Brothers and sisters

We (cousins) who have grown up together and lived under one roof for a long time are really close. When I come back home or even to my auntie’s places now, I forget everything and everyone outside family. When you have a big loving family, you don’t miss anything. My cousin R and I are close because we are the older children of the family and of the same age. He is also one of the kindest male I know, like my dad who are genuinely kind and not like myself who pretends to be kind.

When we were small, R and I used to be very competitive and fight over things like any other siblings. We would fight to hold and carry our baby cousins. Because our Iittle cousins were all boys or because I was not good with kids, they always went to him. And I would plead with R to pretend to scold the baby so the baby would come to me crying. He would end up saying “you are evil”!!!!

I don’t know what the future holds for us but for now it’s not bad. We are all healthy and happy together and aware of the strong bond that binds us. Sometimes, I wonder how little one can want out of life when we younger party can be happy just by being together, doing things together even if it’s just sitting around and checking fb or instagram, playing cards or watching tv or just chatting or eating together.

Now my baby cousins (brothers) are
grown-ups, one is a new teenager and one a preteen, others more mature and R, recently married. When I am home on holidays, the younger ones are always around me like shadows or maybe it is the other way around and I am with them most of the time. One time when my little cousin realised that R. will be moving out to his own place after his marriage. He cried out “Oh! No, that means all of us won’t be living together in the future… . Everyone will get married someday and leave home!!!..”

Other time when we were returning from our mom’s village which is like 2 hours leisurely walk from our home. R pointed out a weed bush to me (apparently they grow literally as weeds) I broke off a twig and told R. that I was going to try it to find out what the hype of pot was all about. As we were walking, we were talking about the marijuana culture and stuffs. My little brother suddenly asked us if we knew why people did drugs and become addicts. Not knowing how much to say to him, we didn’t give him a satisfactory answer. He said he knew the answer anyway which surprised me. R was surprised too. “They do drugs to dry out their butts” was his hilarious answer. We all laughed out loud.

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Bush

My acne, rosacea has flared up badly. The last time this happened we were in mom’s village. My little brother crushed a certain plant’s leaves to put it on my acne. And it got better. We are in Kathmandu now but luckily there are bushes of the same plant growing close by. And my brother is again crushing leaves for me. He wants to get 1litre of juice out of the leaves for me to take back when I return to college. Of course I have to stop him. Funny stuff!!!
Incidences and sentiments like these will forever stand out in my mind. We are blessed. You know there’s not a word for ‘cousin’ in Nepali. We are ‘brothers and sisters’. I like it like that because ‘cousin’ sounds kind of distant.

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I love stories…

I have always loved stories. When I was little, I would badger my uncles and aunties to tell me stories all the time. As I was growing up, I used to raid the school library which was not that big and really only had donated books. I used to read anything and everything I could lay my hands on, from the folk story books, to the even somewhat religious books on my aunty’s praying stand, to the archie comics or more available Indian comics to the monthly children’s magazines and later youth magazines. Sometimes, my favourite teachers would bring me comics and children’s books when they went out of town and I would be really really happy and thank them. And we had a circle of friends and friends of friends who were really into comics as preteens. We would exchange comics to read. At the end we would always have some unknown person’s copies with us. Similarly, ours will be with some other people. We would never get our actual copies back.

I got a collection of short stories from one of my teachers on my 12th birthday. There were many stories there including ‘The bet’ by Anton chekov which remains my favourite to this day.

There are so many reasons why this story remains my favourite. One is that, those days I fancied myself a humanitarian and dreamt that one day I would work for Amnesty International and go to different countries and work towards throwing out the death penalty from everywhere. Young dreams…

“The Bet” by Anton Chekhov

It was a dark autumn night. The old banker was walking up and down his study and remembering how, fifteen years before, he had given a party one autumn evening. There had been many clever men there, and there had been interesting conversations. Among other things they had talked of capital punishment. The majority of the guests, among whom were many journalists and intellectual men, disapproved of the death penalty. They considered that form of punishment out of date, immoral, and unsuitable for Christian States. In the opinion of some of them the death penalty ought to be replaced everywhere by imprisonment for life. “I don’t agree with you,” said their host the banker. “I have not tried either the death penalty or imprisonment for life, but if one may judge a priori, the death penalty is more moral and more humane than imprisonment for life. Capital punishment kills a man at once, but lifelong imprisonment kills him slowly. Which executioner is the more humane, he who kills you in a few minutes or he who drags the life out of you in the course of many years?”

