On Being Civic-I

Being civic is harsh task to perform, a leaden-footed business.  

Entire human ideals of ages can hardly offer a short cut roadmap to follow civic ways in life. The entities like social class, economic status, level of education and kinds of friends for hangout matter much more than anything for a human to be a civic one.   

As I came to know how history has endowed no conclusive measure to any society across the globe for a model civic life, I find a way to judge me and my milieu through established civic norms.   

In an ordinary spring day, I wake up early in the morning with a reenergized body due to enough rest I get through good night relaxation. Body parts of mine can be felt working normally. And, the day, in early gesture, seems to be going well. My family members also look enough happy because they might also feel the same what I undergo. 

After my early household but routined activities, I move into the neighborhood, prowling through the morning breeze upon the ambiance of sun-lit square. As I pass some fifty meters off my residence, the shades of clustered jasmine vines along the hedges burry me with gust of wind afloat overloaded with fragrance.  

I, thus, pass the blocks with almost no living creature residing, for the families living they make no sound that can breach into next door dwellers’ compounds i. e. a grave silence inhabits across.  

Then there comes a tinker’s place where, usually, I find a middle-aged man sorting out various kitchen utensils and keeping into his vending basket for sale.  He is Rambalak from Saptari. 

As I came to know how history has endowed no conclusive measure to any society across the globe for a model civic life, I find a way to judge me and my milieu through established civic norms.   

He has three kids, two grown-ups and a toddler. The children are known to everyone in that quarter of neighborhood. They haven’t left boughs of the fruit trees or vines of entire area unbroken. They have run after the fruit venders, scrap hawkers, ice cream sellers and toy sellers they move around or happen to pass by from the very lane. 

The tinker’s wife, as I always happen to see walking past, shouts aloud at her elder kids in a very high pitch, with nasty words, as far as she can collect for scolding them. The words or sometimes, phrases carry tons of slogan-like structures.  

Once, I stopped and asked him about his village and family, he held my right hand and offered me a seat nearby him and started the turbulent narrative of his journey from terai to Kathmandu valley.  

He had left his home in his early teen. He got to Birgunj the first day he left home. He had secured ten rupees from his mother’s piggy bank. The bus conductor didn’t ask him fare. He was just a small looking boy, nobody cared.  It was a clear but hot day of April. 

It took him seven hours to reach Birgunj from his home village. It was around four in the morning as he stole himself through the door. He walked for an hour to reach the national highway that traversed through his area. He waited for another hour and hanged to the first vehicle he found, that was a goods carrying truck which was running very slow because of heavy load of maize and the road replete with the potholes, somewhere flooded, somewhere ditches for irrigation ducts dug across. 

He had hardly got hold of a wooden shaft of truck’s hind body, the driver saw him hanging and stopped the truck. It was still dark. He didn’t run away. He, rather, requested him for a lift till Birgunj. He was ready to offer him the ride but with a condition—he had to tell him the reason of leaving home and going to Birgunj.

Rambalak, with no delay, rushed to tell a made-up story. He told that his father and mother could not feed the family, neither they were able to send their kids to school. He wanted to go to school and become a naukriwala. The driver looked impressed with his newly formed account of his family. He let him into the driver’s cabin where there were already three persons lying asleep. He closed the cabin door and sat on the engine bonnet. 

The driver enquired more about his village and family, his friends and daily chores he had to undertake. Rambalak told him as far as he could, some created instantly, others from his experiences. The driver was from Dharan, from a Rai family. He, first, did not show any temptation to Rambalak’s circumstances. However, after a long silence, he started talking to him.   

The truck was not going Birgunj, though. It was bound to Hetauda, the load was the raw material for cattle feeds.