TODAY ( May 14)
Vibration. She took out her sleek black Samsung cell phone, which I had been playing with all morning.
Ya.Where are you? Ok. C ya.
He’s a crazy man she told me. Know what he said? Can you join me for lunch?
Full of surprises. I told her.
Hey, can you suggest a nice place for lunch?
Maybe Bakery café Newroad, Thamel….I don’t know. Me? How am I supposed to know? Anyways change into skirt hai, I requested. Its gives the spring feel.
She agreed. We bid a happy farewell.
He got on the bus with me.
The conductor asked for our fares.
I took out mine. He took out a blue fifty-rupee note.
“Hami dui janako” (our fare) he said.
So, one of you has a card and one doesn’t? The conductor asked.
No, we both do. Hami Eutai College ko eutai class ma padhchaun (we both go to the same college and are in the same class) he said.
The conductor laughed. I laughed out louder. The girl sitting on the single seat to my left looked at me amused. The guy in a blue t-shirt did the same, but for a longer time. I wondered what he found more amusing the sound of my laughter or my wired teeth. Surely not my radio friendly face!!
He got up to leave. Extended his hand. I took it gladly. A handshake.
Thanks I said.
You’re most welcome he replied.
Back from Dhangadi? I asked.
Yah, I will be going back once again.
Unbelievable. Two trips to Dhangadi in one week.
I’ll be back by Wednesday he said raising his hand to his head from the window next to the girl in green kurta.
Crazy, crazy crazy. The craziest guy I know. The only guy I know!!
O Solitude! If I Must With Thee Dwell
O Solitude! if I must with thee dwell,
Let it not be among the jumbled heap
Of murky buildings: climb with me the steep,—
Nature’s observatory—whence the dell,
In flowery slopes, its river’s crystal swell,
May seem a span; let me thy vigils keep
‘Mongst boughs pavilioned, where the deer’s swift leap
Startles the wild bee from the foxglove bell.
But though I’ll gladly trace these scenes with thee,
Yet the sweet converse of an innocent mind,
Whose words are images of thoughts refined,
Is my soul’s pleasure; and it sure must be
Almost the highest bliss of human-kind,
When to thy haunts two kindred spirits flee.
Tell me. She said.
I had my mouthful. I took my time.
This is what I hate most about you. You’re always telling me incomplete stories. Half the truth..that’s the worst thing ever.
Her words reminded me of all the half-truths I know of people.
When did you leave home? She demanded.
(She was still in bed)
A blood donation programme.
A junior in college.
Ah..you are…What’s the problem with you? Why do you have to go to all “ aire, gaire, nattu, khaire’s programs…ghari kun dai ko , ghari bhaiko..Ramu kaka..This is what you need: A schedule. Something like spend Saturdays at home..
Ramu Kaka…I repeated after her and laughed! Who the hell is Ramu kaka?
What happened? (She loves to probe into my privacy)
I don’t mind. Private is Public!
Initially thought it would only be go there donate blood and be back sort of program. But once there, it was a totally different story. Our bro was the organizer himself! The speakers had been brought, the tent yet to be delivered, the doctors and the scouts on their way…total chaos. We carried the mike stands, chairs, poles, jugs, cartons of juices, bananas to the venue. Too late. Two groups of enthusiastic blood donor wannabes registered their names, loitered and left. The TUTH ( Tribhuwan University Teaching Hospital) people finally arrived. And once it began there was no stopping. People thronged our place to donate blood. I took down their name, age, blood group; contact number and address from start to finish. Three people passed out. We almost did ourselves on hearing one of them had to be treated with saline water! One hundred and eleven (111) people donated blood. I never got a chance.
Reason No 1. The hospital personnel were already worried on having collected more blood than necessary. The blood needs to be used within the next 35 days, or else it will be wasted one of them told me.
Reason No. 2 Low blood pressure. Twice rejected. I am sick of being disqualified. I have donated blood once nevertheless. It was one helluva experience, the first day in college. No friends to cherish or share the moment with. Only my enthusiam and me. Kedz, Pravs stood nearby… they decided against donating. The “Nakkali’ gang I thought..Haahah. Now I’m stuck with those Nakkalis for life!!
Finally a university student I thought. Let me kick start with a good deed. Sweat dropped from my temples as the needle struck my arm. I was thinner then, not as fat as I am now! Hahaha..It’s not my fault if I feel fat is it?? I turned cold feeling the sweat drop on my skin. “You’re brave, you can do it” I told myself, opening and closing my fists. It was finally over. The Red Cross someone suggested the 2nd year folks to give me extra juices and fruits, chances of passing out..Vijay dai brought me the bananas. I will never forget that day. Kya College I wondered later chirna pako chaina ragat chusne! (What college! They draw blood from you no sooner than stepping in its premises) A nasty headache followed, but feeling dizzy once in six months is not a big deal, is it?
Blood. Dark red blood. I love the color, its like nothing else. The color of life. The color of sacrifice. So I would like to take this opportunity to salute everyone that donated blood yesterday starting from dearest Sumeera. The 16 yr old gal who was obviously disqualified, the girl in a yellow t-shirt who passed out, the innumerous who has be sent back and just everyone there. You Guys Rock!!!
Then a well-deserved break. Everyone was offering me the fried “veg momos”. Suman had an interesting “Veg momo” woe to share. He was happily gobbling them up taking them to be “Thulo Khasi” ones until someone told him the truth. He was like “ Malai veg bhanepachi ta kasto kasto lageko kya, ghati batai chirna garo bhayo!” (Once they told me it was veg, I found it so difficult to swallow). Judging by that the Vegetarian Crowd though growing are still a marginalized bunch in KTM.
