Nepali Times
"Spring has set in"

Spring has come to Sundarijal, BP is feeling better. But these lines in English from his prison diary show he is still haunted by forebodings about his health, and homesickness.

28 February, 1977

I am all right today-only a slight cough persists which I hope will disappear by day after. I had a very bad time in the last 3 days. Today I bathed thoroughly with soap in the afternoon sun in the bathroom itself. I am taking this kind of bath after over 2 months- perhaps in Patna on the 29th of December 1976. I have been a little emaciated and the colour of my skin is a little.I don't think I am harbouring any serious disease-I am only suffering from mental anxiety-which too is becoming progressively less.the element of desperateness is no more. Perhaps one gets used to the situation in course of time, how even unbearable it might appear in the beginning otherwise the world would have gone raving mad making people a mental wreck.

A new quartermaster has taken charge of the management of the kitchen and the store and the supplies. The outgoing one gave an a/c of the expenditure to us. We have overspent more than Rs 200 during the last fortnight from our monthly allowance. We will have to be very economical and stringent in making our requisitions.

A new major-a smart young chap-has replaced the old one. This change of camp commander has been abrupt because the term of the tour of duty of the old one had 15 days more to go.

The change takes place on the 1st of every Nepali month. In the current month of Phagun only 15 days old when the new major took over. We started guessing why. The demeanour of the new major is confident. Is he purposefully brought in? Is he directly from the palace? Anyway, the young chap is of pleasing manners, although he is not inclined to talk to us any more than his three predecessors.

The spring has set in, the full bath that I took today and the new light clothes that I changed into have given me a psychology of freedom. But these clothes remind me of Benares where my dear ones are living and maybe thinking of me. It must be now warm there, and the approach of Holi must have imparted gaiety to the atmosphere although there will be no holi festival at our place in memory of mother. But the children-Manisha and Siddhartha in particular-will have their way and splash the whole home with coloured water. How must Sushila be? I think of her. I think of her innumerable times a day-sometimes with fondness and sometimes with anxiety and concern, but most of the time with home sickness. I have no feeling of wellbeing.

1 March, 1977

Dr Rana saw me. Dr Rana came in the evening, the very presence of a doctor gives me relief. Dr Rana is a good man, but I don't know how he is as a medical man. He has prescribed a lot of medicines, some which I used to take in India when I had similar trouble. Before he can suggest a different line of treatment, he would like a sputum culture made to ascertain the cause of infection. He had brought a test tube for the collection of my sputum of the whole night. I occasionally cough out pinkish sticky sputum which gives anxiety to me. The doctor seems to want to ascertain what it is due to. My second worry is profuse sweating at night, and a feeling of tiredness. I think I am losing weight also. Since after a few days of my arrival here I do not have a sense of well-being. I generally impute it to my psychological distress at the isolation. I may be wrong, and the symptoms that I reveal may be an indication of some serious disease. This is what worries me. This time the medical care is not as prompt and satisfactory as on the previous occasion and I may not receive the meticulous care that the disease I may be suffering from properly needs. Let me see. All these forebodings may be ascribed to my mental illness caused by the condition of detention-the more galling of which is being kept incommunicado.

At night before I went to bed the light went out suddenly. I hadn't even arranged my bed. It came back on at 11:30 pm. I hadn't switched off the various lights, its sudden appearance at midnight had a sense of flood lighting. I was too tired to get up and go to the switch point to put them off. This disturbed my sleep which was further disturbed on account of coughing and the job of collecting the sputum everytime the cough threw it out.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)