an hour, the cat took Billy away. A little farther, she could not carry Billy. She was still struggling to get away. The cat tried her best to take her away but when she could not, left her. Billy cried alone on that balcony for more than an hour in front of our sight before we decided we would now adopt her as long as she wants to stay with us.

Meanwhile, the cat took away the fourth kitten and never returned for the kitten. She came back a few times to steal milk and we haven’t seen her for more than a fortnight now.

Now Billy is with us on her own. And she has learnt everything her instinct allows her. When she was with her twin, we thought they learnt together but even when this tabby is alone, she has learnt everything on her own. Who teaches her? I tried to know the answer. I discussed with my parents and my sister.

Does Nature teach her? How, though? Could Billy’s genes have carried her natural instincts and behaviours? Does the DNA carry all the things she needs for survival?

It’s strange to note that humans have very few individual survival instincts. We are not as agile as the cat, we don’t have the physical strength they have. We don’t even cover up our excreta as a natural instinct. It’s a learned social behaviour. Why does a cat have more survival instincts and more unique natural behaviours than a human? Aren’t we vain in saying that we are the smartest or the most intelligent creature on the planet? I have seen the kitten picking up our language before we picked up hers. How are we the only sapient beings? And finally, I came to the question that has intrigued people for ages: why are we here thriving (not just surviving) against all odds?

Humans are physically weak. We don’t have strong legs like that of the felines and canines. We don’t have strong teeth and claws to hunt. We don’t have a thick hide to protect us from cold. We don’t even have furs. The only strength we have is our large head (more than 2 kgs), which is also an evolutionary liability.

Yet, it is in our head the brain lies and it has the ability to analyze the world like no other creature in the world. We are the only creatures that can understand the secret of this world and that of the universe. Only we can alter our natural instinct of fear to compassion.

Are we really thriving to understand the real secrets of our lives, how we originated and to care for the lives around us, to coexist with every living being in harmony? Eastern philosophers and poets of my own country have answered “Yes” to the question.

But is there any force or energy that compels us to survive, to contemplate and to understand? Why is the Nature the way it is? Why is the cat the way she is? What is the source of the chaotic order that rules the Earth? I have come to believe in the existence of that energy that has created this chaotic order. I have now come to believe this energy is the God–the Creator, the Caretaker and the Destroyer.

In these two months, the cats have taught me a lot of things about life and the way we behave and feel. And we can’t always control everything that happens. We make mistakes we can’t amend. We don’t know what happened to Lily but Billy continues to grow and to impress. She is here in my house with a purpose–to teach me about other living beings, including humans.

Parents and their Daughters

In towns and cities connected by roads

Never distant are the daughters

With no compromises and loads

Close to parents are the daughters.

***

Never distant were the daughters

We hope all our lives

Close to us were the daughters

We dream all our lives.

******

We hope all our lives

To return again to our parents

We dream all our lives

To see once again our parents.

***

To return again to our parents

We lament in this far off land

To see once again our parents

We pray in this desolate land.

******

[Note: I had written this poem in Nepali (माइती जान नपाउने चेली). After I received a comment from Mick Canning and read the translation, I felt so bad. So I tried translating the poem myself. This is also my effort on the Pantoum form of poetry.]

When I died

I had been sick for some time. My parents, wife and children were sitting around me with grim faces. I had already lived more than twenty five years of my years and I felt like I was going to die. However, I did not want to die young. So I remembered my parents, my wife, my children and everyone who had been dear to me. All of a sudden, I lost consciousness. I stopped remembering anything.

When I regained consciousness, a man dressed in black was standing before me. He had a pale face with a big mustache and huge beard. His eyes were hollow. He looked at me as if he was disgusted with me. He produced a whip from the thin air and lashed hard at me. Before I could cry, the whip had tightened around my throat. I struggled but in vain. He was too strong.

He rose above in the air and I was dragged behind him. I tried to free myself again but I feared that I would fall down. He dragged me up to the clouds. He stopped and looked at me with disdain. He said, “Do you want to see your world before I take you to mine?” His voice was deep and sounded like he was speaking through a hollow bamboo. That moment I knew that he was death. I nodded slowly in affirmation to his question. He then told me to look down and that I did.

The world looked tiny from that height but Death mystically zoomed it for me. He said, “Look at your family for the last time.” And my children were in front of my eyes.

They were crying. My body lay amongst them. I called them out. But they could not listen to me. I tried to touch them but could not. I could do nothing to console them. Sometimes later, they carried my body to the crematorium and it was cremated. The existence of my body had come to an end.

