“Thinley, you got any cash?”
“No, Karma might be having some,” they looked at Karma.
Karma shook his head and asked, “Why?”
“Do you see there?” Kinga pointed to an elderly village boy who sat on a stair top with a basket full of oranges.
“He got fresh and appealing oranges there,” murmured Kinga sadly.
“I’m just as hungry as those oranges would make my mouth watery,” Kinga drooped down his head.
“Let’s walk closer, he may be kind enough to spare at least one for us,” Karma suggested.
As they approached closer that village boy looked familiar to them.
“Wai…wai, he is our friend Samten,” three kids looked at each other jubilantly as the luck came rolling on to their table once again.
“Wai! Onu Tsatru sam omabu tabthur ra chhokala, ya Tshelu zai,” Samten handed them oranges.
Few years ago, Samten was their class mate.
“Su…ng ya…sung ya sungya, sungya lemo drensho…,” Samten would sing from old folk songs in his coarse matured voice. His class mates knew how to play with him.
“Wow! Samten has a good voice,” Kinga would praise.
“Yeah! He knows lots of songs,” Karma would add.
“But what is the use, he hardly sings any song for us,” Thinley would turn up sarcastically.
Samten would feel offended and say, “Ok, which song would you like me to sing?” and start singing to please them.
These kids although young were also very smart, while Samten happened to be an elderly student in class two. At his age others were in class five. He appeared little bit retarded and his performance in the class wasn’t that good either.
Simple and soft-spoken, Samten became a favorite student of Thapa sir an Indian Nepali teacher who taught them mathematics. He didn’t have his family with him and lived all by himself in a make-shift cottage provided by the school.
Thapa sir would call Samten to his house most of the time to cook for him. Samten would not fail to serve him faithfully for he knew how to cook well. During weekends Samten would fetch him firewood, wash his clothes and clean his house. Being so he had all the advantages of accessing the table of Thapa sir. Particularly when examinations approached he would pick up some expected questions from the table and start preparing discretely. But these kids – Karma, Kinga and Thinley were just smart enough. They knew exactly how to get themselves into that loop.
“This question has been really nagging me, I’m sure this will come in the exam,” Thinley would prompt rest of the friends.
“Where? Which one?” Karma and Kinga would pretend to show interests in that while Samten would miserly think, “These kids don’t know what I’m studying is ultimately there in the exam.”
But, “What do you say Samten?” Thinley would seek Samten’s opinion.
Slowly Samten would raise his head and say, “No. I don’t think that will come. I feel …”
Samten would gradually disclose his expected questions to the other three one by one. And that’s how these kids would learn.
When the real examination comes, Thapa sir would have framed questions with slight modifications. But for Samten a slight twist in questions would mean completely a different set of questions while other three would fetch good scores in mathematics. This way Samten failed and failed again. Not being able to move up the education ladder, Samten finally decided to stay back helping his parents at home.
Samten looked into his basket. There were last three oranges left in it.
“Ya nai sam zan thai last three lespa la, Om la ngokhen tey bu mangthu,” Samten handed them last oranges.
“Thank you Samten,” the three friends acknowledged.
“Samten,” called Thinley.
Samten looked at him.
“After you left school, three of us have not been able to score high marks in mathematics,” said Thinley.
“You had been very helpful to us then,” added Karma and Kinga.
“Hahaha…forget all these now I have to go back home before it gets dark,” their helpful Samten walked down happy with whatever little money he earned that day from a basket of oranges.
Wrote this story few months ago...now.......stories still keep happening, but the writing seems to have stopped!!