October 27, 2008

The Price of Ambition

Karma Palden had to suffer because of the stubbornness of the mother and the innocence of the father. Her naïve parents frightened of the consequences had to execute the ultimate sin. Karma Palden; a combination of the names of the parents, would have been three years old, laughing gaily among her father’s legs and mother’s heart.

It all began in 2005. Dorji Palden was a student, studying in Jigme Sherubling HSS, while Kuenzang Karma was studying in Baylling HSS. They met in Gyelpoizhing during their summer vacation; she staying with her brother, while his parents were the neighbors. Being students and of the same age they befriended each other, and ultimately got closer.
[A book with the same Title]

One day they went towards the hillock, and on the way they lost their path in the thick underbrush. But they made the best of their time. They made love in the cool of the shade. It was an experiment for them both, but they enjoyed it. So they tried it twice more, before it was time for them to go back to their schools.

It was after two weeks of quietness that trouble started. One day Karma received a message from Palden asking him to contact her. On calling her, she said that her period was late by almost a week. She was pregnant. Pregnant? He didn’t believe it. He couldn’t believe it. What should he do? He was still in the twelfth standard. He had big dreams which didn’t include being a father or getting married at 19. What would his parents say? He couldn’t confide in anyone. He could ask her to drop out of school but then, she too had big dreams. She too would like to complete her twelfth standard. What was he to do?

She asked him what to do. How the hell would I know? She wanted to scream. He talked about her dropping off school for a year feigning sickness. But how would she explain to her parents? She was ashamed that her parents would have to lose face in society. Is that how I repay my parents’ love and care? She wanted to die. She lost all taste for life.

Then he decided that the best thing for her would be to drop out of school, maybe permanently. She didn’t want that so she decided to take matters in her own hands. She took a leave of absence from school for a week and went to her brother’s girlfriend in Phuntsholing. She had her unborn child aborted at Jaigaon. It was painful, physically as well as psychologically.

The next time he called her, she said it was just a false start. Her period was late due to UTI, not pregnancy. Boy! Was he relieved! But she didn’t want to continue their relationship. She had realized that he was not someone whom she could count on.

It was only after their ISC results were out, that he found out the truth. He was devastated. He went to confront her but she had her reasons. He had not been there for her, and she had her ambitions. But she was mine too, not only yours! But what could he do? The fetus was long gone, Karma Palden was no more.

Meanwhile Dorji Palden was leaving for Australia on a government scholarship.