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The Phone


Finally the Rana regeim was over and now the rich people of Dharan were overwhelmed by the new inventions of the world that were recognised in there own home. First in there kitchen the wooden fire were displaced by the kerosine stoves, then the manual hand fans were displaced by the big heavy metallic cealing fans, then the transistors displaced the usual singing of lok geet in the lawn which were then thought to be too boring to hear and to perform as the result they were made the part of the ceremonies like weddings,chewar,guneu choli and festivals like dashain and tihar. The latest mordern device that took no other places of other old instruments, that only decreased the distance, brought important people closer and became the pride of the well off homes. was the telephone.
One noon, scorching sun burned the skin of Mr. Purna Bahadur Limbu, he sweted so much that his chest hair could be seen from a far disatance. No wonder like other males of the town he had habits of gambling and drinking,he would come home late at night and fight with his wife like a wild beast, thats how his wife started to shut the door and let him sleep over the lawn with forgs that troated along with his snoar. He always lost the gambling so he got poor and the only thing that was left to lose in his gambling was the old golden necklace of his great grand mother and golden drum of his great grandfather who in those days hung the drum on his neck and went around the town jumping on one leg. But that noon Purna Bhadur Limbu was breathless, excited and joyfull ,he nearly stumbled on the edge of the door of the kitchen where his wife was sitting on muda and was separating the dirts from the rice grain jumping them over naglo and said to her in enthusiastic tone "we got the telephone"," nonscence " cried Indira his wife, and with wisdom collected in fraction of second in her mind she screamed ' you sold the golden necklace and the golden drum, for that pathetic machine, didnt you," and then she threw a handfull of rice on her husbands face. Instead of beating her to death surprisingly he calmed her and explained her that the telephone was a prize during the course of his gambling last night which he had won, Indira calmed down to her feet then after 2 weeks the telephone office send some men to fix the wires and brought the pathetic machine to life. It would be hard for them to serve the monthly bill and to full fill the cost of labour charge if Tek Bahadur Rai wouldnt have losed the gambling against Purna bahadur limbu where they betted upon the agrement that the one who would lose would bear the monthly expences of the other family. but Purna Bhadur Limbu was so kind and generous that he cut off all the expences and implied him to pay only his telephone bills.
This story was passed on to generation after generation after generation,to that time when huge inventions of history were seemed to be nothing but the usual basic needs of people. and in the renovated, old house of Purna Bahdur Limbu and Indira Limbu the old telephone lied at the corner of an old cup board with the golden necklace and the golden drum aside it and their pictures hung in wall above it, decorated with artificial garland. The old place of the green old telephone was invaded by a black coloured wire less phone which was carried by Indu, the mistress of the house ,all day, all night with which she would talk about the recent episodes of Kumkum,Kusum,Kavyaanjali and would talk about the rotten chillis, the uncooked meat of her neighbour,about the daughter of Munu who eloped with one boy named Nabraj and about her husbands foolish desires to become young once again .Still then the story had to be passed and it happened on one usual quiet night of november, when the dogs started howling, the cats started chasing the mouse and the pigs were afraid of tommorrows death for their delicious fatty meat to be sold, and inside the room where the candels were lightened till their bottom because of the hour long load shading. Retiered veteran, an ex british officer, Krishna Bahadur Limbu told the story of the golden necklace and the golden drum of his great great grandfather and mother and the story of his great grand father and mother and the incident that brought the telephone,the disapearance of Tek Bahadur Rai who ran away to Dhankuta for his imcapability to pay the phone bill when Purna Bahadur Limbu made thousands of calls to his son in Britain who had just joined the Gurkha allingment.
The son of 'Krishna Bdr. Limbu' according to the Parshuram, one of the oldest living human in Dharan, was a very naughty boy who climbed up the fences of his house to eat the raw guava, according to Sihva Dai Krishna's son was a good artist who painted beautiful scenery during his visit to his home, according Juna Badi he was a funny little child who went under the table of her room and drove it as a truck with a pitchy sound ' according to his freinds he was the master of pranks who once acted as if he fainted in the class and gathered all the teachers to see him, according to his mother he was future's Britsh Army who would built 2 more houses and marry a woman who would be verry helpfull in house hold activities, According to Nita he was the most handsome guy she had ever met and hoped to marry him after he confessed his love for her silently from the bench next to her during the final days of their highschooling . His name was Alok
