In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Trains, Planes, and Automobiles.”
Nepal, October 2013. We were in a truck, a big, blue, ugly job we called The Limo. There were fifteen of us; the good, the bad and the nearly. We had come down to the rice
fields of the Chitwan valley to help build part of a school. It was for the lowest of the low, the Untouchables. We were with a charity doing good works.
We had already done the plane and coach thing, having flown from England to Kathmandu and travelled by bone-shaking bus. We had started our project at the school, had mixed sand and cement, plastered ceilings and fallen in love with the children, when we got the bad news.
The Maoists were being revolting. As I understood it, there had been a recent election where the Maoist party had done rather well, so the government called for another election. Simple. My sympathies lay…….. Well, let’s not get into politics.
Now, the aggrieved called a general strike. No buses, trucks, transport other than rickshaws could move, on pain of being set alight and turned to ashes. Not our Limo? Not with us in it? A conference was held, and that was how we came to be sitting in the truck on the outskirts of a village, waiting for the motorbike to come back and tell us the score. We went to the school by the back roads through the smaller villages, and the outrider checked each one before we went on.
Oddly, we were not afraid. We were a tough bunch of nutters, and we discussed our plan of action should the worst happen and we were discovered. We had among our number a fine looking woman called Pat. Pat had a haughty beauty, and a way with unusual verse: at the drop of a rucksack, she would quote great chunks of Kublai Khan and keep it up until your eyes glazed over and you drifted into sleep.
There was our strategy. If our truck was discovered and we were arrested, we would send Pat down to negotiate. In double quick time the Maoists would release us. They would let us go, taking Pat out of their lives forever. We had the ultimate deterrent.
We did this daily, conferring with our leaders and the locals to see which route we should take. We finished the school, said goodbye to the very touchable Untouchables, and headed back to Kathmandu. All except Pat.
Pat, in her mid seventies, hiked up to the Himalayas, intent on some skiing, and then bussed it over to India alone, against all advice. She might have got to the Hindu Kush before making it back to England, where not long afterwards, she died.
Now, there’s a little part of heaven somewhere, which I shall avoid. It knows an awful lot about the Kublai Khan.
I very much loved that experience. I very much like writing, too. My third novel, LALA LAND by Malabar Cash is doing well on Amazon books for Kindle. If you’re ready to fall in a heap with a good book after the holidays, it’s just a few clicks away.
LaLa Land by Malabar Cash is an ebook for Kindle: available on Amazon. Enjoy!