Time in Nepal

Samrat Khadka Photography

Samrat Khadka Photography

A funny thing happens when you realize you are home. This morning I woke up to cars whizzing past, crows cawing about and familiar voices downstairs. I did my laundry, first washing with a bar of soap by hand, then wringing them out and putting in them in the washer for a quick spin cycle. I hung everything up and read the paper, then got ready to head up the street for samosas. I ran into Lok Chitraker, the well respected Paubha artist who designed the Patan Dhoka gate painted with colorful deities holding swords, stones, shells and other symbolic objects.  We stopped and chatted for a bit, he motioned that he was waiting for the bamboo scaffolding to be removed and told me about the festival happening that started yesterday and going on for the next 3 months. I asked him about a good samosa place and he pointed behind me at the sweets shop. Excitedly I wished him a grand Saturday and we parted ways. I headed to the sweets shop and ordered a couple samosas, then picked out a piece of candy to try. Sitting among the old men on a Saturday, their only day of the week off, I filled my senses upon my beautiful surroundings.

I’m wearing my jeans rolled at the ankles with maroon sneakers and my green flannel shirt rolled up to the sleeves, wishing I had something cooler. Looking out onto the street, I could see taxis rolling by, Nepalese answering their phones and vendors selling morning items to buyers in the street. The sun is out and it’s a clear day, the sky pale blue framed by tall brick buildings of a dusty town.

Its been hot the last couple days. Ba is in bed with a fever and I’m just getting over a digestion blip. Didi is in high spirits as she has just returned from her family for New Years, the whole town has been renewed for spring.

I remember the feeling of coming here. Arriving by private taxi to the unlocked gate in the dark of night, feeling my way down the steps and eventually into the house. I remember opening the doors and first seeing snoring humans then 2 empty rooms with beds and cabinets for storage. It felt like I was in a foreign place with strange mattresses and empty walls. I’ve been living here for 6 weeks and it not only feels like home, it also feels like I’ve always been here. The youthful humor of my host Manish colors my perspective on Kathmandu and Nepali culture and I’ve cherished familiarizing myself with the attitude and differences to the point that I sometimes forget I’m a foreigner. Last night I walked down the street to buy some roti and the little boy smiled at me sweetly and brought out a chair, brushing it off and sneaking glances my way. He offered me to sit and I poised gracefully watching as one boy pinched off pieces of dough and dipped it in flour, molding into a ball and rolling swiftly into a thin flat circle. The smaller boy flipped it over a ceramic plate and fire, pressing it at the right time and counting out the number I had ordered. He gently placed the handles to the bag around my hand peaking up at me and giving me his sweet smile. I couldn’t help but laugh and nodded Dhanyabad.

Upon returning home, a group of us sat around to do some drinking, some smoking and sharing cheese and roti, telling bad jokes from our cultures and expanding on our thoughts. The boys jammed for a bit, spitting the blues about what we’ve all got. I’ve got a wonderful life and artists excited to evolve. I’ve got a beautiful home with a family I now consider my own. I’ve got friends who teach me everyday about the world around us and experiences I could have never had. I’ve got sunshine and terrific thunderstorms, with nature’s music to carry me throughout the day. I’ve got a community of people who I’m always excited to see, a mutual feeling of listening to each other and building joyful relationships. Even while I’ve been sick regularly, I have reason to smile and laugh, shaking off the weakness to join in poking fun at each other and making time to share advice and explain why things are a certain way. I can’t imagine being anywhere else and the thought that I have to leave questions why I can’t stay.

I’m formulating my plans, realizing I have much more inspiration than I could possibly use. I’m focusing, playing off my other residents’ interests. Now everything I see has small details, I’m piecing together my past and future to create the now of my present. Everything is relevant and everything has meaning. Maybe that’s the main part of what I’ve learned. It’s in the interactions. The moments of contact between worlds, what we teach each other, the give, take, make and do. The build and rebuild, waves of getting to know another person, another world.

It’s springtime and the world is your oyster. Open your eyes and see the world as if you are entering it for the first time. Look at what you’ve been missing and share in the laughter in the breeze. That’s what I’ll be doing today, enjoying the festival and farewell of temporary friends. I’ll be dancing as the sun sets, watching as the world turns into another day.

Bethany RichardsComment