Will you forget me, brother?No one knew who left the twins at the orphanage’s door on a stormy night four years ago.
The earliest dawn opened its curtains of misty fog to the piercing cold winter breeze to sail through the hills and to the farthest corner, to an old building standing tall and still, named The Paropakar Orphanage in the outskirts of Kathmandu Valley.
The orphanage, with its old shaky structure, rattled whenever a vehicle passed by and over the years, it had succumbed to the eeriness of the land and gave away the feeling of sadness and gloom. But today, the hustle and bustle of the orphanage was unusual, and sounds of laughter echoed the happiness of the children in every nook and corner of the house. This was because it was visitor’s day. The children looked forward to this day, hoping to find their new family. On this day, they could all be prim and proper and act with all the so-called etiquette they have been taught in the orphanage.
Amid all the chaos, in the quiet corner under the shade of the pine tree, Rita asked her brother, “Dada, will we find our new parents today?”
Ramesh replied, “We might. But I am not sure, so don’t be too hopeful, my little goodiya.”
Their conversation came to an abrupt halt when the orphanage’s headmaster called them inside to get ready for the day. The headmaster, whom everyone called “master ji”, quite liked the brother and sister duo who were identical twins—Ramesh being a minute older than his sister.
They were more mature for their age and were diligent in their work. But no one knew who left them at the orphanage's door on a stormy night four years back. Master Ji took in the kids out of his love for children and looked after their growth. Now, the twins were slowly growing and learning the ways of the world. They wanted to be adopted, and it was impossible for them not to dwell on the fantasy of a lively home with a loving father and mother. However, the twins were adamant that they would go to the same home and live together. That was the only thing stopping the suitors from adopting them because no matter how old the orphanage looked, every need of children was tended meticulously, and maintenance was a little costly. So, to adopt the duo it required a high adoption fee.
That day, instead of a queue of couples willing to adopt, came to a shiny new car and stopped outside the orphanage. A rich-looking couple walked out of the car and entered the building. All the children got excited, and so was Rita. After all, the couple looked like they could afford to raise her and Ramesh together.
She clasped her hands together and made a little prayer to God, “Please let me and my brother always be together! Seeing this, Ramesh asked, “What are you doing, silly? I will always be with you and take care of you.”
Soon, master ji called their names. They obediently came downstairs to master ji’s office and introduced themselves to the suitors. The couple liked the children and decided to adopt them both. The children squealed with joy, and their bubble of excitement knew no bounds. They jumped with delight and pecked each other’s cheek. The couple patted the children on their heads and gave a heartwarming smile.
Then they climbed upstairs to pack their belongings. Despite this, the couple asked master ji to have the twins’ medical histories reviewed before adoption. The master ji saw to it, and the children were sent to the Hospital as the couple waited for them at the orphanage.
It seemed as if luck was on their side. They were finally getting their new parents. On the other hand, no one had been prepared for the calm before the storm. The reports were out. Along with the reports, the news of leukaemia to Rita and that she probably has only a few months left to live blew the minds of everyone.
The adults discussed in private, and it was final that Ramesh was to be adopted but not Rita. But master ji requested the couple to act along with the adoption and help Rita shift to a hospital. The couple felt pity for Rita, so they decided to treat her as their own and help as much as they could. The children were told that Rita had caught a bug in her body, so she was to be shifted to the hospital immediately. The twins suddenly dropped their smiling faces and grew concerned.
After a while of convincing, Rita was placed in ICU. By looking at the grave faces of her new parents and master ji, she had a faint idea that nothing going on was as simple as told. Though younger, Rita was a lot more sensitive around her environment.
Ramesh hugged his little sister and told her he would be visiting her soon with her favourite toys. Before leaving, Rita asked Ramesh, “Will you forget me, brother?” Ramesh tried to console his emotional sister, “How can I forget you? You are my little goodiya.”
Days passed swiftly, and after a week, Ramesh visited his sister with her favourite treats, accompanied by his parents. They enjoyed some quality time together. After a few hours, it was time for Ramesh to return home, leaving his sister under master ji’s care.
As time went on, her parents became preoccupied with their own lives. Meanwhile, Ramesh was enamoured by the luxury of his new life, focusing on school and home. He would occasionally write to Rita, believing all was well. But a month later, a sudden morning call turned their world upside down.
They rushed to the hospital with master ji, and seeing that Rita’s condition had deteriorated, they decided it was time to reveal the truth to Ramesh. As he heard the shocking news that his sister was on the brink of death from leukaemia, Ramesh broke down in tears.
He wept bitterly, tormented by guilt for not visiting his sister regularly. When they entered the room, Rita had been moved and appeared weak. She weakly addressed the couple as ‘mom’ and ‘dad.’ Ramesh was shattered, embracing his sister and crying in her arms. The couple, filled with pity, patted Rita’s hair.
Later, Ramesh kissed his sister’s forehead and hugged her in agony. They were holding hands when Ramesh felt her life slip away.
He wept and mourned the loss of his dear goodiya. The pain was unbearable, and his parents tried their best to console him.
After completing the rites, Ramesh walked inside his home—the place he and his sister had dreamed of together. He felt hopelessly alone, and his sister’s words, “Will you forget me, brother?” kept ringing in his ears. Could he forget his goodiya?