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Daulat Bikram Bishtha (b. 1926) Bishtha was born in the eastern district of Bhojpur and is one of Nepal's few truly accomplished novelists. Six novels by Bishtha have been published , and several have earned him literary prizes. His stories are extremely varied and include psychological portraits, portrayals of oppression , and simple romances. Bishtha's stories are collected in Pradarshinl (Exhibition, 1966), Galdko Lull (The Blush of a Face, 1968), Chayd (Shadow, 1974), Ghdukd Satra Chakkd (The Seventeen Wheels of a Wound, 1978). THE ANDH! KHOLA (ANDH! KHOLA) GangI goes on watching. It is midday, and some young lads from the Andhi Khola are on their way down to Gorakhpur to enlist at the cantonment there.1 They follow a recruiting sergeant along the level path, singing as they come. She is affected by the melody of their song; its refrain touches her heart: Mother, mother, do not weep so, My letters will tome to you time alter time, fust like the seniries patrolling. It holds a peculiar magic for her. The young men are taking this chance to sell their lives and pay off their debts: the chance is born of the tension between India and China. They sing to the beat of a drum, 1. Gorakhpur is a town in northern Uttar Pradesh to which aspiring young recruits used to travel during the period of British rule. 231 232 SELECTED SHORT STORIES and Gangfs whole body repeats their refrain. As they pass by in front of her, she suddenly remembers him. His image reappears, like the dawn mists that weave their way up the western ridge from the valley of AndhI Khola. For Gang! has not forgotten; it.seems like only yesterday. She feels that even now he is climbing the steep hill path out of the valley, following the recruiter, to join the war with the Germans. Twenty-five years seem to have flown by, and still she watches that hillside. The young men are oif to earn their rice abroad arid maybe to throw their lives away. They begin to disappear as they go down the slope. But GangI goes on watching. Even when they are all out of sight, she still thinks she hears their song on the wind. . . . He was singing the same song when he crossed the pass arid disappeared for ever. She was nineteen at the time. All the other young folk of the village used to tell her how pretty she was. Then she had been fleet of loot, able to run through the forests and over the hills, as light as a flower blossom. She used to go out with him, like a lively young doe, to cut grass for the livestock.As she drowsed in the shade of a pipal tree, she often heard him singing that song. There is a particular incident she wants to remember, but at the moment she can't recall it. She gazes up at the mountain peak, which seems to be fixed to the clouds, but a strange uneasy feeling persists. Once, GangI was on her way down to the valley, ostensibly to cut grass. But she was looking out for him, and suddenly she saw his figure at a bend in the path. She was struck by a mixture of joy and fear, arid with her hand on her pounding breast, she hid like a bird in the roots of a tree by the AndhI Khola. Slowly, she inched her way toward the riverbank , waiting for a chance to escape without him spotting her. She jumped over one boulder and down onto another, chuckling quietly in delight. But then she thought she heard him breathing on the far side of the rocks. Her heart still pounded, but she tried to hold her breath and jump the other way. He sounded very near, but he didn't seem to have discovered her. Perhaps he wanted to let her run for a littlelonger, f.caving the shelter of her rock, she jumped behind another. Then all at once she was in his arms. There she was, enfolded in his embrace, entangled with him like a bashful flower. So she put her foot into the river and splashed him with water. Gang! smiles to herself: this was what she had tried to remember. The memory brings her comfort and relief; it is as if she has laid down a heavy load. Feeling a little lighter in spirit, she looks up the sheer hillside again. She...


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MARC Record
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