That Day

Published on: May 03 2016 by Administrator

On a cloudy winter day he was giving grains to birds. It was his daily routine to go to Kathmandu Durbar Square with a bag full of grains, stand in place near a temple, and give grains to the birds. It has been about nine months since he started this routine of feeding birds. Every time he feeds the birds in Durbar Square, he feels that she is with him. The first time he met her she was feeding the birds. He could never forget that day. 

He was a physicist and a computer programmer. He designed and developed software for physics research facilities like CERN. Thanks to the Internet, he could work from home. Since he worked in two of the most mentally demanding fields, his mind needed refreshment from time to time. To refresh his mind, he used to go to Kathmandu Durbar Square whenever he was stressed. Looking at the arts and crafts, watching birds flying around, hearing the sounds of bells in temples and observing people hanging out used to make his mind stress free to some extent. The day he met her he was also there in Kathmandu Durbar Square trying to de-stress.

He was looking around and he saw her giving grains to birds. Even after a thousand attempts he could not take his eyes off of her. There was something about her that made him forget the world around him and only see her. He wanted to talk to her, but how? He was not really a “people person,” as they say. After a while he gathered the courage to go and talk to her after he rehearsed his opening line many times.

As he neared her, he lost all his confidence. When he reached her, he forgot the line he had practiced many times, so he thought it was a stupid idea to say hello and immediately wanted to return back home. As he was turning away he thought he saw something fall from her purse. When he looked back he saw a mobile phone lying on the ground; she had dropped her phone. It was a golden opportunity—he could pick-up her mobile to return it to her and impress her. Without thinking twice, he stooped down to retrieve the phone and handed her the mobile. She said, “Thank You,” and went on telling him how important that phone was to her. He kept looking at her like a creep without even blinking. She had to snap her fingers to bring him back to reality. He apologized and turned around to leave, scolding himself internally. As he turned around she called to him saying, “Let’s drink coffee together, my treat.” That one sentence changed both of their lives.

They were enjoying the coffee and the conversation. Once their eyes locked on to each other’s, they knew they were made for one another. They used to meet everyday in Durbar Square and hang out. They were happy, until that dark day took all of it away.

They had not met in while because they were busy with their individual work. That didn’t stop him from thinking of soon proposing to her and making her his better half for the rest of his life. Around 11:00 A.M. that day he reached Durbar Square where she was waiting there for him. They sat below a temple and were enjoying each other’s company. Suddenly the earth started shaking and people began running around panicking. The two of them also started to run down the stairs of the temple, but it was too late. The temple came crashing down. She pushed him away and he fell down the stairs. When he stood up there was dust everywhere from the temple that had just collapsed before him. Nothing could be seen. After the dust cleared out, he searched for her but could not find her. After a few minutes many people came and started removing people from the collapsed building. After an hour-long search her body, too, was pulled from the rubble of the recently fallen temple, but it was too late. She did not survive.

After a month long depression, he made a point to go to Durbar Square and do the thing that she loved most—feeding the birds. While doing so he felt like she was beside him, also feeding the birds.

Dipesh Poudel 

Class of 2017


Filed under: Fiction