Romance 2015 and a little juvenile dream of yesterday

Let me preface this by saying I am a nerdy, introvert, very very shy and the type of person who doesn’t speak much unless among best friends or family members. I had a dream yesterday which was cheesy and cute as hell and the stuff of preadolescent romance, because obviously the romantic switch in my brain is stuck at that level. Mature minds may find this boring and laughable, but please bear with me!

But before I tell you about my dream, let’s talk of some romantic stuffs. Like the new netflix series ‘Love’. The trailer showed an average, every day person w/ nothing to recommend him/her lucking out on love, I had to check it out for obvious reasons. Right from the first episode, I was rooting for Gus and Mickey. There’s a scene where I felt Mickey’s despair when she says she’s never found the type of love she wished, hoped and prayed for all the time and she has indeed wanted only love and wished for it hard! But the law of Universe is not working for her. Spoiler alert: They get together and Gus turns out to be a jerk at which point I was turned off and I stopped watching the series. Guess I like happy endings too much!

But at the same time, I didn’t hate Anomalisa! In my opinion, it was the most interesting animation of 2015. Wish it was a movie! The first half was unbelievably romantic! Imagine finding your soul mate, that one person you know you are meant to be with, who completes you and who you think is different than all the other people in the world and who totally understands you even without conversations. But then things happens so quickly, you wonder if you are watching a horror movie or ‘ex machina’ animation version, you don’t see the realistic ending coming when it hits you. And believe me it hits you hard.

And finally, Jojo Moyes’ novels ‘Me before you’ and ‘After you’. I can’t remember the last time I cried so much while reading a novel. There’s a movie version coming out this year. But movies are never better than books. And anyways, Lou and Will are not those actors in my imagination. The book is a modern day Pride and Prejudice for me in the sense, that both characters are so endearing and loveable. Poor Lou, someone manages to scratch beyond the surface and see her for the amazing person that she is and love her for the first time. And same for Will, but they are passing ships… such a heart breaking story!

After all these very romantic stories, here goes my juvenile romantic dream. I am not sure if I should even call it romantic! I think ‘sweet’ or ‘funny’ is a better word!  I saw my crush from college in my dream yesterday. My friends were visiting me and he was in the group. It wasn’t my real life home but some house I’ve never seen before. In the dream I was sure it was my house. But I am digressing. So, I began cooking noodles since that was the only thing I had. And he was the only one on my mind as I was trying to make the best noodles that I could. But then he got a call and told me he had to leave right away! I saw him to the door wishing he could stay longer and thinking this was probably the last time I’d be seeing him. He was gone quite a distance. And I was looking at him with all these wishes probably, I was feeling them! and I knew he knew!. (Delusion much! ) And I don’t know what came over me, I signed ‘I love you’, with my hands! Creepy? yes! But also practical! I don’t think I could have shouted out… I am not a shouter! I don’t know why I thought I shouldn’t let him go without saying something! But he surprises me and signs back the ‘I love you’.

Romantic songs

It’s way past midnight… and sleep’s eluding me. So, this is what I am doing- attempting  to translate a couple of classic Nepali songs sung by the maestro, Late Narayan Gopal aka Swor Samrat (vocal king)! I find it almost beyond my ability! (with my Nepali not being the best and English being okish)…finally, I also see the literal translation doesn’t have the poetic beauty of the song….Anyways, listening to his songs took me down memory lane. His songs are sad romantic kind. At one time I used to share the room with my aunty and she used to play his songs. Because I was a kid and not cerebrally and emotionally develped and experienced, I could not bear to hear his songs and used to wonder why anyone listened to ’em. I thought they were most depressive. Now ofcourse I get ’em and find ’em beautiful. One person aptly descibed his songs. “Heartbreaking and mesmerising”.

