Friday, April 1, 2011

A Teen 'Undertaker' in Pashupati...


undertakers in white.

Ram, Dheeraj and Shyam at right

Waiting and waiting ...

Shyam made the entry into the Local Restaurant for dal bhat..

It’s already 8 o’ clock now. I have to bring together the words and jot them down in here before I go to bed. I am tired but the wonderful time I had with the kids on the way will brighten my moments. Love them.
I was at Pashupati temple with my sister when she was clicking pictures and I was looking at the environment because I have never been there around the time of 5 in the evening. I came across few kids around me. They had sharp faces with marks on their faces. I caught them when the security man was chasing them when they got near me.
Timi haru yaha ko ho? (Are you from here?) I asked the kids who were around 4 feet tall of same height.
Ho, hami yaha kai ho. (yes we are from here) they replied.
Before I could ask my second question, one of the them asked me; Didi dus rupaiya deu na. (Give me ten rupees).
Lala ma dinchu tara ma sanga alikati kura garnu parcha hai ta. (Alright I will give you but you have to talk to me for a short time).
Then he changed his want by demanding it into a plate of Nepali Thali for three of them at the nearby restaurant. I was like …what? But I agreed. I said I will treat them dinner but all they have to do is reply to my queries without any lie. They accepted and for some instinct I felt that they won’t fake a single word.
I saw an office just next to the place where people are cremated. The crematorium is divided into two sections, there is a bridge (which is quite old but people hardly notice the fact) where numbers of pedestrians leaves their footprint of faith in the God and goddess passing by each other and looking at the cremation process from beginning to the end, and they silently watch the people who are in great grief of lose of their dear ones. Well I am one of them in the crowd….and I have always been impatient to know ‘what goes in the mind of the undertaker?’ This is something I have always been keen about. They call them ‘pandit bajay’ here.
I made my way to the office to grab information making the kids to wait for me at the same place. I took the few broad steps. There I saw two young guys sitting on the chair. One of them was quite big and had covered his face with a black mask. But I noticed his curly hairs. The other one had brown eyes, very unusual from other nepalese and yes! he too had curly hair. At first he was uneasy talking to me. But later he was closer to fine in the talking terms. The bigger guy was more comfortable to talk though his face was covered with a piece of cloth. But that didn’t matter to me. We were talking, when there was a lady next to me sitting who came later also added her views and her experiences as she had been working in the hospital of the Pashupati temple for almost 26 years now.
 She is Saraswati Timilsina. She had a pierced nose with a golden nose pin. She was wearing a spectacle.. She talked too much than I have expected and quite fast indeed. I asked her if the rumor I have been hearing from a long time now, that there are some cases that people sometimes gets back their life when they are considered dead in hospitals and home and they are left behind not taking them back home? How much truth is there in this buzz?
She said till now it has not happened and so far she has comprehended people with joy and smiles when such cases took place. Everyone agreed nodding their head in silence and the brown eyed boy was one of them.
The brown eyed boy is Bashunder kharel. He is only 17. He has been there since from his childhood playing around the place. He grew up at the place, now he is working at the same place and earning by himself. He said ‘I earn and I work myself, I am not a burden to anyone’. He had a powerful short confident speech. My eyes popped out!
Tyo ta dherai ramro ho bhai! (This is very good)
Timi kaam garchau ra kamauchau tara parnu pani parcha ni hoina bhai’? (You work, you earn but don’t you think you have to study too?)
His only and only reply was ‘khoi’…. (I don’t know)
He has been in this line of “undertaker” from 4 years now. Till date he has cremated around 40-50 dead bodies. I was shocked and I gasped. He mentioned that he gets 850 rupees from each cremation from the office. He sometimes has 3-4 cremations to attempt in a day and sometimes nil because there are 28 people who are engaged as undertaker. Trust me’ they earn damn well. Better than many other who works in offices digging their minor mind.
He added I am not engaged in this work when I was born. I was born with all the happiness that belongs to me with this life.  But the time and situation pushed me to be in this business. I am fine with this now. I don’t shed a damn tear for anyone. I don’t feel any sympathy for anyone who comes here with the cold senseless body. They all are same as it was when I did for the first time to now. This is like a very simple work for me to do. It’s very simple as you consider your work.
yestai ho didi kaam bhaneko” ( this is what we call work) he added and disappeared.
I saw the kids been waiting for me down the stairs. They were watching me like a policeman watches a thief. I left from the office handing chocolates for everyone who spoke nicely with me.
‘Didi baat khana jane’ (we want to have dal bhat) the kids.
It was late but I didn’t want to disappoint the kids with my promise. I and my sister followed their way to a local restaurant. They ordered ‘Dai khana teen thauma’. (dal bhat for three)
Ram, Shyam and dheeraj, they enjoyed the ‘dal bhat’ by adding rice for four times. Oh my god that’s a lot.
Ram and Shyam are twins. They are 12. Ram is elder by 8 minutes. They are ditto. They have same height, same body structure and same speech. Ram and Shyam want to go back to village. They are collecting money by begging. Shyam told me that they have collected more than 2000 rupees. Their father died because of excessive drinking, and found their father lying unconscious in a rainy day. When they got the body after the postmortem, he found out that there was something was wrong.
Changing the topic, I asked where they will be heading after the meal. They were staying at an organization which provides shelter to the street kids. Meeting them I found out that ‘Suman’ who I have been searching from a long time, is staying in the same organization but he isn’t allowed to walk out of the gate.
Suman is a street kid and he wants to be a Don. That’s what he told me when I first met him. Well let’s hope to meet him one day.
Masu na khaye ko dherai bhayo’  Dheeraj added holding the steel glass of water. They had dal bhat and masu too.
We paid and holding the bottle of mineral water we walked by the Gaushala way. They had to reach Siphal so they took the first way from the Gaushala in that busy traffic where as my sister and I waited for a local bus and got back home. But we promised to meet once again for a hearty lunch and listen to more of their stories.
It was a good feeling to see them walk off the hustle road playing around with each other as other normal kids do like hitting and laughing at others. Ram and Shyam were easily noticeable because of their big size hoody. I saw them waving back from the distance. I was happy and was smiling back, which I am certainly sure they didn’t notice. But that’s fine. I adore them.
I was very tired by the time I reached home. I told the stories to my mother and I was scolded for walking anywhere without asking her. I was like yea I know…………….:)
Smile to Life :)


  1. always very very long writing.. i hate writing...ehh thou i read it all.. lastday i gave a test which is mandatory in order to graduate high skol... so if i were u thn, no doubt , test wud b totali outstanding widout waiting for result.. lol writing n writing.... hehe acha u knoe i hate writing stuffs.. bt whn i c ur writing , it changes ma mind n fall for d words.. ehh as alwaz ur words is trueli awesome... d way u illustrate ur inside things into words...everything.. lol its cool acha zemala keep on writing..n i will b keepin reading ur stuffs too lol :)

  2. you are the 1st to comment on this article...mmm m expecting something good here...but someone told me not to expect...but i can sense the goodwill.
    thanks for reading my long and boring article. i cant believe u read it to the end..m happy...
    Love Acha.

  3. I read it all:)

  4. niceee i think youll be born as a princess next life hehehe by all the good deeds you are doing... keep it up... :) thanks for tagging...

  5. u r so in love with kids. thank you for being kind to them =) i dont know what else to say
    keep blogging!