Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sinking into red

The layout in the magazine. I think they did a marvelous job! 

I look a little out of the map and I sound a little too much like a broken record [when I speak Nepali]. The tongues I can converse in are far too foreign for the ears of yours. I spent 18 years holding onto my green Nepali passport, most of the times forgetting my roots and ignoring the fact that I was not of the same nationality as my best friends. Now, it would be impossible to tell I had once thought  my father was the craziest man for bringing me to this place which is clearly falling apart. Cracks by cracks, bricks by bricks and stones by stones, it is falling. We are nothing but a pile of dust when stepped on, when walked over, when blown over, we cause such unsettlement and we seem to mean business and then, we just settle back down, right back to where we were, like nothing ever happened. That is how it is here in Nepal. The bandhs that don't make sense half the time; our bandhs are like dust and so are our politicians, as are the citizens and the roads we tread on. We are a country of dust -- literally and figuratively. 

We are a country of great magnitude. We have the Mount Everest. We have Prabal Gurung and we have the Chaudhary group, referred to by Forbes as the richest non-Royals in Nepal with net worth crossing a billion US dollars. We have Lord Buddha's birthplace marked here. We have amazing trekking routes and equally amazing people. We have momos, chhyang and sel rotis. We have streets full of stray dogs and dangerously hanging wires out in the open with tall, old buses and trucks threatening to rip them apart as the vehicles better fitted to be retired make their way through, almost blindly. We have a funny rule of breaking up what is already broken - the demolition of roads for expansion is baffling enough for me because truth be told, it's just causing more jams than ever.

We practically have no system at all. The only systems we have are that the taxi drivers will almost always be  pain especially when in rush and caught in the pouring rain. The traffic is always a killer. We spit everywhere on the roads. The vegetable and biscuit prices differing more than Rs. 10 from one shop to another, is such a mind-playing and a time-consuming effort to remember where to get a cheaper deal. We never get all the good Hollywood movies, just the mainstreams. Now, with the new ban on Hollywood and Bollywood movies in our cinema halls, we have nothing but just Nepali movies. We have micros, inhumanely packed with humans, breathing in each others' musky evaporating sweat. We don't shower until we have to, once winter is here. We don't even shower during the blistering summer heat. We are the second richest in terms of water resources but load shedding has been haunting us forever, forget water for a shower. We are one of the poorest countries in the world, but we also have one of the richest cultures and heritage. The holy Bagmati River doesn't smell as holy but we are such religious bunches and in bhatti pasals, that is where we spend our days lazing around drinking tea, talking about everything, especially politics.

We party hard every Friday night, even on Wednesdays, just because we are sliding into the weekends. Can you believe the month-long Teej festivity, the ladies singing dhori in screechy voices and dancing in circles again and again? I am up for the joy but I find it all too ridiculous at the entire merriment. And even before Dashain was here, the slaughtering of khasis had begun and so had the gambling and extra drinking, just because we got out Dashain bonus and because we can think of every excuse to party. Let's not even go into weddings. We are a loud bunch. We love to wear gold and speak of our wealth and our failing health because we eat too  much khasi ko masu and we don't really have a good control over our alcohol consumption once we begin with a sip. We have everything - the beautiful sky, the polluted streets, reckless drivers and impossible people. We have worms, nails and algae in our coke bottles. We have Tito Sattya and we have a very successful French language school when we can't even speak and write our native language fluently. We love delicacies from foreign countries so much that we forget our very own finger-licking good Thakali food and instead we crave for finger-licking chicken from KFC. We disregard our local designers and their talents because we are obsessed with anything from America, anything out of Nepal for that matter. We are uniquely made, a diversity of squinty eyes, wide doe eyes and medium-sized eyes, sharp noses, flat noses and wide noses with no nose bridges, all of which tell stories of our ancestors and us. 

I am sinking into red blue, white and the shape of our distinctive flag. I am falling in love with my motherland and the color of the sky, every bit of our sloppiness, our relaxed nature, our wounded country demanding attention from everyone to improve the current state we are in, our pot-holed roads, our talented musicians and artists. I am in love with Patan, the smelly gallis of New Road, and the ritzy Durbar Marg and Nanglo restaurant. I am in love with the out-of-shape metal bowls of beggars and the extravagance of the rich, the cheap spa packages and Rs. 45 momos. I am in love with falling sick every time. I am in love with the men and the women, the children and the cows sleeping in the middle of the road. I am in love with dhal-bhat-tarkari and how we eat with our hands with blackened finger nails. I am in love with cursing the electricity people switching off the power before the scheduled time. I am in love with waking up with the sun on my face and the smell of Nepal in the morning and night. I am in love with romancing the wind of Nepal, the polluted wind. I am in love with our country, in all its shambling beauty. What makes Nepal the pinnacle of beauty is what's killing her. 

