He parked the motorbike and said, “I’ll be back in a minute”.
It was a chilly evening in February in Kathmandu. He was wearing a hoodie that had OBEY written on its front. He was sweating like it was an extremely hot day in July which indicated that he was nervous. But why was he so nervous today? He had always been a bright and confident person who had topped in each of the grades until higher secondary. He had then joined engineering at the most prestigious college in the capital. As he was walking, he remembered the day when he had his first SLC exam. Everyone had been telling him that it’s the iron-gate that he had to pass with flying colors; and then everything would be great. He was very nervous that day, but he realized that he actually wasn’t as nervous as he is today. He looked back at where he had parked his motorbike. The person who had come with him was talking with someone on the phone.
He reached a store where quite a number of people were waiting for their turns. He looked at each of them – a woman in her 40s who seemed to have caught cold, a teen girl who was constantly checking her phone with a huge smile on her face, a suited man holding a briefcase, and another man who looked quite tensed. He waited for all of them to buy what they were there for. It was his turn, finally but he didn’t look very comfortable. He was still sweating and the shopkeeper could see it.
“Bhai, what do you need?” the shopkeeper asked. He still looked very confused. In a low voice, he replied, “Dai, can I have a pirati ko chhata (umbrella of love)?”
Not getting what he wanted, the shopkeeper asked again, “Sorry, what was that?”
The shopkeeper was surprised. He looked above at the sky and said, “It doesn’t look like it’s going to rain.”
“It is. It is going to rain heavily tonight and I want to make sure I am safe. I don’t want to get sick”, he responded.
“But we don’t sell umbrellas here. You look like you’re in dire need of it though. How about you borrow mine for tonight and you can return it to me tomorrow,” he was amazed when the shopkeeper told him so.
In an astonished tone, he asked, “Really? Is that possible? I thought you could use it only once and then you had to throw it.” Now it was the shopkeeper’s turn to be amazed. “What? Are you kidding me? Who can afford to buy one everytime it rains.”
He now seemed to be convinced, “Right, that makes sense.” He replied. “Do I have to wash it?”, he asked the shopkeeper who asked him not to as the rainwater would wash it anyway.
Suddenly a voice from behind asked, “Bijay, why is it taking you so long? Have you bought it already?” He looked back anxiously, and said, “Yes Riya, I am, I am almost done. You didn’t need to come here, I was about to come there myself.”
“You had told me that it will take you a minute but it had been over half an hour already, so I just came to see if everything’s alright. Which flavor did you get by the way?” The shopkeeper who had been listening to their conversation so far interrupted and asked, “Flavor? What are you guys talking about?”
“Condoms”, she answered. “Wait, so this guy was here to buy condoms this entire time”, the annoyed shopkeeper asked.
“Yes dai, I told you I needed pirati ko chhata”, Bijay said. “Why the hell didn’t you just ask me for condoms, you idiot?”, he was even more annoyed now.
“Um. It’s my first time and I couldn’t just say it”, Bijay said, embarrassed. “Fine. Just give us a packet of condoms, strawberry flavor”, Riya said.
After spending almost an hour at the store, the two now finally walked away with what they wanted from Samadhan Medical Store.