Remembering My Father
“Buba Ko Shrad”, the Death anniversary of my father. These anniversaries, special days which we allocate for our near and dear ones who have passed away, are special in each and every way. But the best, I believe is by remembering the time spent with them. I can think of no better tribute than to remember their faces, the days spent with them. If we were to borrow each moment with them, from the past, it becomes intensely beautiful.
When I think of my father, a lot of things come to my mind. Memory does not come in a series but comes in association with the assortment of events.
Similarly, the events associated with my father, do not unfold chronologically, or if time was like a river, it does not flow in once pace, rather, I remember myself as a boy of seven years, and suddenly, I become a nine years old boy. One good liberation about memory is that we do not have to be tethered to a particular time.
My father was a man of medium height, a family loving man who had an immense passion for education. Thus, he remained a teacher all throughout his life. Life during those days, in Chitwan was not as easy as it used to be today, however, it was more humble. During the early days, in Bhojad, a small village in the central part of Nepal, Father was called ‘Master Sahib, ’ a title he had earned due to his teaching career. Later on, this “Master Sahib” became Madshab and it remained throughout his entire lifetime.
One of the earliest memories that I can recollect is his green phoenix bicycle. He had newly bought it from the Narayangarh bazaar. Early in the morning, he dusted it with a cloth. He checked for the brakes, applied oil on places where the ball-bearings cranked, tested the bell and the straightened the handle if necessary. I had the privilege of sitting on the small seat attached to the handlebar, until my small brother grew up. Later, I had to take the back seat, once my brother was also ready for school. The road from Bhojad to our first school was a mud path, partially gravelled and filled with potholes. The ground was unsteady, and I used to get occasional bumps, as we went by. The path used to pass right through the middle of the jungle (Now the Police Training Camp), passing deuti khola until we reached Kshetrapur. We continued the following routine for some years, until my father opened a boarding school in the heart of Bharatpur. He rented a two-storey building, the most modern during those days, located near the electricity office. It was freshly painted with white lime as new students enrolled one by one. Students flocked in from as far as Butwal in the west and Dhalkebahar in the East. The school had rickshaws to ferry the students from their home. As the numbers of the students swelled, the number of the rickshaws also increased. I loved sitting at the back and visiting various places. One such route was Tikauli. On the way, we had to pass a dense forest. Often, we encountered wild pheasants, deer, rabbit, peacock etc. Once, the road was blocked by some wild elephants. We had to wait for a while, in a queue, at the back a few lorries until the elephants sneaked into the jungle.
The teachers were very strict in those days, unlike today where physical punishment has been abolished. Fresh breed of teachers from Darjeeling had arrived in our school and their strictness could be reflected in classrooms, dining hall and the playground. I was not spared despite having the privilege of being a founder’s son. My father was very strict, and he expected the teachers to be strict on me.
After a few years, my father bought his first motorbike. It was a Honda, red in colour. Each morning, he got up early, sometimes as early as four. After the refreshment, he started the engine of the motorbike and speeded the accelerator. The continuous drone of the engine woke us up. He revved the accelerator until he was fully satisfied. I still don’t know what good it did to the engine. Through, the window, smell of fresh petrol sneaked into our room and a large cloud of smoke outside. Father expected us to wake up early and once when I and my brother were constantly called to wake up and run, we simply ignored as we were tired. The next moment that rose us up was a jug of cold water. We hurried out to the ground, rubbing our eyes and continued the run. The classroom was a strict place to be. If anyone was found not concentrating, we used to be hurled with chalks, dusters, and sticks.
It all seems like a dream now. I have now lost my father for many years, but whenever I remember him, it feels just like yesterday. Near and dear ones do not remain with you forever. At one or the other moment, they depart but what is beautiful about them is the memory you have. It lasts a lifetime. And with it lasts all the intimate moments one spends with them. They live within those little bubbles of memory, ever after.
By: Nabin K Chhetri