Money matters but it’s not everything…
Arun Sir paid my bus fare while going to Ratnapark. I could not stop him. (Anyways, my money was saved.) I found a two-rupee coin in the Kirtipur microbus; I, who talk over forthrightness regarding money, did not bother to ask anybody in the bus about the two hundred paisa piece. I would have given it to the conductor; once I thought of giving it to him also, but could not do that. I don’t know why. Subliminal greed would have overruled me. Yes it was greed factor. “I only have to add a five rupee note for the fare.”
Opportunely, a friend riding the same bus paid for me also. The coin could not be expended. I did not prefer throwing it and kept in my pocket. But was not happy on what I did.
In the CDM, I encountered Prof. Rai. I did Namaste. He responded with a smile and a well-made Namaste.
“Bhai ko naam k re?” he asked as if he knew me for an age but did forget the name only.
“Keshav,” I with some hesitation said.
“You had asked questions last time!” (Hell, no. What made him think so!) But gently I said, “I was there but did not ask questions.”
“Yours (get up?) is unique. I remember you.” Okay. Everybody remembers me by my visual aspect. My hirsute appearance has been my identity, pathetically.
In the meantime Fraulein Thulung started talking to him. A golden chance for me to escape.
I joined the guys. We walked all the way from the department to Champadevi. They had planned to visit the Sitiram Dairy Milk. The HoD took time to reach the place. So we went to the Pushpalal Memorial Park. A lot of fun. From the hill below the Chandragiri, a nice panorama of the concrete jungle in Kathmandu.
Khagendra saluted the statuette of Comrade. Anil and may be Shree also did the same. Kashi, an anti-communist, looked down at them. Who cares?
School kids had come there for picnic. Some of them confused me with a westerner. Some suspected my moustache to be not real.
“Nepali hoina tyo ta Angrej ho”
“Tyo kuire le ta Nepali pani bolchha.”
While getting down the hill, Khagendra told me the story of his family. I had some back pain so he helped me by carrying my heavy bag. (Oh, thanks bro for doing me a favour.) He told me how much struggle his family has done and how cardamom farming helped them be financially stable.
Dr. Singh along with two of the CDM staffers was waiting for us in front of the factory. The manager had gone outside so we had to wait for a while to get inside. Mr. Joshi, the Quality Control man, and Miss Meena, the Microbiologist, briefed us about the operation of the dairy plant. I could not stay inside the cold store for more than 10 minutes…
The sweets department was already closed so we did not get anything to eat. Was really hungry by then. Nothing was left with me. Guys had eaten up my cookies.
In a small shop, guys drank tea and ate puff. I ate a puff and a chocolate. Teasingly, all asked Khagendra, Mr. President, to pay the bills.
Next Saturday, the gang-of-five unexpectedly has asked me to join them in trekking to Lankuribhanjyang. I won’t go, I am sure. Khagendra wants me to go to the Champadevi temple in the top of the tallest hill on Baisakh 1 with him.
Shree is clever than a fox. He overtook me taking materials from Anup.
Exhausted and hungry, I reached home in the evening. Drank half a litre of milk coffee and ate bhuteko makai bhatmaas. I did not preffered eating roti. Noodles and tarkaari…