Death did something and the time ran pretty quickly. My family was not sad. My children were playing. My wife looked a little weak but she was smiling. “They have learnt to live without you now,” Death said. He then showed me images from all around the world. Poor and rich, happy and sad, stupids and geniuses, religious and non-religious, rulers and the ruled, he showed me all sorts of people. “Why do you think I showed you all these?”

I noticed that the whip had gone away from my throat but still I could not speak. He said, “Everyone I have showed you and every life in this world, everything in this universe will die one day. They can’t escape death.”

“You know you must die. Yet you are scared of Death. You never lived life to their fullest because of the fear. You were also more concerned about afterlife than the life you lived. You donated to the poor to make your afterlife better, so that you can rest in heaven and avoid hell after death. That was very selfish of you. You followed religions in the hope that the door to the heaven will be opened. You looked after your parents because the scriptures said you will be in heaven after your death.

“You have not done anything that will make other people’s lives better. Give to the poor to see their smiles. Take care of your parents with all your heart. Start thinking that good things you do will make someone happy, that those acts will create heaven in your life. Stop thinking that your good deeds will land you to heaven only after your death. Stop fearing hell. Understand that your bad deeds will create hell around you. You don’t need to die to see the hell. Stop fearing death. Death will come to you for sure.”

I opened my eyes. The sun had risen up high. I was neither sick, nor dead. I recalled everything the man in black robes said in the dream. I smiled, got off from my bed and went to meet my life. It was grinning ear to ear.

The Mathematics of Love and Depression

Love: exciting, interesting. Synonymous to happiness. A feeling everyone wants to embrace.

Depression: dull, gloomy. Antonymous to happiness. A feeling everyone wants to aver.
How are they related? I’ll try doing so using three expressions.

1. Love = Depression

Presenting love and lost love as a cause of depression is popular in literature, movies and music. Is love really a cause of depression?
About three months ago, I read ‘Monsoon’ by Subin Bhattarai. In the novel, Subhan falls in love with Monsoon and falls into depression (twice) when she goes away from her. Lost love is a cause of depression in the novel.
I remember reading Chetan Bhagat’s “2 States” about two years ago. The male character, Krish falls into depression when his lover Ananya leaves him. A depressed character, whose girlfriend has left him, also appears in Bhagat’s another novel “Revolution 2020”.
“Ghumti ma na aau hai” is a popular Nepali song from the movie “Kumari”. It is a song sung by a boy who is in love with a girl who had been made Kumari (living goddess) but can not express his feelings because of the society. He asks her not to come to meet him as they might be bound by ties of love and they may have to cry alone when separated.
A lot of people write poems (Ghazals, Muktaks, etc.) mostly saying that love is something that gives tears. They say, “If you can, avoid loving anyone.”

With this we come to our second expression:

2. Love < Depression

When depression takes over someone, love dies slowly. The feeling of “one-sided love” may not die. People may not be able to forget their lovers who left them. But should love be restricted between two people?

Movies and literature have popularized the concept of love between two people, mostly a young man and a young woman. And that’s where the problem arises. Two people think they are the only people who love each other. That’s why when one leaves, the other feels that love has ended.
Whenever love ends, depression overcomes.

Subhan in ‘Monsoon’ has a family and decent friends. When Monsoon leaves, he is depressed. He detaches himself from his family and friends. He does not talk to his parents, and not even to his grandfather with him he is closer. He is not happy with his friends.
In his depression, he kills his love towards his friends and family.

Now, it’s time I discuss the third expression.

3. Love > Depression

Can love overcome depression?
I believe that only love can overcome depression. If you understand that there are a lot of people who love you, depression can be overcome. Sometimes the love of a single person can make a difference. (Euta manchhe ko mayale kati farak pardachha jindagima.)

When Subhan’s grandfather and friends realize that he is depressed the first time, they pull him out of his dark shell. It takes long, but he is able to overcome depression. And this is the only portion I liked about the novel.

“Love all, serve all,” is one thing preached by Eastern philosophers. I believe it is the key to happiness.

​A Month in Palpa: Some of the Things I Learnt

I spent about a month (26 days to be precise) at Palpa with my friends and teachers for field-work on Geology. It’s a matter of 100 marks after all. But life is not only about university lessons and exams. There are a lot more things to learn.

