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Author: Santosh

रामराम, प्रदेश १ का मुख्यमन्त्री आचार्यले एमाले अध्यक्ष ओलीलाई यस्तो गरे (पूरा पढ्नुहोस्)

विराटनगर : प्रदेश १ का नवनियुक्त मुख्यमन्त्री भीमप्रसाद आचार्यले मन्त्रिपरिषद विस्तार गर्ने तयारी गरेपछि संखुवासभाका प्रदेशसभा सदस्य तुलसी न्यौपानेलाई मन्त्री बनाउन निवर्तमान मुख्यमन्त्री शेरधन राईले सुझाव दिए। मुख्यमन्त्री आचार्यले आफूनिकट २ जनालाई मन्त्री नियुक्त गर्ने तयारी गरेपछि नेकपा एमाले अध्यक्ष केपी शर्मा ओलीले समेत फोन गरेर न्यौपानेलाई मन्त्री बनाउन निर्देशन दिएका थिए।तर, मुख्यमन्त्री आचार्यले मन्त्रिपरिषद विस्तारको सुरुवातमै राई मात्र नभएर पार्टी अध्यक्ष ओलीको समेत कुरा मान्न आनाकानी गर्दै आफूनिकट बलबहादुर साम्सोहाङ र लछुमन तिवारीलाई मात्र मन्त्री बनाए।

यसअघि माधवकुमार नेपाल समूहमा रहेका न्यौपाने सर्वोच्च अदालतको आदेशबाट तत्कालीन नेकपा विभाजित भएपछि ओली समूहमा लागेका सांसद हुन्।

पार्टी अध्यक्षकै निर्देशन आउँदा पनि मुख्यमन्त्री आचार्यले न्यौपानेलाई मन्त्री नियुक्त नगरेको एमाले सांसद राजकुमार ओझा बताउँछन्। ‘विगतमा आफ्नो समूह छाडेर अध्यक्ष ओलीको नेतृत्वलाई साथ दिएकै कारण आचार्यले न्यौपानेलाई मन्त्री नियुक्त गर्न इन्कार गरेको अनुमान लगाउन सकिन्छ,’ उनले भने।

मुख्यमन्त्री आचार्यले ताप्लेजुङका ​साम्सोहाङलाई सामाजिक विकासमन्त्री बनाए भने तिवारीलाई उद्योग, वन, पर्यटन तथा वातावरणमन्त्री नियुक्त गरे। दुवै मन्त्रीलाई प्रदेश प्रमुख सोमनाथ अधिकारी प्यासीले पद तथा गोपनीयताको सपथ गराए।

यसअघि शुक्रबार दिनभरि चलेको विभिन्न चरणको छलफलमा मन्त्रीका आकांक्षी धेरै जना देखिएका थिए। मुख्यमन्त्री आचार्यले नेपाल नेतृत्वको नेकपा एकीकृत समाजवादीमा जाने सम्भावना रहेका १० जनामध्येबाट मन्त्री बनाउने प्रयास गरेका थिए। तर, १० जना नै उनको सम्पर्कमा नआएकाले उनको प्रयास विफल भयो।

मन्त्रिपरिषद विस्तारमा जीवन घिमिरेदेखि उदयपुरका विमल कार्कीसम्म मन्त्रीक दावेदार देखिएपछि आचार्य दबाबमा परेका थिए। घिमिरेले यसअघि एमाले संसदीय दलको नेताको निर्वाचनमा नेपाल समूह छाडेर शेरधनलाई मत दिएकाले उनीप्रति आचार्य सकारात्मक नरहेको बताइन्छ।

उनले अर्को चरणमा मन्त्रिपरिषद विस्तार गर्ने बताएका छन्।

(high time/about time) समय बितिसक्यो, अहिलेसम्म गरिसक्नु पर्थ्यो

हुन त समय भइसक्यो भन्नलाई ‘It is late to do’ भन्न पनि सकिन्छ । तर यसमा एउटा आलोचना वा सुझावको बोध आउँदैन । It is late to eat  भन्दा खाना खान ढिलो भयो मात्र भनिन्छ तर “किन नखाको, ढिला भइसक्यो” वा “हिजो त यो बेलामा खाइसकिएको थियो” भन्ने अर्थ आउँदैन ।

यसका लागि हामी भन्छौँ:

It is high time we ate.

