An untold story of a himalayan boy

He was born in a small village of a small country. Only a few adventurous people around the world know his country by its name. Most of the people presume that he is from India. That bothers him sometimes. He is even more bothered when they can’t locate his country on the map when he reveals his identity.

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He was told that his country has never been under any reign from very long time known. He was told that his ancestors fought with the then ruler of India, East India Company, and Tibet, backed by the superpower China. His ancestors survived despite being sandwiched between two giants. His identity was not lost in history. So he is proud of his history.

Every morning, majestic mountains standing high greeted him when he woke up. Throughout the day, he heard holy sounds coming from temples and monasteries. In the night, he slept after listening to the rhythm of the gurgling river.

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He was born on the patio. He saw hospital for the first time when he was 10. He is an example of ‘survival of the fittest‘. Had he been attacked by a disease at that time, chances were that his story would be written differently.

Many sisters were born before his father was born. Eight of them survived. But more people meant more productivity at that time. Everything was grown on muscle power by then. The hilly area was terraced to make fields where everything needed for the family was grown. The only things not grown were salt and sugar, for which his grandfather went to the town sometimes. In the monsoon season, the whole village looked beautiful in the greenness of the paddy fields. After harvesting rice, wheat and corn were grown. In the garden, seasonal vegetables were grown. Cucumber was his favorite at that time. He never let a young cucumber grow old. His grandmother always accused other children in the neighborhood every time a cucumber disappeared overnight.

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At that time, neighbors meant a lot, and people exchanged everything including food, fire, and workforce. Only a few richer people in the village kept a matchbox. Other people would not extinguish their hearth completely or they would ask their neighbors for firelight. His parents had only one ox, so they collaborated with their neighbor to make a pair. The villagers celebrated every festival together. In one of the greatest festivals called ‘Dashain‘, he competed with his young colleagues in picking leaves from a tall tree while being on the swing.

He worked in the field to help his parents. When there was no work left, he went to school.

On the next hill was his school located. His parents had to pay $0.02 every month for his tuition. He had to walk for an hour to go to school. Every morning his grandmother baked corn in a clay pot, in which only a few corns really popped. He would put the baked corn in his pocket and go to Khoria (ranch) to bring fodder for the cattle. He would return in a few hours and eat the meal hurriedly, prepared by his grandmother. After the meal, he would wear his mud-colored school dress (which was originally white) and get ready to go to the school. On the way to the school, he would drive his cattle to the pastures on the flood plains of the river. He reached the school late everyday to be punished by his teacher with a sturdy stick. There was no ‘children’s right’ back then.

There were only two class rooms in his school, yet it was a primary school. Half of the classes took place outside on the grass carpet. He hoped to see black cloud in the sky because it meant early to home. When inside the class, he sat on a wooden flake supported by two stone pillars. In the break, he played football made by packing torn clothes in his father’s old sock with his friends.

When returning from the school, he would drive his cattle back. Among the cattle was a holy cow, which gave milk everyday. The cow was very loyal to him, she clearly identified his voice. She would be right at the ranch gate everyday when he reached there while coming back from the school. He had to reach home before it became too dark, to avoid being attacked by wild animals. Once the cow didn’t come to the ranch gate as usual on time. He went as far as he could go searching for her. He yelled calling her nickname ‘nani’ until his voice became hoarse. But she didn’t return. A few days later, one of his friend told him that he saw a skeletal on the other side of the forest.

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His grandfather told that wicked spirit and ghost would come at night if he commits a mistake, which he undoubtedly believed. So he was obliged to be righteous from the very beginning.

His grandfather also told him the stories of ‘Mahabharata‘ and ‘Ramayana‘, which became the ideals of his life. Inspired by the stories, he asked his grandfather to make him bow and arrow. He made several unsuccessful attempts to hunt wild birds with the bow and arrow. Later, he switched to stone throwing technology. Then he was able to hunt some birds. When he hunted a bird, his friends considered him a hero.

His grandmother always complained about his grandfather. His grandfather went to a neighboring country when he was young for earning money. He returned after 15 years without a dime. His father followed his grandfather’s path and went to India for a better job.

He had a small circle of friends. In that circle, he shared his happiness and sorrow. When he cried, his friends comforted him. When his grandfather brought a candy for him from the town, he crushed it with a stone and shared with his friends. That is how he played ‘candy crush saga’ long time ago.

His parents wanted to send him and his siblings to a better school. He moved to the town as his parents started a business there. He had now new friends from the town. Some of his new friends had Brick Games. Some of them even had bicycles. He wanted to own a money purse (even though he didn’t have money), but that was beyond his reach.

He went back to his village in the weekends. He reunited with his old friends and told stories of the town. He told them that he saw lights without flame there. He talked about the motors he saw there. He also told them that he actually saw the people who talked on the radio being locked in a slightly larger box. He also talked about the white people he saw in town, who looked to be from a different world.

When he was adult, he moved from the town to the capital city to go to the university. His parents wanted him to study higher and earn money and fame. His parents sent him money every month so that he could survive in the city, where he had to buy everything. He cried in a small rented room when he missed his home and his village. He felt lonely in the city because he could not afford the price of friendship there.

After his baccalaureate, he also followed his father’s path and decided to go abroad for higher studies. Now he is seen in the streets of the US. He has crossed the Indian ocean and the Atlantic ocean to reach the so called land of opportunities. While he feels lucky for being able to go to a world class university, he still feels strongly attached to his birthplace. If he returns his homeland someday without a dime, like his grandfather, at least his children and grandchildren will have a story to tell.

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4 thoughts on “An untold story of a himalayan boy

  1. Sagar, You are a first class writer, so I’m sure you’ve thought about this, but let me emphasize it: good writing needs substance, of experience and ideas, of reflection and interpretation, of perspectives and understanding. I read this blog post as if in one breath because of the above reasons. I did not personally experience many of the things you describe, but I could easily extend my imagination based on my experiences and relate to them. At one point, I almost cried. I thought, gosh, this too is life. Then I thought very deeply about happiness: aren’t people living the life you describe here happy? I thought about comparison: what is the point of reference to say that the life you describe is or isn’t normal? I thought about

    And the way you presented them makes all the difference. You have a character. You describe what he did/experienced. And you comment on the social big picture behind his life only through what he did and experienced. Had you gone off the track and started commenting on the society at large, the story would have become less of a story. I could go on sharing my praises, but I will stop there.

    The only one thing I am not sure I like is the title. Yes, the story is untold, but to whom? In a sense, this story is not only untold (about the character, about that part of the world…?) but is continuing. It’s a story that’s still going on. So, especially if you want to highlight the social nature of the story, maybe an update to the title might be warranted. But maybe that’s something to think about for next time. I would love to read more of such stories.

    Liked by 1 person

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