She passed left of me, sometimes to the right and sometimes just behind me. She was there, just there, watching me and all the comrades around me. Yet she was eloquently unseen just about visible to my wandering emotions and to my thoughtful senses. I was unaware if she was hiding from me or if it was my nervousness that kept me away from her invisible omnipresence. More often visibility is subject to vision of our eyes which sometimes might default owing to our greed, likeness, characteristics, inherent biasness, prejudice, intent, willingness and most importantly one’s desire rather than the biology and physics behind it. She was cold as if arising from the graves, filled with hostility prolonged passed the life after death.
But her hostility had the grace of the royalty as she touched me gently and with respect. The “She” is the cold weather. I met her during my childhood as the snow queen, sometimes as the haze and the rain filled clouds, sometimes as the leaves ridden tress, sometimes as my cracked lips, sometimes as my motherly and holy quilt, sometimes as the delayed flights, sometimes as the cold H2O, sometimes as the unfortunate news of casualties resulting from the dipping mercury, many a times as the hot coffee and vapors of the boiling water, sometimes as my unhygienic self and more often as the wandering cold breeze and the shiver, the avatar which I am often not comfortable meeting.
But my fate was that I had to meet her, that too on a Saturday afternoon. During the afternoon I was attending a book launch ceremony. But the event was not joyous to me as I had to wait outside the hall, as on the inside, the hall was filled to its full capacity where some enlightened scholars were busy talking about the new entrants into the literature club. But the sorrow of having to fight the cold outside was in a way subdued owing to bunch of friend who if not more but were equivalent to the scholars inside as we shared a lot of things from chit chats to work and to behavioral science. Meanwhile while I was in conversation I just wondered if the hall itself might have been amused to the overwhelming response. We never know when the hall makes its mark in the history for having organized the first book launch of its then promising and to be legendary writers.
The book has eight short stories bringing into light the way of life of the marginalized section and communities of Nepal that’s what its editor note says and that is all that I heard peeping from the outside. I am yet to read the book though. The book is titled “Hulaki” meaning postman. During my childhood days growing up in the rural areas of the country I remember letters being delivered by postman. But today the transfer of letters in its physical form has been limited to official letters. There is no any sadness associated with the statement made as the writer is much more excited and opportune to use the latest means of communication.
But the term “Hulaki” just about allowed my mind to ponder on the emotions associated with hand written letters delivered. Since in those days, some two decades ago, the means of communication was very limited in Nepal, with landline phone service just about there but that too was quite difficult to own. So basically the hand written letters were the cheapest means of communication. But for me more than the expenses or the means of communications it’s about the emotions associated. Previously the hand written letters had basically all the ingredients of the incisive humors with the embodiment of social realism of the George Bernard Shaw’s plays but with rather pleasant simplicity that would make the flamboyance of the Victorian era to rethink its lavishness. Basically people wrote with their minds and left the heart attached for they never knew when the letter would get to their loved ones and when would they will have the chance to write their next. Probably every letter should have been engulfed in the unfathomable sorrow of the last words they will ever share. The letters used to be long, pages after pages written with the holiness of a sacred text and with description which can surely form the basis of an award winning biography. Moreover I remember the letters being kept as living mummified memories and being read again and again.
No wonder the writer was too small to have written one such letters but it is one such fondest childhood memories that suddenly haunted his sub consciousness as the word “Hulaki” came before him. It’s an interesting dilemma to have, it’s like the subtle pain or worry that occurs when four wheelers traverses a trekking route. It may also be romantic relationship of the writer with his fondest childhood memories and writing a mere tribute to it.
But today things have changed we have all the possible means of communication and in turn the contents of the communications has shortened and often abbreviated. Hopefully with it the emotions have not curtailed or shortened. The curtailing of my emotions will make me less of a human and more of a mere living object with a consciousness of just me and nothing more in doing so my life will have been shortened to end at that fateful moment.
The painting presented is a mere depiction of the emotions associated with the distance communication when there were limited means to fill up the physical distance. The writer is in no way wishing to go back in time but is just about lamenting on the all lost emotions associated with the hand written correspondence…How about trying one….think about it…no wonder it sound stupid…