That Footpath University!

I was rambling in the streets of Kathmandu when a stray dog started leading my way one day.

I got confused. “Did he know that I was like him; nothing to do, nowhere to go?”

I decided to follow him. Yes, I said I decided to follow a stray dog. Because I was like him.

After some five minutes, the dog stopped, turned his head back, raised his eyes up to mine, blinked once and resumed his journey again. Maybe he was glad that he found a partner! I kept following him.

Sometime later, a next dog from the verandah of a house barked towards him. There was no reason. As soon as he saw, he started barking.

“Why should he bark towards a being same as him? Son of a bitch! (Pardon me here; I really meant to offend him but how was a dog offended when he was said a son of a bitch. He was the son of a bitch indeed) Maybe he should have learnt this elitist manner from his owner” I thought. “Just because he is sitting on a sofa inside a house, he thinks he is superior? Otherwise, why should that elite dog bark without any reason?”

I wished I could understand their language and know what that elite dog barked for! But my partner did not care. He did his dog-business at one of the corners of the gate and moved. And I loved that.

He always became the leader and me, the follower. I would advance for a short time when he stopped for his dog-business but he would leave me behind in no time. It went on like that until he saw some other dogs playing on a ground, and twisted his move towards them.

Oh, I had thought that he was just wandering, nowhere to go. Like me. But he had an aim? An aim to reach to his companions?

He moved towards them and they discussed something I did not understand.

Did you really have an aim?” I wished to ask.

Has he headed here? Has he really aimed this location or just because he meets someone to get engaged with, he’s stopping here? Is that why he did not argue with that elite dog who barked at him? Because he knows that he wouldn’t reach his destination in time if he started debating with each of the dogs that bark at him?” Again, I wished I could understand and speak their language.

Will I ever find some place/people to get engaged with? Like this dog?

I just leant against a wall and watched them with a blank mind for a long time. None of them cared my presence.

Being ignored by somebody who you think cares you is the worst feeling.

Some swallows flew over my head. I shifted my gaze towards them. My eyes swooped with them in the sky for a long time.

I heard some giggles. I turned around. On the other side of the road, just beyond the footpath, there was a park, The Fiction Park. A couple was laying down facing towards the sky. She raised her hand and pointed towards the sky. He did the same. I looked up to see what it was. There was only a moon in the deep blue sky, smiling. Maybe because the moon also heard their plans she was smiling. I smiled with the moon for some time. But I could not stop from bursting into laughter for long. The couple stood up and moved away.

I heard a faint, flute melody far away. But that faded in no time. Maybe, the gust of the wind that just passed away brought it!

I turned towards the swooping swallows. But they also had already flown out of sight.

“Oh, where am I going?” I got confused.

“Ah, I was following him. The dog. Where would a derelict go!”  But now, the dog had met his companions. When he met his companions, why would he give a damn care to me! He did not even turn back to look at me now. I expected that he, at least, turned towards me once, and felt sorry that he was no longer my friend.

I was alone. Left alone even by a stray dog!

Nobody cares a derelict. Not even stray dogs!

There was no point in staying there. There was no point in leaving the place either because I had nowhere to go. But I did not feel like staying in the place where I was being ignored even by stray dogs. I moved. Moved towards a place I found yesterday, nearby a temple, where I could sleep comfortably and could even get something to eat if the prayers were kind enough like the day before.

Representative photo; from Rajana’s blog

But, to my great surprise, the dog came following me. I became speechless. Even if I had something to say, he would not understand. This time, he only followed me. If I stopped, he would stop and look up at my eyes and down to the ground as if he was looking for something around. I kept leading and he kept following me until we reached my destination this time. There was nobody. I lay down. I saw the moon again. I recalled the couple’s plans and laughed again. The dog sat beside my feet.

Sometime later, in the evening, I got two loaves of bread from a prayer. I gave one to the dog and ate one. Had I not given him a single piece, he would have neither demanded, nor protested. I just felt like giving a whole. I didn’t know why. That was all for our dinner that day. And we slept.

Early in the morning, the dog got up. I got up. He looked at me as if he was ready.

Does he want to go for a morning walk?

He had already reached quite far when he turned back and looked at me. “Aren’t you coming?”

I began to follow.

“Hey! Jungey, wait!” I heard like someone calling me. I turned back. There was a fat man jogging hastily.

“How did this man know my name? I don’t think I have seen him before. I don’t even know who named me Jungey. Who is this man actually?” I stood still, confused and waited for him.

But to my disbelief, the man jogged past me even without looking at me once. “What the hell is going on here? I am cent percent sure that he called my name and even waved at me to stop. Is he sane?”

But he left me behind and kept jogging. He reached to the dog, who I was following, picked him up and held in his arms, patted and spoke in a quite scolding voice, walking, “Why did you leave home, you rascal?”

There was nobody to lead my way.

Advertisements

A Love bribe ?!

