Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Kuchoe Ama!, Chapter 2

Having washed her face, she stands in front of the mirror, remembering the days when she would sleep till noon on summer and winter breaks. Her father would never let them to wake early. Now, she has to wake up as early as 5AM. She looks back at the bed where Deki is still sleeping. Switching off the light, she heads towards the kitchen where her mother has started boiling water and cooking rice for a few workers who eat breakfast here.
Her work is to get the flour ready for momo. Workers take momo in the lunch. Her mother stands at the gas stove, walking past her; she takes out a bowl out from the metallic rack. Keeping it down on the floor, she mixes flour with water. Her head aches, as she could not sleep well last night shocked by her mother’s words to marry that manager. After her mother left the room, she chatted with Chophel. He asked about the result. He consoled her talking about other ways of making a living. She felt good to have his support. Chatting with him for hours, she forgot about her mother’s words. She cannot tell him about that.
Dawn breaks. Time moves fast. Soon, the company workers start to move tro-and-fro. Breakfast is ready. Waiting for the morning customers, standing behind the counter Aum Wangmo calls, “Dema, where is Deki?”
Walking past her, she goes directly to the bedroom. Pushing the door, she goes directly to the bed where Deki is still sleeping. Nudging her shoulder, she wakes her up. Opening her eyes reluctantly, Deki looks at her.
“What time is it?”
Forcing her sleepy body off the bed, as Deki disappears into the bathroom, Dema walks back to the kitchen. Eyes reddened by onions, she bends and takes another onion from the bowl when her mother shouts from the counter, “Two rice.”
Standing up immediately, taking out two plates from the rack she fills them up. As she arranges the plates and cups on the tray, she expects Deki to walk in but there is no sign of her. Then, lifting the tray, she walks to the table, where two young men sit nearby the bukhari. Standing in front of them, she keeps the tray on the table. One of them looks at her directly and comments, “Aunty, who is she?”
Smiling at them, her mother replies, “My daughter, sir.”
Taking the tray, she walks back to the kitchen when the same man says, “So, you have two beautiful daughters?”
“Yes, sir.”
Deki is not in the kitchen. Morning customers fill up the room, some asking for tea and some fried rice. Her mother is frying rice when she looks at her, “Where is Deki?”
She walks to the bedroom and finds Deki sleeping. Waking her up, she goes back to the kitchen. On the way, the same man stops her. Looking at her, he says, “I am done.”
Walking to the counter, she stands there waiting for him to come and pay the bill. Walking towards the counter he takes out his wallet and pays the bill.
Looking at him, Dema says, “Sir, do you have credit?”
“Nope, why?”
“If you have, you need to clear your dues,” says Dema, making a serious face.
Saying no words, he walks away as if frightened by her face, something which she is not supposed to do because it’s her mother’s advice to be good to customers. Going back to the kitchen, she gets back to her momo making. Then, Deki stands at the door, looking very clumsy.
Looking at her, mother says, “You are late.”
“Today, we are supposed to be going for shopping,” says Deki, looking at her mother, who slides the fried rice down on to the plate.
“Take this to Table 3.”
Walking inside, Deki takes the tray and heads towards the table. What has happened to her mother? She looks so lost in this canteen thing. Confused by this, Dema keeps making momo when Deki walks back.
“Mom, aren’t we going for shopping today?”
Looking back at her, her mother fires, “Can we talk about that later?”
Then, a man stands at the counter. Turning her face, Deki walks to the counter. Then, keeping the man standing at the counter, she walks back to kitchen and stands at the door.
“This man has credit but he is not willing to pay.”
On hearing this, Aum Wangmo walks out to the counter. Looking at the man, she says, “You have credit. Please!”
“It’s order from our manager not to pay our dues.”
“You can call him.”
Surprised by this man words, walking back to the kitchen she picks up her phone and calls the manager. Talking with him for a while, she hangs up the phone, face looking very sad.
Looking at her, Dema asks, “What is it mother?”
Standing at the by the gas stove, her mother asks, “What have you decided?”
“About the marriage?”
Keeping her head down, Dema does not say a word.
Keeping her knees on the floor, Aum Wangmo looks at her, “Dema, you need to understand something. This manager lent me money to start this canteen. I owe him 5 lakhs. If I cannot pay back, I will be jailed and you two will suffer. If he marries you, he does not want the money. If you don’t marry him, he will do anything to fulfil his desire.”
Story by: Phurpa Dorji (PJIKKS)
Chapter 3 Tomorrow @9PM