Alok knew what difficulties he had to face when he was preparing for the British Army selection campaign, he would wake up at three in the morning and go running to the end of zero point.He would frog jump from bhanu chowk to chatta chowk, he would drink 5 glasses of milk and feed upon dozens of banana and raw eggs every day but he baerly eat raw bitter groud every weekends when he knew that it was impossible to chew them every day to maintain his blood pressure.and in the evening he would secretly carry the cod less phone and call Nita whom he admired the most not for her beauty but for her charming character of suggesting him during his difficulties of eating raw bitter gaurd, giving him her hankerchief to wipe off his blood when he fell from the bench trying to pick up the rose that came inside the class through the ventilation which he wanted to give her, for being so unfaithfull to date other guys and yet being so truthfull to tell it to him face to face. He was overwhelmed by her nearness, and he almost everynight recalled the incident of kissing her in one of the dark corners of Dharan helding her nacked back with his warm hand inside her sweter pursuading his paradise inside her. It would be fair to say that he loved her truely.
Before he left for the army and before his funeral Nita went to some fairy land called HongKong. On the evening when she knew that she was not going to come back for a years then she secretly wept upon Aloks chest and kissed his forehead. Alok couldnt bear this departure even during his long training in Europe .He remembered her and him wandering around the Bhanu chok hiding from there relatives, he rembered how he threw roses upon her head from the other side of her house, he remembered the coiled meat that she brought secretly after her father had come to visit her, and in the early dawn he would be waking up sleepless reading her little letter 50 times, "Nita"he would say in that dark silence as if she would hear it far away in hongkong. and thus the the flame was kept alive Alok used to call her everyday with the help of the latest basic need of 21st century which some scientis and marketing companies named as mobile some called it as cell phone and some called it by its nick name, cell, and for months both of them shared short break ups, lonley nights , phone hung ups, new crushes,one would say "darlin i love u" at the other corner the other heard "darlin" and a robotic tone as if some one scratched the ceramic plate with a steal fork and when one insisted on repeating the word other said "nothing" in shighness,one would say "i miss your kiss" and the other did not listnen because one of her sister did something so misceveious that she slapped her to weep,one would say how life is so boring and the other would think that it was boring because she was not any more, interesting to him. one would say "i swear if god has not written my destiny with u i will write it myself" the other would laugh because she would find the Japanese movie verry funny and sometimes when everybody slept and when everybody went out then baerly the inner truth of there devine love was shared. but one day it changed for all, Alok changed from his adolescence to a mature man, he had fought 140 wars and killed 1000 enemies he was awarded with medals, praised with garlands, blushed with other pretty womans, and in middle of all of them he forgot his lovers photo inside his purse which he threw some lonley night when he said "Nita please dont say that why , how can u marry him , i know him he is my colleague, i loved u , i waited for u," the only thing he heard from the next part of the world was "you changed so i changed, goodbye" and Nita hung up her phone and she plunged heself to those lonley nights when Alok didnt call, to those moments when she talked with the cool breeze, talked with stones for long time.at that time if stones could speak,then they even would transfer this message to Alok through pebbles of Pacefic ocean thorough rocky boulders of African forest and through concrete cements of London Subway because her feelings were so devine so witty that even the stones needed to live. Alok too had remebered her in Rawanda when he was saving Tutsis,from cutting off their head he remembered her in Iraq when Saddam Husain was caught and he got drunk on useless victory.And In London when terrorist blew the whole Subway as a whole he rememred her even during terror , during his most difficult time, in Falk land. in Cuba, in Vietnam, almost every where."Nita" he called her name on one morning when he was shot in his chest with 3 bullets that peirced and came out through his spines.Earlier that night she had hung up her cell because he told in a drunk mood that he would kill her husband when he would be back and peel his skin and feed them to wild beast monkeys of Africa. After two days when Nita called Alok in his cell for which she wasted 19 phone card and 91 minutes to tell him that she dumped her marriage for him, but at the other corner of the world a unfamaliar voice said saomething that she suddenly felt as shallow as a widow.
Years later this incident was passed on to a group of new troops in army, some laughed at it some promised to get a better cell phone some insisted on breaking up with their love, and some just didn't care.Then with arouse of time one of a good freind of Mukul Raj Rai the great great grandson of Tek Bhadur Rai , Jeewan Rai told this story to him on a long conversation during the christmas. Mukul somehow felt that it was just a story and nothing to do with his own relation ship but months later he found himself in same situation ...Parmila Limbu at the other corner of the world hung up her cell phone and then Mukul realised that he should tell this story to her so as to express his sorry....sorry jaan he said and expressed his feeling for her despite of the disturbance over the network.

author MUKUL RAJ RA
Brooklyn NewYork

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