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Authors: Carol Holden

Tags: #Fiction, #General

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BOOK: Splintered Lives
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I explained how I was unhappy as a working solicitor in a small northern
England
town and how I had taken my teacher’s diploma in order to change the direction of my life.
 
They told me their family name was Menon and the father and the son were both doctors.
 
The father was the local GP and the son worked in the hospital in
Kathmandu
.
 
Sahida had trained to be a teacher in
India
where they had originated and they were hoping Taz would decide to go to University in
Delhi
so that she would have a choice of careers.

 

We had afternoon tea after which we younger people had a stroll in the grounds that edged onto the lake, where we found many strollers and boaters enjoying the afternoon sunshine.

 

“We are going to the hotel for dinner,” said Taj pointing to the middle of the lake.

 

“Do you have to book?” I asked.
 
I thought it was just for tourists and I wondered how we were going to get there.
 

 

“There is a boat belonging to the Lodge around the other side of the lake,” said Sahida.
 
We chatted happily and then we decided to have a look around the market in Pokhara.
 
I decided I would like to buy a small present for the Menons for their kindness and the hospitality they had shown me.
 
The goods were laid out on the pavements.
 
It was difficult to find something appropriate but I found a beautifully carved little elephant.
 
As they were Hindu I thought it might be just right.
 
We meandered back by the lake and arrived in time to shower and change for our evening.
 
Taz told me that the dinner party at the Fishtail Lodge was in my honour and that she was thrilled to be going there, as the food was delicious.
 
I met the family in the hall and they all were beautifully dressed the ladies in colourful evening dresses and Taj and his father in dark suits.
 
I had taken a smart cocktail frock, my one and only, so I didn’t feel out of it.
   

 

We arrived at the lakeside where the boat was fastened up.
 
Taj helped his mother into the boat and then he held my elbow and gently lowered me into the boat. The two girls skipped in confidently followed by the two men.
 
The men took the oars and the sound of the water splashing along side of the boat gave me a lovely feeling of calm.
 
We arrived in the foyer of the hotel, where the hotel manager greeted us.
 

 

“How are you Dr Menon and the family?”
 
Asked the man.

 

“Fine, we have an English guest with us tonight,” answered Dr Menon as he introduced me “She teaches the mountain children with my daughter”’, he said.

 

“How do you find the life here?” He asked as he turned to me.

“I really love it.”
 
I replied, “The children are so well behaved and eager to learn.

I feel it is a privilege to be here with them.”

The meal was elegantly served and the food excellent along with the conversation.
 
They are a very close family but they included me in all the table talk and I have never felt more at home anywhere.
 
Taj smiled at me across the table and I found myself looking at him only to find he was looking at me.
 
He has beautiful brown velvet eyes in a skin that is like tanned silk and I find him so attractive that I feel awkward and embarrassed as I turn away from him, lowering my eyes
   

 

After the meal, we all returned to the shore by the hotel boat and then we strolled along the shoreline in the sultry night air.
 
Taj and I became somehow detached from the rest of the party and he held my hand and gently led me to the house at a distance from the others.
 
We looked at each other and I knew that I was falling in love with this elegant Asian doctor whose gentle ways had attracted me from the start.
 
He squeezed my hand as we reached the others and his smile held a question along with a promise.
 
When we arrived inside the house everyone was talking at once, all excited with our evening out.
 
I wanted to be by myself because of the beating of my heart and the confusing feelings going on in my head. I excused myself as soon as I could and went to bed.
 
I undressed quickly and got into bed.
 
Taj was all I could think about, how he looked, how he walked.
 
I was a teenager again, after my very first date.
 
I just lay and revelled in the memories of our hand-held stroll back to the house.
 
I snuggled down in bed and eventually slept.
 

 

On the Sunday morning Taj asked me if I would like to visit the Hindu Temple in Pokhara.
 
We strolled along the paths in the park that held the Temple; there were many families there and the fathers held their children close to them sharing the parenting of the children in a different way to the men of the Western world. The Temple had many steps up to the top and there were many carvings on all sides.

 

When I saw what the carvings depicted I was very surprised as they showed many positions of sexual pleasures.
 
Taj explained to me that the Hindu philosophy was for human beings to accept the gift of all pleasures.
 
I looked at the people there and understood, perhaps for the first time, that our culture of guilt and fear may not be the way to live.

 

We strolled in the surrounding park and Taj asked me how I felt about the eastern culture. “I find it strange, but think I like the openness of it,” I replied blushing a bit with embarrassment.

 

The look he gave me with those beautiful brown eyes left me feeling breathless and I felt my body melting when he took my hand.

 

Taj said, “I love your spirit, your courage in coming to work so far from home along with your vulnerability at the strangeness of this land.”

