Nepali Times
Back to Sundarijal >20

Two months into his incarceration, as spring warms the air, BP finds the arrival of swallows a mysteriously morale-boosting event. He lets his pen wax lyrical about the bird life in the jail courtyard. Then he works on his court statement, not knowing when he will be asked to make a statement in his own defence.

14 February
Today swallows appeared. They create a lively atmosphere in the evening. During our eight years incarceration in this camp on the previous occasion, a pair of them would come to my room on the day of the first appearance, inspect the place and start building a nest of earth in my room itself. Every year, perhaps on the same day, heralding the advent of the spring. This time none of them came inside my room. They flew all over the sky in ecstatic abandon-perhaps they have no intention being too happy to engage from the first day of the spring in the dreary work of building a nest and start keeping a house. I will miss them if they avoid my room. I have a secretly superstitious wish that they (one pair of them) stay in my room. I will have a [sic] company-will help me to extend my .. Life to some extent at least. There are some birds in the compound. The mynahs they chatter sometimes raucously, the twittering, singing, frolicking dhobi birds, male brighter and female with duller plumage, and a pair of owls with their young ones-and a host of crows, aggressive, healthy and dominating the avifauna world-they are all there. But only one can even contemplate building their nest right inside my room? And, swallows are so swift, almost like arrows in flight they appear to be real sky nymphs, ethereal with just a throbbing speck of matter, insubstantial ball of terrific energy, like an embodied soul. I pray that one pair to stay till October when it will be time to leave for home.

I am well. Homesickness is reduced in intensity. Still some writing, but not much-only 750 words. I don't get into proper mood. In the morning when my mind is a little more calm than at the time I am taken up by morning chores. During the day after lunch I remain emotionally wound up remembering dear ones at home. I become fidgety, restless. It is during this time I can write. In the evening after 5, again the daily round of chores. After dinner I am so scared of insomnia that immediately after taking food when there is a feeling of being filled up which promotes some drowsiness, I promptly put off the light and lie down to sleep at 8 or 8.30. GM starts preparing tea at 4 and by 4.30 the tea is in my room. I have to get up before that, which means again, I cannot sleep long hours.

The day's newspapers were supplied to us today. The reason why they didn't come yesterday for which I had started a long guess work, which GM of course brusquely rejected, was the death of India's president Farukhuddin Ali Ahmed the day before. Therefore yesterday the government offices were closed for a day. The camp commander is under strict orders not to convey any news of the outside and he didn't tell us what the cause was-hence the chain of reasoning.

15 February
As monotonously usual.
(Sanskrit verse.)

16 February
Being Shivaratri day, there was a holiday, hence no activity of any kind. Inside the prison the life become still duller and time passes still more, ever more, slowly. But I wrote for some time. I completed writing the statement which I propose to make in the court when they produce us before it in communication with 8 or is it 19 cases pending against me, according to the govt notification in their Gazette, the statement has turned out reasonably good, representing our point of view re democracy, right of the people and the inevitability of revolutionary action in conditions of total denial to thje people of democratic civil rights. GM has liked it, but he says that there should be more meat in the concluding portion which in my present draft appears to be precipitously abrupt. He thinks that the conclusion should convey one idea that it is not enough that we plead not guilty, and that we should be honourably acquitted, it is also necessary to state that efforts towards . re-introduction of full democratic set-up should be made to complement or to fully achieve the political purpose of our release. Otherwise our release will be of no great significance and the govt would be taking advantage of our being set at liberty. Some such idea. I don't know if this idea can be incorporated in the concluding portion of my statement. Moreover, whether it is the place before the court of law. Anyway he has approved of the statement taken as a whole. The statement will take about 2 hours to read in the court. We don't know if and when the court will really sit to try us. The tribunal to try our cases had been instated 16 days ago and there has been no apparent motion of its activities that are visible to us. Perhaps they may even decide not to try us at all. The public announcement of the institution of the tribunal is meant for popular consumption, perhaps the announcement had to be made because our detention in a secret place has brought adverse comments to be published in foreign papers. But GM thinks that whatever might have been the original intention in setting up a tribunal, once the announcement has been made the govt will have to go through the motion of putting us before it for the trial.

Today is appreciatively warm. Very pleasantly comfortably warm. Didn't bathe, but showered and washed my head. Wrote a few hundred words for my contemplated book on the Nepali Congress. I am writing unnecessary details of the teething period of the party. It will have to be trimmed-a job I will hand over to Shailaja to perform. In the meantime, I will go on scribbling.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)