     “Both are equally immoral,” observed one of the guests, “for they both have the same object – to take away life. The State is not God. It has not the right to take away what it cannot restore when it wants to.”

     Among the guests was a young lawyer, a young man of five-and-twenty. When he was asked his opinion, he said:

     “The death sentence and the life sentence are equally immoral, but if I had to choose between the death penalty and imprisonment for life, I would certainly choose the second. To live anyhow is better than not at all.”

     A lively discussion arose. The banker, who was younger and more nervous in those days, was suddenly carried away by excitement; he struck the table with his fist and shouted at the young man:

     “It’s not true! I’ll bet you two million you wouldn’t stay in solitary confinement for five years.”

     “If you mean that in earnest,” said the young man, “I’ll take the bet, but I would stay not five but fifteen years.”

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     “Fifteen? Done!” cried the banker. “Gentlemen, I stake two million!”

     “Agreed! You stake your millions and I stake my freedom!” said the young man.

     And this wild, senseless bet was carried out! The banker, spoilt and frivolous, with millions beyond his reckoning, was delighted at the bet. At supper he made fun of the young man, and said:

     “Think better of it, young man, while there is still time. To me two million is a trifle, but you are losing three or four of the best years of your life. I say three or four, because you won’t stay longer. Don’t forget either, you unhappy man, that voluntary confinement is a great deal harder to bear than compulsory. The thought that you have the right to step out in liberty at any moment will poison your whole existence in prison. I am sorry for you.”

     And now the banker, walking to and fro, remembered all this, and asked himself: “What was the object of that bet? What is the good of that man’s losing fifteen years of his life and my throwing away two million? Can it prove that the death penalty is better or worse than imprisonment for life? No, no. It was all nonsensical and meaningless. On my part it was the caprice of a pampered man, and on his part simple greed for money …”

     Then he remembered what followed that evening. It was decided that the young man should spend the years of his captivity under the strictest supervision in one of the lodges in the banker’s garden. It was agreed that for fifteen years he should not be free to cross the threshold of the lodge, to see human beings, to hear the human voice, or to receive letters and newspapers. He was allowed to have a musical instrument and books, and was allowed to write letters, to drink wine, and to smoke. By the terms of the agreement, the only relations he could have with the outer world were by a little window made purposely for that object. He might have anything he wanted – books, music, wine, and so on – in any quantity he desired by writing an order, but could only receive them through the window. The agreement provided for every detail and every trifle that would make his imprisonment strictly solitary, and bound the young man to stay thereexactly fifteen years, beginning from twelve o’clock of November 14, 1870, and ending at twelve o’clock of November 14, 1885. The slightest attempt on his part to break the conditions, if only two minutes before the end, released the banker from the obligation to pay him the two million.

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     For the first year of his confinement, as far as one could judge from his brief notes, the prisoner suffered severely from loneliness and depression. The sounds of the piano could be heard continually day and night from his lodge. He refused wine and tobacco. Wine, he wrote, excites the desires, and desires are the worst foes of the prisoner; and besides, nothing could be more dreary than drinking good wine and seeing no one. And tobacco spoilt the air of his room. In the first year the books he sent for were principally of a light character; novels with a complicated love plot, sensational and fantastic stories, and so on.

     In the second year the piano was silent in the lodge, and the prisoner asked only for the classics. In the fifth year music was audible again, and the prisoner asked for wine. Those who watched him through the window said that all that year he spent doing nothing but eating and drinking and lying on his bed, frequently yawning and angrily talking to himself. He did not read books. Sometimes at night he would sit down to write; he would spend hours writing, and in the morning tear up all that he had written. More than once he could be heard crying.

