Kathmandu, Nepal, November 07 ó I arranged my hair, and I looked atmyself in front of the mirror. I lit the stove and boiled tea in akettle. My heart began to boil like the tea in the pot. My women'srights activist friend Rupa and I had been good friends in school, whenshe was in 9th grade and I was in 10th grade. I used to help her inmany ways.
To reach school, it was necessary to walk up a foot walk. On the way,there were raspberries and peaches. Rupa was short and could not reachthe fruits, so I helped her pick them. I protected her from theraspberry thorns, as I collected the raspberries, which I gave to heron a leaf plate I brought from home. We often walked together hand inhand. Oh, how we used to enjoy watching movies and drinking milktogether. We used to sing and dance on the way home.
I canít remember more than that. Iíve tried to remember. In December,she said to me and my brother, "If you study hard, we will go toKathmandu. We will share our joys and sorrows in a small rented roomthere. We may get good jobs also. A teaching job might be easy to get."My brother had said, "Studying in Kathmandu is not as easy as youthink. It is very hard to lead a life in Kathmandu. It takes a lot ofmoney. Studying without money is impossible. It is better to search fora job first. In Kathmandu, money does not grow on trees. Money will doeverything.Ē To which she replied, "Donít you understand? I will behappy if I join the police!" She used to make such jokes to keep mehappy. I poured the boiling tea in a cup and entered the room.
I stood in front of the mirror and sipped my tea, awaiting my friendRupa eagerly. It is ten minutes to four. I adjusted the window screenand lay on my bed.
"Which one is Kamala's home?" I heard the voice of one of my schoolfriends, Kumar, from the yard. I stood up, went to the mirror, adjustedmy eyeliner, put the red spot (tika) on my forehead, rosy lipstick onmy lips and went down to welcome Kumar. He was standing in the yard. Isaid, "We are meeting after a long time. Thank God for reuniting us."Kumar just stared at me. I just smiled at him, thinking this was one ofKumarís usual jokes. We entered my house together. "When did you come?"Kumar asked without hesitation, which I didn't anticipate.
"I am still searching for my future," I said. I went into the kitchenand started frying meat and preparing tea. After a time, I gave Kumarmeat, fried beaten rice and a cup of tea. Placing the things on thetable, I told him, "I am still waiting for my friend, Rupa. Why is shelate today?" While saying so, my heart trembled and I wanted to weep,and embraced Kumar at that moment.
"Why do you weep? I know you love your friend. After two long years,not only is your heart pious, but also it loves Rupa. She also wept foryou. You would be surprised to read the note in her diary. Did you knowRupa's parents tried to force her to marry, but she didn't listen tothem. Her mother perhaps died from grief and father has been a heartpatient for four years. It was Rupa who wanted you to come to hermarriage. She did not want to get married without your approval of theman. She could not trust her parents." Saying so, Kumar also wept.
"Please eat first. The tea is getting cold. Eat everything now; we willcontinue our conversation after breakfast." I tried to change thematter from the serious to the simple. Within a minute, he expressedthe bad news. "Your friend Rupa struggled with life in many ways. Shewas raped and killed in Jhapa, Nepal. Only the day before yesterday, she wasengaged and then today she died in the hospital."
There is no security and no rights for Nepali women. These days, thereis no security for women even in their homes, workplaces and publicplaces. My eyes were full of tears. Copyright mediaforfreedom.com
Kamala is an editor for mediaforfreedom.com. Kamala was a regular contributor to UPI - Asia News. Her specialties are in-depth reporting and writing stories on peace and anti-war issues, women, terrorism, democracy and development. Some of her publications include: Women's Empowerment in South Asia, Nepal; Prevention of Trafficking in Women Through Media; Efforts to Prevent Trafficking in for Media Activism. She has also written two collections of stories.