Manu Sister

Hari Bhakta Katuwal

Ugh! Enough of this rainfall. It’s been almost three days; it has not ceased yet. The brassy sound of the eavesdrops falling from the roof like cascade falls is deafening the ears. I wish it was over now.

I had thought of reaching Manu sister’s home early in the morning, but it was useless to suffer; walking in the mud and rain. Mud bogging and splash. After all what’s the purpose? I won’t go. It’s not decent to visit other’s home frequently. So far, I have been supposing them as my own people irrespective of their considerations toward me. Nevertheless, who can stop gossiping?

Truly, what is Manu sister like? As if not having own personality! As if having a dead privacy! Believes in anyone. Follows the direction of anyone. As if not having capacity to rationalize things. But what is she to be blamed for? For her, so are others as I am. She is to satisfy them as to me. I become happy when she supports my things. In the same way, others might become dissatisfied when she does not pay heed to their things. It’s alright. Let her do whatever she wants. One’s freedom should not be interfered.

Pitter patter sound of raindrops. What is this rain about to? Will death befall somewhere? A year ago similar downpour had occurred when Thulaghare Sahu (big house owner) passed away. Poor he! Such a benevolent person he was. Whenever such downpour occurs, I suddenly recall him.

Where does the rain hail from, thus? People say that the Lama1gathers the falling hailstones into a larder by chanting mantra2. If the rain were gathered at one place thus, nothing would be problematic. Neither would an umbrella be required for shelter nor waterproof shoes.

Ugh! What a day it has been! I would have been reading papers staying at home, but I could not go so far as Jasoda Road to get the papers from the shop, owing to the rainfall. The paper vendor is dogged to the extent that he beats about the bush when asked to deliver the papers at home. He says no time for that. Why no time if one has desire? He has time to distribute the paper all over Digboi; why no time to visit my home alone? For I am an easy man. He doesn’t bother as I go to the shop myself. But no. Now I am bound to be a hard man. People started to disregard me more. Perhaps Dharmayug3arrived yesterday. Nayee Kahaaniyaan4must have arrived by now, too. May be I will go to the shop in the evening if the day becomes cloudless. No, I will go there once anyhow even though the weather remains the same. I plan to scold him hard. If he shows more shallow pride, he will come on the track himself upon not paying for about two months. What a guileful guy! He states lack of time to visit my home; however, he has time to have worthless chat in Bengali with Manu sister at her home. As a matter of fact of this kind, Lekhnath5 said, “Better be crooked than too honest.”

Oh no! What is this rain about to? It did not allow me to wash the wearing dress. All the clothes have been dirty. If these clothes are not washed today; may be, there will remain none to go out tomorrow in. At times even a drop of rain does not descend when wanted; but pours when it is not desired. All the more, whole Saaun6is yet to through.

No indeed. I’d rather read a book than remembering nonsense, being idle. But what to read? I have no patience to repeat the same book. Except for Cleopatra, there’s no new book in possession. I cannot read this book. As I begin to read, Manu sister comes in the sight, dancing. Befuddlement, the more I read Cleopatra the clearer Manu sister becomes. Manu sister kills me. She lets neither to read nor to move ahead. Whenever I start to get going she pulls the leg. She has a narrow heart. Oh sister, is there anything that a man cannot do? People made the airplane, the radio, the television, the rocket, the atom bomb, the hydrogen bomb; why can’t we make anything then? Gagarin7and Shepard8got victory over the space, why should we lag behind? I persuade myself to do things with best might and main and reach home with that idea; but the next day I conclude with, can it be done? If I call her timid, I see her go to the cinema at dark night together with her eight-year-old brother, and even attend Satyanarayan kathaa9and wedding. Really, the book Cleopatra is a bolt from the blue for me. Emil Ludwig’s character Cleopatra and our Manu sister –the opposite poles. Nonetheless, recollection of Manu sister awakens upon flipping the pages. If I say these ladies have a harmony between them, Cleopatra was a princess of Egypt who had married a fifty-year-old Julius Caesar, out of selfishness. But Manu sister is still a virgin. Selfishness does not seem to be in her. She talks sweet with anyone when she has them do a task. Definitely all of them do a favour – Nare, Veere, Laale. She befriends them all alike. She does not seem to have ever spoken ill to anyone. I don’t know why this Cleopatra reminds me of Manu sister.

It’s done, I won’t read this book. Manu sister is far better for me than the bookish Cleopatra. I have got to call her a ‘sister’ let alone anything else. I had an elder sister who passed away in her childhood.

Pitter patter sound of raindrops. Betumble as long as you wish. I cannot shut your mouth. What do I cap your mouth for? You would love your freedom as we do ours. Keep falling incessantly. Drown the earth if you wish!

Dong…dong… sound of the bell. God! It’s ten o’clock now. I must reach the school at eleven. As yet I haven’t done bathing and washing. The firewood pieces were soaked, so the rice might not have been cooked well. The Headmaster shouts at me upon being delayed. This rainfall has caused all the trouble. The umbrella that had been taken by Manu sister’s brother yesterday, has not been returned yet.

A walk on the mud and water. Who came around? Troublesome situation! It’s Manu sister. No idea what she has come to tell me! Situation shows that I cannot go to school today. Eh! She made her way to the kitchen. Very good. Now I am bound to rush stealthily to school. She might ask me to go to Tinsukia or Dibrugarh. If not done a favour, she goes in fuming mood. These Manu sisters have such habit. They make an issue if things do not happen or are not done as they wish; and stop the conversation.

Dong…! Oh, it’s already half past ten. Probably I will come to take the meal in the afternoon at the recess break, if time favours. If no, I will have tea and singada10from the shop of Govinde. It’s still raining and I have no umbrella. Let there not be any. I will walk in the rain. May be I will come back home for one period to change the dress requesting permission from the Head teacher by showing him my soaked dress.

Pitter patter sound of raindrops. Mud bogging and splash.


  1. Title given to a spiritual leader in Buddhism, a sorcerer.
  2. Words / sounds repeatedly chanted for concentration in meditation.
  3. A magazine in Hindi.
  4. A magazine in Hindi.
  5. Nepali poet titled with ‘The poet of Crowns’.
  6. The fourth month according to the Lunar Calendar.
  7. Yuri Alekseyevich Gargarin, a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut.
  8. Alan Shepart, an American astronaut.
  9. A religious ritual in Hinduism dedicated to God Vishnu.
  10. A common recipe in India made by savoury filling of potato, green pees, onion ete.

(Translated from Nepali by Sibu Dhakal)