Nepali Times
Back at Sundarijal >3

This is the third instalment from the unpublished diary of BP Koirala which the Nepali Times is serialising in this space every fortnight. The diary covers the period immediately following BP's return to Nepal from exile in India with a call for "national reconciliation" between the monarchy and pro-democracy forces. In these entries, BP is trying to get over his depression and loneliness-especially his remorse at not saying farewell properly to his wife, Sushila. The diary, written in English is available on microfilm at the Madan Puraskar Library in Patan and the Jawaharlal Nehru Museum and Library in New Delhi. It was donated by senior advocate Ganesh Raj Sharma.

Monday, 3rd January 1977

I will no more write about my loneliness-this utter loneliness which can be compared with the choking void that only death can leave behind. But if I don't write about it, then I don't know what I can write about. Everything is submerged under this sense of utter loss. Reality is this, other things are make-believe. There is no substance to things. I mustn't permit myself this weakness. But is it weakness really, if it is so powerful? Well, well, remember "If", and try like a man.

As I lay brooding in my cell, I suffer from pangs of regret-upset that I couldn't properly say farewell to Sushila. At Patna airport there was a big crowd of people who had come to see me off. I was taken up by them. Sushila was among the ladies-wives of my friends. When departure was announced people thronged around me-some pressed my hand, some garlanded me, some touched my feet, some offered flowers, some just wept, and JP [Jayaprakash Narayan, Indian politician] hugged me; but Sushila was far behind. As I was about to cross the custom barrier Sushila came forward, some friends helped her to find a passage-and and I said "Hello, Sushila", and then I patted both her cheeks. That was not a proper farewell. As a matter of fact except with JP, I didn't bid proper goodbye to anybody much less to Nanu, Prakash, Ruchira, Sriharsha, Girija, Nona, Manisha, Bhai. Perhaps I was too overwhelmed, a little bewildered, deeply anxious, perhaps I was embarrassed by the demonstration of such unrequited affection and love for me. Can you imagine the new driver, Jawahar, was weeping and those men of the security guard in tears, and their officer sub-inspector was shedding tears uncontrollably. As I remember the scene that day, I feel I haven't lived in vain. Perhaps the past that I have trodden and will tread is a correct path, but today I am filled with regret that I couldn't say some comforting words to Sushila, some words of cheer to Nanu and Prakash and words of encouragement to the newly married couple Ruchira and Sriharsha, words of love and gratefulness to Girija and Nona. I have them all unprotected. If I could only meet them once and instruct them! If only I could get their news-how they are faring!

4rd January 1977

We take our bed tea in my cell. GM [Ganesh Man Singh] prepares it in the room attached to his cell, and brings the whole paraphernalia to my room. It is real bed tea for me because I like it in bed. GM says that in Banaras also it is the bed tea time-Sushila must be presiding over it, the entire household gathers there and discusses every topic under the sun while tea goes round the conjugation by turn and repeatedly. Everyone takes at least two glasses of tea-Sushila takes minimum 3 glasses. Many say that we Koiralas have developed the morning tea function into a kind of an institution. GM who partakes in the ceremony, even by way of curiosity, starts sharing the Koirala myth and gradually turns into being a Koirala himself. Koirala is not a family name. It is a psychological, moral, spiritual, phenomenon-it is an attitude of life. When in the solitary cell at Sundarijal, GM remembers Sushila and the group who are sipping tea at Banaras-this recalling at the time of our own solitary tea taking is an unconscious extension of the Koirala myth by us in our cellular world at Sundarijal. I get a stab of remembrance at the mention of Sushila-a stab that reopens the healing wound of memory.

At lunchtime they brought some apples, oranges, betel nuts, tin of fish, butter, jintan. The officer told me that some people from home had brought them. They had come in a taxi. Rosa was there, perhaps Sujata too, Indira and who else? Rosa has given to them the telephone number in case we need anything. The slip of paper in which she had written the telephone number was with the officer. I could recognise the handwriting. Then they know that we are detained here. We are kept in strict isolation. How long will this last?

We are supplied with table lamps. But there is no writing table. There is a small low table in my room. I place it on my wide bedstead, and use it as a desk while I sit crosslegged on my bed. It is the same old substantial huge bedstead which I had used for eight years during my last incarceration here. It is so formidable that it can take on my head, the low table which I used as desk, then a side table and still have a wide margin of space. The sameness is overwhelming-the camphor tree-is there, perhaps a little taller and the spread of its branches a little wider, pairs of mynah birds, solitary dhobini bird, a pair of doves, the greedy sly crows, and the invisible but shrilly hooting owl at the onset of the night-the setting is the same and when today at the early of the evening a full moon rose from across the big dark mountain over an infinite sky I even remember the innumerable times when I had seen the moon exactly like this in the same corner of the verandah. The sameness with sameness.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)