     In the second half of the sixth year the prisoner began zealously studying languages, philosophy, and history. He threw himself eagerly into these studies – so much so that the banker had enough to do to get him the books he ordered. In the course of four years some six hundred volumes were procured at his request. It was during this period that the banker received the following letter from his prisoner:

     “My dear Jailer, I write you these lines in six languages. Show them to people who know the languages. Let them read them. If they find not one mistake I implore you to fire a shot in the garden. That shot will show me that my efforts have not been thrown away. The geniuses of all ages and of all lands speak different languages, but the same flame burns in them all. Oh, if you only knew what unearthly happiness my soul feels now from being able to understand them!” The prisoner’s desire was fulfilled. The banker ordered two shots to be fired in the garden.

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     Then after the tenth year, the prisoner sat immovably at the table and read nothing but the Gospel. It seemed strange to the banker that a man who in four years had mastered six hundred learned volumes should waste nearly a year over one thin book easy of comprehension. Theology and histories of religion followed the Gospels.

     In the last two years of his confinement the prisoner read an immense quantity of books quite indiscriminately. At one time he was busy with the natural sciences, then he would ask for Byron or Shakespeare. There were notes in which he demanded at the same time books on chemistry, and a manual of medicine, and a novel, and some treatise on philosophy or theology. His reading suggested a man swimming in the sea among the wreckage of his ship, and trying to save his life by greedily clutching first at one spar and then at another.

 

The old banker remembered all this, and thought:

     “To-morrow at twelve o’clock he will regain his freedom. By our agreement I ought to pay him two million. If I do pay him, it is all over with me: I shall be utterly ruined.”

     Fifteen years before, his millions had been beyond his reckoning; now he was afraid to ask himself which were greater, his debts or his assets. Desperate gambling on the Stock Exchange, wild speculation and the excitability whic h he could not get over even in advancing years, had by degrees led to the decline of his fortune and the proud, fearless, self-confident millionaire had become a banker of middling rank, trembling at every rise and fall in his investments. “Cursed bet!” muttered the old man, clutching his head in despair “Why didn’t the man die? He is only forty now. He will take my last penny from me, he will marry, will enjoy life, will gamble on the Exchange; while I shall look at him with envy like a beggar, and hear from him every day the same sentence: ‘I am indebted to you for the happiness of my life, let me help you!’ No, it is too much! The one means of being saved from bankruptcy and disgrace is the death of that man!”

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     It struck three o’clock, the banker listened; everyone was asleep in the house and nothing could be heard outside but the rustling of the chilled trees. Trying to make no noise, he took from a fireproof safe the key of the door which had not been opened for fifteen years, put on his overcoat, and went out of the house.

     It was dark and cold in the garden. Rain was falling. A damp cutting wind was racing about the garden, howling and giving the trees no rest. The banker strained his eyes, but could see neither the earth nor the white statues, nor the lodge, nor the trees. Going to the spot where the lodge stood, he twice called the watchman. No answer followed. Evidently the watchman had sought shelter from the weather, and was now asleep somewhere either in the kitchen or in the greenhouse.

     “If I had the pluck to carry out my intention,” thought the old man, “Suspicion would fall first upon the watchman.”

     He felt in the darkness for the steps and the door, and went into the entry of the lodge. Then he groped his way into a little passage and lighted a match. There was not a soul there. There was a bedstead with no bedding on it, and in the corner there was a dark cast-iron stove. The seals on the door leading to the prisoner’s rooms were intact.

     When the match went out the old man, trembling with emotion, peeped through the little window. A candle was burning dimly in the prisoner’s room. He was sitting at the table. Nothing could be seen but his back, the hair on his head, and his hands. Open books were lying on the table, on the two easy-chairs, and on the carpet near the table.

     Five minutes passed and the prisoner did not once stir. Fifteen years’ imprisonment had taught him to sit still. The banker tapped at the window with his finger, and the prisoner made no movement whatever in response. Then the banker cautiously broke the seals off the door and put the key in the keyhole. The rusty lock gave a grating sound and the door creaked. The banker expected to hear at once footsteps and a cry of astonishment, but three minutes passed and it was as quiet as ever in the room. He made up his mind to go in.

