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Short Story: She Had a Dream
Done with the washing-up, Sameer stood hunched over the railing, gazing spectacular Kathmandu, in a day brimming with hectic schedule starting at 11. And it was only 10 in a grey morning. Hearing a voice-over calling for someone of his acquaintance, he jerked. The woman on the balcony of the adjacent house was disheveled and disdainful. Then he looked back into the aisle shouting loud for Dev, who instantly came out and was engaged in manic talks. From the coherent words, he reconstructed, she had an exam and needed a calculator, which Dev didn’t have, and asked him if he could lend her, to which he agreed though reluctantly. In a short while she came to his room.
“I'm Reena, doing an MBA," she said, before leaving his room. He obsequiously smiled and wasn't inquisitive to reveal him, though sometimes back, he had noticed her in the adjacent house. A new tenant, he said to himself and had no propensity to mingle over the mundane business. Every time she came into his sight, he felt pent-up disliking. That day, in the afternoon, he reached his abode, famished and excruciatingly tired. To his utter bewilderment, Reena, with her peculiar looks, stood at the gate.
“Do you know Stat?” She asked, “Can you tutor me?” He agreed walking into his room, she followed. In a short while he discovered, she was a mediocre student and didn't fathom simplest things, in lieu, profoundly complacent about passing exams.
A few days later, squatting on the floor fidgeting with the sheaf of his dissertation, he heard cacophony on the room next door. Having nothing to manifest, he went into the room of his university mates. The boys cackled when he popped in. He thought it was him who looked ridiculous. “What’s the matter,” he asked with disgust.
The love letter
“Look here Sameerji, a love letter,” Dev said.”
“The girl next door, addressed to Bibek.”
“Who is Bibek”'
Dev explained, he had borrowed a textbook from Reena and found the letter tucked between the pages; dated years back, with Reena's signature, elucidating her aggressive love.
“Love,” one of the peers said, “we mustn't be perfidious to someone's love.” The demure girl with a bulbous nose, pock marks on the drawn face; her love interest, the love letter and her howling love – everything seemed absurd. Poor girl, they felt pity on her.
In the evening the tenants of the house, all university students, would gather on the roof terrace, fussing on things that could range from very personal piece to national and international politics. On such evening talking this that, Sameer was there, listening the boys, who had things abound to say – the University, the professors, the Nepali Congress, the Maoist. Topics flitted from one to other. Now, they were talking about reading and writing.
“Poetry actually is for the self and drama is for the mass,” Dev said.
“I like poetry,” a voice from other side came, it was Reena's. She was on the roof terrace of adjacent house, avoided by the peers, but and all ears to the talking.
“So you do,” one of the boys said, “by the way, do you write?”
“Our Sameerji also writes poems,” Dev said.
“Oh! You do.”
Ignoring her appreciation Sameer asked to show him her poems, she blithely agreed to let him read some day. However, an hour later she blissfully embarked in his room and handed him her poems. It was computer printed and stapled. As he flipped the pages he spotted a withered rose on which ‘Bibek’ was written. The red flower could be couple of years old. She pulled the worn-out flower abruptly and walked off slyly.
He read her poems, about love, freedom, loneliness, feminism etc. penned very nicely, and showing maturity in the compositions with powerful emotions. He was overwhelmed by the poetry from the ‘queer’ woman. Queer was the word almost all boys used as a connotation to her; some said ‘insane’ as rhetoric. Neither the girl nor those conjectures ever lured Sameer. She was not to his liking, the sight was hideous.
Queer and Insane
One day Dev came to his room and told him, Reena was calling him. “I don’t know what you think but very often I’ve heard her calling you from the terrace. Very strange.”
Sameer laughed. “Queer and insane as you call her.”
Awed by the thoughts of her poetry he decided to go to her. In her room, he waited her to speak but she wouldn’t say anything. When he insisted for long, she finally said, she wanted to know about the Literature English Program. He was startled, only the other day he had explained her when she appeared in the vicinity of university campus. He snapped the answer and came out swearing to swerve from this insipid young woman, but soon he had to eat his words. Couple of days later a girl, his friend’s sibling, who also was Reena’s distant relative, came to stay with her. The two girls were having a fray when Sameer was called in. They were furious and shaking with rage.
“God damn these males,” Reena blurted.
Sameer couldn’t decipher their bellicosity and walked out of the room in fury. That evening his father called and he had to go to see him immediately. When he returned to his apartment few weeks later, he found, Reena had shifted to some other place. He was relieved.
Over the days, he was pretty manic with his own doings and eventually forgot everything. But future had something stored for him. On that fateful day, he met his friend’s sister at New Road. He had been very fond of his friend’s sister and called her sister. When she came to stay with Reena, he was surprised, how could she tolerate that insipid woman avoided by almost all.
After talking this-that for a while she said, “One day Reena had told me, she would prop me to fall in love with a nice guy, the guy was you, brother.”