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.