People usually have nostalgic feeling of their past events that have been ingrained in their memory. We love to share the delightful childhood memories to family and friends and most of the time we make fun of the stupid activities that we involved with. We spent hours thinking about the most enjoyable moments of school and college life. Those events, entertaining or depressing as they are, have been instrumental to shape our life in one way or other.
Like most of the children, I used to be very fond of visiting mamaghar (literal meaning: house of maternal uncle) and do not miss every opportunity or even quarrel with parents to go mamaghar. The house was located in Samil Road, Hetauda, the place, named after the huge timber factory nearby, was renowned for the workshops and garages that repaired trucks and other vehicles. My mama (maternal uncle) had a provisional shop which, unlike other shops, would be closed during noon for afternoon break.
The narrow alley (hardly a meter wide) between the two houses would lead us to spacious backyard with vegetable garden on the front, water tap on the far right and toilet on far left. Immediately after the alley, there was wooden stairway, with landing on half way. There was banister for protection on the right of the stairs. A long corridor ran from back door to the big guest room at the front. There were two rooms at left and three rooms at the right side of the corridor and wooden stair on left just before the guest room that led us to upstairs. Just adjacent to the stair there was a small, dark room which was occupied with very old utensils. I had been to the room once with my mother and grandmother but since then I did not dare to enter the room again because of inscrutable fear. There were three rooms on the upstairs; big one served as kitchen and rests were store rooms. Traditional stove with firewood had been used for cooking. Small windows in the kitchen overlooked the massive hills on the north. Little passage that connected all three rooms also led to balcony at the front, which was spacious enough to organize the events. In the night, splendid panoramic view of glittering lights on a huge swathe of southern part of city was visible from the balcony.
On the left of the guest room, there was a small bed room. Windows in the guest room had metal bars where we clung to see the road down. I had witnessed the first incidence of riot during 2036 people's movement from this window; a man had been injured by a bullet in his leg. The thick straw-mats (gundri) were placed on the floor where we usually slept. A really big map of Nepal had been pasted on the wall just opposite of the window. The most striking stuff was a big radio that was placed on the shelve (shelve was engraved in the wall) just opposite of the bed room and to my cursory measurement the radio should be a quarter of meter long. The sound of the radio reverberated the guest room and after so many years, it still echoes in my ear.
I had enjoyed every moment in this charismatic house. Playing games with cousins, evening talks, sharing jokes, story telling, singing and dancing were such a fun. I used to visit other relative's house in Karra, Rapti Road and Nawalpur with my cousins. We had gone to Rapti River for swimming and Bhutandevi Temple for worshipping. In fact, me and my brother's bratabandha was held in Bhuntadevi Temple. Mama used to tell us wonderful stories. I still remember a story that I like most. Once upon a time, there was a kingdom with a young king who ordered his armies to kill all the old people in his kingdom because he thought that they were unproductive and it was waste of energy and money to feed and look after them. One of the citizens hid his grandfather in a cave thus he was saved. Because of widespread drought, famine hit the country and people and animals were starving. However, same person who hid his grandfather, grew different crops in field that was successful and other people followed suit thus many people survived. The king summoned him to award for his effort. He said, "I beg your pardon, my lord. But, I get this idea from my grandfather who has been hidden in the cave. I am guilty to deny the royal order." The king realized his mistake and he awarded the old man and appointed him as principal advisor.
Dashain and Tihar especially were celebrated whole heartedly when many relatives gathered in the house. We had delicious delicacies, attractive attires and enormous entertainments; what else we needed more? Obviously Dashain was special event as all the relatives joined in the grand ceremony held on second day of Tika (Bijaya Dashami) to receive Tika and blessings from the oldest member. More than 100 people attended the grand feast in the evening with varieties of foods and drinks. This function was also an opportunity to know and understand our big family and renew the relationship.
Things have been changed in the great deal. The old house is replaced by new house with modern amenities. My childhood friends and cousins were all grown up to lead the business or involve in other works. My visit to mamaghar is also limited now. Obviously our lifestyle has been changed, but we still enjoy festivals and ceremonies whole heartedly. The old tradition of celebrating Dashain and Tihar is still intact, albeit little differently; we drink beer instead of jaad, play card instead of lukamari and use mobiles to listen music. This celebration of happiness continues for eternity as it is filled with love, respect and harmony.