Whileyour “GharbetiAama”would readaloud theverses of“swasthanikatha” to all the children of the house you lived in, you would be eagerly waiting for ‘the’ part. As she would mark the ending of everyday reading with the “itishreeskanda…” you pressed your knuckles and appeased your dilemma.Yes, that is what you had always wanted to ask for. The everyday reading would come to an end with everyone pressing down their forhead against the “making a wish” page.You were 8 years old and you stayed at a rented place along with 3 other families to share the same toilet, you always made the seemingly insatiable wish . A house of your own. A house with white tiles in the outer wall and marbled staircaseinside, rooms with attached bathrooms and a small closet for your books. It was petrifying to imagine never having a house of your own. To always pack things up years after years and go to a new house with shared toilet. Some with leaking roofsand some with no doors.
Being poor is scary. There is no answer to why you fear things and no logic behind what you want and how. However, you do not know you are poor until you have seen the rich. You see and you compare.
You would be walking with one kg of sugar from a local shopkeeper who always passes nasty glances as he adds on to your list of credit “ khata “ . Swallowing self-esteem as you would be scaling your way towards your rented room you would see them taking out boxes of groceries from their cars, in high spirits with no guilt of a “khata”. You stare at the way they take those utilities out, with class and no clumsy they do it. They know they are going to place all the food in the big fridge and clean painted selves inside that bungalowof theirs and switch fromtheir immaculate branded clothes into branded sweat pants. You can vividly see their perfect feet over the perfect white tiles as they tiptoe. You realize that you are looking at them awestruck in the same school uniform that is your sweatpants and the only presentable pair you own.
Your king has been murdered, the young king was already dead, the new king has been dethroned, your country is republic and federalized and both and what not. You are still poor. Bua is slogging his ass off and your Amaa is friends with some house helps of affluent families but you still keep your forehead in that holy book and wish for a house of your own. Now you are a poor teen though. Hell you go to a school. You know things. You know math, you know how things multiply. You know science, you know how things grow. But your living!
The girl from that house with fancy tiles goes to school. She studies maths,she has seen things multiply. From the sale of inherited land to new land, from the profit from the sale to new bank accounts. From the new bank accounts to new fancy schools from the fancy schools to fancy scholarships and from fancy foreign scholarships to fancy salary, from fancy salary to new land! She studies science and through a microscope inside her fancy schools’ lab she has seen stuffs grow. Hell she has.
And there is this fancy pandemic from some fancy country abroad. That country your elder brother dreams of slogging his ass at. Word is that this is a germ for the rich. You are relieved. But your brother is not. He did not go to campus collecting money for this dream. It would take him a hundred more years.Your Buwa stays at home. His growth of a factory janitor from a metropolitan sweeper was jinxed by the overpraising neighbors. He is not needed now: for his own safety. That funny man at the TV had some jokes and some words of encouragement. You want your Buwa to drink the turmeric laden immunity booster and be safe. Poor but safe.
Obedientlyyou, yourfrustrated brother and your Buwa wait inside your homes. Days you stare at the silent roads. Inside your scary kitchen your Amaa keeps praying and your Buwa keeps staring into his old mobile phone. They wait for a call from the factory. One more month like this and they will be feeding on the last grain they have.
Outside in the road you hear the passers to talk about some “election at some fancy parliament “. Irritated you go inside your kitchen and give your Buwa some more turmeric because you know your family can’t afford that cylinder the rich fellas are bidding upon. You look up at the family with fancy cars. They seem worried about the plants at their new fancy kitchen garden not turning up good. You hear them talk about the downfall of “government”. They try to explain that “government” thing at school. But you never got hold of what it really was. What is ruling? Is it the land lady? Helping with what?
You want February to come faster. This time you shall bow down to that page and pray for the right futuristic thing. A wish to to get born into the right family the next time. But you have a whole life until.