95. Fiction: Journalist with a Conscience

thamel

Manish felt a sudden rush of thrill as he sneaked into a ‘nude’ dance bar for the first time. The bar was the most happening joint in Thamel. It was dark, noisy, full of smoke – but warm. There were men – young and old but mostly rich old men with bald head, thick mustache and bulging belly – smoking, drinking and dancing to sleazy Bollywood music.

Manish settled on a table and ordered chilled beer. For a few seconds, his face shrunk low with shame and guilt. What if my wife finds out about this? But he quickly shrugged off the feeling as he gloated over a semi nude girl dancing on the ramp, just ten feet in front of him. She seemed so surreal and so near. Seeing her, Manish got so luridly excited that he longed to caress her creamy skin. He wanted to know her, he wanted to be with her, he wanted to have her.

But there he remained at a distance, sipping Gorkha beer and munching on sukuti. As if for reassurance, he reminded himself – I am a journalist not a sick pervert. In the morning, his editor had told him to hunt for the ‘sensational news’ and he had set out on the grand mission to unearth Thamel’s shady skin business. As an investigative journalist, it was his first night, first bar and first nude dancer. And there she was, his first subject, dancing like a goddess of fire.

He ordered more beer and sukuti. The young girl turned into a luscious apsaraa, leaving the men gaping at her in trance. They started spraying elephants to her and the bar erupted into drunken chaos. The beer (and her dance) began playing havoc in his mind, but even in that helpless state, he visualized a juicy storyline along with a catchy headline. He fished out his trusted Nikon Coolpix from his pocket, turned off the flash and secretly took a snap of her. Nobody noticed. Nobody cared. This story is going to make me famous – his grin was as wide as Tundikhel.

It was already 11.45 pm when Manish lumbered out of the bar. He waved for a Maruti taxi and slumped into the back seat. Jawalakhel. 500 rupiya dinus hai. la la. The taxi whizzed off. He took out the camera to preview her photo. He got quite thrilled that even without any flash, the shot had come out pretty sharp. But something made him look deep into her face. His eyes instantly turned misty and fluttered with discomfort.

He noticed her dry smile. It had sad old stories – untold and unresolved. And, her frozen eyes. They had depressing nightmares – concealed and repressed.

It started raining miserably. The rain drops spattered on the windowpane, and he felt his career aspirations crashing hard against his morality. I’m not like them, he shook his head, no I’m not like those cheap ass journalists. It was below his dignity, beyond his philosophy. And it was too yellow for his taste. So he pressed ‘delete’ button on the camera, the only right thing to do. A message popped up for confirmation – Yes or Cancel. He hesitated. What about the glory I deserve?What about the glory she deserves? He began to swing awkwardly in and out of the piercing dilemma.

While the indecision was shredding his conscience into pieces, the taxi ran over a pothole and his thumb inadvertently pressed ‘Yes’.

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93. Fiction: Happy Valentine’s Day

The_Rose_and_the_Knife_by_Rosenkreutz

He gave her a bunch of red rose
Extolled her beauty in poems and prose
“I will take you for a sweet ride
Forever from this city we will hide”

Never had she felt loved like this
A harlot she was, now full of bliss
“My lord, take my soul, take my heart
From this city, let me do part”

He locked the room from inside
Never she screamed, nor she cried
He tenderly stabbed her in the spine
“For you my love, my valentine”

The blood drained, the rose faded
The tears dried, the heart wilted
He cleaned the knife, and walked away
So long… till the next Valentine’s Day

Inspired by: Robert Browning

Pic: http://rosenkreutz.deviantart.com/art/The-Rose-and-the-Knife-94444570

92. Fiction: Motti didi ko bhatti – III

lagankhel

Maiya occasionally felt terribly insecure for the way she was. Her mother had told her to be proud. “Acceptance will keep you and the world happy and sane. Just understand that you are unique, we are unique”. She repeated whenever Maiya felt lost in despair and self-doubt. Despite Motti didi’s warm assurance, Maiya sometimes longed to be normal. Normal like those people coming in their bhatti, and normal like those teenagers in her school.

Her school was just two minutes south off their bhatti in Lagankhel. Since it was a public school, most her classmates of Grade Nine were also from a low middle-class family. But she didn’t have many friends. In fact, she had just one – Kali. That’s the way she kept it. More friends could mean more trouble.

Kali came from Patan. She was not so beautiful and not so slim either. And she was kali. But Kali amused Maiya to death because she uttered dirty words every six words after. She would even throw dirty words at the boys in her amusing Newari accent. oii myampakha herow bhayera lyako hwoo? That would silence most of those sukulgundas whistling at her, or smacking their tongue at Maiya. Kali was protective of her, like an elder sister. Maiya, at times, imagined devouring Kali. It’s not like she hadn’t eaten ‘friends’ before. Kali would make delicious Haku Choyala.

Maiya didn’t like the school but she enjoyed the time away from bhatti. Every thing about this school amused her. The building reminded her of the cowshed they had in the village. Only a little bigger. The playground in the middle of the school was full of pebbles and dust – no grass. Blaring noise from the nearby bus park was an extra feature.