 

“I love this land, the mountain people and the mountain where I live.” I replied.

 

“I am ashamed of the Western world, the waste and greed I see, now from a different perspective. It’s opened my eyes coming here and seeing the hardship of the mountain people.”

 

Taj smiles at me and gently takes me into his arms.
 
We kiss and I feel the warmth of our bodies melting together as our embrace becomes closer still.

 

We pull away from each other as we hear people coming along the path.

 

“I hope I wasn’t being forward,” Taj says when we are again on our own.

 

“No of course not, I was just as willing as you”.

 

“I find you so attractive, not just your looks but what I see inside.”

 

“I think that it is the difference in our cultures that attracts us to each other, and it may be better to step back a bit before we go too far” I reply because I feel very steamed up and too ready to take an irreversible step.

 

“I’m sorry if I have offended you but I do feel so close to you,” Taj says quietly.

 

“Just the opposite,” I reply.
 
“But the feelings I have for you are throwing me into a cauldron of emotions that I find difficult to check. “

 

Again he holds my hand and we stroll happily through the park.
 
I feel so close to him and my heart is singing as we make our way home to his house.

 

“Where have you two been,” accuses Taz.
 
“We have been waiting lunch for you and I’m starving”

 

We apologize profusely and lunch is a comfortable meal with all the family seated around the dining table, making interesting conversation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 3

 

 

 

We have to return to the mountain, his sister and I.
  
The week’s work is waiting and we are thrown into it very quickly.
 
The religious festival, Shevhi, is almost upon us and the children are getting very excited about the local god they are to make to carry through the town on the days of the festival.
 
I am unsure of their beliefs but I try to understand by reading up on the Hindu religion.
 
With help from Sahida I begin to enjoy the whole proceedings but I am left tired at the end of each day.
 

 

I have been dreaming of Taj and remembering the gentleness of his love.
 
I keep hoping that I will see him again soon but I know that he has a busy life at the hospital in Kathmandu.
        

 

I hear a sound at my door, it is Taj, and he has come to see me on my own. I can’t believe my eyes as he enters my little cottage so unlike his parents’ house.
 
I feel bewildered by his presence but when he takes me in his arms then I know that this is what I have been waiting for.

 

“My lovely girl “he whispers and all my body melts as he gently kisses my lips, my eyes and the hollow of my throat.
 
I have never felt like this before and I hope that it will feel like this forever.
 
He gently undresses me and we make love on my narrow bed overlooking the lake.
 
My feelings are spiritual as well as sexual as we come together in a wonderful ecstasy.
 
I tremble with love as I make us a cup of tea.
 
He follows me into the little kitchen and again we make love, now standing as we forget the tea.

 

He stays all night and before the light comes over the mountain he leaves, gently untangling himself from my sleepy arms.
 
“I love you,” he whispers, as he leaves my side.
 
“I love you too,” I softly reply.

 

                                   
                                                                                                                                      

I awake but feel as if I am still dreaming as I remember the previous night. I feel so light-headed and relaxed and I have a sunny smile on my face.
 
The children are heavenly at school, they are so caught up with their work on the presentation of Shevhi and they are so well behaved and interested, as well as, excited about the coming festival that I feel a freedom from the responsibility of having to discipline them.

 

I spend the following days almost in a dream and I am in tune with everything around me.
 
The children are splendid and the villagers are eyeing me with gentle smiles.
 
I have a picture of Taj in my head, his beautiful brown eyes, his sculptured brows and long dark lashes.
 
His fine straight nose and his full sensual mouth accompany me through my thoughts, all my waking hours.

 

The days turn into weeks and it is soon the time of the Hindu Festival.

 

The preparation for the festival fills our working hours and the whole school is involved in it.
 
The parents also contribute to the making of the food and the atmosphere on our mountain is wonderful.
 
I have never been so happy and uplifted in my whole life.

 

Everyone in the village is so involved in the festival and the people of Pokhara have their own Goddess whose presence they carry through the streets.
 
The whole area is in a carnival mood and I hope that Taj will have some time from his duties at the hospital so that he will be able to visit us in Pokhara.
 
I am longing to see him again soon.
 
Whilst I am helping the children prepare the festivities I receive a letter from home.
 
My eighteen year old nephew wants to come trekking during his summer- break before he settles down to go to university in the autumn.
 
He would like to join me for the three months on my mountain.
 
My sister realises that I have no room in my cottage but it would be nice for him to have some contact with me before he begins his trek.
 
I love my nephew Mark; he is the first born of my sister so he has always been very special to all the family.
 
There is a backpacker’s hostel in our village so I will be able to get him accommodation close to me before he begins his trek.
 
I am so thrilled with this bit of news and I am waiting to tell Taj about it.
 

BOOK: Splintered Lives
11.33Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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