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(April 1st, 2013, 11:00 am, Southern Nepal)

“Dear lord!  “Who made this April Fools’ day?” You’ve been fooling every customer at our shop  (Grocery-store) today. KARMA!  someone might make you a real fool in return.” mom yelled from inside. My pranks were innocent and after all, they were all my regular customers, a little fun never hurt anyone on April Fools’ Day.

My dad then sadly expressed his concerns over my pranks and & my gap year. I assured him that I was waiting for decisions from Universities in U.S. “Only rich kids study in U.S., do not try to ‘Stretch your legs beyond the size of your quilt.’ Your high-school education for A levels has given me enough loan. After Holi, when you will return Kathmandu, start preparing for entrance exams for Nepali colleges.” he shouted. It ruined my mood.

After a while, I got a call from USEF-Nepal “We have received priority mail for you from Lehigh University’s full-ride scholarship.” (since I was one of the O.F.13 students, I could use USEF-Nepal’s mailing address.) Recalling what mummy had said early that day, I confidently replied over phone “I am not going to be April fooled.” They denied they were joking. When I explained that to mummy, as expected, she smacked my head and shouted: “Ok, done with pranks for the day.”

For proof, I made all my family members listen over the phone, ma’am from USEF literally reading two-page scholarship letter; it would cover all the undergraduate cost of attendance to Lehigh, including initial flight ticket to U.S., four round-trip airfare to return Nepal during breaks, a laptop, monthly stipend etc.

Since I could not get a seat on the public bus which my dad was driving that night, I went to Kathmandu by standing behind his seat. I was at USEF by next morning 10:00 am; very nervous. “April fool” ma’am shouted. I swear I was ready to CRY but then she smiled and handed me the real letter, after which I could not even scream out of happiness since I had lost my voice because of standing in cold all night.

Happy April Fool’s Day!

[O.F.13: Opportunity Funds Program 2013, scholarship by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs]

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