A view from Tundikhel, Tansen

1. Life’s uncertain

The day we left for Palpa, we were happy. Though we were in the cabin, 7-8 of us could gossip freely and we did not complain. The uncertainty of life showed up after we reached Siddhababa as it got dark on the way. To our dismay, the bus had a damaged dynamo. To state it straight, the bus lacked headlight. We searched for torch lights to help the driver, which was in vain. When the bus took sharp turns, my heart leaped out to my mouth. We prayed, we sought ideas. Another vehicle from behind helped the driver see the road. When the bus stopped at Dumre, Palpa, we shook hands with the driver, cheered and thanked God. The next day, when I saw the road and the gorge of Tinau River, I felt that it is a miracle that I’m alive.

Gorge formed by Tinau River

2. Schedule cannot always be followed

We began with a schedule. We had to follow it but we did not. What should have been done on the seventh day was completed on the first day. It created a lot of confusion. It was difficult to understand what we did but as time passed, we understood what we had done. Learning under a schedule is easier but there is no need to panic if the schedule is disturbed.
3. We can’t observe nature well from inside a bus

Three buses were reserved for daily travel (traverse is the word geologists use) along the Siddhartha Highway. While we were in the bus, we had difficulty in observing geological features. There is problem in connecting things with places when we try to recall. When we walked along towards the end of the exursion because of protests against Federal Model, we understood things really well.
4. There’s always a way to discover fun

When there are so many people around you, you never have to feel low. Even when there is a lot of work to do, you get support from them. Your mind is more inclined to fun in those times. I also found that we look for fun when we are under restrictions. Sometimes, noticing small movements and chats can also give immense pleasures. Enjoying things in the present can help a lot in overcoming troubles.

Boys find fun on the last day of field

5. Togetherness

Most of us have lived in closely-knit families. A lot of problems arise while we are away from family. Homesickness is a problem to many. With the support of friends, this is no big deal. Together we celebrated successes and soothed failures. Together we solved the financial problems we could get into. Together we worked and together we succeeded. Together we bacame family of a sort.
6. Thankfulness

Spending a month at an entirely new place is difficult. Without the help of local people, the school we stayed and all the stakeholders, it would have been impossible. We thank them for their support. We thank our chefs without whom we would not have got food in time. We thank our teachers for the knowledge they imparted. We thank each other for tolerating and cooperating. We also thank our families who have undergone several challenges before and during our excursion.
7. That feeling when you’re leaving

I don’t get a perfect word for this. I was happy that I was returning home but I was also sad that I was leaving the place that had sheltered us for about a month. I still remember the faces of people who bade us farewell. Was it a kind of attachment, a kind of bond I had made with the place and it’s people? Maybe I left a part of my soul there so that I can remember them everyday.
I heard someone say, “You may get a lot of chances to earn money. To earn memories though, you have a very few chances.” Memories of the camp, friends, people and places have formed this article. I proudly share my priceless article for all forever.

Speechless

[A poem I started out of a random thought some months ago. I hadn’t completed it then. When I saw it today, I completed it. The last part differs from what I had planned the day I created it.]

ME:

Saw her again, passing by the street;

Had opportunity to meet

Graceful she; radiance on her face

All of a sudden, fear made me retreat.

If you had helped me a little more,

O God!

I would have felt blessed!

But you helped me less;

If not, I would not have been speechless!

GOD:

Don’t blame me, kid

For the mistake you did.

The rain had passed, the sun was bright

I did everything to help you with my might.

ME:

If you had helped me no less

Tell me, my Lord! Why was I speechless?

GOD:

I can’t answer that

When in doubt,

Ask your heart.

ME:

Tell me, O Heart!

Why do I crave

To be with her

But fear

Whenever she is near?

HEART:

Lub-dub-lub-dub-lub-lub-dub-dub-lub-dub

ME:

And the heart goes on

Beating.

I can’t understand

What it’s saying!

O God! Teach me

The language of the heart.

Where are you, O God?

Where have you gone

Leaving your child alone?

I know you left.

I know I should do it myself.

I’ve the problem;

I’ve the solution.

However, I’m distressed,

Stressed

But well dressed!

So that I can hide

My inabilities

And my problems

That are not getting less.

I stare at a wall alone

And speechless!

Leave Me Alone-6

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. Coincidentally, 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.

In this last chapter of the story, we explore through the dreams of Sasha and find out the one responsible for everything the couple has faced.

Sasha was in a dream. She was in the study of Dr. Shrestha looking for something when she saw a small brown notebook with a leather jacket on his table. She thought she had seen it earlier but could not say where. ‘I am sure this is not uncle’s notebook. Whose is it?’ she said to herself and lifted it up. She turned on the first page and saw the name of the owner written in bold capital letters: RESHMA.