Their classroom was smelly, dark and had no window. Just one door. Tin roof wasn’t a relief, either. The teachers were hilarious, especially the English sir. And the students, all 17 of them – they were riot. No one could tame them. Even the girls were pretty wild. The English teacher would rap / rap / rap the desk with a wooden duster and shout deliriously. Tooooo much halla became, all body keep quite!!! This was his favourite line. The students would giggle and remain silent for the next 20 seconds. Then, much to the teacher’s agony, the riot would continue. He would furiously grate his teeth: only if the school allowed corporal punishment like in the old days. I would tear the skin out of these brats. Maiya and Kali enjoyed seeing English sir fume and perspire.

Then, there was Junu miss, simply known as Social miss. She was rather a pitiable sad creature. She never got mad at the students. Her voice was soft as flour, her plump body pale as pumpkin. She was five foot two but looked even shorter in her stubby legs. Her shoulders lurched visibly with years of pain and rejection. She was over 90 kilos, almost 35 and unmarried.

Maiya could spot the grief Junu miss carried in her hollow eyes. Those forsaken eyes were hungry for love, hungry for relationship. When she entered the classroom, her shawl would sweep along a gust of sorrow and frustration. Her parents didn’t love her. Her relatives talked behind her back – look, budi kanya! She would stand in the middle of the classroom, reading slowly from the book… word by word. The students barely heard her but that was her style. And all the while, her body posture and facial expressions would scream… she didn’t want to be breathing anymore… she didn’t want to be feeling anymore.

Kali noticed Maiya meditatively staring at Junu miss. “She probably feels pity for the poor creature”, Kali thought. You really like Junu miss, don’t you? Yes I do. Unbeknownst to others, Maiya had been brewing plans for Junu miss. Ninety kilos would be like god’s perfect blessing. Flesh and bones, enough for a month. But Maiya needed to wait – wait patiently and painfully till her next menstruation.

Unlike ordinary people, they were shackled by their own sacred rules. And her mom was rabidly religious about them. The killings were to be done only within the four auspicious days of bleeding. Otherwise, it counted as a fatal sin, a mortal transgression. And worms from the underside would crawl up to consume them.

Part II

Part I

91. Fiction: Clouds

cloud

Suman breathed a sigh of happiness as he started counting the clouds. It was a perfect Falgun day. The air was warm. A few fluffy clouds were swimming here and there in the wide open sky. The fleeting clouds reminded him of his father… and how his father has changed lately after his mom ran away with a night-bus driver.

For the last couple of years, his father had been living on alcohol. His normal routine was – get drunk in a bhatti, come home late, and sleep on the floor. Suman’s mom would be hitting him with a broomstick (sometimes with a daadu), throwing hurtful profanity at him and making the lousy neighbours shut their windows. Her usual scathing rant – I made a big mistake marrying this son of a poor man. How I wish I had listened to my parents when they told me afno khutta ma aafai le bancharo na haan chhori. She would pound her forehead with her palm and moan… why did I fall for his stupid romantic poems?

Now, with mom not around anymore, Suman could see his father transforming into a better man, a better father. His father even gave up drinking. It was a beautiful metamorphosis. As Suman counted the fluffy clouds swimming here and there, he tightly hugged his father and said, “buwa, please write a poem about clouds”.

89. Fiction: Meanwhile, in between the Dreams

IMG_0336

Guru baa.. eh Guru baa, wake up! Listen to me, I don’t usually remember dreams, but when I do, I share them.

la la, go ahead, I’m all ears.

Last night in my dream, I saw that I was a semi-professional dancer. And I was dancing with a chubby smelly girl, in a stage. In a flicker of second, the set changed. I was the hero, she was the heroine. What could this mean, Guru baa?

Babu, did you ever want to grow up to be like Rajesh Hamal or Govinda?

Never, Guru baa. That’s why I find it strange. I couldn’t have repressed that absurd non-desire and locked it in my unconsciousness. And, then there was a twist in the dream.

I like twists! Tell me about it.

Yeah. The actress I was dancing with slowly morphed into my school teacher. It was really creepy. I got so scared that I almost woke up.

Who’s this teacher?

Her name was Bhawani miss, but we called her Boksi miss. She used to beat me up with a cane but there I was, dancing with her in my dream. kasto dimag kharab!

Babu, did you ever have dark fantasies of your school teacher? You naughty boy?

Never, Guru baa. She was the most hated teacher in our school. She loved making the boys naked for punishment. I mean, that horrible bokshi was really twisted.

Babu, did she ever make you naked in the class?

Only once, Guru baa but I can never forget that day. She mocked at me, pointing at my weenie. dhat teri ka! I had wished a truck would flatten her on her way home.

Babu, so you danced with your school teacher who drooled over your weenie. It’s not a big deal. I don’t want to play Freud and interpret your filthy desires trapped deep beneath your dark unconsciousness.

Hyaaa Guru baa tapai pani, you just don’t get it. Screw Freud. I’m not worried about what he has to say. The problem is – I didn’t really wake up in my bed.