अब यही कुरालाई structure मा राखेर हेरौँ:-

It is high time + subject + present simple (v2)

It is about time + subject + present simple (v2)

कही उदाहरण हेरौँ:

It is high time you did the chores. (घर धन्दा गर्ने बेला बितिसक्यो)

It is high time our son became mature. (हाम्रो छोरा परिपक्व हुने बेला बितिसक्यो)

It’s about time we migrated back to Jhapa. (बसाइ सरेर झापा फर्किने बेला भइसक्यो)

हामी आफ्नो सृजनाशीलता प्रयोग गरेर प्रायजसो verb मा यो संरचना प्रयोग गर्न सक्छौँ । केही थप उदाहरणहरू:

Ostracize (बहिष्कार गर्नु, एक्लाउनु): It is about time we ostracized the corrupt from the active social life. But we worship the corrupt. (भ्रष्टहरूलाई हामीले सामाजिक जीवनमा बहिष्कार गरिसक्नु पर्ने हो तर हामी भने उनीहरूलाई पुज्छौं ।)

Stand for (पक्षमा बोल्नु): It is high time we  stood for Dalits of Nepal. ( हामी दलितका पक्षमा बोल्न ढिला गरिरहेका छौँ)

Important!

कसै कसैले यो अवधारणाको प्रयोग present simple सँग पनि गर्ने गरेको पाइन्छ । मेरो बिचारमा यो गलत अभ्यास हो । बरु to-infinitive सँग प्रयोग गर्दा राम्रो हुन्छ । present simple सँग यसको प्रयोग हुनु भनेको गलत अभ्यास नै हो ।

सारांशमा,

यो संरचनाको प्रयोग आलोचनात्मक सुझाव दिँदा गरिन्छ । आलोचनात्मक सुझाव दिनु अर्थात् गर्नु पर्थ्यो तर अझैसम्म गरिएको छैन भन्नु ।

एउटा परिस्थिति: चिकित्सकले चुरोट नछोडे फोक्सोको क्यान्सर हुन्छ भने पनि चुरोट नछोड्ने श्यामलाई हामी भन्छौ- It is about time Shyam stopped smoking.

अर्को परिस्थिति: केही महिलादेखि फेसबुके प्रेम गरिरहेका जोडीले अझैसम्म एक अर्कालाई भेटेका छैनन् । केटालाई सिलूजी पो पर्ने हुन् भन्ने चिन्ता छ । केटो भन्छ: It is high time we meet, sweetheart.

 

हामीलाई tiktok मा फलो गर्नुहोस्: https://cutt.ly/rQWG10W

हामीलाई  twitter मा फलो गर्नुहोस्: https://twitter.com/ghimiresantu

हाम्रो YouTube च्यानल subscribe गर्नुहोस्: https://cutt.ly/QQWG3DK

 

Nepali Translation Fiasco: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Today I am going to analyze a small document published in the US CDC multilingual portal. The two-page document intends to make people wary about COVID 19 and what one can do if they are sick with it.

In the first paragraph of the first page, the document lists out the things that need to be done to prevent the spread of the COVID while the second paragraph instructs the readers to follow the given steps if they feel sick. The first page ends with the isolation protocol.

The first paragraph of the second page instructs the readers not to share personal items. The following paragraphs urge how one has to monitor their symptoms and when to seek medical attention.

Although this is a small document (it hardly has 300 words), a very important message is being delivered via this document. But has the message been delivered correctly?

 

It seems it has not been. I will tell you why. At the meantime, you might want to see the following marked pictures.

The most significant error in the Nepali translation of this document is the omission of an entire paragraph. The provided Nepali translation does not contain the following information:

  • Most people with COVID have mild illness and can recover at home.
  • Get rest and stay hydrated.
  • Call before you get medical care.

This is a faux pas, isn’t it? But there are even more errors. There are at least 25 errors and some of them very serious. 25 errors in a 300 words document! It is quite unnatural.