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     At the table a man unlike ordinary people was sitting motionless. He was a skeleton with the skin drawn tight over his bones, with long curls like a woman’s and a shaggy beard. His face was yellow with an earthy tint in it, his cheeks were hollow, his back long and narrow, and the hand on which his shaggy head was propped was so thin and delicate that it was dreadful to look at it. His hair was already streaked with silver, and seeing his emaciated, aged-looking face, no one would have believed that he was only forty. He was asleep … In front of his bowed head there lay on the table a sheet of paper on which there was something written in fine handwriting.

     “Poor creature!” thought the banker, “he is asleep and most likely dreaming of the millions. And I have only to take this half-dead man, throw him on the bed, stifle him a little with the pillow, and the most conscientious expert would find no sign of a violent death. But let us first read what he has written here … ”

     The banker took the page from the table and read as follows:

     “To-morrow at twelve o’clock I regain my freedom and the right to associate with other men, but before I leave this room and see the sunshine, I think it necessary to say a few words to you. With a clear conscience I tell you, as before God, who beholds me, that I despise freedom and life and health, and all that in your books is called the good things of the world.

     “For fifteen years I have been intently studying earthly life. It is true I have not seen the earth nor men, but in your books I have drunk fragrant wine, I have sung songs, I have hunted stags and wild boars in the forests, have loved women … Beauties as ethereal as clouds, created by the magic of your poets and geniuses, have visited me at night, and have whispered in my ears wonderful tales that have set my brain in a whirl. In your books I have climbed to the peaks of Elburz and Mont Blanc, and from there I have seen the sun rise and have watched it at evening flood the sky, the ocean, and the mountain-tops with gold and crimson. I have watched from there the lightning flashing over my head and cleaving the storm-clouds. I have seen green forests, fields, rivers, lakes, towns. I have heard the singing of the sirens, and the strains of the shepherds’ pipes; I have touched the wings of comely devils who flew down to converse with me of God … In your books I have flung myself into the bottomless pit, performed miracles, slain, burned towns, preached new religions, conquered whole kingdoms …

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     “Your books have given me wisdom. All that the unresting thought of man has created in the ages is compressed into a small compass in my brain. I know that I am wiser than all of you.

     “And I despise your books, I despise wisdom and the blessings of this world. It is all worthless, fleeting, illusory, and deceptive, like a mirage. You may be proud, wise, and fine, but death will wipe you off the face of the earth as though you were no more than mice burrowing under the floor, and your posterity, your history, your immortal geniuses will burn or freeze together with the earthly globe.

     “You have lost your reason and taken the wrong path. You have taken lies for truth, and hideousness for beauty. You would marvel if, owing to strange events of some sorts, frogs and lizards suddenly grew on apple and orange trees instead of fruit, or if roses began to smell like a sweating horse; so I marvel at you who exchange heaven for earth. I don’t want to understand you.

     “To prove to you in action how I despise all that you live by, I renounce the two million of which I once dreamed as of paradise and which now I despise. To deprive myself of the right to the money I shall go out from here five hours before the time fixed, and so break the compact …”

     When the banker had read this he laid the page on the table, kissed the strange man on the head, and went out of the lodge, weeping. At no other time, even when he had lost heavily on the Stock Exchange, had he felt so great a contempt for himself. When he got home he lay on his bed, but his tears and emotion kept him for hours from sleeping.

     Next morning the watchmen ran in with pale faces, and told him they had seen the man who lived in the lodge climb out of the window into the garden, go to the gate, and disappear. The banker went at once with the servants to the lodge and made sure of the flight of his prisoner. To avoid arousing unnecessary talk, he took from the table the writing in which the millions were renounced, and when he got home locked it up in the fireproof safe.

Do we place more value on independence?

Yesterday, 19th September 2014 was a huge day for the people of United Kingdom. The people of Scotland were given a right to choose if they wanted to become independent or remain united as Great Britain. As soon as I woke up yesterday, I was constantly checking for the referendum results. No, I do not have any kind of relation to Scotland, just an interested citizen of the world here. But yes, my good friend is married to a Scot and my family lives in Wales but that has no bearings to my personal opinion. I was on the ‘yes’ side and was a little disappointed with the result. A country having a very rich culture, language, history and resources flourishing and putting itself on the map of the world not as a part of United Kingdom, but just as Scotland with all it uniqueness would have been wonderful to see.

