Jitman had never been married. At 53 years of age, he hadn’t seen it all. He also had never been out of Kathmandu valley. To be fair to him, the opportunities also hadn’t presented themselves in front of him all that much. And he wasn’t one to go out cultivating them for anyone’s sake, including his.
And so Jitman lived. And he did so without any family. His parents had passed away when he was 47; they’d died in an accident in Baraha Chetra when they’d been on a pilgrimage there. That was 6 years ago, in 1972. He missed those times. Kathmandu was more cleaner and had fewer people in it. Not these days, he thought to himself, sitting by himself in his shop. All the new buses that the King had bought and leased out to merchants from Kalankisthan were bringing in people from outside of the valley. Especially, the East of the country; Morang and Jhapa, mostly. Jitman was not very fond of the way they spoke Nepali.
Jitman was educated all right but hadn’t cleared the SLC. Not because he failed, but becuase he didn’t attempt it. Books didn’t interest him so he stopped going to school from class 9. No one in his family pressured him to go back becuase they knew that it was shops that interested Jitman a lot.
Jitman admired shops. The manner in which they were presented to the customers. The details in which products were placed. If there was a shop being built anywhere in the city, you’d know where to find him. Jitman, ladies and gentlemen, was a shop connoisseur. Shops made him happy. And if he were the one manning one, you could say that he needed nothing else out of his life.
Being in a shop by himself, Jitman felt like a king. He lived in the Naagpokhari area, Jitman did. The palace was about a couple of hundred paces from his shop. Yet, it was he who felt more kingly. Whenever the king’s procession passed from in front of his shop, he would be uninterested. But if he were for example walking on the street, he would stop and do the necessities.
(To be contd.)