“Cover your coughs and sneezes” has been translated as “खोक्दा र हाच्छिउँ गर्दा छोप्नुहोस्”. This translation does not have an object and we are not sure what we are being asked to cover. Similarly, ‘share’ in ‘do not share personal household items’ has been translated as ‘साझा गर्नु’. However, we do not have any word like ‘साझा गर्नु’ in our dictionaries. The translator probably meant to say “आफ्ना व्यक्तिगत सामग्री अरूलाई प्रयोग गर्न नदिनुहोस् (do not allow others to use your personal items)”, which would be clearer and legible for Nepali audiences. Another major issue should be that a strange phrase (अन्य श्वासप्रश्वासको कमी हुने) has been used. It flew right over my head. All Nepali speakers would feel the same. Let us look at another awkward expression: छाती दुख्ने वा चाप हुने. I do not know how छाती and चाप would go together and what they mean with this combination. What I find most funny about this translation is that the probably expert Nepali translator translates ‘operator’ as ‘सञ्चालक (back-translation: a business runner).’ See the fun!

Other errors:

  • धोई राख्नुहोस् (BT- wash your hands and keep them)
  • गर्दा बाहेक (they should be one word as per Nepali grammar)
  • ‘specific’ translated as ‘special (विशिष्ट)’
  • Unnecessary commas used.
  • खाने भाँडा (the intention might have been: थाल बटुका)
  • ‘Towel’ transliterated while translation expected for it.

Please see the markings on the above pictures for yourself for all errors.

Verdict: I think we have lost the message in this translation. So, I can probably call this a wastage of resources. I would not mark it above 2 out of 10.

Order our service to stay away from a similar fiasco.  

 

 

Nepali Translation Fiasco: The Austin Independent School District

The Austin Independent School District sent a letter to Nepali parents on January 11, 2021, informing them about the school district’s decision to go into remote instructions. Reading the Nepali document (I tried finding the source, but could not find it), you understand that this decision is being taken to stop the spread of COVID.

The document seems to urge that the school district will remain open for only those with special needs. The document also informs the guardians and parents about drive-through covid tests and urges the people to register for it.

The document goes on to tell us that there will be provision for foods for seven days and busses with Wi-Fi. The document ends by thanking the parents.

But has the message been delivered correctly?

I notice more than 30 errors in the one-page document.

Here is the analysis:

There are six grammar errors, violating the splitting rules in Nepali (रहनेछन् in the second paragraph, गर्नेछ in the fourth paragraph, राख्नेछ in the fifth and sixth paragraph,  रहनेछ in the sixth paragraph and राख्नेछौँ in 8th paragraph. The correct version would be रहने छन्, गर्ने छ, राख्ने छ, रहने छ, राख्ने छौँ.

At the same time, there has been meaning errors because of wrong word order समग्र क्षेत्रमा बन्देजहरू अझ कडा गर्नु would sound better if it were बन्देजहरू समग्र क्षेत्रमा अझ कडा गर्नु. It looks “restrictions” has been wrongly translated as ‘बन्देजहरू (bondage)’. Likewise, हाम्रा व्यक्तिगत रूपमा उपिस्थत हुनुपर्ने सेवाहरूमाथि (the services which should be personally present) would mean ‘the services for which one should be personally present) had it been हाम्रा व्यक्तिगत रूपमा उपिस्थत हुनुपर्ने सेवाहरूमाथि.

I give a brief of the errors seen below:

  • wrong tense has been used ‘निर्णय… गरिएको थियो (second paragraph). The tense there could not have been past perfect given the context.
  • Wrong terms have been used. पहुँच, टाढैबाट पढ्न
  • Hindi words (the words that are not used in Nepal) have been used (समझ, लचकता,
  • Wrong spellings (तपाइँ, प्रदानत)

There are several other errors (see the photo above) in the document. But the most ludicrous of them would be the translation of ‘remote instructions’, which has been translated as ‘रिमोट निर्देशन (remote directions), translation of ‘spread as ‘publicity प्रसार’  and non-translation of ‘drive-through’, which has been transliterated instead, resulting in the loss of meaning and fluency.

In short, this is a very poor piece of translation. It requires retranslation if we want the Nepali audience to understand the message correctly.

Verdict: This translation would get 2 marks out of 10, I am afraid.