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Kuchoe Ama!, Chapter 1

Located along the Thimphu-Phuntsholing highway, a few kilometers away from Chuzom bridge, Damchu, is a place where there is a stone quarry. Nearby the quarry nests a building and it houses a canteen in the basement, owned by Aum Wangmo. She cleans the gas stove and looks at Dema, who is at the basin, washing dishes. She has completed class ten and result is out today but she has not asked her yet. Having cleaned the gas stove, hanging the cloth, she walks out of the kitchen into counter. It’s midnight. Her back hunched forward, eyes angled straight up at the television, Deki, the youngest daughter, sits on one of the tables. She is going to study in class seven and schooling will start a after week. As of now, both of them are on vacation helping her to run canteen.
On seeing her coming, picking up the remote, she switches off the TV and rushes to her room. Going to the counter, she takes out the credit book and flips the pages totaling the credits. She has heard that her only customer, the workers in the quarry, have got payment today so she expects them to clear the credits from tomorrow. There are some customers who don’t pay the credit, instead quarrel with her by making excuses. Collecting the credits, she has to pay rent, do schooling shopping for both Dema and Deki and buy things for the canteen.
Before running this canteen, she was a housewife but after her husband’s sudden death in a car accident just three months ago has forced her to start this canteen. She has to look after her two children. Her husband was a taxi driver. Now, without him, it will be difficult to stay home and look after them. She started this canteen a month ago.
One night two months after husband’s accident, she was waiting for taxi along the roadside when a Prado stopped suddenly in front of her. Opening the door, the man sitting inside the front seat looked at her.
“Get inside.”
He took her to a restaurant. Having talked for hours, finally the stranger said, “Can you help me with something?”
As she gets lost into her flashback, the sudden knock on the door startles her. Walking towards the door, she pulls it back. Tshenchap, the manager of the stone quarry stands frozen, wearing woolen jacket, looking directly into her eyes. Without saying a word, he walks past her towards the counter. Pulling a stool, he sits keeping his hands on the table. Pushing the door, Aum Wangmo, goes back and stands behind the counter with credit book. Taking out a glass off the rack, she pours two pegs of K5. Filling it up to the brim with water, she slides it in front of him. He keeps staring at her. Ignoring his sight, she keeps checking the credit books name by name, so that she can make a list and give it directly to the finance of the quarry.
Grabbing the glass, he empties it at once and slides it back towards her. Looking at the glass, she lifts her hand up to the rack to get the bottle when he gets off the stool and walks towards her behind the counter. Standing in front of her, he holds her right hand. Looking at her eyes, he says, “I have been waiting. Now, I cannot wait any longer.”
Pulling her forcefully towards his chest, his fingers touching her nose he says, “I am sure, you know what I want. Don’t you?”
She stays silent breathing heavily, as Dema can walk out of that kitchen any minute from now. Turning her face away, she pulls her body away from him but he pulls back grabbing her waist. Staying clutched to his chest, she lowers her head down. Keeping his forehead on hers, he takes out his phone jacket pocket and plays a song. Keeping the phone on the counter table, he makes moves to rhythm of the music. Keeping her eyes at the kitchen door, she stays static. Shaking his body, keeping his head on her shoulder blade, he starts to bite her ears.
As Dema appears from the kitchen, she pushes him away and pretends as if nothing has happened. Walking past them, Dema goes directly towards her room. Pushing the door slowly, she walks inside. Her sister, Deki is sleeping. Standing in front of the mirror, she thinks about how to tell her mother about her result. Grabbing the hair clip, she takes out and keeps it on the table. Changing dress, she climbs on the bed, feeling exhausted. She has been washing dishes for the whole day. On the other hand, Deki served and mother cooked.
Switching off the light, she gets inside the blanket. Turning her face towards Deki, she asks, “Deki, are you asleep?”
No response. Then, she takes out her phone from the drawer. It was a gift from her father on her 16th birthday. This phone reminds her of him. She misses him every day. She has not touched the phone for whole day. As soon as she checks Facebook, the notifications beeps. There   are lots of messages and calls from her classmates. Today is result day. More than one’s result, friends are eager to know other’s result.
Then her phone beeps again. It’s in vibration mode. It’s Chophel. He has called her many times. He is two years senior to her. His class twelve result is not out yet. As a matter of fact, he has been after her since he was class ten but she has not accepted him. She is not sure whether to respond the call or not. He calls her every night but today he will be asking about the result. She does not want to tell her marks. Not to anyone, not even her mother. She ignores the call but it rings again.
Taking a deep breath, she is about to press the answer button when her mother walks in the room switching on the light. Standing a few meters away from her bed, she asks, “How is your result? Qualified?”
Keeping her phone down, Dema stays silent. Her eyes bulging out of the socket, her mother shouts, “How is your result?”
“I didn’t qualify.”
“Good. The manager wants to marry you,” says Aum Wangmo and leaves the room banging the door, waking up Deki.
Story by: Phurpa Dorji (PJIKKS)
Chapter 2 Tomorrow @9PM