Sasha was shocked. ‘What’s my mom’s diary doing in uncle’s office? He had said that this diary was taken up by the court as an evidence of her insanity. Has he been hiding things from me?’ As she was busy contemplating, she heard someone coming into the study. She immediately managed to hide the diary. Dr. Shrestha came in and looked around. He looked confused. Sasha asked, “What are you searching, uncle?”

The doctor hesitated at first, but when Sasha asked again, he replied, “Have you seen a diary? It has brown-leather jacket. I thought I had taken it to my bedroom. I couldn’t find it there. I must have left it here.”

“No, I haven’t seen such a diary,” Sasha said calmly. The doctor was an expert in catching lies. She felt he had caught her. However, she was relieved when he said, “It’s all right, Sasha. I must have kept it somewhere else.”

Dr. Shrestha’s office faded. She was now in her hostel reading the notebook. As she read the accounts of her mother’s life, she felt she was getting closer with her mother. She came to know the details of her life Dr. Shrestha could never have given her. She was shocked the most when she read that Reshma had been sexually assaulted. She developed hatred against the manager and the lawyer when she knew that their acts had changed the fate of her mother and her own.

The girl had a feeling that the distance with her mother was decreasing. She could feel her mother’s presence around her. One evening before she went to sleep, she actually saw her mother. Sasha looked at her with awe and despair. She wanted to cry in her mother arms but she could not touch her. The woman told, “You can’t touch me because of those evil men. Avenge me, my child.”

“I will, Mom,” Sasha said though she was not sure how.

“Find them out and destroy their lives,” Reshma said.

Sasha knew the stories but she had not seen the manager and the lawyer. As she thought so, Reshma said, “You must find a clue that helps you find them.”

“Where is the clue?” Sasha asked but her mother had gone. She wiped the tears in her eyes, washed her face and came back to her room. She thought she had understood the clue. She picked up the diary and turned its pages. On the bottom of the pages in which Reshma’s tormentors were mentioned, Sasha noticed that Reshma had repeatedly written these words: ‘One stitch in time saves nine.’

Sasha had thought Reshma had written that because she had failed to understand the true nature of the manager and his lawyer. That she had to be cautious when her boss was offering her own auctioned house; that she had to understand the ploy he had made during the pay rise. This time Sasha had discovered the pattern of the appearance of the proverb. She took the words literally and looked at the jacket of the diary. She looked at the odd stitch which she had previously thought was a production defect. She looked at it carefully. ‘It must be a manual work.’ She took a blade and cut the stitch. She ripped the jacket to discover an old picnic photo encircling two faces at the centre.

On a closer inspection, she saw that Reshma had written an ‘M’ above the head of the one on the right and an ‘L’ above that on the left. She saw her mother on the extreme right. She also noticed a bespectacled man. ‘Dr. Shrestha,’ she smiled. Sasha looked at the man marked L again. She thought she had seen him somewhere, though she could not place exactly where. As she kept staring at the photo, her phone beeped. As she looked at the face of the caller, she remembered where she had seen him. ‘Ajay?’ she thought. ‘How is that possible?’

***

Sasha leaped space and time in her dream. She was at the hospital in Dr. Shrestha’s cabin a few days later. He was in his desk writing something while she said, “I have a problem, uncle.”

The old doctor stopped writing and gestured at her to sit down. Then he looked curiously at her. After a moment of hesitation, Sasha said, “I’ve been seeing my mom recently.”

“In your dreams?”

“I see her ghost.”

“Ghost?” Dr. Shrestha stroked his chin and said, “Tell me more about your mother’s ghost.”

“She comes in a red sari and looks like that on the portrait. She wants me to avenge her death.”

“Do you want to do it?”

“No.”

“You’ve lied.”

Sasha’s mind raced back to the incident a few days ago when she had lied that she had not seen the diary. ‘How could he not catch that?’

“Do you want to avenge your mother?” the doctor asked again.

“Yes,” Sasha replied in an angrier tone. “Those who killed her must be punished. I can’t let them roam around.”

“Do you know who they are? How do you find them?”

“Yes uncle. I know about the two that are directly involved. The bank manager has disappeared. So I don’t need to look for him.” Sasha clenched her fist as she said, “The other is a lawyer. I know him.”

“Where did you get all these information?”

“I used different sources.” Sasha did not want to tell him about the diary.

“Alright,” the doctor said. “I think I know your sources.”

‘He knows.’ Sasha’s heart paced. She said to herself. ‘He knows I have read that diary.’

Dr. Shrestha, however said, “You got that information from Parmila, didn’t you?”

