I asked my fupu for a photo and before I could stop her, she quickly ran inside to make sure she looked good for the shot. At this age of digital camera and photos being stored on phones and folders; it was lovely to see my fupu still valuing the importance of a photo like the olden days.
My occasional visits rarely go beyond a night stay. She always says it's too short. She asks when I can come back and stay for a month, possibly a week. I don't tell her but even spending a night at times can be a very uncomfortable experience. A hard wooden bed, mosquitoes and noisy friends of the night can keep any one awake. I feel guilty.
I tease her, I tell her "kheti, alaichi, tamatar bechera ni ahile samman yo whole gharma euta matra batti? Kati saro dukha dekhaunu bhayeko fupu..." Not willing to change the ways, wisely she says "ahile samman adhyaro ma basera ni bachekai thiyaun, tyo jhilimili rakhera ke kaam... pachi chahiyo bhane rakhumla. Euta battile ni sabai dekchu hai ma".
I am reminded of the differences. Her rare trips down to Kathmandu is probably as uncomfortable as my trips to Thharpu. Even at 2AM in the morning, fupu would make her way outside the main house to use the 'Asian squat toilet' located in the room outside. Whilst I enjoyed the long and uncomfortable rides along the Terai and up the hills as it gave me a window to see; it was the opposite for fupu and some of my cousins. It gave nothing but motion sickness in bags full.
Even with the aches and pain, she has no time to stop. Farming the variety of crops and tending to her mini-animal farm need attention all year round. At times I did wonder, din kasari bitaune hola gau ma. I guess they were my naive eyes for work is left right and centre.
My fupu is a tough person I tell you. She's a pretty smart one too. Her hands are quick. If I make a joke too far, then comes the tight slap on the back.
"Dhulayera ek patta malai patha hai" she said as I departed her house in Medibung, Thharpu.
(Fupu - dad's sister, 'my fupu' is my dad's eldest sister)