It reminded me of the movie, Signs, by my fallen hero Mel Gibson. The racist, nazi bastard. But this one was not made by an alien. And it’s not a sign that’s so hard to decipher. It’s a universal symbol. And the other day I found it on my doorsteps!

So now I know there is someone in the neighborhood who has her eyes on me, and I just can’t figure out which one of the beauties it is. I suspect it is a Tharu, a Chaudhary, for they are all over the street. This used to be their area… there’s Brahmins and Chhetris too, but the Chaduhary’s are the kings here. It’s their street.

Maybe it’s one of the girls who are helping to construct the houses in the neighborhood, there is some kind of property boom – everyone is building. They are building right behind my bungalow – these are traditional Chaudhary houses, and it always amuses me to see women in construction. That’s something you never see in Africa.

The gates of my bungalow are always open. There are flowers in the lawn, three or four species, one being a rose. The ones that made up that sign is the dominant one. It’s always in bloom.

And many of the neighbors come to my place everyday to pick the flowers, for purposes of prayers (pooja). There is an old lady especially. She has come every single day, and the only one of the flower pickers who actually talks to me if she finds me outside. Sweet woman. I hope she didn’t make that sign, for she has gray hair, must be over seventy. She once asked me to leave her a gas cylinder as a gift, when I’m returning back home, so that she can remember me by that gas cylinder. That’s when I’d just moved in, maybe a few months, and i didn’t know what she picked the flowers for. So I asked her what the flowers were for, and she thought I was saying she can remember me by the flowers, and her reply were ‘We only pick these for prayers, they are perishable. But that gas cylinder won’t perish and it will stay in my kitchen for so long that I will never forget you.’

Well, I’ve seen a boy, about 12, and his sister, maybe 8, come by to pick the flowers as well. And a woman, maybe 22, who always comes with her baby, about two years old. She opens the gate like a thief, takes a peek to make sure there is no one in the yard, then comes in and takes the flowers. I always see her from the window.

Well, there may be others who I don’t see, or haven’t come across. Apart from the old woman, the others always do it as though afraid of me. Some don’t even talk to me if I say hi to them – yet they are picking it right off my front yard! Right off my doorsteps!

There are even these Chaudhary’s who grow vegetables in my yard. I keep telling them ‘namaste’, and it’s only of recent that they started to respond. You would imagine that they would be eager to keep me happy, since they plant in property I’m renting, and harvest and make money without giving me anything. They should have at least been nicer than that, but they aren’t.

Though they aren’t bad people. I think they are just shy. Or they don’t understand my accent. Or my voice is too low for them to know that I’m trying to talk to them – for Nepali people are loud talkers and my voice is naturally always so low – so they think I don’t talk to them. They might be just shy.

And I think this flower sign is the shyest proposal I’ve ever received. Nepalis are normally bold, and ask me to my face, even those whose names I don’t know, to marry them. But this one decides to leave me a nicely made sign on my doorstep. Doesn’t even sign a name, so I don’t know who it is who did it.
Maybe there will be more signs to follow, that will give me a clue to her identity. And then what will I do?


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