Sasha was relieved but she could not convince herself that the old doctor had not caught her lies. The doctor thought for a while and scribbled something on his prescription form. He stood up and walked towards Sasha. Handling the paper, he said, “I think you’re getting hallucinations again. I don’t know what triggered it. But I guess it’s your source of information. I’ve written some medicines. They’ll help you get rid of your hallucinations.”

Sasha nodded, thanked him and went towards the door. The doctor called out, “Sasha.” As she turned towards him, he said, “Don’t tell anyone that you’re experiencing hallucinations. And don’t tell anyone about the medicines I have given you.”

Sasha nodded again and walked out.

***

Sasha was in her room. She saw two coffee mugs on the table. ‘I am not alone,’ she thought in her dream.

She heard a clatter in the bathroom attached to her room. She was scared. She slowly walked towards the bathroom. All of a sudden, someone came out. She looked like her mother on the portrait. But she was puzzled. She had said that her mother was a ghost. ‘Ghosts don’t use bathrooms.’

For a moment, Sasha looked puzzled at the woman who had gone her. The woman did not see her. Sasha cried out, “Hey …”

Before she said anything else she realized that the woman would not listen to her either.  Sasha’s courage increased. She then went closer to examine. She looked at her for a moment and then looked back at her reflection on the wardrobe mirror. A young lady stood on a red sari.

In a flash, Sasha realized in her dream that the woman on the red sari was not her mother’s ghost but herself. “Stop,” she shouted as her other self walked to the door. “Don’t go. You can’t kill Ajay. He has not done anything wrong.”

The woman turned back. Sasha thought that her other self had listened but she picked up the coffee mug and went away. She ran downstairs. She looked for Ajay in the living room. He was staring at her mother’s portrait.

Her other self was in the kitchen. She put down the coffee mugs and looked at her own reflection in the mirror. She ordered herself to kill Ajay. “I won’t,” Sasha shouted. The other self seemed to listen. She got furious. Sasha saw a steel rod in the kitchen she had brought for some purpose she did not remember. She picked up the rod and smashed hard into the mirror. She fell down. She had won. The other self remained no more.

But she was wrong. Her aggressive self woke up and attacked Ajay with a broken piece of mirror. Ajay ran away. Sasha ran after him for a while and collapsed on the road.

***

An hour later, her dream took her to the police station. She was walking towards Ajay and Dr. Shrestha. The old doctor looked at her as if he had never seen her before. She was about to ask why he was doing so when he walked up to her. The doctor produced a syringe and in a flash it penetrated her skin. At that small moment before she passed out, she realized that the doctor was not as good as he seemed. She shouted in her dream, “Leave me alone.”

Sasha woke up on a bed. The brightness of the room dazzled her for a while. A machine beeped on her right. On her left was a boy with a familiar smile. “Ajay?”

Ajay helped her sit. He looked at her with compassion and said, “You’ve been asleep here for months. Our lives have changed so much, Sasha.”

“What happened?”

He told her about his meeting with Dr. Shrestha and Parmila, his annoyance with his father and his father’s suicide. “Dr. Shrestha turned out to be your biological father.”

Sasha was shocked. She had always felt orphaned after the death of her parents. Ajay continued, “He was your father’s friend. He had seen your mother once when he had gone to their house. The doctor liked your mother, so much that it turned into an obsession. In his madness, he went to his friend’s one evening, put sleeping pills on his friend’s drink and assaulted your mother. You were born as a result.”

Sasha bowed her head. She could not look at Ajay. He put his hand on hers and said, “You don’t need to be ashamed. You’ve done nothing wrong. No one will judge you for your birth.”

“But why didn’t my mother write anything about your birth in her diary?”

“The diary you read was not your mother’s. It was the doctor’s doing. He said he copied your mother’s handwriting and produced another diary. He then gave it to you. He made you think you had hidden it from him. The doctor also confessed that he had killed the bank manager. He had pushed him over a cliff one day. His body has not been found, however. He also killed your father when he knew what the doctor had done.”

“But he said I had killed my father.”

Tears fell down Sasha’s eyes. Ajay consoled her saying, “No, you did not. The doctor killed him and fed into your mind that you had done it. That way he could give you medicines for mental disorder you never had. He kept track of everything you did. The medicines he gave you enforced hallucinations. Your mother’s ghost turned into your alternate personality and it attacked me. It’s amazing how he could have guessed you would attack me that night. He was an evil wizard.”

Sasha cried harder. “I can’t believe how anyone can be such an evil.”

“He was evil but he did one thing right. He kept his word by treating you before the police took him in their custody.”

Sasha wondered about the changes she had gone through in her life. But Ajay was beside her. There was nothing to worry about.

THE END

← Read Chapter 5

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