I am a Thakuri.
So, I am a Thakuri, what does that mean? I have royal blood running in my veins?! The king has already been dethroned. The royal family and the royalty don’t exist anymore. I don’t understand why my mom still takes so much pride in us being Thakuris.
“How can you marry a Newar girl Akrit?” she once said, “You know Newars can’t even speak the same language we speak.”
I was disappointed. I was almost shocked by her ignorance. “Mom, we speak the same language, we speak Nepali, you know Newars these days speak Nepali, right?” I tried to prove her wrong..
“Yeah, I do. It’s not about speaking Nepali, Akrit, why don’t you understand?” She was stubborn. “When your Chhema(Sanima) comes to pay us a visit. How will she feel? Your Newar girlfriend can hardly say ‘Didi, pani lyaidiu?’ whereas I need my daughter-in–law to say ‘Chhema, jal takryau?’ Our language defines our class Akrit, now don’t you argue with me.” I will never agree with her, for me, languages are for the sole purpose of communication, they don’t define anybody’s class.
Sometimes I want to take my name and tear it apart. Atkrit Janga Bahadur Rana, why do I have such a fancy name? Sometimes I think I would be better off if my name was as simple as Ram Nepali. I regret being a high class, I regret being a Thakuri. Thakuris have killed their brothers for the throne, killed fathers for it. I don’t take pride in being a Thakuri. If for a moment I could change my caste, I would do it. I just want to marry Deepa and for that I am ready to lose my identity.
When Deepa left for the US, she cried a lot. “Akrit, I will arrange everything; I have the copies of your certificates with me. You just wait, and next year you will come to this same college, and we are going to be together forever” she had said. We both cried for hours, the pleasant view of Kathmandu from Chovar hill looked gloomy. Chovar hill cried with us.
My friend Samrat Shrestha was in the same university Deepa was attending. I told him to take good care of Deepa until I was there. He was my best friend while he was in Nepal, I knew he would do anything for me. He had already arranged Deepa’s pick-up at the airport, already looked an apartment for her. I wanted Deepa to reach safe and be in safe hands. Samrat also knew her well as she used to hang out with me when he was here.
When I told my mom that I am applying for colleges in the US, she looked at me in awe. I knew the reason behind her surprise, my dad is almost paralyzed and has been immobile for years now and I am his only son. My mom couldn’t believe I could leave him alone at that stage. My mom also had a hunch that I am leaving the country for Deepa, which made me look worse in her eyes.
“Atkrit, you must not be serious right?” she looked frustrated. “How can you leave your family and your dad in this situation? Is it for that Jyapuni? I get it now. I didn’t expect my son to be like this.”
I was disappointed by her arrogance. I know it will be hard for them, but I also have a career in front of me. All my friends were already overseas, and I am still stuck in this poor country. I am smarter than all of them, I was one of the best students in high school, and then why should I be stuck at this good-for-nothing country? “No mom, it’s not for anybody. It’s for my future, it’s for my career. Don’t you want your son to flourish? These Maoists aren’t letting anybody work, and especially they hate us Thakuris, I cannot do anything in this country, can’t you see?” I had said.
“Don’t lie to me Akrit, it is all bullshit. Your mama is a successful engineer here and he is making a good living with it. Nobody has intervened him in his work. I can’t believe you can go so far for that girl, Atkrit, you just disgust me.”
“Mom, I told you, it is not for anybody, I will be back to take care of you and dad. Moreover, Aastha is here for a while. And by the time she gets married I will be back.” Aastha is my little sister who is still going to high school.
“I don’t believe you Akrit, if you want to flee, then flee. But before that, marry a Thakuri girl for me and deliver me a Thakuri grandson. He will keep our family running for generations. I made it clear.”
I couldn’t believe what my mom said then. Is that really my mom who I have known my whole life? How can anyone be so ignorant? Didn’t I teach her anything while I grew up? How can a liberal man like me have such a conservative mother? I blamed myself for not educating her enough. I didn’t believe I live in a world where all people are said to be created equal. My mom was too sentimental by now; I saw tears in her eyes so I didn’t want to hurt her more that day.
It has been six months since Deepa’s departure but she calls me very often. She says she has a big poster of me hanging on her wall. When anybody asks her about who the man in the poster is, she proudly says that he is her boyfriend. I am proud of my girl. She sends lots of gifts to me when somebody she knows visits Kathmandu.
Deepa sends me her pictures whenever she gets a chance. Once, she sent me a picture of her driving a convertible car. I imagine me and her cruising in that car. I made her buy a car so soon because I didn’t like a strange guy working at the same place Deepa works giving her rides to work every day. Honestly, I felt too insecure, but it’s not that I don’t trust Deepa, I trust her more than I trust myself. It’s just something in me that didn’t make me comfortable when I heard that somebody is giving her rides every day. Samrat gives me updates about Deepa. Samrat is a guy to be trusted; I want Deepa to hang out with him, no one else.
I feel glad to see Deepa happy and having fun. She looks gorgeous in most of the pictures. I don’t like her wearing very short miniskirt, again, I feel insecure. I hear there are many guys in the US who are always after beautiful girls. But I know Deepa won’t fall for any of them. Deepa is mine, and she will stay mine forever.