Note: As published in the November issue of +977, a Sydney based magazine for Nepalis and those who appreciates the finest of Nepal. +977 hopes to unite all Nepalis in a foreign land, providing a platform to uphold our culture and values, and to remind us where we came from. 


Monday, November 26, 2012

Circle of love

Towards the end of the year, I always get too excited for something - my birthday! I am just a kid, I love celebrating my birthday with a huge fanfare, and I don't think I will ever grow out of it. I love hanging those kiddish, lame Happy Birthday decorations all around and wear silly hats. I love blowing out numbered candles and not those longish candles. I love it more when the blown out wick, lights up again two to three times more. I like choosing my own cake (that is how irksome I can get), and cupcakes. I am a huge cupcakes fan! While a lot dread adding a year to their age, I am forever endearing towards it. I have something about turning old. I want to know how I would be like when I am 40, how my thoughts would be like, if I would grow up to be wiser or just be more rebellious, choosing to not care for other opinions because I would know better with experience. I reckon, I will just be more rebellion than ever. How I would look with greying hair and if I will even have grey hair at all. And if I don't have grey hair, would honey brown dyed hair suit my face crumbled with wrinkles in every space it finds? I want to smile and have lines that tells my history; if I had a hard life or if I had an easy one, I want to see those lines and I want them to vouch for the life I led.

At the age I am, I am curiously defiant. I want to discover things for myself, I want to learn for myself the hard way round. But I have too many love ones around me, always cushioning my feet so I don't step into a puddle. I am not even allowed to step in the puddle and enjoy the beautiful, humbling reminiscent of the thunder storm. Every time I land in rain, someone always brings me the umbrella and I shout for the umbrella too, well, because I know I can be protected. Being the youngest girl in the family has me loved, and restrained. I know I can always go running to my dad if I land in deep shit. He fixes things with the finest skills. And if I need some comfort, I go to my four sisters, my best friends. My brother when I need a little extra love, he pacifies me with his once in a blue moon lucky strike of good food if not, it is just still-edible-out-of-desperation kind of a cute baby's vomit. If I need a lot of comforting especially when I am sick, mom is the only key and I always cry like a baby when I talk to her, without fail and within a few minutes, she would have me cracking in laughter. Let's not even go into gentleman's protection. He is my traffic police, doesn't let me cross the roads without looking left right, doesn't let me walk in the middle of the road even if I claim it's my father's road, doesn't let me walk on the roads at all and insists I walk on the pavements. All he lets me handle is bargaining. He thinks I will die, so let me, I think. Let me learn my mistakes in heaven or hell.

Last year, I wanted to go backpacking around the world. Write and earn money as a travel writer, be a globe trekker and be content simply with being my only trusty friend for a long time. Sisters backed down my plan before I even started to pack up my laptop and a small haversack. Dad would have killed me if he knew what I was up to. I would have learned a lot on that self-discovery journey, if only they had let me go. Let me go and die, if I was to die. And if I don't get visa for the country I want to enter, then there are other countries. I want to taste my own freedom but no one lets me. I want to hurt my knees when I fall, but I am held tightly around a circle of love and it is impossible to fall down when everyone is holding you up by the arms and supporting your every move. All of which is a good thing but I want to be my own teacher or witness me blame everyone for even the tiniest turbulence in my life. 

Now, I don't have a fascination with death or anything satanic as that, though I am obsessed with escapism. It's just that, if I want to live my life in a certain way, let me and if I were to endanger myself in the process, let it be. Let everything be. Just let me live life how I want to. I will handle all my struggles. They all call me selfish but I am not. I have been loved and I have learned to love, and while it is just wickedly affable, I just want to discover and just discover and be my only person to depend on. I want to learn new things. I hate confinement. I hate restriction. I hate people thinking I know nothing. People actually think I am rather stupid. My dad says I am a bird brain. Of course he would and I wouldn't blame him. I have made the most stupidest mistakes with him. This is making me laugh, thinking of the silliest mistakes of mine he endured through. 

So, we are 35 days away from my birthday.  I have always loved my birthday, maybe, it wouldn't have been so special had it not fallen on New Year's Day. A year older, my age is not something I want to reveal to the crowd because I think when people know the age, they tend to directly and blindly associate how much you know, the lesser the number, the lesser you know as well as the height of ones' arrogance. As I get older, I know I can't run away from love, and family is the most important thing in the world. I haven't ever tried to live life on my own terms even though I have every way and reason to do it now. I guess in a lot of ways, I am just afraid of living life without the umbrella. Even when I am 40, I won't dare to break the family circle. I have realised that much importance now. Maybe on second thought, when I turn 40, I won't be the rebellious kind, I will be wiser.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Two weeks

When things are great, things are really great. Gentleman arrived home in one perfect piece of the other half of my heart and left for Melbourne after two weeks. The thing with love, even when it is bad, it is still great enough. The one thing I miss most, now that he has gone is our disagreements and we have a lot of it. Mostly because our behaviors are too much alike and when two stubborn reflections try to merge, they diverge. We are each others' best friend and the worst enemy, too, and I couldn't ask for a much handsome, richer, healthier and lovelier gentleman.

