Goma’s mother has been gone now for a decade, her father died five years ago. Since then contact with her brother and sisters have been sporadic, and limited to phone conversations which requires a friend to secure her cellphone on the pillow to Goma’s ear.
Her body is hard as rock, the limbs little more than bone and skin. And yet in Goma’s eyes there is a shine and a sweetness in her tongue. Her refuge is music on the radio.
One of Goma’s most prized moments was the concert by Amrit Gurung and his folk-rock band Nepathya at the Khagendra Nabajiban Kendra compound. Goma looks forward to Fridays to hear the singer and lyricist Kumar Poudel, who volunteers his time to entertain the residents. “I would die if I did not have music in my life,” she says.
The last four decades have weakened Goma considerably, and the one-size-fits-all treatment of residents does not do justice to her growing needs, including a specialised diet. But what has bothered her most is her decreasing mobility even in her manual trolley: “I have to shout for someone to move me, and it is frustrating that help is not always available.”
A year go, Goma asked her friends from ‘Spinal’ in Kavre to get her a bijuli trolley with a joystick control. “I am tired of asking help to be moved in and out,” she told them. They ordered an electrical trolley, with battery, motor and steering from India, and it has now cleared customs, undergoing tests, and will soon be in Goma’s hands.
Goma prizes her moments with visitors and she likes making new friends, learning new things. Her spirits are high, even as her body gets weaker. Do visit Goma Dulal in Jorpati. She will be wheeling herself out in her newly acquired bijuli gadi to greet you.
Standing up to spinal injuries, Hemlata Rai
The wheel of life, Sanjeev Sharma