DREAMS PACKED IN SUITCASES AND CASKETS
They were both there the first time Jit Bahadur cried. It was a joyful sound. The sound of a new life, something they had longed to hear. There is no feeling that comes close to the feeling of seeing your new born baby for the first time. He was the first born, of a humble family that had their share of struggles. Regardless, they did their best to raise him to the best of their capabilities. Their love and hardship did not go to waste and their son grew up to be an honest and ambitious man; a man who understood the woes of a family struggling to make ends meet. He had dreams of shouldering the family’ troubles and ridding his father of his debts. And as time would have it, he fell in love. He lost himself in the shimmer of Shanti‘s amorous coal black eyes and he found himself constantly envisioning the way she tucked a defiant tuft of hair behind her ear only for it to flop back again.
They made a lovely couple, exemplifying the beauty of ordinary love. He would tell her that his parents deserved the world but she deserved all the stars in the sky and he would give it to her. They soon got married and fell into the happy routine of eating dinner together and falling asleep into each other’s arms at nights.
However, life had other plans in store. In spite of their happy relationship, there was the matter of getting by. Money was becoming a problem and times called for drastic measures. Succumbing to the fate similar to several Nepali families, Jit BahadurW decided to go abroad in search of better opportunities. Qatar held the keys to a better future, or so it seemed.
Their goodbyes were prolonged, filled with tears, smiles and promises to pick up right where they left off and start a family of their own.
“I love you more than anything in this world,” was all he could say as he choked back tears. She, on the other hand, had tears streaming down her face. “I will wait for you and while we are apart my heart will skip every other beat until your return.”
Mom and Dad had their own woes. While they dreaded letting go of their only son, it was a difficult decision that had to be made. It would be a long wait but they would hold on till the day their son returned home with a brighter future.
Adorned with vermillion and flower garlands, his family watched him from behind the glass panes as he walked into the airport. He didn’t look back at them though, he couldn’t. The family’s trip back home was a quiet one, the silence only broken by sobs.
Months pass by, so do the years. It is only a matter of time before he is home again. They gather at the airport once more to greet him for what would have been the joyous return of their son, her husband. The plane lands and makes its final turn. The propellers sputter to a stop. The passenger door opens and the steps are put in place. But this is not for him. The rear baggage door is unlatched and a small truck rolls underneath to gather its contents.
“There, that must be him.” Dad whispers quietly. Mom bursts into tears. His wife bows her head and cries openly into her hands. He is home just like he promised.. He breathed his last on foreign soil.
Ill fated ends are horridly too common for many Nepalese families. But as it has had its place in our history, young men and women have lost their lives striving for things that many take for granted every day. The world goes on for sure, and nothing may seem out of place for most of us but another family is broken, riddled with more debts to last a few generations and the horrendous cycle of poverty that never ends. And all because people like Jitbahadur feel that going abroad is the only solution to a better life. The riches that people like him have strived to fill in suitcases end up as bodies in caskets and a wailing crowd that follows their fate. This is the fact and the solution seems nowhere to be found except some cash from the government that is meant to be a consolation. But is that the solution?
Words: Shreya Sangraoula