Painful MemoryOn seeing Ghanashyam Bista, Aunt Kriti's heart jumped and her throat dried.
It was a glorious day; the sun, lofty in the blazing blue sky, beamed its saintly light into the vast expanse of Kathmandu with gracious kindness. It was that cheerful hour when gentle peace begins to envelop the noble valley. People stream jauntily along the footpaths, the streets are filled with the cackling of the children, the elderly smile with hearty kindness, women amble with an exquisitely attractive grace that turns men’s heads and vehicles whizz along the road with a calming hum. Bathed in the golden joy of the sun, the world was brimming with gleeful spirit. The breeze that blew gently had a softening effect upon the human species, and a thrilling effect upon the lower-ranking members of the animal kingdom. The cows chewed the tender grass and digested it with saintly dignity. Dogs frolicked around with merry playfulness. Insects sailed around with fluttering restlessness. Mice poked their heads from their holes and drank in nature’s fresh and sweet air. The spirit of keen enjoyment enveloped the valley. The soft white clouds curved soothingly above, and birds floated in the sky, bringing a message of hope and contentment.
Aunt Kriti stood on the veranda, tossed a cup of untold sorrows into the street below, and watched it shatter with a satisfied smile. She rested her elbows delicately on the warm blue railing. Her eyes surveyed the strangely scattered houses. Everywhere there was light and gaiety, but in Aunt Kriti's heart there was an overhanging darkness. One would guess, by looking at her face, that she had witnessed the perils of humanity. Her features were simply clouded. Suddenly, a dapper figure ambling the streets below arrested her attention. A flood of emotions rushed through her, to her heart. She sank into her chair with moving emotion. Was it him? The thought of it chilled her feet. She squeezed her eyelids shut and felt awful colours riot in her forced darkness. Her heart took wing and soared into dizzying heights. It seemed to her that the surface had begun to wobble.
Taking a deep breath and feeling strength and sanity enter her soul, she stood up, and unlatching her eyes. She looked again. She stiffened. Her throat dried. Her heart jumped. No, it can't be true. Was it? Ghanashyam Bista, the jewel thief of her youth was sauntering with a breezy cheerfulness, wounding her finer feelings. A spasm, in painful bewilderment, passed over her face.
Ghanashyam Bista, the heart and soul of every party he shimmered into, with the gentleness which raises men to the height of gods, had once breathed love in the back of Aunt Kriti's neck. Back when she was young, vulnerable and hadn’t ripened into the angel in human form people so fondly adore today. She yearned to belong to his society. Beads of sweat would appear on her forehead, due to the heat of her desire. That crushing betrayal plunged her into grim depression. She remembered the aching loneliness that gripped her, the throbbing silence in which her heart screamed for a shoulder to lean on. The missing jewels of her soul that left a void in her heart. As the dead body of her past gasped to life, her lips trembled, her eyes moistened.
Clouds began to gather in the sky, casting further darkness on her heart. Drying her moist eyes, she dashed downstairs, knocking flowerpots on her way. When she swung into the street, there was a sober silence, the world seemed stripped of people. She moved on. She stopped near a pole, where she sensed a presence. Feeling eyes on the back of her neck, she turned sharply. A face, oppressed with the weight of guilt and saddened by regret, was looking at her. With her resolve strengthened, she moved towards him, heart getting heavier with every step. She flung her arms to hug him, but only hugged air. He seemed to evaporate like dew in the morning sun.
Pearl-like drops dripped down the wet, dark clouds and soaked Kriti. The dreamy peace was shattered by the blazing sky. It was with a drooping head and heavy heart Aunt Kriti pushed into her room, sinking her numb self into her frigid bed.