The first week, we just hung around the house celebrating Tihar and the second week, we spent countless hours sleeping most of the time whilst travelling on buses, going around one circuit of Nepal. Instead of our plan to go to Pokhara and Bandipur, we went paying visit to gentleman's family and spent just a night in Hotel Barahi, Pokhara; not one of the wisest decision we have made, especially since we paid about Rs. 4,500 per night for a Deluxe room with breakfast -- all of it was B- grade. Then we made a curve towards Rudrapur to visit gentleman's very aged but super healthy, though a little hard on hearing grandfather, his saila uncle and family via Syangja, one place I love passing by for their scenic view. We throttle too much on bus, drooled too much on each other and gentleman even snored some times which garnered attentions of those around us. I laughed uncontrollably when that happened because his snores are rather terrible than cute. Everyone far and wide knows of his horrible snores. He would make the perfect case study for those looking to do their thesis on snoring.

We spent two nights with in the Madeshi region, and a journey to the borders of India, Sununli. I can still hear the Tharu music in my ears fives days onward, that the bus driver played on the way to Bhairawa. They have music that is too much of jiggle and drums that automatically makes you tap your feet to the music and you can't even stop yourself. Yesterday, my sister was repairing her shoes' sole at this Tharu's shop here in the valley and he was playing the same music on his phone, the latest megahit apparently, and he stopped it to be polite but I told him to play it again. I grew to love the music on the two hours journey. Buy your pressure cookers in Sununli, the outskirts of India, buy almost everything there except China-made products. They are bloody inexpensive but be careful of those tax office right at the sides and avoid eye contacts with any of those uniformed personnel if you attempt to bring in goods without paying tax, for your own good and always wear something breezy whenever you go there, because it was scorching hot despite the country's brewing winter status.

And then, we went to Sardi, a place I had never heard of before to visit his kancha uncle and wife. It is absolutely green there, with gawking hills surrounding the village and not a watt of electricity in any span of area. It is every environmentalist's dream location. I can see Johnny Depp living there, after selling his fully solar and hydro-powered house in the States. They plant their own food and milk their cows and use cow dungs as fertilizers and depend solely on solar energy to light up their dark houses. It is just too lovely there. Cosmic amount of spaces in between houses and the freshest air possible even in mid-day. Coming back to the main road after one night there was painful, I didn't want to let go of that place. It was just too beautiful, every inch of it. So much life in a place you wouldn't possible think contained life. Going around Kathmandu was terrifying and daunting as I struggled to breath the much polluted air, something that I thought I was immune to.

We rounded our trip with a lunch visit in Bharatpur and then back to Kathmandu and hectic schedules, where everyone is in a rush to become someone and be better than everyone. City life is a silly life. Pulling in towards Thankot, I wanted to turn back and run away. I started to have a heavy heart. My unwillingness to resume my crazy, unrelaxed life could be one possible reason but I think the obvious reason is that, I wanted to create an identity in a place where you can greet the sun in the morning, instead of going head-on with a stranger in a race to win and count the stars at night and not think of ways to have a better win tomorrow. I hated being a cool city girl.

P.s: We don't have any photographic testaments of the beautiful places we visited because well, I never once thought of clicking pictures and if gentleman's Galaxy S3 had better battery life than, he would have but it has a dreadful one. I hope just the writing makes you want to visit the places we visited.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What 2nd last day feels at work

Every day of the last month has felt like my last day and now, it is my 2nd last day, it really finally feels like the last day because it is the last day! I am coming into work tomorrow just because that means one less day without anything to do. It hadn't sunk into me that I was leaving this job until this morning as gentleman was packing his suitcase to come back home. He was humming a stupid song and my thoughts wondered about my own packing to do. A rock in my throat, I told gentleman this: "Today, I am going to clear my desk. The guy taking over me is already in love with my desk. My desk is going to be his."

