It was like any other ordinary days. As usual, so to say, after the office I returned home. After taking a cup of hot coffee, I engaged in one of my own assignments – to write diary. This is the time when my phone rang.
My hand phone’s screen read unknown number.
I answered the phone call, inattentively. The caller is a woman, and presumably educated one. And she sounds familiar to me, remotely though.
“Riku, guess…who am I?” she asked me.
Scratching my head, I told her that I can’t. “This is crazy, um, I can’t la,” I went blank. But she persisted that I know her, and I was insisted on again and again to guess who she is.
“Give me some clues?” I demanded, with an ounce of irritation.
She explained, “We studied together in a same school in 1995.”
I named one girl. She isn’t the one, huh. I called out another name. Oh my god, she is the one. So true, we studied together. It was almost 18 years back from now.
I was studying in Class III at Norbuling Primary School in Gelephu. And those days I was an unkempt and unruly tiny boy. I only knew playing marbles and run-rounding my village and school, causing constant troubles to girls. No kidding la.
“Can I ask you one thing?” she said in a low voice, as if what she has to say is top-secret information. I assured her, “Sure, you can ask la.”
“Do you remember the time that you wrote a love letter to me?” she asked me as she gave out a little laugh. Eh…? This gave me real goose-chill-bumps. I was surprised, flabbergasted, and more tellingly ashamed – all at once.
“Umm…uh, yes, when? I, uh, remember it now. Ah, I do remember,” I agreed laughing back at her, nervously.
I admitted to her that I used to ‘admire’ her. “That’s why I couldn’t help myself from writing a love letter to you,” I clarified to her.
We kept on talking about this tiny moment away. To put it politely, I was nodding my head as I talked to her. For, I also remembered everything. And it seemed to go all the way back to those delicious days.
I don’t know precisely whether it’s love at first sight or love at all. Does love happens at this age? Maybe infatuation. I don’t know. But allow me to be honest with you. I’d go weak in my knees when I see her and always try to steal her glimpse.
My friends would kid at me, “You’ll never get her in your life. Imagine where you’re and where she is. There’s a difference of sha dha nam.” But I remained resolute, and in one fine evening I wrote a love letter to her. In fact, it was my first love letter to a girl. And I still remember what I wrote. It goes like this,
In the garden of flowers, there are hundreds of beautiful flowers. But for me, you’re the most beautiful. From the first day I saw you I started adoring you and always wanted to pluck you to make you mine for ever. I love you so desperately. Will you be my love?
Yours would be,
Riku Dhan Subba,
Class III ‘C’.
By the way, my big brother helped me writing this letter, he-he. The next morning I earnestly prayed, “God, this is my life’s first time. Please…please…help me making her mine!” And through one of her friends, I sent the letter.
I anxiously waited for the reply the next day. It didn’t come. Even weeks passed and month too. Alas, no reply. Then, I knew I was ‘rejected’. My friends started teasing me, embarrassingly, calling out at me ‘poenlop’ (a term used for a boy rejected by girl).
I just felt overall rejected and insulted. From then, I was always hiding or running away from her, and avoiding humiliating remarks from my friends.
After that incident, it had been 18 years we haven’t met until she called me that evening. But as we talked, every word we exchanged is direct, punctuated with honesty. And what surprised me was her memory - she too remembers all this.
So to say, she taught me an important aspect of life. It wasn’t that she called me; it wasn’t that she reminded me about the past, it was something else. It’s a growing-up in courage, truth-telling, becoming mature and radiantly accepting what simply is.
Second photo: unknown source
Second photo: unknown source