A Mother’s Letter

My Dearest Son,

Time has not stood still since you left. Seasons and festivities come and go, the rice still needs planting, the paddies constant looking after.  I sometimes  need to work on my own, to touch the land, to reap and repeat motions on my own, feel the breezes touch the sweat on my skin. It is then I know I am alive.

The  villagers’ talk is of marriages and new arrivals in the town. Those are days when I seek quietude.

You are often on my mind.

Your father has left the chickens and sheep to your brother and now works the fields as well.  The extra bags of rice are kept  with the barely for winters. Money is always short.

Many days I stop to stare at the buses which sputter through our fields, leaving tails of black smoke behind them. Was it one of those which took you away my son? Was it one of those bright buses which stole you away from our village and lured you to  towns and cities far from our paddies, rivers and hills?

Or did you run down the hill that day and never looked back? Never looked back at our home on the side of the hill with the flowering veranda? Never looked back at your mother’s face who awoke with fear and cried when she found your unslept mat?

I repeat the same questions every season, in case the answer appears.

You are often on my mind.

They say that towns have changed now. There are many shops to choose from, you see different faces. These faces are not ours my son, they come from other hills and speak differently. It is a mystery to me. Why do these strange faces come to our hills bringing with them so many changes? Does not the rice grow in their paddies? Do the chickens not lay the same amount of eggs? Yet here they are in the town with their different ways of dressing and strange eyes, their tikkas , a bright reminder of their otherness.

I am not sure of all these changes, of all these faces which do not belong to us.  They say the King is dead, no one reigns and trouble lurks everywhere. Have you joined the trouble makers, my son? I do not understand these modern troubles. I know the seasons and the crops. I know the hills and mountains beyond.

Yes, my days remain constant and you are often on my mind.

Have you met a girl? Have you honoured our tradition of zendis? That moment you left behind your family and home, your hill and village, did you know where you were bound? Did the wind carry you on its wings, taking you beyond hills, beyond mountains and plains?

There is no body to perform syarku tongsi. I built a hiki away from the village so that other wanderers may pray for you as well.  I know there is no body.  In the mountains the spirits spoke to me and soothed my soul.

You are often on my mind.

Your name is silent now in our home. You, who went to school for four years and learnt how to read and write, have never written to us. Seven years now my son. Seven years of silence.

The rain comes again and day will soon be over.

I shall let the winds take my words, my son, for my heartache knows no rest nor peace, my hands know no paper nor pen, and nightfall comes.

Perhaps next spring you shall return and we shall celebrate phola lhasu. For now, the rain embraces me. It knows your name and I remain waiting with the seasons.


4 comments on “A Mother’s Letter

  1. […] My Dearest Son, Time has not stood still since you left. Seasons and festivities come and go, the rice still needs planting, the paddies constant looking after.  […]

  2. […] festivities come and go, the rice still needs planting, the paddies constant looking after.See on namestenepal.wordpress.com Share this:DelaSkriv utFacebookTwitterGillaGillaBe the first to like this. Det här inlägget […]

  3. As a mother, this really touched me. Thinking of you! and looking foorward to reading more of this blog. Nepal looks truly amazing.

  4. Hi Kath,

    Thank you so much for taking time to visit and sharing your thoughts. Being a mother is a very humbling experience; losing a child, in any way, a debilitating experience.

    This post is actually based on a true story – the child left home when he was 12 years old and went to Katmandu. From the streets he began washing dishes wherever they let him. Today he is a driver, in his 30’s with a family of his own. And yes, today he is in touch with his mother. He told her about me and she insisted on meeting me but (karma?) the road was too treacherous and un-drivable when we were near their village. We began walking up the vertical hills, but the slashing rain and mud made it too hard; the 3 hour trek to arrive there would take much longer and I had a flight to catch the following day.

    So my visit to this mother is now postponed until the dry season – karma permitting!

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