(An English translation initiative of “SHRADHA KO PHOOL” by THIRU PRASAD NEPAL)
HE HAD heard about an event going to be held in his school, but he is not invited. He had been to that school not just for months but for some years wearing navy blue short and white shirt, carrying roasted corns and soya beans as lunch. His school is a heritage school. Thousands of students had passed out from here. No one had an ample free time to pay for remembering him and his few unsuccessful years as a student.
His name is Thribhuvan Prasad Chamlagai but by the grace of god and by virtue of luck had he been a man wearing colourful tie or someone to ride on a big and luxurious car, he would have been addressed as Mr. T P Chamlagai, Jt. Secretary or Addl Director, this that dept and an invitation card would have been delivered at his door. Not only card some influential organisers would have met him with register to record his contribution for that event in his alma mater; nobody addresses Chamlagai as “Saheb.”
A village boy had a fight with classmates from the town regarding volleyball match. It was a fault of the referee, who was taking side of the opposite team. On complaining referee said “my lenses are awaiting repairs at Siliguri, let it be for once, will check it properly the next time.” The young and hot blood of the village boys let the referee go but attacked the opponents. They fought with hands, legs, stones, sticks and used all those words in the lower strata of dictionary.
Principal with his big belly returned back from his quarter and gave lecture to those boys that they should not fight in school because it is considered as a temple and the brawl was settled, but this became the main reason for Chamlagai to leave the school forever. Guys from town challenged him “we will not do anything in the campus but will break your tooth into pieces and will lend it in your hand and then will make u count that, if you are seen near the market”
This challenge became a turning point in his life. He turned down his parents directions to go to school saying: “I will not admit my life at stake for going to school.” His dad said “go son go, friends are friends, they will not keep that fight in mind forever. There is a law and order in place. It is not allowed to simply pull down the tooth of someone else for no reason”. But he again denied and said “they will beat us like anything, their known are high ranked, police will let them go and will put us behind the bars, law will protect them itself.”
He too had gone to that high profiled event in his school, sitting in a luxurious car, provided he had cleared few more classes and had a got a good status, because his school days were the days wherein a bit talented person would have got high profiled jobs. Those who could climb trees would have gone up and picked ripe fruits and those who cannot climb are left sucking the barks like Chamlagai.
He left school regarding volleyball, though he have not said it openly but he had a regret deep inside his mind that he too have become a deputy, additional, special or something like that. His pay band would have been revised and re-revised. He would have received a huge revised salary every month. He would have purchased the backyards of poor like anything. He would have sent his children to study in good colleges and schools at Delhi and Mumbai or none the less Kalimpong Darjiling or Kurseong. Would have counted red and green currencies playing cards at his village during festivals, but no, he was not able to eat the sweet butter served before him by time. He had to sadly, decide to send his only daughter to the same school that he studied. Good Ginger harvest and happy face of Chamlagai have become complementary to each other. It must be a year back he had been to market to sale ginger, a school friend of his shook hands with him saying: “Hello T P, How are you?” he felt glad on being asked that by a high ranked officer. “Which post you are in?” was the question he addressed to his friend standing at the central park of the market? His friend answered that he is an Additional Secretary.
Chamlagai queried about the department too but forgot it because of his workload of selling gingers and also because of the Sunday crowd in the market. That was also the day scheduled by him to get a camera enabled mobile phone as desired by his wife.
That evening Chamlagai was heard saying to his wife: “listen!! Your husband might have to wait for a decade to get a good phone but he is not a laymen. He shakes hand with additional ranked officials. Do you know what he said me? He said me to visit his place at times. Even our panchayat was asking me about him, because he too saw me meeting my friend from a Supplier’s Shop”. Chamlagai was an emotional men, he becomes happy and sad too on small things.
Today, he is feeling bad. After all he too is an ex-student of that school. He too would have registered his contribution, selling his livestock though. But this money minded society did not think about him. He was not invited. Who all will come? This school owe a ton of administrators, officials, leaders, academicians and others, he thought. Had he not left school on a volleyball issue, he too would have gone there as something.
Loud sound systems are on in the school. People are delivering speeches, grand program was going on. In the evening even musicians came from outside and performed at a musical event. The celebration concluded in a grand manner. Next day it was a holiday, compound was in a mood of peace. Chamlagai thought all I have studied was in this school itself. Though organisers have not invited but still school is a sacred place of worship. This is our school. I will go and offer my gratitude.
When no one was around, keeping god as witness T P Chamlagai rolling tears from his eyes kept a flower at the main gate of the school and felt relieved that he paid a gesture of gratitude to his alma mater.
Hansraj College, Delhi University
Donggala, Sulawesi Tengah
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