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Nepali Translation Fiasco

 

When a government agency, NGO, or private organization or individual has a document translated, they want to enhance the accessibility and scope of the information they have, or expand the markets for their goods and services. They also want to dialogue with the target community in the language the community speaks. They want to more or less say, “I understand you” or “I want to make you understand what I mean.”

This makes translation a beautiful multicultural campaign. The accurate and readable translations blur the cultural and linguistic boundaries. But what happens when the translations are inaccurate and unreadable?

The message is lost, the intention of warmth gets distorted. If the translations were carried out to fulfill the legal provisions (such as a provision to deliver the message in the language the recipient understands), the act of translations merely becomes a formality. If the translations were ordered for business purposes, we cannot get the desired outcomes, and we can even be counterproductive. If the translations were done for the purpose of getting connected to the other culture, we are less likely to get what we want.

In each of the above circumstances, we lose valuable resources. More to it, it is possible that we unintentionally contribute to creating confusions.

I call this ‘wastage of resources and creation of unintentional confusions’ the translation fiasco.

I might be sounding as though I am talking about an imaginary or rare circumstance. But I am not.

Translation fiasco is probably one of the most fellable, pervasive phenomena in the translation industry for rare languages. Or I might be wrong to generalize it this way. I will definitely love to hear more from the translators for rare languages. I can, however, claim this about Nepali translation activities abroad (please take note of the bold ‘abroad’).

For example, on this 4262 words article about COVID, the US CDC has published on its website, a cursory glance would find over 100 spellings errors. When I made a cursory reading, I came across ludicrous and meaningless sentences (the sentences that a Nepali speaker does not understand) such as पूर्तिकर कर्मचारीको एउटा सूची तयार गर्नुहोस्, आवश्यकता अनुरूप छुट्टी, टेलिवर्क, र कर्मचारी प्रतिमूर्ति सम्बन्धी नीतिहरूको जाँच र संशोधन गर्नुहोस्. In fact, there is hardly any sentence that does not have any issue.

Why is this happening by the way?

I think there are a few reasons for this:

  • Lack of translators qualifying bodies in Nepal: In Nepal, there is not any translation qualifying body except for the one that qualifies experienced lawyers as Nepali to English (a warning: please do not gape at the quality of English on the website of an agency that qualifies Nepali to English translators). When there is no qualifying body, everyone can claim to be an expert translator. This is how everyone who speaks and understands Nepal including the Indian proz is an expert Nepali translator. A thing to be noted, however, most of these experts are technology-savvy and language-dumb. See the link?
  • Involvement of Indian and Chinese agencies: This probably the major reason why Nepali translations are devoid of quality. There are layers of subcontracts the job goes through before it finally reaches the end translator. Most Indian agencies pay you 1 NPR ($0.014) per word. The Chinese are better than Indian agencies in that they usually offer just the double. The other day my wife, who is also a translator, showed me a LinkedIn message from a famous Chinese pharma company with a similar offer. And the funny thing is: they were contacting her about life science translation. How can we expect quality in such a case!

The clients too are culprits to some degree. Many clients and translation agencies think that Nepal is a part of India, and so an Indian agency can handle a Nepali translation request. But being situated in the neighboring countries does not make you a good agency, particularly when you do not know there is not a translator qualifying body in your neighboring country.

This situation is a little frustrating. So, I have decided to do something about this. I have decided that I will write reviews about the documents in Nepali (translated into Nepal) that are in public domains, assessing their level of fiasco and merits (if any), in the hope that there will be some improvements in the future.

Here is the list:

  1. Nepali Translation Fiasco: The Austin Independent School District

  2. Nepali Translation Fiasco: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

मेरो बारेमा

आजभन्दा १३ वर्ष अगाडि काठमान्डौं आउँदा मलाई के गर्ने भन्ने कुरा थाह थिएन । बाँच्नु पर्ने बाध्यता थियो । अत: के काम गर्ने भन्ने छनौट गर्ने विकल्प थिएन मसँग ।