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Nun and Her Love, Chapter 12, The Final Chapter

Opening her eyes forcefully, she looks for her phone. After finding it under her pillow, she checks the battery. It’s dead. Jumping off the bed, she goes to the window and takes a glimpse of Paro valley. It’s sunny and bright outside. She has no idea, what time it is. Then walking out of the room, she goes to the next room, where her parents booked the room for last night. Going to the door, she finds it latched. Does this mean, they have left her in the hotel?
She walks down the staircase, eyes looking for her parents. As she lands in the lobby, there is no sign of them. She goes directly to the receptionist.
“Ashim, did my parents check out?”
Opening the log book, flipping through the pages, the receptionist says, “Nope.”
“Maybe they are in the swimming pool.”
Thanking her, Shaycham walks towards the swimming pool walking past the parking. She has not even washed her face. Hiding her face from the people on the way, finally she is in the swimming pool. There, she finds her parents. Today, Euthra and Tshegyel are arriving from Bangkok. Euthra had eyes surgery, five days ago. Her mother has been crying for last one week after she knew about Euthra’s eye surgery decision. She begged Euthra, but Euthra does not listen. More than her, her mother loves Euthra. But she is not jealous of that, though at times, she feels disappointed. Sometimes, you need to accept the fact that it’s okay to be loved less.
Without going to them, she walks back to her room and gets into the bathroom. Taking bath, she gets out. Switching on the phone, she opens her Messenger. It’s a message from her boyfriend, Khamsum. Today is their second anniversary. She graduated six months ago. Khamsum wants to marry her and go to Australia but she is not being able to tell this to her parents. What if they reject Khamsum? So, she decided to seek help from her sister, Euthra when she is back. After knowing Euthra being adopted, their sisterhood bond has become even closer. Euthra never insult her by calling her Nalay. On vacations, she did help her with charity works.
She admires her. People know that Euthra has donated only one of her kidneys but actually, she gave both. That’s why, she has become very weak and her body changed totally. She always stays in pain. The eye surgery decision was a thunderstorm to our family. Actually, some patients become blind without kidneys, so she wants to donate it before she becomes blind. So, was the case with her late mother. She, too, donated both kidneys and was blinded. Euthra got inspired from her mother’s charity work. So, no one was able to stop her.
The ring of her phone drives away the flashback bringing her back to the hotel room. It’s her Apa. Answering the call, she says, “I will be there in a minute.”
After a few minutes driving from the hotel, as the Paro Airport zooms in, parking the car; her father looks at her.
“Shaycham, your sister will be different now, so be nice to her.”
She nods. Her mother stays stuck to the seat, eyes swollen and reddened. Having waited for a few minutes, the plane lands. Getting out of the car, her father walks to the entrance when her mother does not move an inch from her seat. Standing beside her father, Shaycham asks, “Apa, why our mother is so attached to Euthra?”
Her father does not look at her. Looking away far into the green valley, he starts, “Your mother was at the verge of going mad, when we didn’t have children even after five years of our marriage. So, getting Euthra from the roadside, she considers her as a lucky charm. Literally, Euthra saved your mother’s life. Thus, she never wanted to lose her. Thus, she is so lost in Euthra and sometimes she even forgets that you are her daughter. I am sorry, but she is not doing that intentionally.”
Knowing the truth behind her mother’s immense love to Euthra, she thanks her father for sharing. She always wanted to ask about that but she could not. She did today and she feels happy after knowing the truth. Finally, as Tshegyel walks out from the entrance, with his hand holding Euthra’s. Her eyes are bandaged. She walks slowly as Tshegyel helps her. Behind them, Yethro walks out with luggage. Standing in front of us, Tshegyel says, “Euthra, your father is in front of you.”
He says softly to her ears, when my father stands there silently, eyes drowned in tears. He stays stuck like a statue.
Stretching her hand out in the air, she waves looking for father. Looking at her, Shaycham goes in front of her and says, “Welcome home, Ashim.”
Holding her hand, she hugs her. Her fingers running through her hair, Euthra says, “Shaycham.”
Getting away from her chest, Shaycham grabs father’s hand and takes it to Euthra’s. Wiping tears off his face, her father hugs her.
“Welcome home, Euthra.”
After half an hour of driving, finally the Thimphu City comes into their sight. Parking the car in the garage, Tshegyel helps Euthra to get out of the car. Her mother has not even spoken a word. Walking her into the house, Tshegyel takes Euthra directly towards her room. Standing in front of the door, Tshegyel says, “Euthra, this is your room.”