One of my favourites is ‘Euta manchhe Ko maya le”, the song translates to “one person’s love makes much difference in life”. ‘Parkhi Base aula bhane’, ‘yeti dherai maya’, ‘aljechha kyaare’, ‘kehi mitho baat gara’ and many others are equally unique. There are songs from all over the world which are technically better, more relatable, more meaningful and sung by immensely talented singers but I find myself time and again listening to his songs only and nothing else. This led me to wonder about the reason. It must be his singing voice, isn’t it the most soothing?.The music, lyrics, arrangements, nothing matters, I guess he just had to sing and it was par excellence. He kinda had that King Midas touch, turning everything he touched into gold. Or should I say he sang like an angel? And his voice is like a balm to human hearts whether they are hurting or not. 

Literal translation 
Ma ta Lali Gurans bhayechhu

Ma ta Lali Gurans bhayechhu (I’ve become
a red rhododendron)
Banai bhari fuli dinchhu (I’ll flower all over a forest)
Manai bhari fuli dinchhu (I’ll flower all over a heart)
Ma ta lali gurash bhayechhu

Faat harule kaslai pugchha ( Are plains enough for anyone?)
Bhir ma pani fulidinchhu (I’ll flower in the slopes too)
Khusi matra kaha hunchha (How can there  be happiness only?)
Pir ma pani fuli dinchhu (I’ll also flower in grief/pain)

Heri dine kohi bhaidiye (If there is anyone to see)
Nali vitra fuli dinchhu (I’ll flower within the drains)
Laai dine kohii vaidiye (If there is anyone to wear it)
Siudo vari fuli dinchhu (I’ll flower all over siudo)

Trivia: Red rhododendron is the national flower of Nepal. They grow in forests. Khaptad National park in western Nepal is the only place in the world which has over 26 varieties of the flower.

Timilai ma ke bhanu

Timilai ma ke bhanu (what do I say you are)
Phool bhanu ki Joon bhanu (shall I say flower or moon)
Upama dherai ma ke diu (what numerous titles shall I give)
Timilai mann ki mayalu bhanu (shall I say you are heart’s lovely)
Timilai ma ke bhanu (what do I say you are)

Phool phuleko mausamma (weather in which flowers are blooming)
Yo saanjhako sital batabaranma (this afternoon of cool environment )
Yo mannlai kasari samhaalu Ma ( how do I control this heart?)
Napee behos behos bhaye Ma ( without drinking am getting tipsy

Kahile nachhutne nasaa bhanu ki (shall I say unseverable addiction)
Phool bhanu ki Joon bhanu (shall I say flower or moon)
Upama dherai ma ke diu (what numerous titles shall I give)
Timilai mannki mayalu bhanu (shall I say you are my heart’s lovely)
Timilai ma ke bhanu

Kehi jhuke jhukeka nazar (some low lowered gaze)
Kehi bolna khojda kaapeka adhar (trembling lips while trying to speak)
Dui aankhaka gahira taal bich (within the deep lakes of the two eyes)
Nasaki tarna dube dube ma (being unable to cross it, I drowned)
Kahile nachhutne tirsana bhanu ki (shall I say inseparable intense desire)
Phool bhanu ki Joon bhanu
Upama dherai ma ke diu
Timilai mannki mayalu bhanu
Timilai ma ke bhanu

Euta mancheko mayale

How to get distracted

You know how it goes, you are watching a video in youtube and suddenly you are watching other videos that came up in the related links. Since #backoffIndia is trending, I was browsing Nepali news channels and then I found this old Nepali song ‘Kun mandir ma’ sung by Mr Robin Sharma which is a poem by Nepal’s greatest poet Laxmi P. Devkota. Need I say that it has become my favourite song.

