(Kathmandu, School, Outfit, Handwriting, and OOPS! even Hairstyle, Beginning of DISASTERS…)
Facing the most inimical school was more distressing than living with my parents. I wanted to run away from this very place. It was already a week since my aunt left and there was no sign of my grandparents. Whenever I asked my parents about my departure, they used to divert the topic. Days passed, weeks passed and yet this life didn’t spare me. Now I didn’t trust my parents anymore, so I secretly called my aunt. When I asked her about my grandparents, she said that they were not there and already went India for their treatment. She even added that she also had to move to another city and Itahari had only my uncle implying that I couldn’t go back to Itahari until my grandparents return Nepal. I had so many things inside my heart to tell her. I wanted to tell her all about my difficulties and my loneliness but I was her brave girl and brave girls don’t face any kind of problems and certainly not cry over those problems. She did ask me if I was fine. I lied.
Now that I was going to live here in Kathmandu, I had to mold according to a new lifestyle. The first change in my life except the people around me was my dresses. Dad went through all the dresses I had in my bag and started sorting out. While doing so, he put aside almost all the nice dresses I had in my bag including the denim skirts, the princess frock and the glittery green kurtha suruwal which were dearest to me. I was already going to miss my green frock that I had kept in aunt’s suitcase and now this. He even excluded beautiful bangles I had. He also didn’t spare my sandals and heels, thank god, he didn’t boycott my pink gown and a pair of silver anklets from my closet. The worst part was that he replaced all my girly clothes with boyish clothes. He bought t-shirts, baggy pants, sorts, vests, and sports shoes for me. The next change in my life was my handwriting. My parents were not quite satisfied with my manuscript style. So they brought me a cursive handwriting learning routine.
Third change in my life was obviously my lifestyle. I remember when we used to go for lunch, dinner in restaurants occasionally when in Itahari which never happened since I came Kathmandu. Uncle used to bring me chocolates some days. Aunt used to take me to have panipuri and chatpate. We used to go in a small trip during our holidays. They used to play with me during the weekends. Almost every day, I used to go the nearest playground to play with my neighborhood friends. And very often, aunt’s relatives, uncle’s friends, or somebody like that came to visit us or we would go to them. Here, the case was totally opposite. Every weekday, dad used to come home at dusk and mom just before I returned home. After they were home, either they used to lay down and take rest saying they were tired or start doing the household chores, or be in front of the TV. Whatever talks we had, they used to be all about my studies or to-be improved behaviors. In the weekends, we all used to take sunbath or my dad used to take care of the positioning of different things in the house, and so on. I had no friends around the house, no friends in the school, no exciting works to do, no life at all. We never went somewhere out of the house to take a break. Even if we had gone somewhere, it was some relative’s place where I had to sit in a corner, smile and greet everyone I met and eat whatever they gave me while my mom did all the interactions with these new people. The chocolate craves used to be fulfilled only if some kind-hearted people who knew my parents see me and give it to me. Panipuri and chatpate was a poison in this place. Nothing remained like my earlier life. Yeah, one of the changes was for greater good. Unlike my grandparents and aunt, mom used to heat the water before bathing me. I actually always had a problem with taking a bath with cold water which I no longer had to worry about in Kathmandu.
The scariest transformation in my life was my hairstyle. I had quite nice hair. My hair was cut short obviously but at least I had hair in my head. In Kathmandu, I had to loose hold of my hair as well. One fine morning, my mom took me to salon and shaved my head. Why didn’t I revolt? Well, I was told that there would be just some hair trimming and soon salon session would be over. But, what happened was, when I sat in that tall chair, the barber asked me to close my eyes to prevent the tiny hairs entering my eyes. Well, I was an obedient girl. I did the same. Just after a minute or so, I peeked into the mirror slowly. I freaked out. Half of my head was shaved. I looked around, my mother was standing right beside me. So the barber wasn’t really at fault. He was ordered to do so. I cried and fought in all possible ways. I even scolded the barber not to touch my hair anymore. I jumped out of the chair. My mom came near me trying to handle me. She said after shaving my head, the new hair would grow thick, black and beautiful but I pushed her away. I wanted to run away in the cheetah’s speed and lock myself in my room and never come back. But I didn’t want to face anyone in the way either. Gradually, the barber persuaded me that if I didn’t let him shave all my head, I would look more horrible. With a heavy heart, I let him proceed his work. My self-confidence was teared up so haphazardly that I couldn’t even look into myself. I piled up my pieces in one place and didn’t dare to face anyone until when my school days resumed.
I didn’t want to show up anywhere and definitely not in that school. The school had never been good to me since I joined it and I was sure it would be worse if the people saw the bald version of me. But I went. I had to go. There was no choice. One precaution I took was that I put a cap in my head. Thank god, it was somewhat cool weather. So without talking with anyone, I entered my class and took my seat. The assembly bell rang. Rasika ma’am came in asking everyone to attend the assembly. I observed each and everyone in the assembly. Nobody had caps in their head except me. I was scared already for the teachers might ask me to take off my cap and I would be exposed. Though, I held myself strong. The assembly was soon done with the national anthem, prayers, and school song. As it was Sunday, the neatness checking started in the assembly. Samriddhi ma’am was our class teacher. She started checking cut nails, polished shoes, ironed dress, brushed teeth, and alas! She even checked the plaited hair with ribbons. I went numb. My legs couldn’t hold my body weight properly. My neck and mouth went dry. Heart beat like drum. Samriddhi ma’am soon came near me. I showed her nails. I had cut it just the day before. Shoes were shining black. Dad had polished and dried in the sun. My dress was also neat and ironed. Now, she asked me to take off my cap to see my braided hair. I denied. She yelled at me, however I didn’t change my decision. She began to take off my cap by herself, but I pulled it downwards. However, her strength was more than mine. She pulled the cap little upwards, as she couldn’t take out all of it. She gasped in shock.
Without speaking anything, Samriddhi ma’am stared at me and went at the front giggling. I was still relieved that nobody except her saw me bald. She went in the stage and whispered something to Rasika ma’am chuckling. Then Rasika ma’am widened her eyes, raising her brows and then laughed giving a glare at me. Maybe, I wasn’t the only one to notice all these.
Neha, who was standing behind me had also taken the notice of all that happened. On our way to the class, she asked me what happened. I said that it was nothing. She asked me to tell her and tried to assure that she won’t tell anybody. She was a nice girl but I couldn’t reveal anything to her as well. I just told her not to say anything about the assembly to anyone in the class. I silently took my seat.
(…I wanted to share it to somebody but I found nobody who could listen it. I wanted to run away from this very place but there was really no escape. This place gave me only griefs and deep pits from which, I thought, I could never come out… )
to be continued...