I don’t know much about the history of Scotland or England or their economic, political and social situations but as a citizen of a small country, Nepal myself, I tend to think mostly with my emotions. Ofcourse, you cannot compare Nepal and Scotland in terms of development and progress, with Nepal being a developing nation only. But the feelings of patrotism is same everywhere. We Nepalese take great pride in our natural and culture heritages, customs and traditions, languages and most of all in our independence. Nepal may be a small and poor country lodged between two giant countries India and China, but it has always remain independent. When Britain was colonizing countries left, right and centre at one time and claiming that “the sun never sets in Britain”. We have fought with great valor, the great anglo-Nepal war, with our khukuris, primitive weapons, stones and even bare hands against the English to remain independent and not come under any foreign rule. The Gurkhas have earned the respect of the world and written their names in gold in history. Ofcourse, when ‘the treaty of Sugauli’ was signed between Nepal and Britain (East-India company) Nepal had to supersede 2/3rd of its territory (to be verified) and become the country it is today and the British have been recruiting the Gurkhas in their army ever since.

Nepal still doesn’t have much to show in terms of progress. Being a land-locked country with China on the north and India on all three sides, it has not been easy for Nepal. It depends on India to meet its supply of almost everything, especially petrol and gas. The political and economic situation of Nepal has been in shambles for a long time now and most people are living under the poverty line. And as the unemployment rate is high, many go to foreign countries to make their livings. But despite of every thing, not having proper electricity, water supply or roadways and other many things, I think people of my country are generally happy, being oblivious of many things. They get to be the way they are in the hills, mountains, springs and rivers, despite of their day to day problems and struggles. If Nepal was a part of India or China, it would have prospered definitely and not have the problems it has today. But Nepal exists in its own rights. It’s what we have fought for and what we shall choose every time.

How independent Scotland would have turned out, we can only guess. The people of Scotland have voted ‘No’ and the decision should be repected by all. To build a nation is a difficult job and as a new task it must be absolutely terrifying and daunting. Maybe people are more rational to stick with the known rather than venture into the unknown. Why rock the boat when it’s all good!!! Maybe the repercussions of going solo would have been greater, maybe it’s old fashioned to be an independent nation. The world has become a global village afterall and anyone can choose to live anywhere in the world today. Obviously, the people of Scotland know better as they are the people living there. Also, there’s a certain dynamic to being united. And maybe the United Kingdom deserves to remain united and not be broken down owing to all its magnanimity.  And whether independent or not, the highlands will always be there with their beautiful castles, breathtaking views and culture and I am sure nothing will diminish that.

Beautiful songs

When I like a song, I listen to it over and over again until I get tired of it. But songs like ‘maula mere maula’, ‘tohse naina’, ‘madari’ and ‘madno’ are those few that I never get tired of listening to. These are the songs that have ‘sufi’ element to them i.e, love being above all, love being everything. I feel that ‘urdu’ is a such a beautiful language, that sounds beautiful and hits you hard and can convey deeper emotions easily. Many popular hindi songs seem to have urdu words in them. Coincidence? l think not. I think urdu just elevates a song to a new level. But I am no expert. I can just about understand it.

With respect to songs, I am more of words and feelings person. Song I am currently listening.

