Autumn passed really quick. (I am still thinking for an appropriate name of the chapter)
Varun was wearing a black leather jacket and blue jeans, his abs was visible from his white thin t-shirt and his physique was too admirable that any girl could drool for.
We spent most of the time together for we both were associated to English dailies where 15-20 other reporters belonged to Nepali or Hindi newspapers.
“Months already passed making today some first week of January” said Varun while I was unfolding The Telegraph’s Metro section in the park that morning.
“Huh? So? 2014 is gone, did I complain? I answered.
“Try being soft and calm sometimes, being straightforward is good… but not always” said Varun as he sounded little serious, he looked stranded too.
“Did you eat something Vaun?” I asked maintaining a cool tone of my voice.
‘Challo we’ll eat some donut in 3C’s’ I urged.
He slowly stood up and followed me through the bustling street of Dambar chowk, half of the road was filled with SUMI boys where Main-Road seemed congested as always. There’s a state bank’s ATM opposite to 3C’s, where people are always queued. There are many cash withdrawing machines in the town but people prefer ‘that’ particular money extracting booth. Varun looking at the length of the queue asked me if things were okay. I told him that it was just a line where people are waiting to withdraw some cash.
I pushed the transparent door of 3C’s inside and quickly glanced myself to the mirror in the right hand side, I was looking okay. We took the table next to the window and asked the same Chinese faced girl, (who wore the same red t-shirt and check apron,) two cups of hand-made coffee, a sandwich and a donut. I ate half of his sandwich and he took a large bite from my ring shaped fried cake with a chocolate topping. He was hungry.
He spoke very less and listened more, I always feel like a chatterbox when with him.
Hey, what’s wrong with you today? I asked when I observed the furrow in his eyebrow which had a noticeable expression of disapproval.
Nothing Varinka, you know my tenure as an intern in TT is getting over next week, don’t you? He questioned.
Yes, I’m so happy for you. So what have you decided? I’m sure the editors of TT are really impressed with your work, I asked.
“It’s not that Vari, it’s not about work all the time, it’s about me, it’s about you; it’s about us, this time” said Varun in a firmer voice.
I still didn’t know what did he mean, did he like me? Why was I never aware? I started talking to myself in my mind.
“My training is over and now I’m placed in Khaleej times of Dubai” added Varun after taking another careless sip of coffee.
I didn’t know how to react; I showed him my happiness and congratulated him. I didn’t want him to know that I was choked from within. I didn’t want him to know that I liked him.
Message from a senior colleague* Inferno smoldering in Pedong, half of the town turned to ashes, answer my call, we are waiting for you and Varun in the cab, where are you?
Shit! I uttered and stood up grabbing my bag, Varun was astound to witness my haste.
‘What happened?’ He asked.
I held his hand and dragged him out from the chair, ‘We need to go to Pedong now’ I said while I left a hundred rupee note on the counter and left through the transparent door.
‘Its 120 madam’ shouted the counter boy.
I quickly returned and paid 20 more bucks.
‘Sorry’ I said and ran out.
Varun was still confused, when I made him run towards the 8-10 seated cab which was waiting for us next to David-Gas.
We ran from main-road to david-gas, while running I perceived myself as Roshni running a marathon. I was a bad athlete since school. I was probably the last to hear the starting gun in the sports-day audition in St. Josephs Convent. ‘It’s okay Varinka, you can go back to your class’ used to be the prominent sentence in every annual audition. In other words, I never used to get selected in anything, not even in the clumsiest spoon-marble race.
It was a red colored ecco car. We had 16 eyes gaping at us; I didn’t know what impression they had in those 8 thick minds, me sticking to Varun or vice versa.
We were driven quickly and we saw Pedong turning into ashes. The victims reported that a fire broke at midnight due to short-circuit in a sweet shop.
The circuit in a shop slowly spread to the neighboring shops and flamed everything into ashes, nothing could be saved besides lives, everyone is safe but all of their hard earned wealth along with their houses have been burnt, said a victim who was still sulking, everyone jotted down the incident in the slip pad and I started taking few pictures.
The politicians arrived and declared huge amount of cashes that night, I don’t know if the victims actually got to lay a hand on the physical money or it was just an announcement.
‘Same shit! Fuckers! Vicky whispered. Vicky and I were together in high school, he was known for his hazel pair of eyes. And now he was settled in Pedong, luckily his house was 4-5 yards away from the fire. He was supposed to get wedded in another one month.
He was angry. You know, these fuckers will do nothing, it happened 12 years ago too. What did they do? They didn’t even provide one damned fire-brigade shit here. Now they talk about giving money. Fuckers. Spewed Vicky
‘12 years ago?’ I asked.
I was a kid when a huge fire broke out in St. George Hostel in 2002, I vividly remember that night. But tell me, how hard is it to provide a fire-station here? He was still angry.
They estimated the total loss of 7 crores which turned into ashes that night. Books, computers, laptops, mobile phones, cloths, shoes, blankets everything was burnt in those closed shops.
‘What people could save was just their life’ Vicky murmured while he was still shaken up.
All the reporters started their own investigation in the spot; Varun was totally out of sight. We later packed up and assured the victims that things will be all right with time. I bade Vicky goodbye and left saying that I would ring him up soon.
We decided to stop in Algarah for lunch; Algarah is a small place, smaller than Pedong where we couldn’t even get momos. So we ended up with bowl full of hot steamy waiwai soup.
The roads from Algarah to 14th Mile was very bad, everyone got jerks that day. Varun still looked intense, dwelling in a deep thought. All reporters seemed tired and nobody talked, the car was suddenly like a meditation centre and just to kill the silence driver-daju played some songs from his pen drive, till then Varun was asleep on my shoulder.
The song was an old Tulsi Ghimeray’s hit, while Varun was asleep the song went on like. ‘Jhajhalko leyara ayecha sawaan, feri akha ma’
That was when I realized how Tulsi wrote the lyrics or the entire screenplay of that movie; he once narrated his story of struggle when I went to interview him. He told me that he had no one to write a lyric for his first movie ‘Bansuri’ and he couldn’t pay everyone, moreover the one whom he expected, couldn’t write up to the mark.
I remembered him saying “bansuri was really difficult, I dint have money to hire a screenplay writer or lyricist and no one would do it for free, I struggled. I was forced to write myself, it was similar with the lyrics, no one could write the type of lyric I wanted, I constantly thought about the last sawan (monsoon) and its reflection replicated my mind, that’s when the type of lyrics I wanted was formed, ‘jhajhalko liyera ayecha sawan feri akha ma’ See, everything is possible when you try, isn’t it?”
Everything is fucking possible when we try, people don’t try and that’s how we have only a handful of influential people here. People give up easily; I too give up easily at times.