It is such a beautiful poem. I am sure it can be interpreted more intelligently and in much depth but I love whatever little I’ve understood and find it soothing to the soul. Religions are so confusing, remember the Hindi movie PK where a human like alien gets stranded on earth and is befuddled by different religious practices and beliefs and doesn’t know how to go about getting what he wants from God because one religion says one thing and another the exact opposite in their different ideas of pleasing God. When infact human beings pray to the same God and religion is just a cultivated habit, a method we adopt because it is familiar (by means of observations or teachings), and is an easy or comfortable option among the available options to us. An element of nurture! Many people including me have gone through confusion and religious ambiguity. It must be natural when you have so many questions and you believe in God too. But I think a person comes to a decision ultimately and is in peace with it. One’s frame of mind cannot be like a vibrating tuning fork forever, no?

Anyways, in this song we are being urged to look to ourselves rather then going to a temple, with emphasis on hard work, good deeds, humanity, etc. A little translation below

“Which temple will you go to, pilgrim?
Which temple should one go to?
What goods for the prayer?
How will you take them with you?

The beautiful Pillars of bones
The Walls of flesh
The golden Roof of brain
The Doors of sense organs
The liquid waves of vein rivers
The Temple itself untraversable”

See what the poet did there? He gave a little lesson in anatomy as well. Sweet! And Mr Robin Sharma has that wonderful voice. Check out the video!

L.P. Devkota, the nation of Nepal is indebted to him. If he were someone other than a Nepalese, he would have been a Noble laureate surely, I mean without the language constraint! The movie ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ kind of reminds me of him, in terms of luck not being in his favour and he being much ahead of his time. But it is said that he was the kindest man one could find. A story goes that he had nothing and no steady income, still he took off his coat and gave it to a beggar in the street. And many more. Simplicity, patrotism, kindness, humanity, progressivenss, he paved the way for all the Nepalese youths. I personally believe his essay ‘Is Nepal small?’ which was in our school curriculum accounts for the patrotism we Nepalese youths have and believe to be innate. And who can forget the snippet from ‘Muna Madan’ where a high caste person touches the feet of someone not of his stature? Not heard of at that time and until many decades afterwards. A Nepalese is proud of many things, I found one more reason today, we are of the country where these legends were born and they were great humans inspite of everything. And we have their works that graces our lives and gives us that soulful connection.

About dramas and life imitating art

I have watched too many free stuffs on youtube, I mean many East Asian TV dramas; Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese, etc, more than is good. I fear I may have unintentionally become somewhat of an expert on the subject, not that anyone has asked for my expert opinion ever. Ofcourse I’ve weaned myself off this hobby
a long time ago but the memories remain! It was good while it lasted and interesting and educative. I overdid it and there can be only one fate when you do a thing excessively. The threshhold of boredom was reached!

Looking back, I think I was first pulled into it by the visuals of beautiful people (unbelievably beautiful) and kept on watching when I found out how relatable the family system, culture, friendship and personal equations shown in the stories were, not to mention the opportunity to get an insight to foreign cultures it presented. I had this one misconception that people usually have of other people from foreign countries. I thought that East Asians were unemotional and cold. Probably because of the tourists of those regions to my country I noticed at a young age, who with their cameras and cotton hats (which frustrates me as much as the fringe haircut on Asian girls, the frequency!) used to remain aloof and indifferent and never interacted with the locals unlike say Europeans or Americans. I’m glad to say I was rid of my misconception after watching the many dramas. I may have even said “Oh! They are like us!”

Any ways, these are off topic trivia and personal opinions. But while I am at it, let me shoot out one more. One of my favourites, a veteran Hindi film and drama actor Naseeruddin Shah when asked what he thought was important about movies said that the things in reels served as archives and it was important they represent the time period and society and everything in it with honesty and truth for future reference and for generations to come or something to this effect. (I am bad at verbatim), Among the dramas I’ve watched, I thought Japanese and Taiwanese were more interesting than the Korean and Chinese dramas. Taiwanese dramas were fun and realistic (I am a sucker for anything realistic, no sci-fi or fantasy stuffs for me!), I found Korean dramas OTT and stretched, and Chinese Dramas strange and surprisingly unprogressive, and Japanese atleast cracked the code with the drama length! But I wonder if and how much these dramas are representing the real societies truthfully. I am curious about these things! No reason.