Jaaveda zindagi

Tohse naina laage(My eyes are captivated by you)
Tohse naina laage

Tohse naina laage piya saaware (My eyes are captivated by you, O my spiritual lover)
Nahin bas me ab yeh jiya saaware  (My heart is not in my control now, O my spiritual lover)
Tohse naina laage piya saaware
Nahin bas me ab yeh jiya saaware

Mohabbat to ek jaaveda zindagi hai (Love is one spiritual life.) Mohabbat to ek jaaveda zindagi hai  Tohse naina laage mili roshni  (My eyes are captivated by you, I got light)
Tohse man jo laaga mili zindagi  (My heart is captivated by you, I got life)

Tohse naina laage mili roshni 
Tohse man jo laaga mili zindagi 

Mohabbat to ek jaaveda zindagi hai (Love is one spiritual life). Mohabbat to ek jaaveda zindagi hai 

Mohabbat ki hai daastaan zindagi  (Life is the tale of love)
Mohabbat na ho toh kaha zindagi  (If love is not there, there cannot be life) Mohabbat ki hai daastaan zindagi Mohabbat na ho toh kaha zindagi  Mohabbat to ek jaaveda zindagi hai  Mohabbat to ek jaaveda zindagi hai 
Tohse naina laage

Shama ko pigalne ka armaan kyun hai? (Why the light desires to melt?)
Patange ko jalne ka armaan kyun hai? (Why the light moth desires to burn?)

Isi shawq ka intehaan zindagi hai (The passion of this hobby is life.)
Isi shawq ka intehaan zindagi hai 

Mohabbat jise baksh de zindagani  (Love which spares his/her life)
Nahi maut par khatm uski kahaani  (His/her story doesn’t end on death)

Kaise jiya jaaye (how to live)
Kaise jiya jaaye ishq bin ( how to live without love)
Kaise jiya jaaye kaise jiya jaaye ishq bin

Nahin koi insaan mohabbat se khaali (No human is empty of love)
Har ek ruh pyaasi, har ek dil sawaali (Each and every soul is thirsty, each and every heart is curious)
Mohabbat jahaan hai wahaan zindagi hai (Where there is love there is life) Mohabbat na ho toh kahaan zindagi hai (If love is not there, there cannot be life)

Tohse naina laage mili roshni
Tohse man jo laaga mili zindagi
Tohse naina laage mili roshni
Tohse man jo laaga mili zindagi Mohabbat jise baksh de zindagani Nahi maut par khatm uski kahaani

Madno song

Madari song

Unrequited love & agonies in love

Oh the problems of the hearts. I am getting too old for this. But before I forget about this kind of chapter of my life, I wanted to rewind. Today, someone I have never even met reached out to me for my help in his love life and poured his heart out. It was kind of deja vu. But how did he know I was a good listener? Is the wind telling everyone that I can be an agony aunt?… As much as I have found these kind of discussions interesting when I was young, I find it boring now. But maybe it’s karma and you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do. Provide a shoulder to a crying person, in this case lending your ears and a little bit of your mind, being a sounding board that someone so desperately needs.

I will say that the dialogues are always the same. “I will love him/her forever”. “I will not give up”. “If I donot try I will regret for the rest of my life”. “I’ll love him/her forever no matter what”. “I will never find a person as good as him/her”. “He is the only one for me”. “I cannot forget him”… Yada yada yada. These are some of the stuffs I remember hearing or even may have said at one point of time or other. The sad part is that these are the statements uttered after a party has been clearly rejected, when your window of opportunity is blatantly closed on your face. When you should know there is no hope for you now.

I personally think we get into these useless situations and later dissect things, because when you are young you have so many issues you are struggling with and you are constantly looking for assurances. And in some cases like mine, when you are young you are just plain dumb (or you may say naive). In my defense I always say “I come from a village, from the hills, I didn’t know better.” My life story is that I have never been in a relationship but I have crushed hard and fruitlessly (okay, you may say ‘crush’ a ‘mere crush’?) Well, not all of us are lucky okay!… I have mistaken flirtations for love. I have rejected and also have been rejected. And I have had my share of heart to heart sessions with my friends and families sharing my woes. My friends going “Forget it. Someone will be very lucky to have you”. “You will meet someone very special someday”. Or my best friend going “How unfortunate. Your first and it turned out this way!” and then some.

When you are heartbroken, let me tell you nothing works. And I mean nothing, not even the soothing words of your friends. You hear all the words but you do not believe it. The talk will give you an outlet but will not lessen the pain. Only time heals. Yes, Time is the biggest healer, the only cellotape to fix your heart.

