~ 013 Neha
June 2018, Bloom Nepal School
October. Rohan was full of sheer excitement. The day had come. Dashain vacation, the holidays everyone awaited. Today, after six months of awaiting, he was going home.
By the end of the day, he would be at home. In a few hours, he could sleep on his mother’s lap. After some hours, he could eat whatever he wanted. The monotone of staying in a boarding school would break. He simply couldn’t wait.
With a broad and bright smile across his face, bags packed and ready, he made his way to the minibus stop. Each of his steps were burning with excitement. He took a local minibus to go to the bus stop. He sat beside an old woman. Her wrinkled face and flat face made her look like a deflated ball. She saw Rohan and shifted towards the window seat. Rohan smiled at her and sat down.
Rohan came out of the minibus and walked ahead to the main entrance of bus park. Walking along the busy hustle of the bus park, he saw all kinds of people. The sweaty sweepers sweeping the pavements, whistling policemen waving their hands off to control the traffic, the lorry keepers calling the costumers for their bags to be carried. He went to the counter labelled “Kathmandu—Dhangadi”. An ugly man probably in his mid-fifties was rocking to and fro on a creaky chair. One corner of the counter had turned brownish red, perhaps with the man’s continuous spitting of the bitter paan he could not stop chewing. “Dai, can you give me a ticket for the bus leaving at ten? I want the one with A/C, free Wi-Fi and all”, said Rohan. The man nodded and teared a ticket off a yellow pad. Rohan zipped off his bag and took two notes. A thousand rupees each. With the ticket in his pants pocket, he went to stroll around the bus park.
Rohan came to a tiny clothes stall and bought a cheese coloured mask. He then went to buy chocolates, few for him and a few for his tiny sister, Seema.
It was ten soon. He went inside the bus. It looked comfortable. His seat was beside a middle-aged woman who looked really tired. In front of him was an old man who was constantly coughing with a sound that sounded like a dog barking. The bus started moving shortly afterwards. The not-so-nice roads shook the bus violently. Everybody inside oscillated like a maize farm on a windy day. Rohan didn’t care. With ear phones plugged in his ears, he was anxiously waiting to get to home. He was thinking of the first thing he would do on reaching home. Would he first meet his sister and give her the big Cadbury chocolate, or would he show the glorious certificates he received as awards, he was debating.
On reaching Thankot, he was feeling really drowsy. Constant vibration of the moving bus made him feel exhausted. He took his cell phone out and called his mom. He told her he would be at home by six in the evening. He soon fell asleep and slumped on his seat. Then everything changed.
Perhaps he woke up too late. When he woke up, only thing he could feel was a few seconds of free fall before everything disappeared to utter blackness. In a sharp turn after the town of Mugling, the bus tyres had failed the driver and it had taken an opposite turn—to where it should have not—straight down to the angry gurgles and mighty rocks of Trishuli, straight down to the realm of death.
When Rohan was three, his mom, with her fingers pointed toward the sky, had told him, “That’s where your father is. We all will once go to where your dad is.” Rohan had not intended to meet his dad this soon. Rohan’s little sister would be waiting to get the biggest chocolate piece. His mom would try to call him with only the telephone operator’s repetitive voice on her phone’s speaker. Perhaps in the national news that evening, she would find out about the accident. Perhaps this is how her Dashain becomes Dasha.