Fiction Park


  • Something inside me woke up, something changed
- Samichhya Khanal

Apr 7, 2019-

It was 2pm, a typical hot summer afternoon. I was on my way home. I didn’t want to go home. I was physically and emotionally exhausted.

As I was walking the not so quiet lanes near my house, I saw a tea shop. I was not a tea person, and on any normal day, I wouldn’t have even noticed the shop. But today, I was tired and looked at the shop for a while.

“You want a cup of tea?” The tea vendor asked me.

“No,” I replied immediately. It’s strange how easy the word ‘no’ comes out of my mouth.

“Hey, do you want to see a movie tonight?” “No.”

“Let’s study this tonight.” “No.”

Let’s hang out together.” “No.”

“Let’s sit back and chill.” “No.”

“Let’s go out on a date.” “No.”

I sometimes wondered what was it that I really wanted, and why did I always said no to things.

I had already walked a few steps from the tea shop when I stopped and looked back at the vendor who was still staring at me with a puzzled look. “I would actually like a cup of tea please,” I requested.

“How do you want it? Black or white? With or without sugar?” she asked as I sat down on one of the chairs.

I wanted to say a little love, a little compassion, a lot of confidence, a good financial status, a content family life, and happiness. However, there is only so much you can ask from a tea vendor. I smiled internally at my joke and said, “White tea with sugar.”

Why is it called white tea? It is not white, is it? It’s more of brown. Maybe it’s like me, a misnomer. My name is Bijaya, but I am not much of a winner. From where I was sitting, I could see a gift shop. I started looking at the many gift items on display. There were many pretty statues of women, all smiling. Some were on swings, some inside more glasses. They all looked happy. Why couldn’t I be like them—satisfied and happy? There was no particular reason that I had to be this frustrated. Actually, forgive me, as I mentioned earlier, I have a habit of saying no to everything. The fact is I had lost purpose in my life, the motivation, the energy to do something, anything. I am sorry, let me correct myself, I had not lost purpose. I never had any in the first place.

My friends always had purpose. One wanted to be a lawyer, another an engineer, another a doctor. The list goes on. But I had no clue. Even as a child when people asked me what I wanted to become in life, I always said I don’t know.

I am already a graduate. Don’t ask me my field, because it’s neither something I was interested in nor something I am proud of.

I have been looking for a job for many months. Every interview I go for, I always receive the same response.

“It was a pleasure having you her, but you are not the kind of manpower we are looking for.”

“I am sorry, but we cannot take you.”

“We will inform you later.” And they never do. At least none have yet.

My thoughts were broken when the tea stall didi came to give me my tea

“Sister, here is your tea,” the vendor said handing me my ‘white’ tea.

“Thanks,” I said and took it.

Just as I was about to take a sip, a four wheeler sped by. From one of the windows of the vehicle, a brown dog stuck its head out and barked. A pack of stray dogs ran after the vehicle. They followed it for 15 to 20 metres before giving up and walked back towards the tea stall. Seeing them coming near me, I shifted uncomfortably in my seat. I have always been scared of dogs.

One of the dogs from the pack, a brown dog, stopped and stood near my chair. I stood up quickly and moved away. The vendor didi looked at me with a “you’re scared of dogs” smile and said, “He won’t do anything. He’s just here for some food.”

I didn’t say anything and concentrated on sipping my tea and keeping my eyes on the dog. It was walking with a limp. Sure enough, the dog finally looked at the vendor longingly and wagged its tail. The vendor didi taking my fear into account threw a piece of doughnut on her other side so the dog went to that side.

“You can sit down, now,” she said. I obeyed this time.

“These dogs sure make a lot of noise around here, don’t they?” I asked.

“Yes, they do. But it’s not their fault.”

“It isn’t?”

“Of course not. It’s the fault of the heartless people who gave them hopes of home and left them stranded when they are old. Besides we’re the ones who are encroaching their space, their homes, aren’t we?” she said.

I was startled by the amount of understanding held by an uneducated street vendor.

“I know what you’re thinking,” she said.

“You do?” I said. I had always been an open book with my emotions.

“You’re thinking why I care so much for dogs.”

“Yes, I was,” I said. I took a sip of my tea, which was now getting cold.

“They are like humans, you know. They have stories,” she said.

“Oh, ok. What’s this one’s story?” I said signalling to the brown dog.

“This dog’s a new stray. He was a domestic before. I started seeing him around two months ago. He was probably abandoned by his human owners. He quickly became friends with another stray, a black dog, which used to be the most dominant dog in the area. The black dog’s friendship saved him from being attacked by other strays. It was quiet strange to see that. But two weeks ago, a bus hit the black dog, and it died immediately. From that day onwards, this brown dog has been running after each and every vehicle that passes by. By doing so, I think it hopes to catch the driver that killed his friend.”

“Wow, that’s a very sad story,” I said finishing my tea.

“It’s a true story,” she said.

“I believe it,” I said. As I was paying the didi, I asked one last question, “How did he get the limp?”

“He got hit by a bike while running after a car,” she replied.

I glanced at the brown dog. It was now cuddled up and its eyes looked sleepy. This dog had endured more than I had in my life, and it still seems pretty upbeat with life. The dog had closed its eyes and was now sleeping peacefully. Something inside me woke up, something changed.

Published: 07-04-2019 10:36

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