That first crush, that first love, that first heart break. After a time you look back and wonder “Was I ever that young?” It hits you the hardest when it’s your first. If only firsts didn’t exist. If only we started with seconds. We could be excellent in our dealings even in matters of hearts. But sadly second comes only after the first, you understand only after you’ve made mistakes. Some people are lucky and find their first love beautiful and memorable while others just get the growing up experience.I remember discovering mills and boons at sixteen and gobbling it up. I have read tons of those. But real life is nothing like that. Then I realised that is why those are called junk books. Suffice it to say that I have done away with those books, you will not find any in my personal library.

Those of us who have suffered agonies in love or in unrequited love around me had one thing in common. It was our first. Some of us were too sensitive, while some were princess of our homes, and hadn’t experienced rejection until that point in life. So, it was extra hard to just deal with it. But because of that we had moments where we laughed and laughed until we cried, at our stupidity and we laughed till our stomaches hurt. We made tons of jokes on ourselves and each other. And we gave each other some useful and helpful and sometimes not so helpful advices. In the end we were optimistic and we made it through.

How did we help each other? I remember we were having a pity party and my friend in her anguish said “He will not be happy in the end”. And I, being the naive person that I am said “No, that is not true, he will be very happy with someone and you will also be very happy with someone else. You will not even remember each other”. In retrospect I think I should have just agreed like a good friend at that time. Actually, I was of little help with my all romantic notions. My friends on the other hand were the best, always offering to beat him up for breaking my heart albeit in jest. They did all my dirty work like hating him for me which I could not do myself.

Now I’ve grown older and am no longer timid. I will definitely not be topsy turvy in love. We (who hope to find someone to love) are taking our chances of our hearts getting broken time and again, however many times it takes to find the right person. We chose not to take the conventional road of arranged marriages where two people put together fall in love after many years just because they are supposed to or just because they have children. If two people are together day in and day out for years, I do think they will come to love one another like my parents, familiarity breeding love! But isn’t it kind of manufactured? The universe didn’t get to play it’s hand!!! 

So, I think it’s okay to not follow the norms of society and be married by 25 or 30, and be married just because people say it’s your age to get married and have babies. How old fashioned is that?? And if you want to be with not the one who loves you (because there are already so many who love you) but with the one you love, then it should be totally upto you. Anyways, I believe in destiny like two people meant to be together will find their way to each other. Love shouldn’t be hard, it should be easy, and even if there are obstacles, if it’s meant to be you will be given means to overcome the hurdles. Yes, I am a little romantic. Unfortunately, those mills and boons did do their damage.

Meet you in my dreams…

This afternoon I dozed off and dreamt of my favourite teacher. He was waiting for his bus to siliguri. Bus no.4, he said which was running late. I met him near the bus station. We talked for a while, you know about the regular stuffs, nothing deep. I being his favourite student and he being my favourite teacher, we care a lot about each other. He’s like family. I was glad the bus was about 20 mins late to reach the station which meant the goodbye wasn’t a rushed affair. My sir had a heart ailment. And I noticed he had a cold too. I worry about his health. I wanted to give him the vicks vaporrub type balm that I had somewhere. I went to get it, all the while thinking if I should give him something which I have already used. But there was no time to get a new one. And if it works it’s good, I thought eventually. The bus was about to leave and sir was sitting on the backseat of the bus, we having said our goodbyes already.

As I was running with the said balm in my hand towards the bus, I opened it and saw that there was nothing inside. Apparently, I’ve used it all. So, I went to a small stall nearby to buy one. The shop had a special one but the shopkeeper was not helpful. He was like “I cannot sell it to you.” Why? “because you cannot afford it, it’s very special”. The shopkeeper haggling was irritating. I was racing against time here. Apparently it was just for Rs. 50 so I bought it and made in time to give it to my sir. He was happy! On the other hand my other sir who was sitting next to him was not. I think he was a little jealous. My sir rubbed the ointment over his chest generously more than needed actually, to humor me. I know he doesn’t do things the ordinary way. The last thing I remember is me thinking “Okay, that will work too”. Probably, then I bade him safe journey.

