A part of sun focuses its rays over one corner of the earth, at the side of the Kathmandu Valley where the Khahare Khola flows calmly. The continuous earsplitting sound coming from the Vehicle running at the road side could be heard clearly from there. The dead skeleton of the cow lied at the side by river. One after another hundreds of eagles landed there and covered skeleton and were seen jumping one over another scratching the residual meat of the decaying skeleton to eat their scrap. At the right moment a man rised abruptly from the middle of the Khahare khola carrying a handful of fine sand in his small sack. His wet long hair splashed water in four directions and disturbed factions of eagles flew away; the sound of flapping their wing could be heard as far as the road.
Khahare khola was said to have pious and pure water a decade ago but after the Maoist insurgency, a huge upsurge of people from conflict affected areas especially rural areas in the valley became the main cause of its pollution.
Dan Bahadur was one of those rural inhabitants who had to migrate to valley to escape from the threat of armed political groups. He arrived at valley with his wife Shanti and a year old son Ramu. He searched for any work or job he could do but neither had he any formal education certificate to show nor any relatives in the valley to get help in getting job. Being helpless from all direction, he had no any alternative other than to reside at the side of the Khahare khola. He collected woods, rugged sacks, and rusted iron plate thrown at the roadside and built a small hut at the side of the river and started collecting sand from the river.. It was not more than one year and half they got settled in the river side; he had to loose his son. He often cursed for his carelessness and compulsion to work day and night to earn daily bread for his family. May be he had not been so much busy in collecting sand from the Khahare khola in those rainy days, he would not have to endure his son’s death. It wasn’t more than an hour, he had seen his son playing with the sand at the river side and after he was about to pack up his work for that day in the evening, he got traumatized by seeing his own Ramu’s innocent dead body wrapped inside a piece of white clothes. Ramu was swept by the immensely running angry Khahare khola during those rainy seasons. His dead body was found hanged at the wired dam 100 meter down the hut of Dan Bahadur. Before that he had got separated from his own wife Shanta also. What job could a sixteen year old women carrying one and half year child in her lap could get in such a busy and dense cities of valley. It was very hard to sustain three lives by the work of a single man. So Shanta had left the hut and started working as call girl. Dan Bahadur often peeped at her by hiding himself below the street lamp at the roadside of Ratna Park but couldn’t dare to talk to her about Ramu’s death, neither Shanta dared to face Dan Bahadur being involved in such humiliating job.
One day as usual Dan Bahadur was collecting sand at the Khahare khola; a six year old child with scratches over faces, wearing dirty and rugged clothes and looking very pathetic appeared in front of him, and asked for his mercy. He was very hungry and Dan Bahadur could see the intense exhaustion and hunger in the deep, innocent, feeble eyes of that boy. So he quickly took him inside his hut and managed some of his remaining food for the boy. After that Dan Bahadur asked how he got in the valley alone in such helpless situation. After getting series of replies by asking one question after another, tears ran down through his face. Without getting delayed he embraced the boy in his chest. For a second he thought he had got his son Ramu back. The boy had migrated to valley with his father five years ago. His father was killed by army personnel in suspect of involvement in Maoist related activities. He shared his hard days with Dan Bahadur how he was physically tortured by the owner of the Hotel where he used to wash dishes. He wasn’t even given proper food to fulfill his full appetite. After he escaped from the hotel, He used to ask for money from the passenger to buy food. He used to sleep under the pillar of the near by garment factory. He even took local drugs from the street children to refrain from cold chilly winter.
Dan Bahadur realized that there were many people like him who were helpless and suffering from poverty and family problems. He decided to accept the boy as his own son. He determined to send the boy to government school but earning money was his main problem. He went to city to see if he could get any work so that he could earn little money enough to nourish the boy and educate him. More than one week passed but there was no sign of getting job. As he was creeping along the street of Ratna park, he saw his wife Shanta. It was very difficult for him to collect enough gut to go near and talk to her. Shanta felt very embarrassing in front of her husband, though she knew that Dan Bahadur had understood, it was her compulsion to opt for such job. Dan Bahadur told about the whole story from the death of Ramu after she left the hut to the boy who became his new son. Shanta was shocked to hear the Ramu’s death. But it was very late, so she told Dan Bahadur that she had some money from which they could start a small business and educate their new son. It was unacceptable for Dan Bahadur to start their business from the money she earned by selling their body. But there was no any alternative and he had to educate their new son anyway. So he accepted Shanta as his wife. Shanta also left the body-selling job. They start their family business from a small shop at the road side. They named their new son, Ramu. Ramu started going school and the family lived happily forever.
It’s not just a Story
By Aakar Anil August 04, 2008