Published in Annanote; The Online English edition of अन्नपूर्ण पोस्ट This link – http://www.annanote.com/news/1871/A-Strange-Proposal-

December 04, 2016

“Oh, you’re buying ‘The Kite Runner’? Have you read that one?” I asked pointing to a book on the other shelf by the same author.

And the mountains echoed!” She looked at the book then at me. “No, I haven’t. Why?”

I got nervous. I forgot what I had just asked her. “No…. Nothing….” I mumbled not knowing what to say.

She was looking at me smiling.

“The latest novel by the same author.” I tried to sound as normal as I could.

Both corners of her mouth curled up and cheeks deepened with dimples on them.

“I want to read that too but I am running out of money. I don’t want to leave any of these books either,” she said showing me the pile of four books on her hand on the top of which was the The Kite Runner.

That was the last day of the Book Exhibition on the Exhibition Ground. I didn’t have a penny. I had gone there just because it was Saturday and I was free. That is to mean I had not gone there to buy any books. I was just wandering through the stalls.

“If you really want to read it,” I said flipping through the book, “I have an idea.”

“Are you going to buy it for me?” she chuckled.

She seemed affable as well as talkative too. My nervousness went away. I just thought of flirting with her. “I had already bought it for you, but the thing is I just found you today.”

“I had always been looking for you too”, she also turned flirtatious now.

“No please, I’m talking seriously. I have an idea,” I said.

“Why late? Just buy and hand it to me dear”, she was still flirty.

I felt irritated as people around also looked at us. I took a 180 degree turn and started looking other books.

It was after one and a half minute before she appeared in front of me blocking my way. I had reached on one of the corners.

“Sorry.”

I looked at her face. Her smile had faded away. She looked more beautiful now than with her smile. Smile does not suit all faces, I thought.“

Sorry? For what?” I asked.

“Are you angry with me?” she asked.

“No. Why should I get angry with a stranger for no reason!” I replied avoiding her.

“Sorry please. I really want to read that one. I want to know your idea,” she blocked my way again.

“Which idea are you talking about?” Now I was in the mood to provoke her.

“Please.” She caught her ears with her arms crossed.

A silence followed before I looked at her eyes and smiled. But she didn’t.

Again a moment of silence.

“What if I say ‘I love you’?”

What!!! What is this? An indirect love proposal? I don’t know how girls (or even boys) put forward a love proposal. Really.

I thought of kidding again. “What if I say I have a girlfriend?”

“What if I say it does not matter to me?”

“What if I say it matters to me?”

“What if I say I don’t care?”

“What if I say ‘go to hell’?”

“What if I say I will not go?” She smiled.

I remembered someone saying, ‘girls don’t say anything straightly. You have to interpolate and extrapolate to understand what they are actually trying to say.’

What sort of girl is this? Is this a straight proposal or do I have to interpolate and extrapolate to know what she is trying to say?

“What do you want actually?” I asked looking straight at her eyes.

“To hear your plan.Your plan that I can read that book. Will you tell it or not?”

Why wouldn’t I? I also had some hidden interest in that plan. Though indirectly, she had even proposed me.

“I have already read the The Kite Runner and I have the book with me. You buy the second one. After you finish reading that, give that to me and I will give mine to you. That way we both can read both of them.”

Her eyes widened. “That’s a damn good idea.”

As per the deal, she bought the book. She let me read the book first. “You have already finished yours’. So you read it first. I will read these remaining books. After you finish it, give both of them to me,” she said handing the book to me.

“See how smart I am.” I bragged.

She twisted her lower lip. She didn’t seem beautiful in this gesture.

“How many books have you read using this technique?”

“More than a dozen.” I gave a sly smile.

“Do you have a boyfriend?” I was not discomforted to ask it as she had already begun the topic.

“What if I say I don’t want to answer?” She replied.

Now she was trying to avoid the topic. “You have that right,” I said. “You became successful in bribing me into telling the plan, right?”

“Otherwise you wouldn’t have revealed your plan.” She seemed victorious now.

What?? She had really bribed me with a love proposal! Just to read a book!? Such a bibliophile…. I thought.

Even if girls seem to be saying something straightly, that is not the thing they are actually saying. Anyway, you have to interpolate and extrapolate things to know what they are actually trying to say.As she did just now.

Her mobile rang.

“Hello.”

“……………”

“Hello…!”

“…….”

“Just a minute, please. I cannot hear you properly.”

She moved towards the exit, stood on the doorway for a while. The guard asked her to get either in or out. She stepped out, stood just beside the door for about a minute, turned towards me and waved her hand to say bye, the mobile still on her ear.

Neither she had my address nor did I have her. I rushed towards the exit. The guard asked for the bill of the book on my hand which was not with me but with her. It took me around one minute to make the guard understand and assure him about what had just happened. Finally he let me out.

But before I reached the parking and asked her address or the mobile number she started her scooty and drove away. Silly girl! She even offered an indirect proposal as a bribe for the book but left the book for me and went away.