मैले पनि अधिकाशं मान्छेहरुले गर्ने गरेको शिक्षण गर्ने थाले । विभिन्न इन्टिच्युटहरुमा अंग्रेजी पढाएँ । तर प्रतिस्पर्धा यति ठूलो थियो कि शिक्षणका अलावा अर्को पेसा नगरी बाच्नै मिश्किल थियो- कहिले कहिले बिहान र बेलुका पढाएर दिउसो मार्केटिङ् गरें र कहिले कहिले प्रकाशन नभएको पत्रिकामा सम्पादक भएर काम गरे ।

निश्चितता थिएन र त्यसैले स्थिरता थिएन । स्थिरता मैले चाहाना गरेरको विषय पनि थिएन । म एउटा ‘चोर विरालो’ बन्न चाहन्थे, जसले विविध कुराहरु चाखेको होस्, जोसँग अभुभवको भण्डार होस् अनि भावनाको प्रचुरता । मैले विविधता मन पराए- आई मिन डाइभरसिटी इन एक्टिभिटी ।

सन २००७ तिर दुईवटा घटनाहरु घटे- एउटा घटना त पहिलादेखि नै घटिरहेको हुँदो हो, मलाई नै थाह नदिएर । म किताब पढ्न मन पराउँथे । आफू सामाजिक रुपले अन्तर्मुखी हुनुले मेरो पुस्तकप्रतिको झुकाव बढाइदिएको थियो । म जे हातमा आउँथ्यो त्यो पढ्थे- नेपाली वा हिन्दी वा अंग्रेजी भाषामा लेखिएका पुस्तक अथवा कथा, उपन्यास, निबन्ध, रोमान्स, समकालिन या फिर अश्लील साहित्य । अनि २००७ तिर म आफू पनि लेखक बन्न चाहन्छु भन्ने कुराको बोध भयो । तर यो अचानक घटेको घटना थिएन । वास्तवमा यो क्रमैसँग घटेको मनोमोहक घटना थियो ।

अर्को घटना के हो भने- अनिश्चितता र अस्थिरताको बिचमा रल्लिएर सबैभन्दा महान ड्याब्लर (चोर बिरालो) भएको बेला एक जना प्रकाशकसँग भेट भयो । उनी लेखक वा प्रकाशकको अनुमति नलिइकनै, कपिराइटलाई ख्याल नगरिकन अंग्रेजी पुस्तकलाई नेपालीकृत गर्थे र छपाउँथे । (ऊनी अझै पनि त्यही काम गर्छन् । नेपालको कपिराइट कानून। दैब जानून्) । भेट हुने बित्तिकै उनले मालाई दुईवटा पुस्तक अनुवादको कन्ट्राक्ट दिए- मेडम क्युरी र ग्यालिलीको जीवनी । दुईवटा पुस्तका अनुवाद गरेको रु. १०००० र १० प्रति नि:शुल्क ।

म कति खुसी भएको थिए त्यति बेला ! एक त यो मेरो लागि नयाँ काम थियो । त्यस माथि किताब पढ्न पाइने अनि किताबमा आफ्नो नाम पनि आउँने ।

यो रोमाञ्चकता त्यति बेला टुट्यो जतिबेला मलाई अंग्रेजीबाट नेपालीमा अनुवाद सोचेजस्तो ‘तीब्र’ र ‘सजिलो’ हुन नसक्ने कुराको बोध भयो । जे होस् मैले उनको लागि चारवटा पुस्तकहरु अंग्रेजीबाट नेपालीमा अनुवाद गरें (लगभाग २ लाख शब्दहरु) । तर उनलेने अन्तिमका दुईवटा पुस्तकमा मेरो नाम उल्लेख गरेनन् । कारण थियो, हाम्रो सम्बन्ध बिग्रिसकेको थियो ।

त्यस पछि मलाई एउटा चर्चित दैनिक पत्रिकाका पत्रकारले काममा लगाए । उनी बाठा थिए तर शोषक थिएनन् । उनका लागि मैले थोरै काम गरे पनि मैले ठूलो अनुभव हासिला गरें ।