For 11 months, I have held onto this desk. I have made the desk what it is today. I have bought life into this desk and the desk has support me all too well and the walls have become a good friend. Bidding goodbye to co-workers won't be tough. Bidding goodbye to my desk and the walls might just kill me. This is my first desk, having had worked freelance before, from the dining table at home and tables of local coffee shops with coffee mug stains on it. I have sat on this desk meeting the tightest of all deadlines, I have ate in front of this desk and got sick all over it. Got pissed around it for various issues and cried my eyes out. I have fought with gentleman on this desk over the Internet and entertained a lot of my fantasies, day dreaming right here. On this same desk, I wrote quite a few much-appreciated articles. I have made 11 magazines on this desk, 11 magazines I am proud to acclaim my hard work paid off. I wish I made 12 magazines here. I wish I made Living for the rest of my living life. This desk saw me as a new girl, saw me as an struggling soul, fought my confusions, made certain writing is what I am to do in life and made me stronger than I was 11 months ago. This desk has witness me hitting many climaxes and falling down as many times. This desk has given me comfort without even saying a word. I am pretty sure if the desk had arms, it would be hugging me right now. Maybe, it is hugging me as my heart sinks. I have too much history on this desk for me to not want to break it down to pieces and take it back home with me. This desk has encouraged changes in me, been there for me always and I am going to miss it so desky much. This desk has made me who I am today. Thank you, desk, thank you for all the good times and enduring the extremely messy me! I owe you one good scrub, yes I do. 

On the 9th of November, I am going to wake up and my planner will look like this;______________ and then a lot of 'Fuck, I am bored!' My mind won't be filled with all the things I have to wrap up for any issue. I will be jobless for the first time in my entire working life and I wouldn't know how to handle such freedom. I don't do well with freedom, forget how I am going to survive without a paycheck to go merry with when the shopping vein in me bugles. I am getting out of a routine I love too much. I hate changes. Give me two days and I will break out in an anxiety fever. This is ACTUALLY the first time I am jobless since I started making my own living. Holy moo moo! See, it didn't even take me two days to go all anxious and I am not even jobless yet, as least not until tomorrow. So people out in Australia, if you are hiring someone, hire me. Don't let me be unemployed for a  long time, I will go crazy. I have already started going crazy, just look at me right now. I will work for a minimum wage, if I must and I will work hard, nothing reciprocal to the amount I am paid. Hire me especially for reason you will never find anyone who laughs the way I do and a cheerful spirit is always bonus for anybody and any team! 

Editorial Coordinator/ Feature Writer for Living magazine - till 8th of November 2012

P.s: While I am at this, I should totally start writing my own obituary as well, not because I will die from the 'jobless syndrome' but because holy cow, how cool would it be to have written my own death note. It will go something like this, "I tried and I succeeded." Because I will succeed in this life, there aren't much options. Life always throws me around like garbage and leave me to pick up my own plastic bag and put all my dirt in it and carry on. Wherever life throws me, whatever I have in store, I take this new life as an opportunity to improve myself and create a better future for my future family. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Don't make me hate my body

I could do without a lot of extra kilograms attached to my body mass. I could do with a flat stomach, slim thighs, toned arms and smack-able ass that would easily fit into a size six dress, not the double of it. I am constantly exposed to wafer thin models, needless to mention media feeding me with more images of what I am supposed to be. People want me to be slimmer. I want to be slimmer but I am not. I know what I am supposed to be but I am not. I live with it.

I could blame my genetic structure for the shape I am and I will. I will blame my laziness, my low metabolic rate and my fondness for food. It's a disaster relationship, really. I will blame my lack of time to do any form of real exercise. Exercise to me right now means the free time I have which I utilize well to shake my left leg and reblog countless photos and things of my interest on Tumblr. I will blame my need for a glass of coke, or sprite and my sweet tooth for not being able to resist desserts. I have lived with my body. I know of all the things that made the contours of my body and the flaws, the same things also  made what I can flaunt proudly. 

I don't stroll around with the fittest of all bodies, I never have. I don't need to hear it from anyone to affirm anything; for the love of food, I sleep and wake up in my body and I am relentlessly in touch with it. I know of all the things I can do, or stop doing, to get myself into a size six dress. I am not a weight-joke prude. I don't care if you crack two jokes in a row about my weight but crack three, and I would want to break your bones. I will break your bones. I am the way I am. I try to be who I am supposed to be, but I find it incredibly difficult and to be really honest, I don't really give a damn about my sizeable ass. If I can't fit into a size 28 Levi's, so be it, there are bigger sizes and a reason why they are made -- not everyone has a svelte body. 

Don't make me hate my body with your unfiltered thoughts because you don't  know my body or me. Don't make me hate my body with your hurting speeches because all your words are mentally damaging my self-esteem. I know I shouldn't crumble, but I am a big human with bigger feelings, and I can be sensitive. I want you to know I love every parts of me, even the not-so flattering sides. You act like as if my body is yours to show off. You forgot it's mine and all mine. I am not your piece of Art and if I were looking for criticism, I would ask my mirror or the man I let see me naked. Don't make me hate my body. I don't owe to you to make it perfect for you. 

The girl known for what she does and not what she looks like,