It started raining cats and dogs. I got off the college bus at Chabahil. Good, bad, what did I feel? Normal? A Saturday with a difference, that sums it up. Two Bhaktapur buses passed by. They were too packed to board. I decided to walk till Gaushala and then get on a bus. But I took the Gairidhara turn expecting to make it to Gaushala despite the fact that I have absolutely no idea of that part of the city.
TWO ROADS DIVERGED IN AN YELLOW WOOD
AND I TOOK THE LESS TRAVELLED ONE….
These lines came to my mind, as I stood unable to decide which road to take. Robert Frost’s lines but not the exact words I guess. There were two roads and I took chose the few houses, less people walking one…Adventure. Bagmati river to my left, Kirateshwor Mahadev temple atop the hill…people staring at the silent muddy river …a red car parked to my right. I walked past the people, the machines, the temples…and walked picturizing Gaushala..yet allowing the road to decide the destination for me. Guheshwori. There was a road ahead and a signboard reading “Toilet”. Dead end I thought. But I saw a few people walking past the signboard at a distance. I kept walking…
The river and the road my only company. It was a silent river, like an extension of my life . flow, flow, flow, keep moving. Magic of movement, stopping at nothing, seeing no reason to either, seeming like an endless journey, yet journeying to a destinations unseen, lands unexplored …dreams unrealized. Solitary love…solitary walk…In touch with myself…in touch with life…ALIVE.
The clouds hung low at a distance, somewhere in between the hills faraway to my left (am very bad at directions! Dhare told me of a book “ Why Men don’t listen and Women can’t Read Maps…maybe its true!).Boudhanath. Vast empty fields. The dark brown muddy path. The golf course to my right. Few bikes. A tractor crammed with white sacks with women above them. I was lost. I just knew it. I laughed out loud. LOST felt like an escape..escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, escape from reality….
EscaPed. He and She. Evening. A lovely, lonesome evening.
His words, my experience. I felt those words and I got the FEEL of an unspeakable FEELING in a long long time.
A black cow waded its way through the muddy water, a woman walk past me hurriedly carrying a heavy bag, a dark man stared at me as we crossed one another’s paths…I felt proud of my myself. Proud of being lost… LOST IN PARADISE…For it felt like Lost yet found. Found by a feeling I had been waiting for all along…those emotions are like beggaring descriptions…Words, they pollute emotions don’t they? It’s good that I have run out of them…
Blacktopped ones replaced the murky roads. I had a sudden urge to know where I was:
Where does this road lead? I asked a guy.
Where are you heading for? He asked back.
Lokanthali, I replied.
If you walk it will take about 2 hours or so.
Where am I then?
Gothatar. He said.
So it is the Kadaghari, Mulpani area I asked.
It’s that way.
I wanted to ask him the name of the river below. I didn’t.
Thank you, I said. I felt it from the bottom of my heart.
Welcome. He said.
I smiled at myself walked on. There was a signboard that read “Orchid Pupil or Public (am confused) School’’. Gothatar 1, I read the address.
Traditional houses, a small path in between. A crowd of men came from the other direction. A bamboo tree, I jumped to reach its lowest branch. The path brought back memories of my maternal home. A sleepy village at Churia foothills. Ten years, ten years since I last visited the place.
A red metallic I-don’t-know-what they call it rotated atop a hill. An army man stood nearby. I felt wonderful, plain heavenly. I wanted to talk to someone, anyone just tell them that I was walking in the most beautiful place in Kathmandu. Why don’t I know of couples that come for dating here I wondered?? There were two little boys in identical outfits playing on the road. There was no one else in sight so I asked them where the road led. This one goes to Shahidgate the elder one said. I was confused. A solitary house stood at a distance. An old man and a woman were looking at my direction.
Ke bhayo? (What happened?) The man asked.
Yo bato kata jancha? (Where does this road go?) I asked back.
Tapailai kata januparne ho tyo bhannos na (Where are you heading for?) he said.
I smiled at myself.
If you don’t know where you are going then any road will take you there, this quote came to my mind. I wasn’t keen on heading home. I wanted to explore.
Lokanthali. I replied.
The Nepal Yatayat goes by this place. He told me.
Dhayabad (Thank you) I said.
I started walking once again. Just then a sleek, brown machine on wheels appeared. And it looked so beautiful, rolling down the hill. It is something I will never forget…the blend of the unnatural with the natural.
Bus aayo, chadera jau na. (The bus is here get on it) the man told me. The “Jauna” the transition from “Tapain” to “Timi” touched my heart. He said it sooooooo lovingly that I just couldn’t help but heed the suggestion though I would have rather preferred walking. It was almost seven. I got on the bus…headed home.
I know how it feels, she replied.
Happiness. In the end it is little things that matter the most in life. If anything makes you happy just go for it. “The Miniaturist” though a psycho book, has turned me a little bit Sufi… ..
I agree with my twin!
True. Its little things that matter the most. Like the song that is being aired..
“American Pie”…this will be the day that I die.. I LOVE THE SONG, his poems, her laughter, Kale wagging his tail…the view of sunset from my window, …
Life is but a miniaturist’s creation.
And If I could then I would surely chose to fall in love in that place called nowhere, the empty paths, the vast expanse of land…the flowing river, a place where solitary walks turn romantic, the road turns into your company, the wind transforms into the touch of the divine…You’re lost, yet found…Lost in Paradise for sure…
( ok zade budi has turned psycho for now…wish her Get well soon..Hahahaha..)