म पूर्ण रुपले अनुवादक त्यति बेला भए जतिबेला मलाई रोबर्ट नाम गरेका जर्मन नागरिकले मेरो अनलाइन प्रोफाइल हेरेर मलाई एउटा कामको प्रश्ताव गरे । त्यो काम ठूलो थियो र उनी ज्युरिच विश्वविद्यालयको तर्फबाट मलाई सम्पर्क गर्दैथिए । मैले उनीहरुको लागि दश लाख भन्दा बढी शब्दहरु रुपान्तरण गरे लगभग दुइ वर्षमा नेपाली अनुवादकको रुपमा । यी दुई वर्षमा मैले थुप्रै अरु अनुवाद कम्पनी र क्लाइन्टहरुसँग सम्बन्ध बढाएँ । अन्त्यमा मैले शिक्षण पेसा छोडेर पूर्णकालिन अनुवादकको रुपमा काम गर्ने थाले ।

मैले अहिले सम्म ३० लाख भन्दा बढी शब्दहरु अनुवाद गरेको छु, १००० घण्टा भन्दा बढी समयको दोभाषेको सेवा प्रदान गरेको छु । म अहिले दशवटा भन्दा बढी अनुवाद कम्पनीहरुको नियमित प्रदायक छु । र यो सूचि प्रतिदिन बढ्दो छ अनि म आफू पनि नयाँ ग्राहकहरुसँग सम्बन्ध बढाउन उत्साहित छ ।

यो लेख अंग्रेजीमा पढ्नुहोस् ।

बाँचेको जीवन

bigstock_competitive_battle_5620462

सबैजना गुमसुम बाँचिरहेका जस्ता-
एउटा एकत्व,
तनाव,
उफान
म एकतमास सोचिदिन्छु- देखिनु र देखाउनुको खेल
सपानाको रापले आफैलाई सेकिरँहू जस्तो
एउटा विकराल अन्धकार

नैतिक शिक्षा – लिन्डा पाष्टन

धेरै वर्ष पहिला नैतिक शिक्षाको कक्षामा

हाम्रो शिक्षकले प्रत्येक शरद ऋतुमा यो प्रश्न सोध्थे:

कुनै संग्राहलयमा आगो लाग्यो भने

केलाई बचाउँछौ, रेम्ब्रान्ड्टको पेन्टिङ्

वा जिआइको धेरै वर्ष बाँकी नभएकी

कुनै बुढी महिला? कडा कुर्सीमा बसेका बेचैन हामी

पेन्टिङ् वा बुढ्यौलीको बारेमा ख्याल गर्दै नगरी

एक साल जीवन छान्थ्यौं त अर्को साल कला

अनि सधै उदासिन भएर । कहिले कहिले

ती महिला आफ्नो दैनिक भान्छा छोडेर

कुनै ठिहीलो, अर्ध कल्पित संग्राहलयमा रल्लिन पुगेकी

मेरो बज्यै जस्ती बन्थिन् ।

एक साल, चलाख भएर, मैले भने

ती आइमाईलाई नै निर्णय गर्न दिंदा कसो होला ?

लिण्डा, शिक्षक भन्थे, आफ्नो उत्तरदायित्व पन्छाउँछे ।

यो शरद, म एउटा वास्तविक संग्राहलयमा आफै उभिन्छु

वास्तविक रेम्ब्रान्ड्टको अगाडि, आफै बुढी महिला

वा बुढी हुन लागेकी महिलाको रुपमा

 

फ्रेम भित्रका रंगहरु शरदभन्दा

अध्याँरा छन् ।

शिशिर भन्दा पनि अध्याँरा- पृथ्विका खैरा रंगहरु,

तर पृथ्विका सबैभन्दा चम्किला तत्वहरु

क्यानभास भित्रबाट चम्किन्छन् । म अहिले जान्दछु

महिला, पेन्टिङ् र यामहरु झण्डै उस्तै हुन्छन्-

केटाकेटीहरुले बचाउन नसक्ने खालका।

Translated into Nepali by Sandesh Ghimire

Read the English version of the poetry

The sun also rose

images

The pine shadows played on the ground

When he got on the knoll.

It was a wonderful view

In the vast jungle of pine trees

An open realm under the sun

 

And then

The guns rattled out of the blue

And he fell

On his own blood,

No splash, just a scarce falling

the shadows play even now on where they fall on

until the sun sets.

An American had said the sun also rose.

What else did not!

The friends: A story

One day, it suddenly occurred to me that I did not belong and the series of lies should already have discontinued. What lies? The secret I wish not to demystify. I was never content then- this was the seedy truth.

