Vikash Patrick could not help but smile—even though the congregation was in the middle of singing a serious hymn. At his side was his 19 year old bride, Deepe, dressed in a deep pink—almost red—sari. Although they were both from Patna, India, they had spent the last four days together in Kathmandu, Nepal on their honeymoon.
Bending down, Vikasha whispered in Deepe’s ear, “God gave me a wife more beautiful than all of the sites that we’ve seen.” Deepe blushed, mouthed the words “thank you,” and rested her head on his shoulder. Their trip had certainly been amazing. They saw colorful marketplaces, elaborate temples, and sophisticated palaces, but in Vikasha’s mind, none of them compared to breathtakingly beautiful woman at his side.
As they sang the last lines of the hymn, Vikasha watched a rather large lady enter the church and sit down in the row in front of them. He looked her over for a few seconds, and then turned his attention back to the church entrance to see if anyone else was entering. Right now, Nepal was not a safe place to worship. Only a few months earlier a priest had been murdered, and the current political elections made religious tensions even higher.
Yet in spite of the danger, Vikasha could think of no place that would rather be with his wife than worshiping God with other believers. Still, he was keeping a careful watch on the back door in order to assess everyone who entered the service.
What Vikasha did not notice, was that the lady who had sat in front of them was removing something from her purse. She slipped a small black object under her sleeve and then left the service through a side door, leaving her purse in the church pew—directly in front of where Deepe was sitting.
Five minutes later, a bomb exploded.
Burning shrapnel cut through the air. Vikasha was knocked to the floor and felt as though his whole body was engulfed in pain. Still conscious, he looked for his wife, but did not see her. He did see that the pew in front of him was on fire, and that giant burn blisters were beginning to swell on the side of his body that was nearest the pew. Gritting his teeth, he rolled away and almost passed out. Rolling had moved his body away from the flames, but it had also pressed his burned flesh and growing blisters into the hot stone floor.
Still unable to see his wife, Vikasha called out Deepe’s name, but could not hear the sound of his own voice. The explosion must have burst his ear drums. Feeling only pain and unable to hear anything, he was forced to rely on his eyes to make out what was happening in the smoke filled room. To his right he saw that those who were not injured were starting to carry people out of the building. To his left was the orange and red of the burning pew, only—
Vikasha closed his eyes and opened them again, hoping that he was seeing the wrong colors. The colors stayed the same. Mixed in among the oranges and reds of the embers was a deep pink color—the same color as the sari that Deepe had been wearing.
Salt water tears began to run down his face and literally boil away because of the heat in the room. They left behind vertical trails of raw flesh. Finally succumbing to the heat, smoke, and mental anguish, Vikasha lost consciousness just as a man picked him up and carried him out of the church.
At the time that this was written, Vikasha and many others are still in the hospital recovering from injuries and burns. Deepe did not survive.
The Nepal Defense Army (NDA) which claimed responsibility for the attack has threatened more violence if non-Hindus do not leave the country within the month.
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