Once, Deepa sent me a picture of her, partying in a club. I could see that a guy had his arms around her waist as if she were his girlfriend. When I saw that picture, I was very mad. I asked Deepa why she took that snap. She said they both were drunk and she didn’t notice what was going on. I got angry, I was yelling at her on the phone. I told her if it had happened in Nepal I would break the arms and legs of that guy and have made him paralyzed. I have a circle of friends who have been to jail for murder. I sometimes smoke weed with them. They think I am a part of their gang, but they don’t know I hang out with them just for the occasional supply of weed. So, I can make someone break anybody’s back and get away pretty easily. I also blamed Deepa for not being careful; I also blamed her for wearing such revealing clothes. I think I yelled at her so much that she cried and hung up.
The next day, I had to call her to apologize, I realized that I was a jerk the other day. I really shouldn’t have yelled at Deepa, she is too innocent. Deepa forgave me, but she was trying to convince that things work differently in the US. She says things are different there, guys can dance with any girl without knowing her, and hugging is not a very big deal. But my little exposure to outer world and my jealousy couldn’t resist it. I was again getting angry when she was explaining that to me, but I controlled myself this time.
After that, Deepa hasn’t sent me pictures like that. I guess she either stopped going to clubs or stopped sending me those kinds of pictures. Things have been working out very smooth these days. Deepa sends me gifts occasionally if she finds anybody who can deliver it to me.
Once, one of Deepa’s friends from the US came back to visit her parents. Deepa sent me a good mobile phone. Deepa’s friend Aasika was a good looking girl. When Aasika came to visit me she was flirting with me. I was surprised that even after she delivered the gift, she wanted to meet me. She wanted to go on a motorbike ride with me. I had a hunch that she wanted to get laid with me. I am a committed boy and this girl knew I have a girlfriend. Why was she still so interested in me? I didn’t meet her twice.
The attitude of Aasika made me think. Are all the girls in the US like her? Do all the boys in the US try to take a chance with every girl they meet? Is my Deepa like Aasika? No, she is not. She says she will wait for me no matter what. She is not like Aasika, certainly she is not.
I will call Deepa today. She will be expecting my call. She said she would call me, but her busy schedule hasn’t let us talk for a week now. She says life in the US is very busy and every second counts. I am proud of my hardworking girlfriend; she says she is accumulating money for my arrival. She says we will spend the money in vacations after I get there. I can’t wait for the letter of acceptance to get to me from the college Deepa is attending. I am barely surviving here; I can’t wait to leave this country. People here are so ignorant, I can’t stand them anymore. I want to get away.
“Hello.” Deepa picks up. Her voice doesn’t sound very happy. Is anything wrong?
“Hello, nakkali, how are you doing?” I ask in my usual tone.
“….. Akrit, I wanted to say something to you, for a few days.” I can sense that something is wrong. Is she sick? Is she broke? My curiosity increases.
“Are you sick Deepa? You don’t sound too good.” I am very concerned.
“No, I am fine. It’s just that…. I don’t know how to tell you…. Please forgive me..” Now my head spins, I know something has happened. I feel like the whole world is conspiring against me. I still have hope. I still have faith. I know Deepa is a good girl, she will never hurt me.
“Tell me, what's wrong, share with me. Did anybody say something bad to you? Did anybody hurt you? Did anybody misbehave with you?” I express my concern. I know it is none of the reasons that I posed to her that’s bothering her. I know something worse is coming.
“No. It’s not that… I don’t know how to say this… Samrat says he loves me. And he has been taking care of me for so long. He has been a very good friend to me and had been supporting me financially when I was broke. I don’t know what to say. I think I love him too.”
“….” I just keep listening.
“Akrit, you had been very supportive to me. It’s just little things that diverted me. You just cannot be that possessive, you cannot say what I should do from there. I am tired of it. You don’t know how life is in the US, Akrit I just couldn’t take it from you anymore.”
I can’t say a word. I hang up. My friend who I played with from childhood cannot be trusted. The girl who slept with me hundreds of times cannot be trusted. Yes, I say “who slept with me” because I don’t think it was love as love cannot exist without trust. I hate myself. I hate my life. I want to die. If I had a gun, I would probably shoot myself right now. I would wrap a towel around the gun to make it silent so that my parents and my sister didn’t have to hear it. Wait, I have a family, they loved me since I was born. I have to live. I will not give my valuable life away for a girl who never loved me.
I have a loving mom who has great expectations from me. My dad needs my strong hands to carry him to the taxi when he needs to get to a hospital. I have lots of responsibilities to my family. I just can’t run away from them.
These so called Nepali Americans disgust me. I am a Nepali, I am a Thakuri; my ancestors united this nation and have been taking care of her since then. I have great responsibilities towards my country; I have royal blood flowing in my veins. A Thakuri always remains a Thakuri; we are different than all the other people of the nation. We have bigger responsibilities to the nation than all other people. I will not leave my country.
Last edited: 24-Jun-09 07:47 AM