My favourite Korean drama is ‘What happened in Bali’. It is not without flaws but for whatever reason, it is unforgettable. The climax is awesome!  One day, I was on my way to a supermarket, you know walking and thinking about random stuffs. And suddenly the stuffs about this drama popped into my head out of nowhere. I was like “Wow! That was interesting!”. Talk about late reaction!

The Korean romantic dramas almost always have the same story, a rich boy and a poor girl or a rich girl and a poor boy. I feel like they are selling dreams to a certain class of people. When you are young, you are happy to live vicariously through these stories. But now as I get older, I refuse to be taken for a ride. In real life people rarely venture out of their circle or social strata. I think people are usually looking for someone as good as if not better than themselves. As good as oneself means one’s equal, is it not? I feel feeding Cinderella like fairy tales to people again and again and again does more harm than good and serve only to deflect them from reality. And don’t get me started on Chinese drama. I have a problem with the portrayal of females in the drama. A stinking rich guy comes along and the female has no problem being jerked around and treated as a doormat. Ugghh! Dramas like these make you realize what you do not want in your life.

It is very easy to wish for a miracle. More than you, if your loved ones are going through difficult times and if they are not able to catch a break and you are not in a position to help at present, would you take the easy way out? I mean get hitched to a person with means and money like in the dramas, to avail yourself of his help and suppose he is not bad to look at. I imagined this scenario (thank you over active imagination!) and my whole post was leading to this question. It wouldn’t be bad, right? But is it good? The situation will always have a lingering scent of Bargain, Mercinariness, Calculation, right? I was thinking about it today. It is just a hypothetical question. But it’s come to my psyche because I see so much of this theme in dramas and come to notice some of it in real life too. How will life shape up? I thought long and hard. I cannot say after consciously taking such a decision, a person cannot be happy. Most likely he/she would. Life is all about changes they say. But wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to take the high road disregarding the temptations, no matter the magnitude and stake and take chances on yourself and not extricate yourself. If I ever find myself in such a situation which I doubt I will (I have the most wonderful parents who do not let me do any kind of sacrifice) I wish… you know what I wish.

This is me

I may have mentioned in my previous posts that I love stories. But here’s one more detail. I love love love stories! I love hearing stories, telling stories, reading stories, anything to do with stories. It is one of the things that has stayed with me since childhood. In the past, my appetite for stories more than for anything else could be described as voracious/gluttonous /rapacious. I think I was too fascinated and greedy, most likely due to an addictive trait that I have which I think is genetic (I have a theory on that). I used to read anything and everything I could lay my hands on, with much speed and fervour, not really quite learning and retaining, I realize. This choice that I made as a kid is probably the reason that I have a memory of a goldfish as an adult. Information overload caused some kind of explosion in my memory centre and that made it kind of dysfunctional ever since. I cannot retain information easily and for long, unless it’s powerful and means something to me. I forget people even friends who drift away except a selected few who are my absolute favourites, I think of my family less and less now because they are in a different country and only phone and skype conversations aren’t enough to make impactful impressions or move me. I sound cold but really I am not. I think I have the greatest capacity for love if I may say so myself. Unhealthy, frightening, destructive kind of capacity even (yes! I’ve suspected for sometime). But definitely, most times it’s out of sight, out of mind for me. So, now you know about my affliction, which I have diagnosed myself (mental pat on the back!).

There are times when I get together with my best friend and she’ll be like “do you remember the time when this and this happened?” And I’ll be like “No! I don’t remember at all. Tell me”. Or when I am watching a movie that I know I’ve watched before but I cannot for the life of me remember the plot and all of a sudden I get excited to know what happens next! (every dark cloud has a silver lining!! Yey!).
I sound like a probable patient of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease but believe me I am not. If that was the case, it’d be a different story. I may be exaggerating my case considering my penchant for exaggerating my feelings. But the two instances are true.

