She had a dream
- Neither the girl nor the conjectures ever interested Sameer though. She was not to his liking—but the poems were beautiful
May 20, 2018-Done with washing up, Sameer stood hunched over the railing, gazing at a spectacular Kirtipur. He had a busy schedule and the day was filled with things to do, starting from 11 am. Presently it was only 10 in a grey overcast morning when he heard a woman’s voice calling for Dev, which of course incited his interest. The voice belonged to the girl from the adjacent house; she was shouting from the balcony and had looked disheveled. Then he looked back into the aisle and shouted for Dev, who came out and began talking to her. Turns out, the girl on the balcony had an exam and needed a calculator, which Dev didn’t have, so he asked Sameer if he could lend one to her, to which he agreed, though reluctantly. In a short while she arrived in his room.
“I’m Reena, I am doing an MBA,” she said, before leaving his room. He smiled but was neither inquisitive nor revealed much about himself—this, even though he had been noticing her from sometime back. A new tenant, he said to himself and had no propensity to mingle.
That day, in the afternoon, Sameer returned to his home, famished and exhausted. To his utter bewilderment, Reena, with her peculiar looks, stood at the gate.
“Do you know Stats?” she asked, “Can you tutor me?” He agreed, walking into his room; she followed. In a short while he discovered, she was an average student and couldn’t fathom the simplest things and was profoundly complacent about passing the exams.
The love letter
A few days later, squatting on the floor, fidgeting with the bundle of paper that was his dissertation, he heard a ruckus coming from the room next door. Having nothing better to do, he went into his friend’s room to inquire. The boys cackled when he popped in.
“What’s the matter,” he asked.
“Look here Sameerji, a love letter,” Dev said.
“The girl next door, addressed to Bibek.”
“Who is Bibek”
Dev explained, he had borrowed a textbook from Reena and found the letter tucked between the pages; dated years back, with Reena’s signature, as if a token of her sincere love.
“Love,” one of the boys said, “we must not insult someone’s love.”
The demure girl with a bulbous nose, and pock marks on her face; her love interest, the love letter and her howling impassioned love—everything seemed absurd. Poor girl, they felt pity for her.
In the evening the tenants of the house, all university students, would gather on the roof terrace, talking about things that could range from being very personal to matters of national and international politics. On one such evening, Sameer was there, listening to the boys talk about the University, the professors, the Nepali Congress, the Maoist. Mr Oli. Mr Modi. Topics swerved from one thing to another. Then they started talking about reading and writing.
“Poetry actually is for the self and drama is for the masses,” Dev said.
“I like poetry,” a voice from the other side chimed, it was Reena’s. She was on the roof terrace of the adjacent house, ignored by the boys, but all ears to their discussions.
“So you do,” one of the boys said, “Do you write?”
“Our Sameerji also writes poems,” Dev said.
“Oh! You do?”
Ignoring her, Sameer asked to see some of her poems and she agreed to let him read them some day. Not even an hour had passed when she blissfully came into his room and handed him her poems. It was computer printed and stapled. As he flipped the pages he spotted a withered rose on which ‘Bibek’ was written. The red flower could be couple of years old. She pulled the worn-out flower abruptly and walked away.
He read her poems, about love, freedom, loneliness, feminism; written nicely, and showing a real knack for composition with powerful emotions. He was overwhelmed by the poems penned by this weird woman. Weird was the word almost all boys used as a connotation to her; some even said ‘insane’. Neither the girl nor the conjectures ever interested Sameer though. She was not to his liking—but the poems were beautiful.
Weird and Insane
One day, Dev came into his room and told him, Reena was calling for him. “I don’t know what you think but very often I’ve heard her calling you from the terrace. Very strange.”
Sameer laughed. “Weird and insane as you say, I guess.”
In truth he was already awed by the thoughts in her poems so he decided to go to her. In her room, he waited for her to speak but she wouldn’t say anything. When he insisted, she finally told him that she wanted to know about the English Literature programme. He was a little startled by this. Why on earth did she want to know about the programme when she was already studying Mathematics? He snapped an answer and left the young woman by herself—but soon he had to eat his words. Things do not go as we plan them.
A couple of days later a girl, his friend’s sister, who was also a distant relative of Reena’s, came to stay with her. The two girls were having a fray when Sameer was called in. They were furious and shaking with rage.
“Damn it, these men,” Reena blurted. Sameer couldn’t understand her rage and walked out of the room. He did not know whether that anger was aimed at him or someone else.
That evening his father called and he had to go see him immediately. When he returned to his apartment few weeks later, he found, Reena had shifted to some other place. He was relieved for he was tired of seeing and talking to her.
Over the next few days, he was pretty busy and eventually forgot about Reena. But the future had something unexpected in store for him. On a fateful day, he met his friend’s sister at New Road. He had been very fond of this girl. When she came to stay with Reena, he was surprised, how could she tolerate a woman avoided by almost all.
After talking about this-that for a while she said, “One day Reena had told me, she wanted me to fall in love with a nice guy—that guy was you,” she said. The heart lurched in its cage and that was that. He felt bad about how he had been towards her but Reena was gone and wherever she was, she probably did not want to talk to him anyway.
Published: 20-05-2018 08:18