I remembered how Sharma told me last month, "I can be proud only if I get a chance to marry Patali." Sharma spoke as he lit a cigarette, sitting on the balcony that evening. "You're in Kathmandu. Will Patali save her youth for you there in her village, while you get old, Sharma?" I asked satirically.
Ignoring my words, Sharma turned south and looked out of the corner of his eyes, saying at length, "Patali is a woman for love. I came to Kathmandu swearing my love for Patali. Sometimes I become sad, because the image of Patali comes to my mind day and night."
He finished his pack of cigarettes and creased his forehead. Sharma was the most candid person in our village, so it could also be said that he had no enemies.
Despite being exhausted, Sharma would wake up early every morning. "Love is pure," said our friend Chandra, abstractedly, while sitting beside us sipping tea. Sharma said, "I am in love with Patali."
After speaking these words, he left us and went to his room. We guessed he hadn't enjoyed our joking manner, which had made his heart ache bitterly.
At the time of my departure from to Kathmandu, Patali had said to me, "If Sharma changes his plan, I will die." I had told her, "One needs to have trust in love". I said.
Every evening, Sharma would talk about quitting his job and going to village. "How will you bring Patali after quitting your job? You should not get frustrated in this way." I did not know how he would react to the advice I gave him.
"If my mother does not let me marry her, I will catch a bus coming straight back to Kathmandu. I bought a return ticket too," Sharma told me, showing me the ticket. I had scolded him, saying, "Hey Sharma dai, how dare you buy a ticket without letting me know first? You should have talked to me if you were planning on going! If you do as you please, then I can do nothing." At that point, he had left my house without speaking a word to me.
Much later, an early morning phone call from Patali had woken me up from sleep, "there is no sign of Sharma. Do you think he committed suicide?" I sensed that Sharma had not informed Patali that he was coming late.
Weeks before, he had boasted to me, " The day after tomorrow, I will leave for the village."
So, when Chandra told me over the phone, "Sharma disappeared last night, Kamala," I had nearly fainted. He went on, "criminal group has kidnapped him. Maybe he is already dead, we don't know." I don't even know if Sharma is alive or dead. After Sharma disappeared, Patali also committed suicide in our village this year. I feel lonely without them, and I want justice for them.