This is me, a normal ordinary person in the race of exhibitionism (E is what my generation inadvertently does), sharing personal views, opinions, and some details of my private life, dreams, frustrations and aspirations but also in a tiny way saving my memories and opinions at specific times for myself. Because I do not trust my own brain capacity, because I fear I will forget my thoughts yet again and old memories will be replaced to make way for new memories! Because being the unexpressive, ineloquent and reserved person that I am and a bit lazy to top it off I collect notebooks but do not turn them in
to physical journals. So many because…

Nepal earthquake

You know at times you cannot help but stereotype, attribute certain qualities to people from certain countries. Take myself for example, I associate liberal way of living and thinking with the Americans, feel British are a little on a conservative side, Chinese are hard working and tenacious and Japanese are disciplined and polite to the core. Likewise, Nepalese are proud. Foreigners usually find them honest too but honesty is a quickly diminishing trait in today’s world and is getting rarer by the day.

A Nepali, rich or poor is proud. Of what?? You may ask. Of my country which is blessed with natural beauty, of the mountains, of Mt Everest the highest peak  of the world, of the lakes and rivers, the deep gorges, of Lumbini which is the birthplace of Gautam Buddha, of the rich culture and heritage we have, our customs and traditions, our religious tolerance, how beautifully Buddhism and Hinduism exists in harmony in my nation, of our brave Gurkhas, our friendly and hospitable nature, etc. I’ve yet to meet a Nepali who is not proud of being a Nepali. He may not have many things but he has pride. I think Pride is a great commodity to have when you have nothing much.

Nepal is one of the poorest countries of the world. The first and only international airport was built in 1953 and then the country was officially open to outsiders. Tourism became a main source of income of the country soon after that. The mountaineering enthusiasts, the east Asian Buddhists, the middle class Indians looking for cheap holiday destination, the backpackers seeking life experiences and adventures have been the country’s main tourists. Nepal is not an expensive country by any means. A foreigner friend once told me that her being in Nepal was infact saving her a lot of money. The tourism experience is not anywhere exotic like that of the Bahamas, Switzerland, Thailand or even Maldives, etc. Just a handful of five star hotels exist to cater to the very rich who do visit. It is a far flung nation in the Himalayas where celebrities have visited time and again to experience obscurity. It isn’t a pleasure haven. Rustic life, rustic experiences; these are the things travelling to Nepal provides you. But tourism in any form whatsoever has helped the nation a lot, by creating jobs for all sort of people, the skilled and the unskilled! And most important it has brought the people of my country in direct contact with all sorts of people from all over the world and has changed their lives and perspective on things. I truly believe it has made the people of my county more progressive and open to change more so than those of neighbouring India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, etc.

When on 25th April, an earthquake of 7.9 rector hit Nepal with its epicentre west of Kathmandu, there was a huge damage to the country. Thousands of lives were lost, cultural heritages from centuries ago were turned to rubbles. I am sure much of the dead were among the poor who didn’t have strong enough houses. Natural calamities like these hit the poor the hardest. It is hard enough for them to survive day in and day out. They must have toiled hard to built a small home without qualification and proper employment and no support from the government. And now nothing remains. My friend was right that day when he said “God has failed today!”
The cultural heritages destroyed were many centuries old, built without modern architecture by the local arts men of the city at a time when Nepal was a nation entirely cut off from all and living in times far behind than the rest of the world, when probably things like cement and rods were unheard of. It is understandable that they didn’t withstand the big earthquake but their loss is felt in a huge way, these were part of our history and had wonderful stories behind them. But more than the cultural heritages my thoughts go out to the people who were affected by this earthquake.

