“Can you please put some sense in her?! She can’t be failing a subject in 1st grade! I’m going inside to cook and leave you to handle this situation.”
I vaguely remember this conversation, command rather, from my mother to my father. We had just gotten back after picking up my report card from school. The red mark of 38 % next to the word Nepali indicated that I failed in that subject. A subject based on my native language.
It was and still is a complex one for sure. It didn’t follow the syntax or sentence structure of english grammar. The object came before the verb so I eat food would translate to I food eat; you could add strokes to vowels and completely change the tense of the word.
No matter how hard I thought the language was I knew failing was not an option. Especially for a father, who in my age had to walk barefoot to another village just so he could attend school and get education. He was not so privileged like me. Obviously he had to make me aware of this; make me understand the agonizing pain he felt everyday on his delicate feet and the price he had to pay for education.
He had to make me feel grateful for the amazing learning opportunity I was getting, after-all the princess of our country attended the school. I was also to feel guilt and repent for my carelessness and rudeness for not taking advantage of this opportunity by failing a subject. All this had to happen before my mom was done cooking.
To my dismay, he didn’t scream like my mother before she slammed the door on us. Instead there was a moment of silence. The pause made my thoughts go haywire, anticipating what words would come out of his mouth. “You need to focus and try harder next time ‘Baccho’ (little kid). It’s your life and you have to give it your best now to succeed in the future.”
I can’t remember what words followed next but I remember the moment like it was today.
I’m sitting at a writer’s table feeling an aura of peace all around me.
Everything about this room brings me back to reality and yet takes me to a wonderland at the same time.
The quietness of the room filled with unspoken mysteries.
There is so much peace and tranquility in this room.
So much hope here as if anything is possible. Anything can happen!
The cold is not making me shiver; it’s making me more alert.
The light here is not too dim nor is it too bright.
The place where writers come, it’s a place where writers write.
It’s a place where dreams come true, it’s a place where reality is realized.
It’s a dreamers space and it is a writer’s life.
All bundled up neatly in one room with tables, chairs, pens, and papers.
It’s where you heal from the clutter outside, it’s a heaven created by humans like you and I.
God bless the soul who thought of such a wonderful dream.
The dreamer must also be healed by this space they created where everyone can rejoice.
Anyone can enjoy what they enjoy.
In the midst of paper, pencil, and countless books for their appetite.
I knew this was a dreamers land deep inside and
whoever thought of this place is an alchemist in disguise.
I can’t wait to make dreams come true for myself.
Share it just like this place to anyone with open heart and mind.
Morning chants in front of the countless statues and frames of Hindu God and Goddesses is what I recall the most about my mom. “Your mother has turned into a saint in America; she has become even more religious than she used to be here in Nepal and given up meat. People usually go the opposite route, they become an atheist and start eating cows there.” This is what my uncles and aunts would say mockingly to my sister and I about my mother. Cows are the most sacred animals in Hindu culture.
My mom and dad had left me and my siblings, older brother and sister, in Nepal to pursue a better future in America. This would inevitably mean a better future for us as we would also someday join them in their venture.
I remember when they broke the news to us; it was right before my 2nd grade report card distribution. The time of the year where teachers would hand out final assessment for the whole year. So obviously the first thing on my mind was, “Who is going to pick up my report card with me??”Crying my eyes out at the thought that I will not have my parents like other kids, holding my hand, shielding me from the teacher’s criticizing remarks.
The day of their departure was mayhem. Suitcases being dragged around and everyone roaming around like chicken with their heads cut off to check any last-minute items. Eventually, everyone got in a cab to bid them farewell at the airport. Then it was pin dropped silence as I went to check every room in the house. Not a single soul to be found.
I guess that was a glimpse and foreshadow of what the next 5 years were going to be like until I saw her or them again. A solitude that was too painful to fathom. A shadow that was casted too soon. But it was what it was and I guess chanting is a way of screaming her sorrows away to the Gods for letting them cast a shadow that deep so early.