What?

Yeah. I’m not making it up. In fact, I woke up in the middle of another dream. That was a dream within this dream. Do you get it?

WHAT?

bhagwaan kassam. I hate to break it to you Guru baa, but you don’t exist at all. You are nothing but a faint representation of my school headmaster who had raped Bhawani miss in his office. Why did you rape her, you sick bastard?

It can’t be! I don’t exist???

WHY DID YOU RAPE HER?

I don’t exist!

88. Fiction: Motti didi ko bhatti – II

Published on the Fiction Park of Kathmandu Post daily on Feb 2, 2014

Kathmandu Post - Motti Didi Ko Bhatti

Click here for Part – I

Motti didi’s bhatti – II

“Come on yaar, it’s Friday evening for god’s sake. Let’s go get drunk”, Prashant was clearly excited. Amon gave a faint smile and sluggishly nodded his head – clearly not excited.

“Okay okay, but, let’s go to a very local place. I’m sick of these fakeass restaurants with their fakeass wifi, fakeass waiters and the fakeass girls coming in there”, Amon stipulated.

“Looks like someone’s in a great mood”, Prashant muttered out some sarcasm, and quipped, “I know just the right place”.

Riding through the narrow roads of Thapathali and through the bumpy bridge over Bagmati sewer, they reached Lagankhel and went straight into Motti didi’s bhatti. Outside, the sun silently slipped into slumber. Inside, dark blue smoke gloomily filled the shabby bhatti. On one creepy corner, there was an empty table. “Perfect”, both exclaimed gleefully.

They took the chairs and ordered two glasses of rakshi. Amon started his tirade. “Thukka my life is so pathetic”, he flushed the rakshi down his throat and thumped the glass on the table. His fists shuddered with anger. His nostrils exhaled pure hatred. “How could she do that? After all the things I’ve done for that kukurni. And how could she post a photo of her with that jerk?” He took another swig. He felt warm betrayal wringing his heart, cold hunger curling his intestine into agonizing knots, “Screw it! Let me get totally jhyaap”.

Didi, dui plate buff momo ra dui kachaura soup“, Prashant gestured to Motti didi and patted Amon’s shoulder sympathetically. “Don’t get frastu yaar, forget her.. ajkaal ko keti haru testai ho”, he faked out some comfort with a clichéd line. He was acting a good listener, listening to the boring angry outburst of a heartbroken friend.

The bhatti was crowded as usual. Drivers and khalasis shouted out their orders. Bara. Choyela baji. Momo. Rakshi. Churot. Sekuwa. Bhutun. Soup. Motti didi was literally motti but she was very agile and kept her customers happy. “Eh Maiya, tyo kunaa ko dai haru lai momo ra soup rakhi de ta“, she told her daughter in her usual sing-songy pitch.

“Take this soup”, Maiya said coyly as she placed momo and soup on their table. “I guarantee your worries will fade away in a second”. Amon looked at her bright face through his bloated eyes and then slowly gloated at her from head to toe and up again. Ravishing, he mumbled and said, “Sure, but only if you pose for a photo with me”.

Her eyes lit like a full moon. She naughtily glanced over to her mother and said, “hehe.. bhai halcha ni”. Amon took out his phone and gave it to Prashant. “Hamro ek shot haani de na”. He stood next to Maiya, ever so closely, without touching her. Maiya pouted her lips. Amon squinted his eyes. Prashant clicked.

timro soup atti tasty rahecha. timro smile pani tasty rahecha. ma ta feri feri aauchu hai
hehe… malai add garera photo ma tag garnu hai ta

The guys were quite lucky as they were able to avoid ma-pa-say checking at Jawalakhel and Thapathali chowk. When Amon got home, despite feeling massively tipsy, he quickly logged in to facebook and posted the photo. He knew, it would eat his ex girlfriend’s heart.

Later in his alcohol induced dream, he saw his Maiya.

She was dressed completely in red. She wore a red bridal sari and a big red tika on her forehead. A blurry moment later she was mother Durga. With a big stump of bone… she was stirring the special soup… in an ominously large pot… placed over the eternal fire of hell. She lewdly smiled at him and made a menacing duck face.

He felt a sudden pull, he struggled for a while as he gasped for breath, and then,
Amon realized…
he was drowning… drowning deep…
in the boiling soup.

87. Fiction: Exam Super Hero

examhorror

Restless like a child in the womb, the sullen student fidgeted on his desk for a few minutes… then he perked his head up and gazed into uncertainty. The questions were murderous. His thoughts were as blank as the universe, and so were his answer papers.

Suddenly, with a renewed determination, he sat up… and like a boss, strolled out of the exam hall. A faint murmur and quirky giggles teased him out through the door. ghanta jasto exam, tin tin ghanta samma ke lekhera basne, right now I need to save the world. Every second is precious. He went into the restroom, threw away his specs, took off his shirt and pants and through the window, he flew out. Wait, you pitiful humans, I am coming to rescue you.

Luckily for him, the restroom was on the ground floor and he only sustained few bruises on his elbow.

(Pic: Internet)