This earthquake was the first of its kind that hit Nepal in a long time. I cannot tell you how this has shaken us out of our reverie and impacted our thoughts. Nepal, because of its harsh topography, location and lack of resources is economically crippled and is in a hard position to even support itself. It has survived mainly on foreign aid. The major highways were built by various countries like Russia, India, Japan, China, etc as foreign aid. And today, the major source of income of the country is foreign remittance. What does it say about my country? People are aware that the government is a farce and does nothing worthwhile for its people. But whatever the situation, whatever the status, even when they knew they didn’t have much hope, the majority of Nepalese who were poor were not an unhappy lot. They were generous with whatever they had (foreigners recall being invited to their homes to share their meals whatever it may be) and kind and full of laughter, and  content with what they had. But this earthquake have hit the people hard and ensured that they will have to struggle for years to come.

Foreign aid, rescue team and relief materials were quick and promptly send to Nepal when the magnitude of the disaster was realised. India, China, Israel were first responders with USA, Pakistan, UK, Bangladesh, Netherlands, etc soon following. There has been pledges of millions of  dollars of donations by many countries. We Nepalese cannot be thankful enough for their selfless support. Now it’s upon the government to support its people and do things extraordinarily with the fund utilization. And upon the people of the country itself to rise irrespective of support of any kind.

We were people who were easily pleased and satisfied. We didn’t require much to be happy. We were the kinds that will be at the pits and still be happy. It’s like the Universe is telling us something, like “don’t you dare and be happy when you have nothing, work even harder, find valid reasons to be happy and make your lives worthwhile, aspire for more. I will not let you rest”.

Let’s see what the future holds for my country. But like everyone else I have been woken up, my bubble has burst and I realise we have very little things to be proud of.

Easy. Difficult

Do you know we Nepalese are multilingual? Those of us belonging to an indigenous group have our own mother tongue, Limbu in my case. And we have our National language ‘Nepali’ . We are taught in English in schools and colleges. And we watch so much Hindi movies and TV that we end up learning Hindi and understand Urdu and Punjabi. Hindi and Nepali are both derived from Sanskrit language as is Bengali so if you have basic knowledge of Sanskrit, you learn all these languages easily. I think a Southeast Asian picks up these languages naturally if he/she hears them often enough.

But other Asian languages are different and very difficult to learn at least for me. Whenever I am watching a foreign drama; Korean, Japanese, Chinese or Persian, there’s a fleeting moment when I wish I could learn the language. But they are in different league and too damn difficult to learn. When we were in school, one time we got a Chinese channel CCTV, probably by accident from our cable provider and we used to watch a drama. This was before the internet explosion. I and my best friend Sabi, then nemesis and neighbour used to follow it religiously. The drama didn’t have any subtitle so basically we guessed the story and everything. We were so obsessed with the drama that we had to watch it everyday. It was an emotional love story so we used to cry a lot. I remember we’d be crying in front of the TV and my mom and others would be sitting behind us in the sofa in the living room and my mom would ask “Are you even understanding or just crying?” and she’d laugh. There would be two kind of emotions in the room; us crying and mom laughing at us. But we had few laughs too, the time when Sabi’s cousin from Darjeeling was visiting and when she saw Sabi and her sister crying while watching the same drama, she was so impressed because she thought they understood Chinese!

I have watched a few Taiwanese dramas now. ‘In Time With You’ is by far my favourite. Someday, I want to visit Taiwan or even live there for sometime, soak up the culture. With these feelings, I was trying to learn Mandarin through some mobile apps. I could learn the characters, but the sound, the pitch while pronouncing, I am not sure I can even produce such sound! So, I said “F* it. Maybe later. Much later”.

I loved the drama ‘In time with you’. This one was in my ‘to watch list’ for a long time. In fact, I was saving it as it had good reviews. I fast forwarded through some episodes towards the end but nevertheless I ended up crying in some scenes. I thought this drama had some similarities with a Hindi movie ‘Tanu weds Manu’ which is one of my favourite movies, one that I can watch again and again because of the story, music, songs and especially the characterisation of the male lead. You cannot help but feel for him, admire him, and marvel that such man can exist! If only…