Pushing the door slowly, she walks inside. Supporting her hand on the walls, she moves her legs forward slowly. She smells something bad. Her nostrils fighting back the smell, she runs her finger on her bed. The smell gets strong as she gets closer to the bed. It’s smell from an old people. Now, she is used to such smell. Then, she sits down slowly on to her bed. She listens carefully and she hears as if someone is breathing. Taking her hand, she slides her it on the bed towards the pillow. Suddenly, her hand meets something solid. It’s like a human body.
Then she says, “Who is this Tshegyel?”
“Euthra, you know who he is.”
Tshegyel walks into the room. Going closer to Euthra, he says, “Euthra! I want to tell you something. You may not like it or you may hate me for doing this to you but I have done something which you will not approve of.”
“Tshegyel, what are you talking about?”
Catching her hand, he says, “Last month, I met an old man sleeping in the vegetable market. On seeing me he said, “Please, take me to my daughter.” By that time, I didn’t know what to say. So, I left without even talking to him. Then, the night before your operation, I saw the same old man photo being posted on Facebook. The status read, “This man seeks justice after staying in the jail for last 50 years.” Then, I read comments and one of the people, commented, “I know him and he was wrongly accused of the kusung-thungten theft.” Then, I contacted that person who commented that. He told me everything about the man. I sent people from my office to look for that man. They found him. Your dream was to help one hundred people before you donate your eyes, so I just wanted to help you with your last person.”
“Thank you, Tshegyel. Where is he now? Did you take him back to his children? Does he have any children? Did they accept him?”
As Euthra starts to throw these questions, Tshegyel takes his hand on her head. Catching the edge of the bandage, he says, “I am removing your bandage.”
Taking the bandage off her eyes, he instructs, “Please, try to open your eyes.”
“Try that!”
Tshegyel insists.
“I am blind and what difference does it make?”
“Euthra, just try to open!”
Taking long breaths, she tries to force the eyes lids apart. Firstly, everything looks blurry. Then, as she opens her eyes fully, she sees an old man sleeping beside her, on her bed.
“Tshegyel, what is happening? I am not supposed to see,” says Euthra, looking confused.
With knees on the floor, catching her hand, he says, “Actually, I lied to you about the eye surgery. If I told you the truth, you would not come back home.” Looking at the man on the bed, he continues, “He is your father.”
Turning his face back to her, eyes angled at hers, Tshegyel says, “You didn’t get opportunity to be with your mother and feel guilty, right? If you are blind, how can you help your father? This is your opportunity. It’s a blessing. When I went to find you at Trongsa five years ago, on the way, I met an old man. He stopped my car. He asked for lift. It was dark and I was frightened. But, I took him in my car. On the way, he narrated about a family in his village, whose father was wrongly accused of kusung-thugten theft from their village Lhakhang. The man was jailed. That night, his wife gave birth to a girl. Villagers chased her away and so she decided to give her child away. Thus, standing at the roadside; carrying the new-born child, she waited for the vehicles. Fortunately, a car came and a couple took her child. They named her Euthra. Actually, the woman sought justice but no one helped her, therefore, she was out casted and villagers threatened to kill her. Nevertheless, staying at the village temple; she prostrated day in, day out, seeking blessing. She donated both of her kidneys and even her eyes.”
“Was he wrongly accused or did he steal the kusung-thugten?”
“The man in the car, said that he was one of the thieves. He was the last thief to be living. Others died vomiting blood. Some died in accidents. Some died going mad. So, living in nightmares for decades, finally, the man in car told the police about your father’s wrong accusation a few months ago. Thus, police released your father from the prison. Now, I believe that you have reason to be strong,” says Tshegyel standing up, as Euthra sits down awestruck by his words, looking at her father sleeping next to her.
He walks towards the door and as he is at the door, Yethro walks into the room shouting, “Tshegyel, this bill is a mistake. It’s a not a bill of eye surgery but kidney.”
Looking Euthra, Yethro goes dumb.
After hearing about the bill thing, catching the edge of her T-shirt, Euthra pulls the shirt up. She finds a fresh cut.
Standing up immediately, she shouts, “Tshegyel, stop!”
As he stands at the door, Euthra rushes towards him. Catching the edge of his T-shirt, she pulls it up. She finds a fresh cut.
Story by: Phurpa Dorji (PJIKKS)

Thank you all for being part of this story and see you soon with another story.

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