I wake up earlier than others, mostly at 4 a.m. I then carry a doko (a basket made out of sliced bamboo) loaded with vegetables, and set myself to the bus park at Thankot. Thank God, it is an easy journey downhill to me. My sister-in-law, Gita, has to carry the same weight as mine and start crawling up hill. Damn! She looks so exhausted when I meet her at the bus park. We seat there for a bidi and wait for the bus to arrive.
Once the bus arrives, we then put our dokas securely in the backside of the bus, and then stand near the driver's seat. I and Gita then discuss about the harvest this season. We both have planted carrots, koiralo and oranges this winter. We remember sitting in a long queue in the dreaded cold of January to get fertilizers that was just enough for a quarter of the harvest we acutally planned.
Our bus is now heading steadily from Kalanki towards Kalimati. Students with well oiled hair and ironed dress board our bus. Amazingly, they pay less than us. They seem to be richer than we; however we have to pay almost double the bus fare. I don't think too much. I have not studied much. However, it seems unfair to me when I pay more than a student who seems to afford cell phones, perfumes, polished leather shoes etc. And the headmaster at my village says most of such students are always in a hurry to go abroad. Here, I am working hard to make my family survive with dripping sweat in my motherland's soil and there is a student whose aim is to slip away and yet the state provides him with subsidy.
I cease to think.
When we arrive at Kalimati, I feel like being robbed off. Dalals (brokers) come right at the gate and almost seize our vegetables. We rarely get half of the price at which the vegetables are sold in the streets of Kathmandu. Last summer, we sold cucumber for Rs 5-7 per kilo. Hence, I never return to Kathmandu after my daily morning adventure. It’s heartrending to see my own vegetables being sold at a much higher price. It seems as if my vegetables were dirty teen girls whom I brought to sell, and who after being brushed up are now ready to be sold to the city mass at a higher rate.
My cousin Rita, sells vegetable at Purano Baneshwor, in a footpath just at the turn near to Kavre Dairy. Once, she told a 'karyakarta' came as usual to buy some vegetable from her. Once, he offered a cigarette and told her a thing that has remained in my mind for ever. He told my cousin, "The farmers who toil hard in the field sell their vegetables at a low price. The small vendors like you sell these vegetables at a low margin. Where is the other money? That is to one who already have money. That is to one who can afford to hire a godam at Kalimati. They use money to make money. I don't know
how but this is the way it is."
We at village use to think we all Nepali are 'sojho', but when I come to the city it surprises me a lot. It seems every things non Nepali here. I think like there are none whom I can relate too. Sometimes when I want to ask direction, I am afraid if I pick a sahariya who would make fun of me by saying the wrong turn. I don't know what made the difference. Is they being born with the same piece of land as that of mine but in the capital making this difference. I feel fidgety. Or is it that that they having the ability to buy vegetable from me that makes me less valuable.
In the last decade or so, few men holding red flags have visited me saying they wanted to ignite revolutionary ideas within me. They say, I must help them in their struggle against the one in the cities. Though I have some jealousness with the people in the city, I didn't want to rob them of their property and make myself rich. I cooked them food and allowed them to take my vegetable when necessary. I told them rather make our village as good so that I would not have to carry my vegetable each morning. That will be enough. They told me I didn't understand the bigger picture. Now when I see them sometime in the TV, I seem to know that they were right, the city is the devil. However, they too were no different, they too got swallowed in the mess. Now, I hate them even more than those dalals at Kalimati.
In my dreams, I sometimes see a mini truck of mine. I load my vegetables in it and my husband drives it to the city. I see my husband has a store and he sells it there and brings back profit in the evening. It’s not that we didn't try. The bank would charge a really high rate of interest for us to loan enough money to contract a truck and setup a store in the city.
And it would be foolish to keep all of our property as mortgage for such under evaluated cost.
Now when I see my son, I hope I can make him study. I hope he never aims to be rich. I hope he aims to remove poverty. Till my or someone else’s son do it earlier, I and my cousin will have to go through the same routine every morning.