Wednesday, January 09, 2008

"Meet" revival in Melamchi

Razen Manandhar
Melamchi, January 8

Two young men sat opposite and offered tika on each other’s forehead, while family members and neighbours clapped their hands. It was not marriage, has nothing to do with homosexuality. They were tying themselves with the knot of “meet”, the sacred friendship.

Yubraj Khadka and Netra Narayan Sharma, both of 24 years, met almost accidentally a year ago in business. They became friends and it eventually turned into lifelong relation of meet.

The ritual of tying in meet relation, said to be legendary, has already vanished in the modern and urban life-style, but they can still be found occasionally in villages.

In a hilly village of Chanaute Bazaar of Melamchi, some five hours drive form the capital, it was a matter of curiosity for the neighbourhood as it takes place once in a blue moon. Even elderly people do not know the exact process of the rituals. But they managed to do it.

An oil-lamp was placed on a bowl with rice, a plate with red tika, a tray of fruits and some gifts were spread on the floor. A group of spectators were waiting eagerly how it would be done.

The two men stood up, a red shawl stretched between them separated to two friends – to that they cannot see each other’s face - to that and the ritual began. The two greeted each-other for three times and offered tika. Then the wives followed the same rituals – to show that it was not only the interpersonal relationship but it is the knot between the two families. In the third round, one greeted his meet’s wife. In this round, they were careful; they did not step on the same mattress.

After the completion, exchange of gifts took place and a reception followed. The neighbours and other guests congratulated the friends and wished for their long-lasting and legendary friendship.

“Let their friendship be as that of the legendary meets Krishna and Sudama. They did not forget their friends even in the most difficult situations in the life,” said Bir Bahadur Khadka, an elderly relative, who joined the reception. He added that the two meets are not supposed to sleep in same bed and eat in the same plate, though they can cross all limits of intimacy. “Meets are like twins. They are allowed to share family secret and even can inherit parental property too,” he added.

The meet-friendship between singer Narayan Gopal and Gopal Yonjan is remembered here among the literary circle.

Khadka and Sharma lived so far away – first from Sindhupalchok and the second from Parbat. They belonged to different castes, had different professions and lived in quite different social backgrounds. But no barrier could stop them from turning into life-long friends.

“Its like a dream. I never though that our friendship would turn into a meet,” said Khadka, talking with the guests. And Sharma added that he would pray to the god for sincere maintenance of the sacred relation.