The Copper Filter; We are made up of two different things. We are the story of how they met!!!!
I was bought at a small shop in G Gaun, Banke, for the ‘Goda Dhune’ ceremony, when the feet of the newlyweds are washed. The bride’s parents placed the newlywed’s feet in me, a copper taulo, and washed their feet. They then drank the water before bidding farewell to their daughter. I was part of the bride’s dowry, along with a set of steel plates, a dozen medium-sized steel glasses, and a green flowery steel trunk for clothes. I travelled with my new family to Surkhet.
I couldn’t take my eyes off the bride during that four hour-long journey. I remember seeing tears in her eyes. She must have felt alone, hurtling on that uphill road towards her new life. She must’ve felt the huge burden of making a family out of these strangers. The groom’s family and friends were very happy, though.They were making plans for wedding celebrations. The bride looked into the vast jungle we were passing and did not say a word.
The Copper Filter
At the new house, they often used me to cook a big amount of rice for wedding ceremonies happening in the village. There, I met a tall, copper gagri. In the summers, they stored cold water in Gagri by wrapping it in wet cloth. I shared tasks with Gagri and the girl, and the three of us became best friends. She took care of both of us. During the summer, when there’d be no water in the nearby tap, she would use us to carry water from the Khorke stream, half an hour away from where we lived. She carried the copper gagri in a doko and placed me on her head. We laughed together, enjoyed our long walks, even when she couldn’t handle our weight and dropped us. Over the years we even lost our original shapes.
When her husband came home from the Army camp, he helped her carry the water. The half hour walk to Khorke with the two of them was precious. They were so shy. They timidly talked about the letters they’d written to each other last week as they carried us turn by turn.
Years passed and they had three children. In 2000 A.D, her husband decided to build a small house and separate from the rest of the joint family. Gagri and I went with his family. Things were good for a few years, but Deepa, the youngest daughter, was diagnosed with Lupus in 2012. The chronic illness attacked her kidneys. The doctor told her that she needed to drink safe and purified water. She started drinking mineral water every day until her father decided to make a filter by putting the two of us — copper gagri and taulo– together. Deepa was very happy to see us. She said that we were the most unique thing in the village. Since she never liked the smell of mineral water, she switched to drinking the filtered water. She cleaned us i.e. the copper filter every day and filled us with water affectionately.
The Copper Filter
It has been eight years since and now we sit on the table in a colorful corner with water bottles, pens, books, a first aid box, and a strawberry-scented candle, leaning against a wall that is painted yellow with mud I hear is brought from Bangesimal every Dashain. We don’t travel in a doko or balanced on top of a head. People had to struggle to get water back then. Now, there is a tap in the courtyard. We haven’t been dropped in a very long time. We have a better life.
The Copper Filter
When Deepa started living in Kathmandu, we were desolate. Because the rest of the family started using another filter, they took Gagri and I apart and discarded us in the storeroom. It wasn’t until Deepa returned home because of something called the ‘lockdown’, that we were found again. She took us out of that dusty hell and put us back together. We shone like someone had brushed us with sparkling white toothpaste. We are happy now. The cold water shower feels amazing this summer. We enjoy the fresh air, the scent of a mango tree drifting in the courtyard. Deepa is our best friend! We saved her during her bad days and whenever she returns home, she takes care of us like a sister.
We stay by her side in the room. We miss traveling sometimes but we are glad to have saved the Bohara family. We protect them from sickness by giving them clean and safe drinking water every day. As for the husband and wife, we will forever be the symbol of their love and their journey together.
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