And discontent heart goaded me into teaching school kids. A job, so disrespectful that you vanish your identity here, and identity crisis becomes your identity. What else if you take to teaching after you have always been clapped-down everywhere?

Nobody was what I wanted to make of myself after I could never be a somebody, after I had been all through being told what to do and what not. Oh those jitters! How vehemently they disgusted me!

“Boy, it is time you got married,” said my uncle cum mentor, who was probably wary about my receding hair line. “When do you wish to get married?”

“I don’t have an immediate plan,” I revealed, slowly sipping the tea that he afforded in the lieu of the heebie-jeebies he had planned to dump on me.

“Alright,” he seemed to brood “tell me what miracles happen if you delay it? Man of your caliber should already have begun the journey.”

I wondered why he should get on my nerves, and be depersonalizing the most closet matter. I wonder if he meant potency by calibers which I did not certainly lack. He certainly did not know the miracles that had already happened when my ‘I’ll never leave you’ girl friend dumped me for a Canadian PR holder.

And teaching nullified me, annulled what little I had as visibility, and he, to my greatest jubilance, started refuting my existence; he butted out of this black sheep’s way.

The Fabulous School boasted of a strange faculty led by thick-mustached man with wicked eyes and zero sense of humor, Mr. Poudel, who began the assembly with broken English. “Let me to tell you should have to pay the due by the weekend. We cannot able to go further than that,” he said. The male teachers wallowed backbiting female counterparts and students, chattered tirelessly about who the girls were in love with, and even eavesdropped them. The lady teachers were even weirder. They hardly talked to male teachers, nor did they mingle heartily with each other as if each had a clandestine closet of their own, and they feared words would suddenly demystify everything.

I found myself even much lonelier, an outcast, being ostracized by my colleagues thanks to my inability to go for the backbiting spree. I went to school, buttonholed the Poudels (Mr. Poudel had an entourage there including his spouse, and his son and daughter), and taught English, not the things that was specified as the course of study, and when I was not teaching, I sat in the frosty in the sun of the Fall all day long, sifting the sense of still not belonging, with the Republica at hands, quasi-reading with my caprices drifting off and on- a more banal, fallow, and uncomfortable indulgence!

That should have been one of the warmer afternoons because I 11was not draped in the coat that was mandatory, and I was sitting on the floor of the other corner of the cemented ground after I had finished with 10 graders, wondering why I was so finicky, if I wanted to quit and telling myself that they had been paying fair for the good-for-nothing. Two girls of about ten approached, accosted me and asked what my name was and what I taught.

I scrutinized them, seemingly amused by their volubility. The girl who called herself Smirti was slightly dark and tall, with her bright and curious eyes, and the other, Shristi, with one of her teeth beautifully protruding and flat forehead was rather talkative. Once I had introduced, we prattled about hobbies, families and nothing.

Then suddenly the bell rang, and they rushed into their class, leaving me happily bowled-over.

Next afternoon, they good-afternooned me and stood by my side (students are not allowed to sit with teachers at Fabulous) while I was flipping through the pages of the newspaper. Shristi asked what I was reading and if there was any ‘zodiac fruit’. Yes, there was. I read their signs and restated in simpler terms. Shristi then said that she was talking to her sister about me.

“She says you are a funny man,” she said.

Suddenly I wanted to explore about her sister, who, it seemed, was of my age.

These talks soon became part of my schedule before very long. It was the only time when I had the sense of life. They seemed to like the stories I cooked, while I, as I now realize, was more inclined to aggrandize myself in the groggy thought that what I would tell them would be related to the sister, and who, by some chance, would nudge me. These thoughts tinged me more than anything else.

These girls were indispensible, with their camaraderie and joie de vivre so relative to each other’s presence that if one was absent to school for a day, the other would be zealless like the hen fed on salt.

“Why were you silent yesterday?” I asked Shristi one day, with Smirti beside.

She widened her eyes and smiled, pointing at her friend who was biting her nails. “She did not come yesterday.”

