A Different Story

Mahesh Karki Kshitiz

One midnight in spring
When the clouds roared
And the downpour had just begun
The old woman
Who had come out of her home
Walked into her garden
And with her shawl
Covered the four rose plants she had raised.

Incidentally, an old man had roosted
At her porch the same night.
On seeing the woman’s act,
He whispered to himself: ‘Insane!’

When the hailstones stopped and the rain subsided
The woman returned to her closet.
The old man said, “Sister, what’s that you just did
In the dead of the night?”

Throwing out a curl of smoke from her pipe
The old woman said,
“All four of the kids born to me, died;
Maddened by the grief of their loss,
Their father abandoned home and moved elsewhere.
I planted roses atop the graves of my children;
I hope I did justice to them.”

The old man sobbed
And retorted,
“So your story is different from mine.
When my son and his wife
Banished me out of home
I thought it wise to clear their ways.
I am interested to become the custodian of your garden;
Would you lend me the opportunity?”

Trans: Mahesh Paudyal