--BY MADAN LAMSAL
Mother, I’m hungry!
Wait a bit, daughter. Your father has gone to the city to buy seeds and fertilisers to grow the crops.
Mother, I’m thirsty.
Wait dear, water from the Melamchi River is on its way.
Mother, we have got so much milk and grown so many vegetables. Who will buy them?
Daughter, we’ll keep it for ourselves. We’ll wash the road with the left-over milk and give the extra vegetables to the buffalo.
Mother, you didn’t even sell the sugarcane.
Didn’t you see the cane being used as firewood?
Mother, my brother has gone abroad. Now, father, too, is preparing to go. Who’ll do the farming now?
We’ll leave the land fallow, daughter.
They say the government will take action against those leaving their land fallow.
Let’s see, daughter. We’ll face that too.
Mother, my hands hurt because of the wire of the tuin river crossing.
Be quiet dear, they say the government will replace the tuins with bridges.
Mother, there’s so much dust everywhere.
Wear a face mask, my child.
Mother, it’s so difficult to walk because of the muddy road.
Stop complaining, daughter. Wear plastic shoes. Or plant paddy in the mud.
Mother, it’s getting dark. I’m scared. Won’t the police come to save us?
Daughter, the police have gone to seize some gold.
Mother, I too want to wear a tie and go to school with a tiffin box in my bag.
Wait, darling. I’ll put you in school when your brother sends us some money from abroad.
Mother, when will development come to our village?
One of the kids on our block has become a big leader. They say he has become a minister now. Let’s hope he’ll bring development as well when he visits the village.
But when will he come to the village?
All the ministers are busy cutting ribbons and inaugurating different things. Let’s hope he will visit the village some day.
Ok. Forget the leaders who have gone to the city. Won’t the leaders who live in our village itself bring development, mother?
Perhaps they will. The dozers of the mayor and the ward chairman have arrived. Up next is development, they say. It’s said each of our MPs and lawmakers got 60 million and 30 million rupees or something like that. So they say, we too, will get our share of that development. But they will bring more development if we pay more taxes.
Mother, what is tax?
Tax is the money which one has to pay to the government because one has survived and toiled to earn some income.
Where does all that money go, mother?
The politicians and government employees gobble up that money, claiming that it’s for our own well-being.
Mother, Antare uncle from our village had joined the political protests to build the country. Where is he these days?
Oh, him? He has become a big shot in the capital. He is counting the stars in order to fly Nepal’s own satellite in the sky. He looks so healthy and fit and fine these days. Watch him on our neighbour’s TV! He looks so wonderful!
It is said the government is going to acquire the land belonging to the temple where we pray and worship. Why is that, mother?
Oh, the temple’s land? They said they would sell it to develop the country. Also, as the church in the village doesn’t have its own land, they wanted to make every religion equal by taking away the temple’s land.
Mother, there is a long line of people at the VDC office to receive their old age allowance. You too are quite old. Why won’t you go and get it?
Daughter, I’ve just crossed 40. Now, if I live for the next 30 years, then I’ll go.
Mother, what is that reservation?
We are not entitled to that. To get that, you should have been born from another womb. But you were born from my unfortunate womb!
That means, we are going to die just like that in this life, right mother!
Mother is speechless.