Our door bell rings.
“Her’ta bahira ko ho”. My mom asks me to look who’s at the gate. “Aama, jogi ho.”
Jogi-s these days normally do not wail “Aloooook Niranjan” – they push the bell button.
“Ek kachaura chaamal lagera dey na ta.”
So I take a bowl of rice from the kitchen and go downstairs, see the Jogi standing with his right foot inside the gate. He seems to be in a bit of hurry. I pour the rice into his “jhola”, he says – “ali kati paisa pani diye babu ko kalyaan hunthyo.”
“Huh, tapai lai chaamal le hudaina?” He says he wants to buy cigarette. Ye lau, kasto rag hanya bihana bihanai – jogi ko pani demand!
Politely, I say to him that next time I will give him Rs. 5. He goes away to the next house, not forgetting the blessing he owes me – babu ko jai hoos, babu ko jai hoos.
My mom says there are at least 10 people like these everyday at the door. There are all sorts of them – jogi, disabled ones, flood-victims, Maoist-victims.
My mother normally never returns anyone disappointed. Once, she has even given away my beloved pair of jeans (which I had deliberately tore at the knees) assuming that it was a ragged old piece of cloth.
But sometimes she feels really tired to walk up and down the stairs – she says it hurts her knees, so she just ignores the knock on the gate, the ringings of the bell.
So I complain to her that this particular jogi asked me for money rather than rice. And she consoles me, “Dikka na maan. Jogi haru ko pani bhau badhi sakyo ni. Chaamal le matra hunna, paiso pani dinu parcha.”
“Jogi matra ta thikai cha, dus thari ka aauchan aajkaal.”
“Hijo euta le malai sworga janey ho re?”
What! And she nods her head – eyes sparkling, her face tells me that she is still amused by the idea of going to heaven.
(There are so many Christian churches in our locality these days. So each day, one or two such missionaries from these churches come knocking at the gate to do the marketing for Jesus. These guys are trained in dealing with the people, trained in convincing and converting people into Christians. You will be amazed at their fluency in delivery and conviction in picking the “right” words.)
This particular guy, did not even say who he was or what his business was knocking on the gate. My mom opened the door and straight away, he shot – “DO YOU WANT TO GO TO HEAVEN OR NOT?”
A little taken back, my mom replied, “How much for the ticket?”
That guy persisted – “I mean, the HEAVEN above, where our lord rules.”
My mom figured it out that the guy was here to sell Christianity, and replied, “So you are his agent?”
I cannot help laugh out loud and admire my mom’s such impromptu answer. I never knew she could be this sarcastic, funny and straight at the same time.
“Ani ke bhanyo ta telle?”
The guy told my mom – “I have the Lord within me, and if you follow me, I will take you to heaven.”
My excitement peaks – “ani, ani?”
My mom must have felt the bullshit, so she replied – “Please, go to your Heaven alone this time and come back to me with a reservation. I will pay for it.”
Brilliant! I never thought my mom, who does not even have any school education, could talk to people like that.
The guy left smiling, helpless, but must have thought – “ignorant people, how could these people deny the lord himself, I was here to save them”.
My mom worships Hindu gods, but never have we heard her talking about – how to go to heaven or hell. She just says, “Moorye pachi dumai raja. Do good, be good. We will deal about heaven/hell after we die.”
I can’t disagree with her, now, can I?
Right now, more than the jogi-baba and missionaries, I would like to have these people come to our gate:
Raghuji Pant (leader of CPN Unified Marxist Leninist),
Mohan Shyam Poudel (leader of Nepali Congress),
Keshar Bahadur Bista (leader of Rastriya Janashakti Party), and
Pumpha Bhusal (CPN Maoists)
Constituency Assembly Elections is due this April 10 and these guys have not showed up yet in our area, Lalitpur Constituency no. 3.