I woke up and when I remembered the dream, I was happy for a bit Then, I remembered. Sir is no longer in this world. He’s been gone for a very long time almost 10 years now. The world is not a better place without him in it. It’s a little sadder! He was the best of the best. The kindest, funniest, humble person. You do not find such combination in a man. He was also the one person with whom I could talk about anything and everything and the only person who had answers to my every question. My world’s a little emptier without him in it. Sir’s wife and three children must miss him even more. But I miss him too. There are always times when I feel I need him but he’s not here. He’s somewhere in heaven smiling, playing pranks on angels I am sure. Whenever I try to imagine his face he’s always smiling. Because he was like that, always, always smiling no matter what, even in adversity. He rarely if ever got angry. He’s taught me so much, what to aspire to as a human. It goes without saying my life is enriched for having known him. And I hope to God he is one of the five people I meet in heaven one day. RIP Sir. Lots of love, hugs and kisses.

Astrology, religion & superstitions

We who live on this side of the world particularly India and Nepal put great importance on astrology. It’s like what eastern medicine is for Chinese.  Something that has an impact on people’s everyday life. The impact may be of varying degree on different individuals but few can deny it’s existence. Even for someone like my family who is supposed to follow kirati religion is influenced by astrology. But in all fairness we haven’t given up on hinduism esp. my generation who knows more about hindu religion which I think we got into in the first place as it was our nation’s religion a long time ago (nepal being a hindu kingdom in those time and all). But by the time our country became secular and my dad was insisting we write our religion as kirati for the census, data collecting process as we are kirati, it was already too late. I remember protesting vehemently, asking him how we were supposed to be  kirati when we knew nothing about kirati and loved celebrating the great hindu festivals. I was very young at that time and he was silenced (there’s a joke somewhere here). Eventually my parents started losing enthusiasm for hindu festivals or maybe it was those times when the baton was passed on to me to do all the preparations for those celebrations on holidays. I cannot tell. It’s all very confusing. It’s like we follow two religions. You know the information on one is very little. But we do what we know and what we can… And we also do a little bit of hindu thing.

With regards to birth, marriage, death… Limbus are not influenced by hinduism at all. I mean at all. The rites are different from Hindu rites. I have compared notes with my actual Hindu friends and there’s very little similarity if at all. But still I think of myself as Hindu also. This is not an uncommon thing in my country I guess. Some of my friends say they are Buddhists but they do both things, Hinduism and Buddhism. This is how my country rolls, one can have more than one religion at a time.

As I was saying, my family follows atleast some Hindu traditions. We celebrate the great hindu festivals… There’s no way out… Even if the elders wanted to give up on it, we the younger ones of the family will not allow it. It’s what we’ve grown on. And besides it’s too much fun.

Back to astrology, when a child is born, the exact date, day & time of his birth is noted and a cheena (kundali in hindi)  is made. It is made by a hindu priest,  some writing on a paper with diagrams. And the chartering of the planets begin, saturn, neptune, mars, the sun, the moon, the zodiac signs and what not. The priests are usually the ones who  decipher the codes and tell about the person’s past and future just by looking at the cheena. He will tell all about the person’s important milestones, when he should get married, whom or what type of person he should get married to, at what age to do certain things like marriage, buying properties, go abroad and all that, even going as far as to suggest what faculties someone should pursue in study or what job one should go for…Is it too much??? Not yet, it’s also imperative that two people’s cheenas should match for their marriage to suceed. Or who knows what disaster may befall and things like that. How do I know all this? Because of my mom. She is a firm believer and does this stuff from time to time. She and my aunties swear how something predicted has come true to the minutest detail which is amazing. I mean the stories… And other times point out how things the priests said didn’t come true. So, I am half and half on this. (yes even being a science student).

Superstitions- Nepalese have lots of superstitions like they believe cats especially black cats crossing your path bring bad luck, breaking a mirror brings seven years of bad luck. Looking into a mirror at night, cutting nails at night or even combing your hair at night are all bad. You are always supposed to flip back an overturned footwear, always or the owner of the footwear will fall. And then the saturdays, you cannot leave your home and set off on a journey on a Saturday or the first of a Nepali month. That’s bad, bad. And many more…