As the days elapsed, I thought I had probably started belonging. I enjoyed teaching, I slipped up on ‘to-be’s brazenness. They were still incomplete individually, staid and unfeeling. Everybody had started to take note of us. The teachers-to-be, and the ones-would-be ran tirades about us though they showered us with glitzy smiles in our face. Some were even heard to tag them the young lovers and me a beau. Oh the fabulous school!  On the other side, we no longer talked about a particular thing nor about the sister, who had lost the closet allure for me, and when we talked, we lacked time. First time in life, the sense of time’s velocity thumped on me; every break time I went short of hearing and telling.

I was very happy because of their presence in my life. their presence, which had not been very present! However, I felt it. It may be that some presences can gladden you to the nines. Or true friends can change the way we live, redefine our idiosyncrasies, brainstorm and brainwash us and restore completely new sense of life, and then everything becomes natty. But it is equally relative, mutual. An absence, on the other hand, can rift a bottomless pit within us. Suddenly we start not enjoying anything, and in a way abominating the things which had earlier got us engrossed.

The session ended. The fifteen days vacation was the Hades to pull through.

When the spring was falling, and failing gradually, when the sky advertised the advent of the warm summer, I went to school, with my head turned on, only to ferret out Shristi was never coming to school.

“She is never coming,” Smirti said, leaning herself lazily against the brick wall.

“Why?” I was equally afflicted, lolling about on the red Dolphin chair.

“Her father has got her admitted to a better school. She was crying when I saw her the other evening.” I stayed numb, unable to find the words. I looked at her. Her eyes were welled up. Then she said that she had told her friend not to worry because they were the best friends forever and would go to the same college when we had passed the SLC.

“I am proud of you,” I said, ruminating over the lost gem, the curious eyes and the lovingly vociferous company.

Suddenly the time was the biggest con, recalcitrant to budge. We tried to forget her, and bear the usual guise. I ruthlessly tried to gladden her with the jokes we had laughed together, the prose we have mused upon, and the poems we had written eulogizing our trinity. Shristi had written in her diary which they showed to me, “I dreamt of Smirti, I and sir seeing the stars together.”  But the jokes now sounded vapid, the prose terse and the poems prosaic. I always ended up remembering the died-hard buddy.

“You know she would double up at the joke of Sarura-Jwai,” Smirti said, her eyes glued to the brick wall.

I wanted her to forget Shristi, but I didn’t have heart to say that. We pulled through a couple of weeks that way.

The afternoon was rather scalding. I sat at the corner of the basketball court, which was an addition to the school’s flamboyance. The ten graders ogling the new-fangled game, waiting for their turns were planning to go swimming the following Saturday. “We’d better go to the Balaju pool. Many chicks come there,” a boy in glasses said, unmindful of my presence (my presence is as such), and immediately his friend shushed him and the entourage sided away to another corner while the chick ogler hid his red face behind his friends.

Now I was alone despite the raucous kids who scurried around. Now came Smirti, started sobbing initially and burst into bouts of cry. Nobody seemed to notice her cry as she was so minuscule that her friends enjoyed unseeing her.

“Why, cutie?” I said.

“Tek sir beat me up for not doing the homework.”

“Oh.” I did not have words to console her.

“What shall I do? I just cannot concentrate after she’s gone.”

She leaned her head down on me and cried. It was excruciating for me. There are people who don’t even look back what they have missed for their kind of achievement and there was this girl…I was proud of her and took her to the office.

I don’t want to study without her, she said, averted her eyes away from Tek sir who was reposing in front of her, without a taint of guilt in his eyes. Then she cried as if bridled by something ethereal.

“OK, OK. Let us to take you home. Your friend will joins in tomorrow. I fetch her,” the principal said twitching his mustache, with his wicked eyes fixed on her.

Then, they took her away. She did not come to school at all. I already knew she would never come. She was heard to have joined the better school. I was again lonely; I started not belonging even though I managed to be happy for them. And I hated Tek sir.

Twelve months from then, I was drinking tea in the canteen owned by the Parajulis, with a resignation letter in my front pocket, that is due to ‘very grave predicament’ and an appointment letter to the better school in my wallet. Tek sir was also drinking tea in front of me, griping the Parajulis about taste of grams and intermittently looking and smiling at me, unwary of the hatred I have saved all the months.

I walked out to the principal’s cabin, deciding to amnesty Tek now because I am going to meet my best friends tomorrow.