The Nephew And His Great Aunt Poem by Medha Upreti

The Nephew And His Great Aunt

A city very new
for her great nephew
but older than her
in age and history
lured the ophan boy
this century
in search of work opportunity.

His great aunt
now old and frail
was glad to see him.
She paid his tuition fees,
sent him to school
in Bandipur at Tanahun.
He graduated from
a college in Chitwan.
Now he had come to Kathmandu
to live close to her,
his only relative in this world.

She a retired seamstress,
widowed and childless,
lived in an oldage home.
He found a job,
the pay was good,
the work hours long.

On Saturdays,
he visited her,
listened to her
toothless chatter
and warm laughter.
She was happy
her only 'maitee'
was healthy and doing well.

He fell in love
with his co-worker,
brought the young girl
to the oldage home
to meet his great aunt.
The old aunt gave
them her blessings.
The young couple
married soon after.
They had a baby
a year later.
The old aunt was happy.
The nephew won EDV lottery.

In less than a year,
he moved abroad
with his small family.
The old aunt
bade them farewell.
On the eve of full moon,
in the month of June,
the old woman quietly
passed away in peace.
It was an unusually
bright and shiny
Monday evening.

The nephew came back
for fifteen days
but missed her cremation.
He shaved his head,
dressed in white,
performed the funeral rites
that a son would have.

'Maitee' in Nepali language means a woman's childhood home where she grew up with siblings. For married women the survival and wellfare of their 'maitee' is absolutely important. During festivals of Teej and Bhai Tika, women visit their maternal home. The cultural significance of 'Maitee' is that it is the place where married women find solace, sanctuary, comfort of their childhood.
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